Vertical Horizons

When I was 15 I knew everything. (And, let me tell you, I could roll my eyes with Olympic Gold caliber toward anyone who displeased me.)

My how the mighty have fallen.

These days I pretend to be an adult while making shit up as I go. A parent responsible for raising to two not-so-tiny anymore toddlers. I haven’t a clue as to what I’m doing.

(The culprit was the kid in the kitchen with the smart-ass mouth? Get it? Clue humor?)

Many of my friends have kids older than the muppets. (There are a whole bunch of younger ones, but we’ll be ignoring them for the purposes of this post.) Some have teenagers. Most of whom embrace their maturing status (stati? statuses?) by focusing all decade and a half worth of mental ability into the sole purpose of driving their parents crazy.

(Sound familiar, Mom?)

One such friend recently proffered some thoughts on parenting. Contrary to my usual snark regarding unsolicited advice, I took heed. Because it kind of made sense.

And that was to keep in mind that one of the hardest things you’ll ever encounter as a parent is trying to encourage your kid to do something – knowing that something is best for them, knowing that they can do that something. Then, when they are stubborn to a fault (and they will be), trying to continue to encourage that something without pushing them off the cliff. (Literally or figuratively, really.)

This struck home.

Destroy has no fear. Like seriously folks – none. The kid has been aiming high since birth. (Before birth he was determinedly aiming low – three months overly eager to escape and start destroying things.)

It took him a year to sit up. And another six months before he took his first steps. But boy oh boy could he pull himself up. Destroy was vertically mobile before he could walk.

He can scale the entertainment center with the skill of a monkey. (Yes, that sucker is secured to the wall in about 87 places. Precisely because of Destroy’s rock climbing abilities.)

The boys love the swings at the park. Slides are ok; the journey to the top of the tower is what makes them cool. Last weekend we ventured forth to a new park. Spice things up a bit in the life of a preschooler, you know? And rumor had it the new park had a choo choo.

Reality check. The new park had ladders. Ladders to death-defying toddler heights. The sea-level choo choo was instantly abandoned to quest the heights of Mt. Everest. (Ok fine, the tenuously treacherous plywood plank running across the top of the bucket swings. But proportionally to the size of a toddler – totally akin to one of the world’s highest peaks.)

I followed him. Closely. But I let him climb and descend on his own. He fell a couple of times, but was able to catch himself and pull himself back up. (Note to self: sign muppet up for gymnastics stat. Obviously Men’s Rings Gold awaits his tiny determination.)

But I let him fall. (Don’t worry – I was there to make sure wasn’t going to kill himself. Turns out, kids are pretty tough. And goodness do I have ones of the “I do MYSELF!” variety.)

Because sometimes kids need to learn a lesson the hard way. (Literally or figuratively, really.) But, as a parent, it’s not going to be easy to know what the outcome will be and still sit back and let them figure it out on their own.

And this is coming from someone who experienced a failed ascent of the linen closet and a missing tip of the tongue (I am not making this up) and required a straight jacket to stitch my chin up after standing on my booster seat failed me – both by the time I’d reached Destroy’s ripe old age of terribly two.

I realized I was a grownup the day I realized mom was right.

Me: I thought boys were supposed to be easy.

Friend: They are easier. Not easy. There is no easy short of not having any.

Well crap. Because *that* ship has sailed. X2. At once. And you know what – not having them wasn’t easy either. Mostly because I wanted them. And I’m not a very patient person.

I reject your reality and substitute my own! Karma is a bitch. I’m screwed. And turns out I didn’t know everything at 15. Except how to age my parents.


Filed under Destroy, Parenting

2 Responses to Vertical Horizons

  1. Joanne Hamann

    This post will surely be music to my sister’s ears – music she has waited for a very long time. Just remember NO ONE will ever take away your gold medal in the Eye Rolling catagory – that is yours and yours alone!!!

  2. The fearless kid is not something I thought about when I was in the longing for kids phase of my life. And it is so hard to let them explore and be fearless when you are afraid they are going to die. I mean I won’t want all that waiting I did to be wasted. 😉
    This was the worst of my daughter’s fearless nature.

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