What We “Know”

by Ginger on June 4, 2012

in Mom Thoughts, The Kid

Over Memorial Day weekend, N.C. & I escaped to a local hotel for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary. That was made possible by a visit from my mom to see us spend quality time with Jackson. It was a win/win situation–N.C. & I got some time to ourselves (what up sleeping until 11:45!), and my mom got uninterrupted grandson time.

It’s always interesting to leave the kid with someone besides us. We have a tendency to over-explain every single thing about his schedule, likes, dislikes, and what to do in every random scenario we can think of. It’s not that we’re overprotective, exactly, so much as we’re maybe, kind of slaves to the status quo.

But of course, my mom did all kinds of stuff with the kid that went outside of the status quo, outside of the schedule, outside of “the way he does best.”  Now some of that, I know, is because he does behave differently with people that aren’t Mommy & Daddy, at least for a few days. And some of it, I know, is because they were doing FUN things. I mean, it’s harder to lose your mind if  you’re having a churro at Sea World while fireworks are going than it is if you’re having broccoli at home. So, you know, I get that things can be different with grandparents than with parents.

That being said, it did make me wonder if we’re not giving the kid, or us, enough credit. We’re pretty rigid with the schedule: we “know” he’s going to start losing it around 5:00pm, we “know” that if he doesn’t nap by 1 or so it’s going to be an ugly afternoon, and we “know” that bedtime is earlier than J would like it to be because we “know” when he’s going to hit his limit.

That’s a lot of “knowing.”

But I’m not sure that we ACTUALLY know. Or rather, I’m sure we know that, yes, that is the usual. That is the typical. It’s our job as parents to give J consistency, and one of the ways we do that is through the schedule. That we know. But I’m not sure we KNOW that there aren’t exceptions.

How many times have we said no to something that’s later in the evening because we’re sure that Jackson won’t last? How many things have we not attempted because we’re sure that he won’t be able to handle the variation in his schedule. How much are we underestimating him? And us?

I don’t want to be so sure in our schedules, to think we know our kid so much, that we never do those things that stray outside of what we think he can handle.

I know that part of it is that we are wary of having to handle a public meltdown. Or, frankly, any meltdown at all. J’s tantrum’s can be epic, and we…well we can be tired. If we can avoid that particular combination, we often do so in the spirit of taking the path of least resistance.

But I don’t want to be so wrapped up in what I can and can’t handle as a parent that we never do anything that might challenge that.

I don’t want to sell us all short.

Life As Wife June 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I’ve realize that my little man is always better behaved if we go somewhere or if he is with other people. It seems like he gets cranky for bedtime only if we’re locked up in the house.

I’ve stopped saying no to things that are a little later in the evening just because of bedtime. Bedtime can wait – especially now that it’s summer and gets dark so much later.

Cloud June 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I struggled with this a lot with my oldest kid, because she really was one who needed a fairly set routine, and didn’t do well if we pushed her away from her regular eating times. But we started loosening up at some point- maybe around age 3?- because we saw that she could handle more flexibility. The second kid is way more laid back about her routine, and always has been. So now we can do things like go out to dinner in Old Town and get home after bedtime, and not worry about it. But it wasn’t always like that!

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