Written by Becky Tountas
There are some toddlers who play quietly and eat meals while sitting nicely in their high chairs. I observe these calm children, patiently working on a puzzle or reading a book. I see them in mommy and me classes, sitting nicely in the circle and listening to the teacher. My daughter is not like these children.
She is a wild one, a free spirit, loud and messy. I hear myself calling to her all day to slow down, stop running, not jump on the chair and stop trying to climb out of her crib. “Be careful!” I say to her, what seems like a thousand times a day. She leaves a trail of toys behind her. I find stickers in her hair. During mealtime she moves from my lap to the floor to a regular chair, never staying in one spot for too long.
People make comments to me about her all of the time, in a good-natured way. They say things like “boy, you have your hands full,” or “she’s fast!” She is, and I do have my hands full. They talk about her “strong personality” and loud voice. Sometimes they ask if she ever sits still. No, not really. But I wouldn’t change a thing about her.
My daughter does have a free-spirited personality with a side of loud, but I am also a pretty laid back mother. I often say that I am so relaxed with rules because I want to choose my battles with her, but that’s not the whole truth.
The truth is this: I know how much my daughter’s life will change in the coming years and I want to allow her this freedom while I can.
I know she will go to school and have to abide by rules. She will start spending less time outside and more time at a desk. There will be obligations and deadlines. This is what happens when you grow up.
Now she can wear her Elsa dress all day, paired with a silly shirt. She can stay in her pajamas until 9 am and eat breakfast while cooking in her toy kitchen. She can take her nap at noon or at one, and it doesn’t really make a difference. Sometimes I let her have french toast for dinner and edamame for breakfast. Some days, it is because I don’t have the energy to argue with her over inconsequential matters, but part of me allows her such freedom because I know it is fleeting.
Everyone has to grow up, but I want my daughter to hold onto the magic of being a toddler as long as possible. I want her to run around, uninhibited. I want her to understand the beauty of freedom.
I nod when people make comments about her energy and how active she is. But her wild side is not just because of her – its also because I allow it, within reason. I secretly want her to embrace this freedom for as long as she can. I want to give her spirit space to thrive.
Maybe I will regret my relaxed parenting down the line. Perhaps she will be a crazy teenager and I will blame myself for allowing what I did during her toddler years. I don’t know.
I do know that I love seeing how she is now: happy and free, without a care in the world. And I want my beautiful wild child to hold onto those feelings for as long as possible.
About the Author: After ten years as an attorney, Becky retired from the practice of law to become a stay-at-home mom. This gave her the opportunity to develop her lifelong love of writing. Today Becky is also a certified Holistic Health Coach and an ACE certified group fitness instructor. She dreams of having more time to write, but usually spends her days chasing around her toddler instead. Check out Becky’s blog and catch up with her on Facebook and twitter.
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