I have a confession: I have gone from zero to angry in sixty seconds. I’m not the calm, peaceful parent I want to be. I have gone from zero to angry in sixty seconds. I’m a work in progress. And lately we’ve been having a lot of days where my total lack of perfection is painfully obvious. Sometimes, I can’t even see calm on the horizon.
For months now, I’ve been trying to solve my parenting problems by using different discipline techniques and by rearranging my house. I set up a snacks cupboard where the kids could access it, so that I wouldn’t have to constantly prepare snacks for them. That didn’t work, because then they only wanted to eat snacks 24/7. I put the majority of our books in storage because I was tired of seeing them scattered all over the floor, but the books are still all over the floor because now the kids are searching for “that one book that we used to have” (which is never any of the books on the shelf). I use respectful boundaries, but they don’t solve my frustration.
I want to set something straight. This blog is all about “letting kids lead,” yes, but that doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. Children need respectful boundaries in order to freely play and explore.
Respect does not equal letting kids do whatever they want. On the contrary, I believe that children need routine and predictability in their lives. They need boundaries and safety nets. They need a loving adult to provide their needs, while also keeping them safe from danger. They may (and probably will) protest when you enforce a boundary, but deep down, they need that feeling of security that comes from knowing someone is looking out for their best interests. The world is a big and scary place to a toddler who feels unprotected, but a wondrous place of exploration to one who has a hand to hold him back when necessary.
A lot of people have a misconception that “respectful parenting” means “passive parenting.” Just sit back, let the kids raise themselves. Yeah, right. As I wrote in an earlier post, “respect means listening and responding with honesty, having appropriate expectations, and without exploiting emotions.” That “responding” bit refers partially to setting respectful boundaries. When it’s 8pm and Pippin says, “I want to play tag,” I listen and respond with my boundary: “It’s time for bed. I understand you want to play tag. Tag is pretty fun, isn’t it? We’ll play it tomorrow.”
It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s mostly because my mind has been somewhere else lately. It’s hard to focus on multiple things at the same time; I’m constantly amazed by other parents being able to multitask. When I’m focusing on something, I have to block out everything else while I think about it.
But lately something has been nagging at me and I need to write about it. Writing helps me clear my head and work through my thoughts about things, and this issue has been coming up repeatedly over the last month or two.
The issue is that people are being a bit too “helpful” when it comes to my kids’ play and learning.
Now, on its surface, that sounds like a good thing, but hear me out.
You might have noticed that I’ve been on hiatus for a while. I didn’t plan for that — it just happened — but I think I’m better for it.
After my last post, I had a dozen ideas floating around as to what I might write next, but one by one I crossed them out. I had a post planned about my breastfeeding journey, but decided it was too personal and that I’m not ready to write that story just yet. I had another post planned about my opinion on telling children to stand up for themselves when confronted with bully behaviour, but decided the idea needed more thought before I could write a decent piece on it. I thought about writing something on the morning walks that Pippin and I have started taking together, but when I sat down to write, nothing came out.
And thus entered the dreaded writer’s block. (Don’t worry, this is not a post about writer’s block.)
I received this question (paraphrased) from a reader the other day:
I have been searching for a suitable baby carrier or wrap for my seven month old baby. Most of the stores I found online were American and many of them only ship within America or are expensive.
Can you suggest where to buy a carrier that’s not too expensive and can ship to Toronto? Which baby carrier would you suggest for a 7 month old in the house and for walks?
Thanks for asking this question! I get asked this a lot in person whenever I’m out carrying my baby or toddler in a carrier, and every time it happens, I feel so awkward answering because I’m honestly still a beginner when it comes to babywearing. Both my girls are really active kids who actually don’t like to be carried for long periods of time and prefer to be crawling or running around. I use baby carriers for when I need my hands free, or for when we’re walking outside or in a mall or store.