I was mocked recently. I know, I know- it’s hardly surprising given that I write publicly, and that the internet is a vast and faceless mass of people just itching to tell you What They Think. But, if you know me, this doesn’t happen often: I’ve made it my life goal to Do Things Right. Really, I have. I follow all the rules. I study all the books. I try to make people happy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So when someone openly (well, as “openly” as a blog comment can be) mocks me, it stung a bit. What did I do wrong?
I said I was going to experiment on my daughter. She’s lactose intolerant, but within that distinction is a wide-open range of tolerances. Can she eat butter? Buttered toast? Apparently. Can she drink skim milk? NO WAY, NO HOW. Now how about yogurt? My homemade yogurt, with powdered milk added to thicken it? 2 bowls of it? NOPE. Six ounces of store-bought yogurt, pectin-thickened? Yeah, she can do that. Cheese? 2-year-old cheddar, just a slice or two…sure. Fresh goat cheese, not so much. Shall we try and see if she can have a little whipped cream on her cake, and watch for a day to see what happens? She can’t speak for herself, so I need to learn her limits for her.
Every day is an experiment. Every time we get out of bed we’re testing: does this shirt match these pants? What happens if I say THIS to him? What if I decided to stop trying to do THAT?
Raising kids is an experiment, with high stakes. We’re building people. When my preschooler throws her toy, do I take it away? Throw it away? Give it away? Send her to her room? Make her bring it back and put it away nicely? Each option is just that: an option. We try our best, we watch for the outcome. Sometimes the results are obvious immediately- switch gears, change your course, this isn’t working! Sometimes we plant a seed and don’t see the fruit for years and years. The trick is to trust yourself, be kind, and know your children. Pray a lot. Study what you need to study. And you’ll know.
Filed under: Children |