|All four together, teaching the boys to make a mess :)|
If your anything like me, your a mom who always says to their kids before doing anything out of the norm "be careful", "take it easy" - you get the hint. I realized yesterday that I say this too much when Mr. Hawk said to me, before I did - "beee cuareffulll". It was too cute, and a wake-up call. I am protective. I'll say it, and I'm not afraid of saying this either. Things happen everyday that are horrific, terrible, and ugly. People are hurt, children are hurt, and I will do whatever I need too, to protect my children. Even if it means being over-protective sometimes. Do I let my children play outside without supervision? Do I let them walk home by themselves? Will I allow them to spend the night at a friend's house? If I answer no to all of these -am I being over-protective - or am I being smart?
I feel I am being smart. Being protective allows my children to know what an I find scary or dangerous. I am all for my children braving certain things on their own, and if need be, learning the hard way that something isn't safe or good for them. Yet, in my own perfect world, I would still choose to be protective, and over-protective of them, before they learn a lesson on their own and get hurt. Yet with all my cautionary pleas, they still get hurt. When my little twin boys were finally movable and crawling everywhere they could, we made sure to have them sit and turn around and go down our stairs backwards. We were always behind them and ready if they were to loose their balance. We don't have your normal staircase! Our home was built in 1810, when stairs weren't regulated. They are steep, cool, but steep. After months of this process, we felt they were able to go down the stairs, still backwards, on their own.
I would always tout my typical "be careful", just in case, they weren't. Then one day last month, the Hawk sat down, turned around, and started down the steps. Just as he was ready to go, his hand slipped, he lost his balance. I wasn't there to catch him...and he tumbled down leg first... then his body went back and his head hit the bottom of the stairs. I screamed, you bet, I screamed a terrible shrill scream. Craig bolted to the stairs, picked him up and there wasn't a scratch on him. I watched him like a hawk (sorry for the pun) but there were no bumps, and so scars - except for my replay of him falling backwards down the stairs (shuttering).
You can say "be careful" over and over again and you can protect your children night and day - but in the end, they will still get hurt. Perhaps they won't get as hurt, with all my watching and protecting? We installed a railing for the boys to use to help them tackle the steep stairs better. We used iron rings and a thick rope, right at their level, and now they have something to hold on to. They still need our help for now, but I am certain soon they will master the steps on their own.
Perhaps I am not being over-protective so much as being safe. It's good for children to accomplish great tasks and master skills. My children will fail, fall, and be hurt - even after all my "be careful's", cautions, and warnings. Along with my words "be careful", I've learned to also say "good job", "yeah", "you're awesome" when they've accomplished something small and large. For now, I will hold on to the fact that they are succeeding, they are daring, they are brave, and they are amazing.
Are you protective or consider yourself over-protective?
Do you feel you give your children enough space to encourage creativity and person growth?