September 10, 2007

Another exersaucer anecdote . . .

This is more of a parenting lesson than an anecdote, but whatever.

So, as you have probably already read, the newest fad in entertainment at our house is the exersaucer. Jack likes it more and more every day. I was watching him play in it last week and it's so funny. He hasn't quite mastered the art of moving the swivel seat so that he can play with other toys. It goes something like this:

He gets tired of playing with one toy and starts turning his head from side to side scoping out the toys in his range of vision. When one catches his eye, he kind of starts leaning in it's direction. Often this leaning is accompanied by grunting and mild fussing. Slowly, as he leans and catches his feet on the base, he wiggles toward the toy. The whole time he's moving, he frequently looks back at the previous toy as if he's double checking to make sure that it isn't going anywhere. You know . . . it's that "I've got my eye on you" type of stare.

As I was watching all of this all go down for the first time last week, the fussing and grunting triggered a reflex that caused me to almost go over and turn him toward the new toy. My first instinct was to fix it for him. I always want to fix things for everyone in my life . . . why not my son?

As I caught myself and sat down at the kitchen table to watch a little longer, I realized that he wouldn't learn to turn himself around in the exersaucer if I always did it for him. Plus, that exersaucer is not there purely for entertainment, but to help him to learn and grow. If I had given in to that reflex, all he would have learned that his whining caused his mom to make things easier for him. I watched him for a minute or two longer and then went over and sat next to the exersaucer and cheered him on. I basically had to sit on my hands so that I wouldn't just give in and do it for him. He grunted and fussed but finally got to the new toy. I cheered and clapped. He laughed at me.

As much as I want to be, I can't be the one to fix everything for Jack. I've got to let him to struggle sometimes so that he can learn and grow. But I can be there to cheer him on and celebrate with him, right?

I think I might be learning and growing just as fast as he is.

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