What to do with a Rogue Scooter? The Balance Between Feeling Bad and Setting Boundaries

For the past couple of months P has been mobile. Some might say that mobility at 9 months is a little later than other babies start. I say bull pucky- every child has their own internal clock.

It just so happens P has hated the notion of "tummy time" since the first time we attempted to encourage it. At which point he voiced how ridiculous he thought the entire thing was. As he never cared much for tummy time, crawling was out of the question for him. It took him a little longer to figure out what was right for him but he's settled on sitting up and scooting across the floor on his bum using his legs as propellers. For those of you looking for a visual, its something what I would think to be akin to a baby octopus (minus a few legs) taken out of the water and placed on the floor.

With this new sense of mobility has come frequent pillaging of various lower kitchen drawers, the lower shelf of the pantry and occasionally an empty water bottle will go missing from the recycling bin....

These pillagings have in effect lead to a sense of ownership-albeit a mis-placed sense of ownership- over spoils. As far as P is concerned its a finders keepers world and losers are weepers. This means that separating scooter from "his" can of soup, or other item "he found" causes a toddler sized tantrum ending in sadness and us feeling like schmuks. Which has left me pondering the question:

Is there such a thing as balance between implementing boundaries and feeling bad for having to steal your baby's thunder? How much "baby proofing" is too much, or too little?

Part of parenting entails implementing certain boundaries especially when it comes to things that might harm our children. At the same time, encouragement of exploration and educational experiences from ones surroundings is also ideal. Is it really that bad if the baby scoots off with a can of soup or bag of cereal? Not likely if they are supervised. Then again, we can't let them have everything they want or no one would have any eyes left. So how do we as parents strike a balance?

While pondering this question I decided to do what any parent would do, I hauled out my trusty parenting manual---HA! Those don't exist!

I actually haven't quite figured this out myself. It seems to me it differs with each child. Some babies find electrical sockets fascinating, others prefer wires. Others don't think twice about any of these things and are quite happy with their blocks - or inanimate objects...

We have gone ahead with moving wires and plugging the outlets with covers, and even decided to implement a couple cupboard door latches this time around. But instead of wrapping our house in a seal proof bubble we settled on giving P his own special kitchen drawer. In it, he has his own wooden spoons, a car or two and a paper towel roll. All things he loves at an accessible height for him. So far this method appears to be working and allows him to explore and feel part of the "big people" environment. Sure, he occasionally pilfers a can of soup or something similar from the pantry when he thinks I'm not looking and sees how far he can get with it, but these things are harmless.

I suppose the big unknown about parenting is, well, just that-unknown. Not until our kids grow into adults and begin to carry on lives they think are independent of us parents, will we know for sure if all the boundaries and things we tried to teach them were relevant.

So I guess my question is more one for the broader reading audience - what works for you? What are your strategies if you have any?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sarah!

    We have a similar dilemma over here. I'm really trying to let SBJ play with as much as possible, within the boundaries of safety.

    So I let him play with the after-bath coconut oil (since he gets it rubbed on him anyway, should be fine), and he spread an invisible patch all over the hallway tiles. I really regretted letting him play with that particular object as I lay sprawled out, my arm twisted at an odd angle after a really bad fall. :-S

    One thing I wonder about is public spaces. We take the bus everywhere here and SBJ just loves to touch everything (and everyone). He'd eat the dirt off someone's shoes if I let him. Which I don't. But I still get comments from peeps who think I let him touch too much ("That window is dirty! It's dirty! He's touching it!"). I kind of wonder if they'd prefer a screaming baby.