Parental push-pull

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 22, 2013, 10:54 PM | comments: 0

I'm not sure how many times I've written about the push-pull cycle that Simon engages in. I think I first noticed it when he became adept at walking, and it gets more extreme every month. In fact, I don't know how anyone considers 2 "the terrible 2's," because 3 is much worse. So many tantrums and constant boundary testing!

What's more interesting at this stage is that we, as parents, are constantly pushing and pulling. On one hand, we often try to leave him to his own devices, to fail and be forced to figure stuff out. On the other hand, we want so much for him to be "our little boy" and need us and give us hugs. It's funny how that works.

I can see how being a parent is going to get harder before it gets easier. Sleep deprivation aside, the earlier years were pretty straight forward. If he's hungry, feed him. If he's tired, put him to bed. If his diaper is full of shit, change it. You don't need to be parent of the year to pull that off. Now it's harder, with challenges around eating, potty training, exposure to the right learning resources... there is a lot to consider. It's harder to decide when to intervene in his latest tragedy, or let him flail around a bit.

Personally, I also push and pull in other ways. In the general sense, I feel like I don't get to spend enough time with Simon, and it bothers me. On the other hand, sometimes I think what he's doing is so mundane that I just want to do anything else! I'm trying to see what the really important things are to him, and be engaged for those moments. If there's anything that bothers me about my early childhood, it's that no one really care that much when I built a pinball machine out of my Erector set, a cardboard box and a giant marble. I don't want him to ever feel like adults don't give a shit about what he's doing.


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