Cause and Effect

There were many different opinions on baby proofing when my kids were new and just starting to crawl or walk to get in to things. The websites all cautioned parents to the dangers of EVERYTHING if you Googled long enough. The older generation of aunts, uncles and grammas cautioned us against being too cautious. So what was a new parent to do?

 

Example: opening cabinet doors in the kitchen and either 1) slamming fingers in it when closing it, or, 2) smashing or dumping all of the stuff in that cabinet.

 

Advice? Well, we could close it up with a baby lock so the kids couldn’t venture in to it and cut themselves on a blender blade or smash my glass pot lids. A baby website advised us to do this with the reasoning, ‘it keeps you as a parent calm, the baby safe and then the parent can say no less and yes more’. Or something to that effect.

 

The other advice was from other parents or Gen X’ers that had grown children out in the world somewhere. They said, ‘If you baby proof too much they will never learn right from wrong. You are making them soft. You need to let them make the mistake of slamming their fingers in the door. Once they get hurt they won’t do that again!’… Or something to that effect.

 

Well, yes. To the basic child eventually they would learn, “I open the cupboard, it slams shut, and then my fingers hurt. Cupboards are bad, I should stay out of them.”

But we took the first advice! Why? Cuz we tried the second advice and my kids are little scientists. As my oldest said, “It’s not gonna hurt me, I am shutting it DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME!” (She was that sure and adamant). The thing that was happening was that my kids were so sure that if they slightly changed any one variable…hold the door differently, put less stuff in it, slam it more quickly, etc….that it would change the outcome. Sometimes it did!

So my kids keep doing stuff over and over…some things are learning opportunities, and some of  them …. well, eventually we did quite a bit of baby proofing to eliminate potential disasters. My sweet girl and boy are determined to shut cupboards too fast, jump over the coffee table or climb their dressers. Coffee table, learning experience. The rest? We locked that crap up tight, yes sirree. I want to say no to my children less and yes more, more, more.

Dora The Doormat

I like Go Diego Go. He is a researcher and a caregiver. He does whatever it takes and isn’t afraid to ask for help. He looks up to his big sister Alicia, who is just as awesome as Diego.  The kids learn how to take care of the environment and all of the animals in it, while sneakily learning counting, colours, problem solving etc. The Bobo Brothers are pesky monkeys whose play time almost always gets in the way of a rescue. But they don’t mean it and quickly get out of the way once Diego says they need to stop and help….

Unlike Dora’s situation. Yes, she is adventurous. But the learning is too heavy-handed sometimes for my liking. Map is always semi-useless. Like a bad GPS he leads her the long way, through the most dangerous path. I always think of the news story of an old couple who almost froze to death because their GPS led them to an abandoned service road in a forest and by the time they found out it was wrong, they couldn’t find their way out of there. Instead they sat in their little car packed with things to bring the grandkids in the country, cuddling in the wintry forest, trying to get their bearings and make a plan. They were found in the morning. Map would do that; I believe Map would lead Dora in the same cockamamie fashion…and yet Dora blindly follows his advice.

And Swiper…….He pops out of nowhere and with no motivation but greed maliciously takes whatever Dora has, whether he needs it or not. He throws it in the forest or lake or whatnot, with an evil laugh and disappears. I was under the impression he was the enemy. But apparently he is the frenemy. No matter how much trouble he gets Dora in she always forgives him, and sometimes she trusts him enough to let him help on the mission. Forgive me, but isn’t that awful? Dora just lets him treat her awfully, and then she lets him get away with it, no questions asked. I understand the notion of forgiveness, but a person who repeatedly bullies you should not get a free pass every single time.

Dora the Doormat, I don’t really see you as a good role model for my little girl.

Dolls and Dress Up

When Izzy was born she was an emotional, full force human being already. You could tell she would grow up to be vivacious, dramatic, assertive girl. Or we suspected. When she was a little older she was quite the “tomboy”. She would pick out the snakes, trucks and balls. You know, toys we say are “boy toys”. My hubby and I feel that toys are just toys, colours are just colours and all of the boy and girl distinction is silly. For instance, Hunter plays with dolls. He’s so cute when he puts his babies to bed; he rocks them, gives them milk, a soother and a blankie. Then he tucks them in and walks around saying, “Sh, sleepy.” He is more maternal than Izzy has ever been. When Izzy was two, the age Hunter is now, she loved smashing stuff together, reptiles, hockey… I thought we had a tomboy on our hands.

Then she turned 4 years old. All of a sudden everything changed. Blue was no longer her favourite colour, pink was. Dolls replaced snakes and dresses replaced pants. The more pouf the skirt had, the more sparkles or glitter and the more like a princess dress it was, the better. She went from not letting me touch her hair to wanting it done every day. She is obsessed with dresses and puts together the funkiest fashions. The other day she came down the stairs, her arms full of baby dolls and wearing one of her whacky outfits. A princess crown on the top of her head, headbands wrapping around the front and the back and a flower pinned to the front. Her princess dress was worn over her pink moose pajamas, and a skirt over that. Her fairy wings and about 5 necklaces topped it off. A pair of old heels were her princess shoes. She announced, “We are all sisters and we are QUEEN OF ALL THE ANIMALS.” These happenings are a daily occurrence.

 

I try not to do the “Oh look at her play with the dolls, she is so maternal she’ll be a teacher or nurse someday” thing. I know that over her life she will have so many interests and hobbies and random obsessions that her personality will evolve. There is no telling where she will end up. But if I was pressed to guess today I would say the next Betsey Johnson.