Feb 23, 2017

Why Not?

Last night my two year old son climbed into his baby brother's high chair as I snapped, "get down!" and turned to my husband Kyle and said, "he's always trying to climb in there."

Kyle looked at me and asked, "why is it that Lincoln can't get in Noah's chair?"

Now he didn't ask me this in front of Lincoln. He supported me and helped get Lincoln out of the baby chair. But he was honestly asking why. And you know what: I wasn't sure.

With the baby chair, I'm not sure if the chair will support my toddler. The chair is built in such a way that if he stands up the wrong way it could be a large fall. And if our 5 month old is in the chair and his two year old brother decides to climb in with him, well, it wouldn't go so well.

The decision is still that he cannot climb into the chair, but I woke up today thinking about my husband's question:

Why not?

See I'm a Type A Mom. I love order. I love structure. I believe kids do too to some extent, at least mine do. Order provides a type of security so that they know what to expect. We have the same nap time and bedtime routine each night and I honestly believe it helps Lincoln go to sleep easily.

But since Noah arrived on the scene I think I've gotten a little bit wrapped up in the order.

The first month with two under two was a whirlwind to say the least. Noah was born in Colorado in a small mountain town hospital where we brought him "home" to our cabin on camp, all while he was connected to a not-so-little rolling oxygen tank. We took our little newborn and his big brother home via airplane before Noah was even a week old and then we had about two weekdays in the first month of his life that we weren't at a doctor's appointment. For a healthy baby, I was one tired momma.

So I think in all the madness I needed some sort of order. I needed something to control. And honestly I think it's been my two year old.

Yes, we are training him and we should be. We are teaching him how to hug his brother without suffocating him and we are training him up to be a non-terrorist, but I think it went beyond that. I felt like all day I was telling this kid no.

"No, don't put your finger inside your sandwich. Roll your sleeves up. No, stop, wipe your hands off before you roll your sleeves up." (Because then I'd have to do laundry.)

"No. Stop. Lincoln! Don't open that cabinet." (Because of the possibility of thinking he was allowed to play inside the cabinet and then would make a mess when I wasn't looking).

"No, don't color with the yellow marker right on top of the blue. It'll turn the yellow blue..." (To "save" the yellow washable kids marker.)

"No, don't hold it that way...

"No, do it faster...

"No, walk slower...

"No, don't close that door, you'll wake up your bother." (When honestly he was sweetly closing the door to "help" brother sleep.)

So this morning I thought about my husband's question. And the answer to "why not?" was me. Because I want it to be easier. I want to be in control. I want to keep every plate spinning just perfectly so that we don't all fall apart.

No wonder my kid sneaks in disobedience every chance he gets.

So today we played.

I prayed that God would keep our day together. That God would keep the plates spinning or remind me that I don't need so many plates in the first place. I remembered that I'm kidding myself if I think that I am the one holding it all together anyway.

And as my kid poured a Gatorade bottle full of water on the back brick porch and my habitual tongue went to say "no! we don't pour out our water!" he giggled. He looked at the way the water splashed and the way the brick turned a different color as the little stream of water ran across it.

And I stopped.

Because why not?

So I got a pitcher and we refilled that Gatorade bottle with water over and over again. Because water dries. He splashed in the puddle and even sat in it and got his khaki shorts all muddy. Because clothes wash. When I went inside for a moment to put his baby brother down for a nap I returned to find his arms elbow deep in a flower pot full of mud as he stirred in weeds and grass and explained in his proud little voice, "I work Momma! I work hard!"

And I just laughed.

I helped him pull up his sleeves and I saw his little eyes look at me asking if he could keep going. He was waiting for me to say no. So I looked at him and smiled and said, "yes baby boy, you're working hard. Momma's proud of you!" and back to 'work' he went.

So we climbed trees today and I let him try to peel his own oranges even though that meant there was orange all over his face and all down his shorts. I let him explore our back yard for the longest time as he pushed his little mower and rode his little bike that he calls a "motorcycle."

We had messy sandwiches for lunch and when I asked him to help me clean up lunch he did it willingly. We had ice cream cones on the porch after nap time and I loved every minute of it.

Yes he was still a toddler and he had his moments. He still got mad at Battleship and threw the pieces everywhere. I still was my OCD self and made him sort the different colored pieces back into the coordinating bins. But he got to be a kid today.

I think I expected him to grow up the moment his baby brother arrived. I think I've set this expectation that he shouldn't run at the zoo and that he should use a napkin at all times and that he should every. single. time. say "thank you" to me so that at least someone somewhere is saying it.

But he's just a little boy.

He's a messy, fun, curious, hilarious little bouncing ball of joy.

And I get to be his mom.

So I can try my best to make him 'perfect' or I can let him explore the wonderful world God created and get a little dirty every once in a while. And yes, maybe I'll have to do a little more laundry, but I bet the kid will help me with the laundry anyway.

Mrs. Frizzle really knew what she was doing, "Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy." Today I loved both of my boys better than I have in a while and I got to love them rather than loving the organized tiny people I guess I thought they should be.

Here's to motherhood and learning as you go. Will tomorrow be even better? Why not?

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