That Eve is a cheeky child. For not even being quite 2 she already has tongue-in-the-cheek sense of humour. She tests me tests me, tests me in a way that Isla just never did (or at least I don’t remember her doing.)
The other day I’m stood there chatting to my neighbour and Eve is playing in the front garden. When she notices the road…
Now here is when I should mention that I am trying to bring up my child to assess their situation. If they can climb up something in the park that’s fine, but they have to be able to do that and get down too. By themselves. If it feels to high or unstable then they’re probably not ready for it. I would say to them – try again next time, keep trying and you’ll get there, don’t worry. I’m not trying to be unhelpful or unkind (or even discourage) but I think sometimes it’s best that they are aware of their ability and the potential dangers, for themselves. An ability to make their own decisions for themselves is important to me.
Another example is that children fall over, trip, fall off something – as all young children do. My two get up, dust themselves off and get on with it. From the very beginning I made little to no reaction at small falls. I watched them, checked they could get up, that they weren’t harmed from wherever I was and they just got on with it – if you leave them to it. So I’ve never had children cry and wait for you to be there and pick them up after very small, insignificant events. Classic crocodile tears you could say.
It has meant a few nail biting ‘is she ok?!’ moments where I’ve deliberately held back for what I believe is for the greater good. It means now at four and one and a half years. I have two children that get up and get on with a little knock or fall. I know that they cry and come to me if they are truly hurt or in need.
I read this back and want to be clear. I am a responsive and reactive parent. But I believe that I can’t follow them around and be there for every little thing. They need to have the skills necessary to deal with these things just like anything else. I believe I am equipping them for their lifelong journey. Not just for the first few years where I’m on hand day in day out.
I guess the point of telling you all that is that it’s difficult to maintain that mentality when concerning a road or running away/out of the play park and out of sight. I try hard not to run after Eve when she does this – to try and not turn it into a game. But at the same time the potential for ‘bad things’ to happen is so great in those moments that is hard not to react in such a way.
Anyway, back to the road. I can see her a meter ahead of me looking at me with her foot just on the edge of the pavement. With this big grin on her face. I try to ignore her believing it to be a mixture of her being tired and wanting attention as I’m chatting. But sure enough she steps on to the road. ‘No Eve’ I say. grabbing her and putting her back on the pavement. ‘Not on the road’. ‘We stay on the pavement’. I put her down.
She waits all of, I dunno, two seconds?! And does it again. This time I’m crosser. I want to get my point across. I repeat what I’ve said before in a more assertive way. I put her down.
She does it again. It is becoming a game. And not a very funny one. Nor a safe one either.
I pick her up and carry on chatting. She screams, squirms, kicks. So I say ‘no road Eve’ and put her down again. She goes straight for it. So I put her in the house. I close the front door behind me which results in a blood curdling scream I let her go on a few seconds and open the door.
It takes her all of a few seconds to run out of the door into the road.
I give up on my conversation with the neighbour, apologise and say my goodbyes whilst grabbing Eve. I go inside and start the bedtime routine.
It’s hard not to feel like Eve one that one… But i’ll be back… And eventually she’ll get it… Right?!