Have you ever seen the movie Babies? It’s a fabulous documentary. It’s been almost a year since I’ve watched the movie and I still think about those little babies. I found myself immersed it the different cultures and walked away thinking I baby my girls way to much. Seeing the little one’s crawling in the dirt and not being phased by the rocks, animals, or obstacles in their way. Two of the little babies figured out what worked and didn’t by doing. I will admit some of the movie had me thinking OMG, WTF, NEVER would I… but it demonstrated how kids adapt to the environment around them. Sure I want to protect them from getting sick or harm, but this one movie made me question if as a parent am I over-protective?
Growing up I don’t remember my parents entertaining my brothers and I the way my girls (mostly just one child but then the other follows her lead) expect to be entertained. I encourage them to use their imaginations but a blank look appears on their faces. It makes me feel like I have misled them as a parent. Sure once you get to know me, you’d understand why my kids would want to be around me all the time, but have just become a second brain for them? Maybe I let them watch too much T.V. when they were younger so I could edit my photos or giving them the latest and greatest gadgets wasn’t the best idea?
Over the past 8 years I’ve tried to expose the girls to just about everything. When it rains, I say put on your boots and go splash in the puddles, play in the mud, or pick up the earthworms then put them somewhere safe. They needed to learn how to ride a real bike before even asking for the electric cars, they ice skate and ski. I even have older typewriters and point out rotary phones for them, saying this is what I used to use. Despite all I try to teach them they still look to me for guidance about what to do. Do girls not play house anymore?
It started raining suddenly yesterday while the kids were out side. They laughed and giggles but then wanted to sit in the garage until the sun came back out. I remember, vividly, as a child seeing the ditches in front of our house fill with water, from melting snow, and wanting to be out there playing in it. Seriously some of the best entertainment was throwing items into the water and watching it race away, wondering where and if it would get stuck on a rock or grass, then trying to figure out how to get it unstuck without getting soaking wet. When I visit my parents and go past these childhood places I think of all the fun times by the creeks. So yesterday when it was raining and the girls wanted to come in I said put your boots on and go play in the puddles! Then I thought, “oh make little paper boats and race them down the hill.” *crickets, crickets* Off I went to ask the engineer dad to build a paper boat before the water stopped flowing. As the girls put the paper in the water they watched it float down a little, get stuck, picked it up only to find the paper stuck together. Typical. What made me shake my head was they didn’t want to touch the wet paper to figure out how to get the boat to float again!! It’s paper and rain water! I walked back into the garage saying to Chris, “we shelter the girls way to much.” as they followed me back up the driveway.
Last night I laid in bed, thinking about what I can do to help my kids use their imagination more so they experience life. I know I take my phone everywhere with me, maybe I need to disconnect from the cyber world so the girls will? Maybe I need to drop them off in the woods somewhere and say now build a shelter and find your own food, haha. Maybe I am being an over protective parent in the sense I want the girls to have everything I had and more instead of just letting their life play out the way it should?
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