The Independence Curve

My daughter is getting so intelligent that it’s beginning to pain me. She is no longer the small infant that we goo’ed over not so long ago. I remember when we first brought her home, I would put her swing right next to the couch and just watch her sleep all day long. I held those little fingers and toes in my hands and marveled over the idea that my body made hers.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Yeah, right. Have you seen this perfect babe? And your advice is quite literally the advice that all parents get and CHOOSE to ignore.

I now enjoy the old pictures of how small and fragile she used to be, because it reminds me of how strong, capable, and smart she has become. We have so many wishes for our children, but they always somehow turn out better than we could have ever imagined. Where my daughter once cried for the things she needed, she is now belting out requests with confidence. Her vocabulary has expanded and I’m often wondering, ‘How did she learn that word? I didn’t teach her that word!’ It’s hard to grasp that she is learning from the world around her, and the world around her isn’t always with me.

Another thing about this time period, is that she is becoming less of something we own or have responsibility of, and more of her own little human with her own little human beliefs, wants, and interests. When you first have a baby, it feels almost like an object you own. You feed it and bathe it and take it with you wherever you go. It doesn’t do much, doesn’t say much. But then… Before your eyes, this little gift you lugged around with you is no longer helpless. It’s getting bigger and smarter and needing you less.

I have talked to my fiancée about this, because it’s probably one of the coolest things to witness firsthand. One day you are meeting them for the first time, and the next day you realize that they have developed favorite TV shows and favorite foods, they’ve met and loved people that you don’t know as well they do, and they even know what they do and don’t want to do! The amount of things that they are doing and feeling and learning that don’t rely on you teaching them is getting smaller and smaller. It’s scary and beautiful and amazing.

I’m on a learning curve. I am aware that her independence is going to make some things harder for me. I have learned that if she won’t put on her shoes when I ask, that all I need to do is grab another pair of shoes and let her choose which ones she wants to wear. All of a sudden, the decision to put on her shoes was completely her idea and I get to play along with my own wisdom. I did this with a shirt the other day too, and it worked. I’m learning – it may take awhile before I learn all of the cheats, but hey! Progress is progress, right?

Raising Curious Kids

We are lucky enough to have found a house with a small extra room where we can store all of Della’s toys away from guests and avoid a house where cars, balls, and baby dolls line the carpets (Not to say that still doesn’t happen, but what house with kids doesn’t?).

This room is Della’s space to play creatively and explore her imagination and it’s right next to the living room where I can sit on the couch and still see her play.

I peered into the room and saw Della sitting on the table playing with some toys and looking at some books. My first instinct was to jump up and get her down, because ya know… the drop.

But then I stopped.

I just stayed where I was on the couch and let her test the water.

Within a few seconds, she turned around to look at me and began to wail.

She had leaned for a book that was just a little out of reach, felt the discomfort in her balance, and she asked for help.

Mom. WIN.

In all honesty, I’ve been waiting for some blogging inspiration for weeks now, and after this happened, it reminded of a video I watched about a week ago of an interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson.

If you are into astronomy or physics, I highly suggest you check out some podcasts or interviews that he’s done. But the particular interview I’m referencing is one where he talks about a child’s innate desire for exploration. In this interview, Neil explains,

“You don’t have kids with the intent of retaining a clean house. These are non-commensurate goals.”

“Your task is less to instill curiosity in your kids, than it is to make sure you don’t squash what is already there.”

Let them play. Let them fall. Let them learn. We, as parents, owe it to our children the opportunity to explore and interact with their surroundings. We may know what the outcome could be, but how will they if we take away their chance to learn?

Whether it’s jumping in a puddle or dropping an egg or even reaching for a book on a ledge, be committed to letting your children learn the causes and effects of interacting with their environment.

Raise curious kids.

Be cooperative with their education.

Let them learn on their own.

Watch the interview here: