Today I saw my own mom visibly cringe when I let my child peel her own colored hard-boiled egg before she ate it. I believe this was because many of the shell particles were making their way on to the floor. Small tables just can’t contain the excited “I can do it Mommy” 3 year olds. I had miscalculated her “I can do it” abilities earlier in the day when I let her try and put the top on her own sippy cup of chocolate milk, but I believe there was a valuable lesson in this for her: experience.
The cost: a couple of hundred napkins - as I had also let her pour - and valuable life skill points. I don’t want to raise a child who believes others need to do things for her. It’s that autonomy vs. self-doubt thing. And while I want my child to live in the same neighborhood as me for the rest of her life, coming over to dinner every Sunday and calling me for advice, I want her to be able to live across the world, able to forage her own dinner and be reassuringly self-sufficient.
My philosophy: With everything that is cleanable, fixable, or somewhat easily replaceable why not let her experiment. I’ve filled my home with all things cleanable, fixable and replaceable. In my house you’ll never see a Lalique obelisk, a good pen, or suede shoes for either of us.
But this philosophy is 180 degrees from where I had started out. I thought I could train the kid to fit the environment and I had envisioned the life of raising an sophisticated aesthete with porcelain tableware and water glasses made of some kind of naturally made material.
Happiness is changing the environment to fit the kid and brightly colored plastic. Happiness also is knowing I never spent the money on good furniture, a car with leather seats or towels that I would cry over after my daughter chose one to absorb the chocolate milk off the floor. Whew. What a waste that would have been.