Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Mom Confessions, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the accident.

This morning, Caro fell off the couch and landed on her head. I'm sure the neighbors heard the loud thunk as her skull made contact with the floor, and I'm sure they heard the hysterical sobbing that took place directly afterward. What they didn't hear was me quietly congratulating myself for letting her do it.

record scratch

Yup, you heard me. I'm GLAD she fell off the couch and hurt herself, and I'll tell you why in two words: Experiential. Learning. No amount of me telling Caro "we sit on the couch" was going to make her, well, *sit* on the couch if she actually wanted to stand on it. She's a toddler, they are little scientists, fucking up and learning from it is kind of their bag. I spent about two weeks repeatedly telling her to sit down when she was actually standing on the couch and it got me exactly nothing except a low level of frustration. I had three choices:

1: continuously provide verbal cues to direct her behavior
2: remove the opportunity to make an unsafe choice
3: let her learn through the consequences of her own actions

I was sick of telling her what to do, not to mention that I can't always be watching her climb on the couch to catch the behavior in time for a verbal cue. What happens if she gets up on the couch while I'm washing dishes or sorting laundry or in the bathroom alone (what luxury!)? Well, she would learn that I didn't always tell her to sit, so it clearly wasn't always important and could be disregarded. Not gonna work, next option.

I'm not getting rid of my couch so she won't fall off of it and bust her ass. Nope. Not gonna happen. NEXT!

This is where you come in, dear reader. I let her climb, I let her fall and I let her cry (for a moment or two, anyways). We'll see how this plays out, of course, but I'm betting that she'll only hurt herself one or , max, two more times before she either A) sits the fuck down or, more likely, B) starts paying enough attention to stand on the couch without taking a header off it. Suits me either way.

Ooh, this brings up another interesting anecdote. Last week, I let Caro eat chalk. Yeah, because she does this thing where she's a toddler and PUTS EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE INTO HER MOUTH. While I totally get that this won't happen forever, I have officially let go of my control over this. I can't possibly scour every environment for gross things that I don't want in her mouth, at least not while maintaining my current level of sanity and caffeine consumption. And, guess what? I am willing to bet that 90% of the stuff I don't want in her mouth, she also doesn't want in her mouth. She just doesn't know it yet. So, yeah, she ate chalk and it was gross and she got pissed and got over it. I've got $10 that says she doesn't eat chalk again. Although it was cute when her tongue was purple...