As a first time mom, I’m constantly learning as I go. I have no prior experience with a child this young. Aside from what a book might tell me (if I have time to even read it) or what I observe from friends’ kids or kids at the library, I haven’t a clue what’s developmentally appropriate for a toddler my daughter’s age. And, because there doesn’t seem to be any developmental issues with my daughter, I generally don’t care about when she hits what milestone. I trust that kids of average ability have a way of figuring this stuff out and evening the playing field so to speak without much nudging from their parents. I just follow my daughter’s lead and my own instincts, and expose her to experiences that I think she’s ready for, textbook or not.
As I was coloring with my daughter the other day, I found myself trying to show her how to keep her crayon marks within the boundaries of the picture; neat, tidy and orderly. I haven’t a clue as to when she’s “supposed” to know how to do this, but I thought I could try anyway.
I then paused. Call it a stretch but I found myself projecting the lesson I was trying to teach her to her life as a whole. At two-and-a quarter, she’s too young to need to care about watching the boundaries and worry about keeping things in line. There will be a time for that, but for now, this is her opportunity to be a kid and experiment.
So, here’s the lesson I’d really want her to learn. Take chances, Nora. Listening to your heart will mean not always listening to your mother (ahem, within reason, young lady!). I hope as you grow you do ask questions, and form your own opinions; respect the boundaries but don’t be afraid to push them a bit.
Find yourself, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.