About two years or so ago, we bought Tess a balance bike. We never gave it to her: it was always the wrong season, too advanced, or too unfair to give her an outdoor toy without something similar for Remy. This Easter, he got the mini balance bike and she got a scooter. They spent a good hour testing out their wheels in our courtyard, which brought me to my current reflection. That’s one of those perfect “bubble” moments I’d always imagined, like holding a baby of our own for the first time or hearing “maman”. These toddlers have no idea how hard it is to not help them.
As Tess careened wildly off of the driveway on her scooter, yelping, I clenched my hands and didn’t move. I smiled at her instead and yelled a word of encouragement, then casually turned to watch Remy. I know her spirit. She’ll dust herself off and get back up unless she’s really hurt. She I don’t run to her and snuggle her, even though I want to.
And Remy was thrilled to just steer. He didn’t even need to move! When Tess asked to try his ride, he thought about it and decided, “No.” I didn’t meet his eye. He and his sister are learning how to males deals and play together in the era of “MINE!” They veer from ripping toys from the other’s hands to civilized exchanges with pleases and thank you’s. I won’t shape their interactions if I can help it. But oh! How I want to.
We’re very conscious of forming humans right now. Seeing the impact of our parenting decisions play out makes us all the more aware of the ramifications of our behavior. So we don’t leap. We don’t coddle. We relish our snuggle moments when they need reassuring, and dig our nails into our palms and bite our tongues to resist the constant urge to direct.
So the hardest part is not saving them, not helping them, and not intervening. The hardest part is standing back and watch them already test their independence and skill.
Watching their independence grow inspires us and awes us. We love babies, but having kids seems like almost as much of a transition as bringing home babies in the first place. And you know what the best part is? We like them! I always worried I was a baby person. Not true. Some of my most rewarding mom moments are taking place now, as these two reason, argue, stretch, fail and succeed. They’re amazing.
We went to church with Joy for Easter and had a great time. Tess was in awe of the choir and orchestra. The day went downhill from there, as we’re all still sick. We pulled it together and ended well, but taking the kids to a church we actually enjoyed was eye opening. We’re not going to be regulars, but who knows? Easter and Christmas may re-enter the rotation. Then we had an Easter egg hunt at home, which was pretty freaking cute. Tess was all in. Remy got a truck book and abandoned the game completely. Maybe next year!