I’ve been reading this bit on the Idle Parent, and it sounds like a lot of hooey to me. (Google it, I won’t waste space here to cover the details. Suffice it to say, it is exactly what it sounds like… Whatever is natural is good, and children should be left to themselves to become what they will, etc etc.).
I do seem to find myself caught in Accidental Parenting sometimes. It’s a whole new ball game here. Most of us were raised by a lot of different people. Of course our parents had a lot to do with it, but we spent the majority of our time at school, in daycare, or at church. Even some of us that grew up with stay at home moms didn’t experience any sort of Purposeful Parenting (which, by the way, is the opposite of Idle Parenting, and my personal goal). Anyway. My point is that we get confronted with issues that we never had to deal with as children, and that we never got to witness our own parents confronting.
So Accidental Parenting is when I accidentally get something figured out. =D There seems to have been a secret transition that has taken place in our home. Arwen has taken it upon herself to make Ezra her buddy. It’s been going on for a little while now, but I wanted to make sure it was for real before I wrote about it. I believe that what started it was when we accidentally discovered that Arwen and Charis were capable of buckling themselves into their car seats, and we rearranged the seating arrangement in the car. We also accidentally discovered that Arwen can UNbuckle Charis and Ezra, who cannot unbuckle themselves yet. You have to understand how much easier this makes going places when your abdomen is expanding! I put everyone in the van-Charis climbs into her seat in the very back and buckles herself in. Arwen sits in one of the captain’s chairs in the middle row, and buckles herself in, and I barely have to reach to buckle Ezra into the captain’s chair next to Arwen. So now Arwen and Ezra sit next to one another and she is responsible for unbuckling him and sometimes even buckling him. We also accidentally discovered that Ezra feels like a big boy when he is holding his sister’s hands. If he is having some self control issues in the store, I merely suggest that someone hold his hand, and he is more than happy to walk calmly and quietly to our destination.
When Ezra gets up from his nap, Arwen helps him climb out of his play pen. He sits at a booster seat at the big table now, like part of the family- next to Arwen.
So, do you see where I’m going? It’s a buddy system. If you want to purposefully enforce this is your home, I highly recommend it! Just keep putting an older kid with a younger kid. In the car, in the bathtub, at the table. And push that older child gently to do things that they may feel that they are incapable of (Arwen was initially convinced she was not capable of unbuckling anyone. It took some practice and patiently talking her through it, and now it’s old hat.) Arwen is Ezra’s buddy. When he falls, she is genuinely concerned for him and helps him back up. He even takes things to her to fix sometimes.
This is what I meant when I said that my kids were going to change drastically by the time this baby is born! So many moms sell their kids (and themselves!) short by getting all flustered at the idea of another baby. They get that baby fever and shush it up inside, because let’s face it, it would just be insane to let yourself get pregnant when your baby is 9 months old. We fail to reason that our baby will actually be 18+ months old by the time the new baby is born! Silly us.
Anyway. If you aren’t an Accidental Parent (even occasionally) like me, you may be thinking “DUH!”, but I was pretty thrilled to discover this little buddy system. It has made my life extraordinarily easier. I fully intend on making Charis the new baby’s buddy when he/she gets a little older as well.