Take a good look at this picture:
Yep, those are beets. Nutritious messy little things. That day, Alex put his hand in his mouth, looked at his hand covered in this very bright color, and that was the end of it. Beets brought so much fascination to my little one that he decided to celebrate his new discovery by making a big, big mess. He was unstoppable.
As a perfectionist mom, I have slight obsessive-compulsive tendencies when it comes to messes. I just remember wanting badly to stop him and grab the wipes and start cleaning before his entire outfit was covered with beet puree.
Then I saw his face. He was smiling and having so much fun! I realized I don’t want to restrict him from being a child because I don’t like mess. I don’t want to restrain him from jumping in a puddle, playing in the sand, or, in this case, exploring and learning because Mommy has some stain issues.
So, fighting all of my CLEAN NOW urges, I decided to help him. I grabbed some of the beet puree and started playing with him. I decided to let him do whatever he wanted to do with the beets. You see, this day wasn’t about having patience with my messy boy; it was about having patience with myself and my own process of learning to let go and have fun with him.
Since that day, whenever I feel my OCD tendencies coming back, a good solution is to go back to the kitchen and give Alex some beets!
QUESTION: What mothering behaviors do you have that inhibit your child’s natural exploration? Is there a behavior you can let go of in order to have more fun with your kids?
CHALLENGE: The next time your cleaning instincts or inhibiting behavior start to take over the fun, be patient with the mess and chaos, and embrace a moment of discovery with your child. Better yet–create one!