Today, The Baby was trying to walk up a slide. You know how kids try every time to walk up the wrong way? I am pretty sure This One doesn’t even know there are stairs to get up slides. But today, he had on his new Batman Crocs (thanks Aunt Suzie) which really don’t provide a kid too much traction on plastic slides.
When I discovered him today he was laying face-down on the slide saying, “mama, I can’t.”
My first reaction, (after the shock of him being beaten wore off) was to half-heartedly tell him sure he could.
He tried again. And fell.
Then I tried to show him the stairs-a much easier, virtually risk-free path to the top of the slide. He continued to lay on the slide.
Then I decided, what the heck-I don’t know anyone here, why not make a fool out of myself?
I went in deep and dug up my inner cheerleader. I started chanting over and over, “You CAN do it buddy. Just keep stepping. Don’t stop. You’re almost there.”
The transformation was amazing. He is only two and not really afraid or deterred by much. But when I first saw him he was defeated. Then, I watched as my enthusiasm and encouragement transformed him into a determined little climbing machine. It was amazing and humbling.
I am usually very pragmatic with my kids. I try to help them through things and sometimes, rather than encourage and cheer them on, I may point to the ladder too quickly. I don’t want their lives to be hard.
What I learned today is that as their mom, I have a lot of power to teach them about their abilities and help shape their self-esteem. I believe they can do anything they choose. Really. I do. Yet, as we all know, doing anything you choose-following your dreams, (big or small) often means falling down the slide at least a few times.
So I have to balance my belief in them with my natural tendency to protect them from things that may hurt. I need to cheer a little more and point to the ladder a little less.
I better get the Band Aids ready for all the falls ahead.
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