Someone asked me recently if I feel like I parent Spencer any differently than I parented Miles during the first 19 months of his life before he became a big brother. My answer was that I absolutely do and my approach is much more hands-off and “Oh what the heck?” with Spencer.
Allow me to illustrate…
Spencer has always been very good about playing by himself. He is so happy to explore through various toy boxes and roam around the house that he tends to need very little direction in his playtime. He has been free to do so for most of his life; with his big brother being able to open doors and all, there have never really been any off-limits rooms or spaces for him. We do use a few child safety door locks on closets that contain breakables and a gate on the stairs up to our bonus room.
He is absolutely fascinated with our master bedroom and bathroom. It’s a large room with tall ceilings and big windows and lots of drawers to open. He loves to climb onto our bed and pull the pillows onto his head to hide. He also loves to hide in the hanging clothes in the walk-in closet off the master bathroom. And recently he has discovered the thrill of emptying the four drawers that contain my husband’s and my bathroom items. Yesterday, after a particularly long (and quiet!) stretch of time when he was on the loose in our room, I walked in to the bathroom to find my tub littered with various makeup items.
A few days ago, both boys worked together to take most of the things out of my husband’s and my drawers and line it up along the sink. The only real casualty of this activity was a package of Plackers that was emptied out, some of them onto the floor. Other than that, no damage was done. I couldn’t stop giggling as I replaced the items, paying attention to what they did and didn’t take out of the drawers and the care with which they arranged their prizes.
I don’t think it makes me some exceptional kind of parent to not be annoyed by this behavior but I do wish I had adopted this philosophy 3 year ago. Unless they are doing something dangerous, I feel that it’s important to let the boys explore their surroundings and figure out how things work. I love to listen to them while they tag team on a project like our bathroom drawers. Miles has such a creative imagination and he has such adorable little explanations for what everything is.
Last night as I crawled into bed after a long day of solo parenting while Brandon was away, I pulled back the bedspread to find two Mr. Potato Head noses tucked under my pillow. Instead of being frustrated by their little messes they make, I’ll try my best to always be delighted by these treasures. Oh how I love my curious little boys.