Friday, April 28, 2017

Toddler Destruction and Mayhem

This one lasted almost four months. I got this really neat planner for 2017, nothing too fancy, but nice enough for me to want to keep it looking attractive. My planners were usually freebies that I schlepped around and treated like scrap paper when one wasn't handy. This planner, however, my husband bought for me, and I know he would have spent some time really looking for one that would suit me well.

My husband's like that. He's methodical about shopping, and, man, what a stickler for quality. I love that about him, especially because I know he ends up getting the best deal there could possibly be, but I don't really want to be tagging along when he's hunting down crazy bargains. It's hard on my feet and my patience. Also, on my back if I happen to be carrying a baby as well.

So, anyway, I had this nice planner I'd planned on keeping nice for as long as possible, but with little kids around, that was nigh impossible. Four months into using it, my youngest took a pen to it and scribbled all over it.

Okay, before I proceed, let me just put out there that I'm the kind of parent who believes in letting her kids use and experience our things. It would be silly to hold on to something and never use it for fear of the kids destroying it. In my mind, destruction is pretty much a forgone conclusion. With things, it's going to happen sooner or later, with or without kids. It's best not to get attached. And, as far as I'm concerned, my kids' exploration and learning should be prioritized over material possessions.

If I didn't want them messing with something, it would be hidden in some locked up drawer and probably never used until they're grown. I've learned my lesson. My eldest made short work of my favorite pearl choker, a gift from my mom, when she was two.

Everything else is pretty much fair game, no matter how nice or how expensive. Expensive doesn't always equate to important, in my opinion. If it's something that either I or my husband especially cherish, it's up to us to ensure that the kids don't get their hands on it. And, resourceful creatures that they are, they get into pretty much everything.

You may think we're too permissive, that we're not doing what we should to train them to be respectful of other people's things. First, different families, different values. Second, we do teach them to respect other people's things; we're lenient with our own things. Third, destruction is only an issue with babies and toddlers; after that, they learn to use and care for things properly, so the issue becomes only a matter of normal wear-and-tear. Wear-and-tear definitely wins hands down over preserved in careful storage and never used.

My husband and I both sometimes struggle with this attitude, but we're learning to pick our battles and not sweat the small stuff. That's why almost all our sheets have ink marks on them, why we've been taping up my old books that my eldest now reads and sometimes leaves somewhere her youngest brother can access. why my laptop has missing keys, why my wallet has pink scribbles on it, etc. They can all still be used despite their battered appearance, so no biggie.

The same is true with my planner. For a moment there though, I'd regarded my youngest child's super cute face and exclaimed, "You will not rest until everything is destroyed!" He looked back at me, the picture of innocence, and then reached over to pick another key from my laptop.

No comments: