You Can't Go Back

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday's PB&J on a you-know-who plate.

Earlier this summer, my mom and I were with my kids and we decided to scale back on whatever it was we were about to do. I can't remember exactly - maybe fruit for a snack instead of a cookie, or a story instead of TV. Whatever it was, we chose the simpler option, and Mom said, "You can't go back."

It is still ringing in my ears.

What she meant was, it is okay to start small with your children. I think as parents we often feel pressure to give our kids everything, right now. To expose them to all the world has to offer, too soon. This can play out in so many ways. If I give the boys ice cream for dessert two nights in a row, then fruit is a disappointment. If I buy them trucks that talk and light up, then wooden trains are boring.

In thinking about this, I came to decide that we have been watching a certain movie about cars, too much. While the movie has some good lessons, my boys are drawn to the mischief and violence. They love to imitate the crashing, flipping things over, and bumping. I've been cringing, just waiting for one of them to quote a phrase tucked into the middle of the movie, "Hillbilly hell." I mean really, what is that phrase (shouted no less) doing in a G movie? I decided that we've had enough for now, and I want them to go back.

So, I dusted off my backbone and said, "No," the next time they asked to watch that movie. And the next time, and the next time, and the next time. I offered more innocent alternatives, like Peter Rabbit, Thomas the Train, and Winnie the Pooh.

And eventually, they stopped asking. They watched Peter Rabbit, and liked it. They played outside. They made up games, and became obsessed with binoculars made out of toilet paper rolls. Good, clean fun. (Get it?)

The concerning movie is still on our shelf, but it is gathering dust. The "officially licensed character toys," are still loved, but not as passionately.

And things just seem a little more peaceful.

I'm not saying they can't ever watch it again. They can, and we will. But taking a few steps back in the direction of sweet and innocent, in the direction of pure and simple, has been

oh,

so,

nice.


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One Response to “You Can't Go Back”

  1. Nice post, Courtney. Sometimes as a fellow blog reader of so many creative/on the go/wonderful moms, I feel the pressure & guilt to be like so many moms out there --- taking M. to do this, to do that, explore this, explore that, and if I don't then I'm not being a good mom to her. My mom (sounds a lot like yours) told me once, "Relax. Simple play at home is OK. Let her play w/ puzzles, color, dolls, outside in the yard,etc. You are being a good mom just by being home w/ her." That has stuck with me on those days that I feel guilty that I should be "out doing" with M. Sweet, innocent, pure, & simple is all good in my book, and I'm finally coming to terms with that. :)

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