|Noah at his 5th birthday party|
Photo by Sandrine Pilaz
1. The height to reach into the upper echelons of the closets and kitchen cupboards, where, lo-and-behold: Mom's been hiding all the good stuff for all these years!
2. The ability to (almost) tell a lie, related very much to Trick #1
3. The confidence to head off alone in the woods (shirtless in January)…
Yes, my always-tall boy is now just shy of 4 feet, tall enough to reach almost anything in the house with the help of a trusty chair. Nothing strikes the "Oh, shit" chord in my heart more than the scraping sound of a chair on hardwood from downstairs, as I'm held hostage by a nursing-to-nap toddler upstairs. Like smart parents everywhere, I have long placed the dark chocolate, the cookies, the gifts purchased on sale in advance of the birthday or holiday, etc…up in the highest shelves of our closets and cupboards. Noah has managed to find every single hiding spot in the last month. It's like he just realized - eureka!- there's a whole upper realm beyond what I can see or reach from the ground. And the stuff up there is a goldmine well worth climbing for! So we now have a lock on the bedroom closet door and are riding the tension between continuing to hide off-limit items and acknowledging their existence and the need for restraint. In psycho-babble, I'm trying to nurture an internal locus of control, not an external one. "Ahem, just because you can, son, doesn't mean you should."
|Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach, NC|
Photo by Matthew Young
I remember reading that lying is a sign of growing intelligence and it's important to not set your kid up to lie. For now I'm opting to say Yes when my impulse is to say No to reasonable requests for found chocolate (because if he's always denied when he asks, why would he continue to ask?) and going light in disciplining this particular transgression ("Oh, I see you already ate a treat while I was upstairs. This means you won't have a popsicle now. Oh, I see you found the chocolate bar. How many squares do you think you'd enjoy?" I'm only able to be this calm because he doesn't, in fact, like dark chocolate all that much so my favorite treat is mostly safe :)
|When's the last time you enjoyed making funny faces in the french press?!|
Photo by Matthew Young
Then I found my hat, hidden inside my sweater, so I went to go let him know the search was off. Except... I couldn't find him. Even calling his name aloud and walking pretty briskly for 10 minutes and...nothing. I started to worry at this point, because he'd never gone off in the woods for this long before and I thought he might be lost. Did I mention he was shirtless in 60 degree temps? I continued walking and shouting his name, getting very close to feelings of panic, when he came jogging happily down the trail, unfazed but a little bummed that he hadn't found my hat. I took my cue from him and didn't let him know I was worried for his safety. Because, you know? His confidence in the woods is exactly what I want for him. Now that I know he desires that kind of freedom outdoors, we need to have conversations about staying in one spot when you get lost, carrying a whistle, not drinking water from the stream, following a map, etc..and I can't wait to teach him all this great stuff!