Yes, that's my lens cap that she's holding. Hehe.
Also, just LOOK at those baby moccasins. ^^ During the Freshly Picked Thanksgiving sale, I snagged two pairs for her: slate gray in her correct size and butterscotch in a bigger size to open up for Christmas. Shoes are essential these days as she's given up crawling COMPLETELY. It's bittersweet, really. She's so fast and efficient at walking which I'll be thankful for when the new baby comes but it means she's transitioned to toddlerhood and SHE isn't a baby anymore. *crying face* Didn't I bring her home from the hospital like YESTERDAY?! It's a really good thing I'm pregnant because since she's grown up so much and everyone around me is having babies I have major BABY FEVER. I've realized there's no point in my next blog title being "Five Fine Lives" because I fully intend on expanding my family again in the future. Hehe.
Anyway, about the Christmas tree... Indulge me while I brag about my girl a little and encourage all the moms out there that children even as young as 11 months are able to learn and practice self control!
I had been going back and forth about how to proceed with a Christmas tree this year when I remembered that unlike the last several years, I now have a little person in the house who would love nothing more than to chew on Christmas tree branches and run away with the sparkly ornaments.
Hazardous AND annoying, amiright?!
When it came time to decorate the tree however, Hubs and I decided that Laura is a smart girl and we were going to use the tree as a chance to teach her about boundaries and self control as we had with the trash can and electrical outlets. (Laura's other great joys in life include playing with electrical sockets and trashcan diving. SO great. #not)
This may seem cruel and unusual, but in less than 24 hours she had learned to walk up to the tree, giggle and walk away without so much as REACHING for it because she knew that consequences would follow. She also tried out a "testing" phase where she would take a toy to the tree, touch the tree WITH THE END OF THE TOY and turn to see my reaction.
She learned that was unacceptable as well, even faster than she learned not to touch the tree in the first place. Hehe.
We've had the tree up with presents underneath for 5 days now and no ornaments have been removed and no presents have been tampered with.
I'm SO HAPPY we decided to take the proactive approach with teaching Laura about Christmas tree boundaries this year as opposed to making things easier for ourselves. Husband and I have marveled at even a toddler's ability to practice self control and boundary recognition and we discuss the benefits constantly.
1. Children CAN learn and they're capable of functioning appropriately in all kinds of scenarios. We don't need to give them crutches (no ornaments on the bottom or putting the tree out of reach, as I had contemplated) because we just assume they won't understand. I don't need to give Macson a handheld device (iPhone or whatever) to occupy him in a restaurant because he CAN control himself and sit quietly and patiently without disturbing anyone else. Children are not animals who act on impulse alone. They are the product of what we teach and require of them.
2. Despite what society preaches, just because something is pretty (like a sparkly ornament, hehe) and it would feel nice to hold it in your hand doesn't mean it's a good idea! If Laura were to take the ornament, crush it and try to ingest it... Well, you get my point. Just because something feels good at the time doesn't mean it won't have serious, devastating consequences in the future!
3. Boundaries! Hello!
Laura doesn't know about what could happen if she tried to eat an ornament so she has to trust my boundaries in order to be protected. When she pushes those boundaries there are painful consequences. I don't want her to learn from "experience" (as I and many others have in regards to other things) about ornament tasting because it could destroy her.
God (and some authorities) put boundaries in place to protect us. Pushing against those will only cause pain. Trust me. ;) Baby Laura is learning that too.
I LOVE being this girl's mama. She seriously makes my heart glad.
P.S. If you're a working, single mom reading this let me just say, You have the hardest job in the world. I was a single mom for three years and have never experienced anything harder in my life. Rough pregnancies, deployed husband, health battles, even childbirth.... NONE of these things compare to the emotional and physical toll of working, providing AND trying to raise a child at the same time, especially when your job requirements mean someone else raises your child 75% of the time. :( You feel out of control since the boundaries you may enforce are not the same boundaries that daycare or the babysitter enforce. You may feel both guilty and helpless as a parent. Do what you can and be as consistent as possible when your child is with you (nighttime, weekends, etc.) and ask God to cover the rest. He takes the care and protection of "widows and the fatherless" (widows, orphans, single moms, kids in one-parent homes) VERY SERIOUSLY (do a Bible study on how He feels about you -it will change your life) and He has promised to be your Defender. You're a rockstar. xoxo