[twitter]How you parent your youngest child can go one of two ways: they get raised up quickly to have the same sort of rules as the older kids in your family or you can forget that they’re growing up and keep them held back as a baby longer than you should.
For Charlie, it’s working both ways. He saw Star Wars when he was 3, whereas Zacharie had a hard fast rule of not being able to watch it until 5. As a matter of fact, Charlie’s media consumption aligns much with his brother, so he’s watching shows designed for older kids all along the way.
But when it comes to the household, we’re probably clinging to the baby years a little more than we should. Charlie’s success in swimming lessons is a little behind where Zacharie was when he was 5, and so we’ve coddled him more than we should.
When we head out to pools, Charlie slaps on water wings. He gets his freedom, I can spot him to rescue if he gets in trouble, but he’s not totally doing it on his own. I’ll admit it, we’re taking the easy way out by keeping these ‘training wheels’ on longer than we should and when Charlie went to Disneyland last week with his grandparents, we found out we’ve been doing it wrong.
I got an email halfway through the trip from my mom titled “Confessions of a Grandmother.”
Day 1 at the pool, Nana puts on the floaties and grandson swims away. After several moments, he decides to jump in off the side of the pool and both floaties come off (Nana is watching but not in the water) grandson calmly swims to the edge without regard for the floaties. He does however ask to have them reapplied but tighter.
Day 2 at the pool. Grandson requests no floaties and within minutes is swimming unaided back and forth across the width of the pool. To his delight there is video proof to take home to his parents!
It’s tough to parent in multiple age groups at the same time. I find we’re either raising up or down depending on who needs the most attention at whatever time. Seems like it’s time to start raising Charlie up instead of holding him down.