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On Learning to Let My Baby Explore
“Let them be little.”
These words have been floating around in my head a lot lately. I believe in the magic of childhood and allowing our children to dance in it while it lasts. But sometimes I forget when it comes to my baby. I forget that part of being little involves exploring beyond the safe haven I’ve tried to create for her in our living room and in life. And part of being little means cruising beyond the comforts of the soft carpet and popping that little bubble I inadvertently created that surrounds her.
Over the weekend I read a beautiful post by Lauren as she shared about Fern becoming her own little person. She spoke to the fact that parenting is a bit of a paradox “A limbo of give and take, hold and release.”
Hold and release.
If I can be honest with you – with myself – I’ve probably been doing a little more holding than releasing. So, I’m increasing my efforts to release a bit more as it is often in those moments that the true shaping of who my baby is begins to take place. In her discovery of the world around her comes the opportunity for a little self-discovery as well.
Last week I decided to step aside. Lola had been trying to climb over the ottoman and out of the living room for what felt like the longest time (weeks maybe). However, on this particular day I moved it aside and decided I would stop resisting, stop redirecting and moving her back to the floor and see what happened. She cruised and then she crawled. And very quickly, she made her way to her sister’s old play kitchen that sat against the wall in the front hallway. I had never seen her show much interest in it other than once or twice crawling over there when other children were over and playing with it. I stared as she pulled herself up and stood playing – grabbing dishes and plates and play food. She played and played and played. In my efforts to keep her in an area where in my mind I thought she could freely play I realized that I was causing her to miss out on the opportunity to explore – one of the most magical parts of being little.
Right now for Lola being little means learning about the world around her, being a little adventurous while at the same time finding comfort in the fact that her mama is close by.
Seeing how much fun she had while she played made me question myself. What else was I causing her to miss out on in my efforts to avoid chasing her around the house and getting a bump or bruises along the way? How many experiences would bring her joy if I let go just a little more, if I stepped aside and watched and allowed her be little?
Going forward I am striving to be more mindful about how much holding I’m doing and allowing Lola to discover the things that bring her joy beyond the toys and books that I have placed in the living room for her to play with. A world beyond the squares of her floor mat is calling her. There’s much to see, learn and do. Besides, even the littlest of littles deserve a chance to experience the magic of childhood.