Do you have a boy? Is he wild like mine? Wait, before you say yes, let me just clarify what I mean by wild.
If he climbs everything, he might be wild.
If he would rather stand than sit while swinging, he might be wild.
If he tries going down the slide backwards, sideways, belly-up, and belly-down, he might be wild.
If he hops fences, crawls under fences, or otherwise “breaks out” of a fenced area, he might be wild.
If he loves mud and has a sixth sense for locating it, he might be wild.
Let’s revisit climbing. If he wants to climb ON TOP of the slide, the monkey bars, or any part of a play structure, he might be wild.
If he jumps from high objects, and dares to go higher each time, he might be wild.
If he runs everywhere instead of walking, he might be wild.
If, in most respects, he acts more like a puppy than a human being, he’s probably wild.
So. You still with me? You stragglers who remain are probably the parents of a wild thing.
For a while, I lamented my plight. Oh how I longed for a quiet, slow-paced, “normal” child. Why wouldn’t he just sit with some books? Why couldn’t he just walk somewhere instead of charge in like the cavalry? Why does he insist on performing dangerous feats Every. Time. We’re. At. The. Playground.
I have received some negative attention as a mom for letting my child be himself. Never really from friends, but strangers? Holy cow. I’ve had mothers tell me they are “worried for him” when I let him do his normal thing. Or “Oh, honey, he shouldn’t be doing THAT!” I know I’ve popped up in conversations about negligent mothers. I’m not negligent. I’m just the mother of a wild one.
With my first child, I was of course every bit the worried mother. Wait, that’s not entirely true. When it concerns my kids health—like whether they have pneumonia or just allergies, I’m a freak. I have been known to run to the ER more than a time or twenty.
But when it comes to kids being kids? Well, I’m from a family of six. You can bet we had a survival-of-the-fittest sort of childhood. And you know what? We’re all pretty darn tough. I am proud of each and every one of my siblings for pushing through obstacles and having a stick-to-it-ness that seems so elusive in our society. But enough on them. [I was *ahem* a wild one]
My wild one keeps me on my toes. I have to think five steps ahead of him if I want to guarantee his safety. For instance, unless we have the chain lock up on our door, the wild one will either run to A.) The playground and climb onto something really high or B.) Chase ducks until he arrives at the parking lot and begins to run in and out of all the parked cars.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just a daily occurrence. Therefore, we always keep the chain lock on our door. But somehow, he manages to get out. Could have something to do with his MacGyver cunning and nimble speed.
Recently, I was complaining to my mom about the wild one. Because I’m always worried he’s gonna go get himself killed if I leave the room to put away laundry. She gave me some amazing advice that I wish she would have given me a few months ago. Ok, so maybe she did but I wasn’t listening cause Chaucer was drinking out of the toilet I was distracted.
Since our heart-to-heart, I’ve been implementing Mom’ advice into our daily routine, and it is making the world of a difference! I am happier. Chaucer is happierer (because he’s always happy). Things are getting a little easier.
It’s pretty simple, actually. Some of you may think I’m quite the dunce for not realizing it myself. But sometimes you just need someone else to tell you the obvious.
Here are the five things I’m doing to tame my wild one:
This is pretty obvious, right? But sometimes I forget that he doesn’t know what the boundaries are. He doesn’t know the difference between the sidewalk that is safe, and the asphalt parking lot that is not.
Sure, he’ll eventually get it if I scream at him every time he ventures out, but if I take the time to show him the boundary we eliminate all misunderstanding.
A constant source of contention for the wild one and me is his desire to be in the kitchen when I’m cooking/doing dishes/anything. My BFF has the same problem with her son and she actually laid a strip of blue tape down and he is not allowed to cross the line. I think it’s genius. Because it works (P.S. THAT’S A BOUNDARY)
We simply don’t have enough space to do anything like that. The kitchen table is two feet away from the kitchen sink, so yah. It wouldn’t work. My Mom suggested that instead of fighting with him I offer him two choices of what he can do while I work. For example, I would say something like this:
“No, you cannot do the dishes with Mama, but you may either play with blocks or color. Which would you like to do?”
It’s amazing how quickly distracted they are. If I keep my voice chirpy and offer him a fun alternative, he goes with it. Limiting their choices on everything is a good rule of thumb. I kinda think that with each year of age you can add one choice. Coco is almost four and is able to process/handle four choices. The wild one is two years old; therefore, he gets two choices. Easy peesy!
My wild one never wants to leave a place where he’s having fun. I mean, who can blame him? I don’t either. But if I race him home or we pretend to be frogs he will follow me anywhere. How fast can you get into the carseat? How far can you run away from the playground? Let’s wiggle wiggle that toothbrush and get all your teeth!”
OMG. Sound effects save my life. Wild ones love excitement and noise. Instead of being uncontrollably loud and obnoxious teach them how to use their voice to make new sounds. It doesn’t have to be loud, yes it might get a little annoying, but it’s better than whining or screaming, right?
Helicopters make the veggies go down, Niagara Falls washes the shampoo out of his hair, and a rocket ship is launched when he swallows his medicine. We also drill him on all the animal sounds to keep him from sabotaging his own diaper change.
My little guy is daring. He has no fear, and he enjoys trying new physical feats. I just know that his dream is to be able to swing from the monkey bars. He’s just not long enough.
It’s easy for me to scold him for all the dangerous things he’ll try. But I simply cannot follow him around every second of every day and prevent him from doing what he loves.
He loves to climb.
He loves to jump.
He loves to hang from things and swing his body back and forth.
He loves to wrestle with bigger kids.
He loves to play football.
He wants to ride a big bike.
He wants to skateboard and rollerblade.
Of course he cannot do all these things. But he can do most of them.
There’s a part of my mama’s heart that is so proud that he is able to do those things. Yay! He’s a stud! I think to myself. But pride is quickly replaced with fear.
I cannot prevent him from being the active, adventurous, wild boy he is. God made him that way. He’ll probably be an athlete someday and find a way to channel that crazy energy. But right now, he’s two years old and should not jump from the top of the play structure.
He needs a mom who will show him where the boundary is so that he can have fun but be safe.
He needs a mom who will give him appropriate choices.
He needs a mom who will make things fun and make loud, crazy noises with him sometimes.
He needs a mom who will show him how to do the things he wants to do and cheer for him when he accomplishes it.
If anyone wants the file for this printable leave a comment with your email address and I will get it to you without my watermark on it ????
Is it better to have one child?