As moms, we all worry about our actions affecting our children, and rightfully so. I mean how many times have you heard some criminal explain his behavior by saying he was abused as a child? And really, it stands to reason that if a child grows up being guided and shaped every day by a dysfunctional or abusive parent they are going to be affected in some way. Can kids from such households grow into normal, functioning adults? Yes, definitely; I've seen it happen. But it isn't without a lot of work, and possibly therapy, on their part. They grow up to be good people in spite of their parents, not because of them as it should be. And obviously not everyone has the ability to overcome the obstacles of their raising.
As a mom, I don't want to be the cause of any obstacles my children have to try to overcome and, because of this concern, I feel like I spend countless hours worrying over the decisions I have to make for Wilder. I constantly second guess myself, because oftentimes it seems like there are pros and cons to both sides of an action. It's always a back and forth battle in my head that goes like, "Well, if this, then this... But if that, then that." I guess nobody ever said parenthood was black and white. And it sure isn't.
What really got me thinking about this subject was a conversation with my mom the other day. Wilder and I were having playtime in his room and I had given him some crayons and a piece of paper to see if he would be interested in them. My mom called and we talked for a few minutes, then she asked what Wilder was up to.
Me: "He's coloring on a piece of paper... Wait, now he's coloring on one of his books."
Mom: "Don't let him color on his books!"
Me: "But I don't want to thwart his creativity!"
Mom: "But you want to teach him to respect his books."
I totally see what she was saying and agree with her. But I also feel like, in a way, I was right too. I guess it's all about how you approach things. I couldn't very well let him have free reign with the crayons all over the house; but it would have been just as detrimental to overreact and discourage him too harshly from exploring those tools of creativity. Everything has to be handled delicately and thoughtfully.
It's not just the crayons though. Like I said, I am constantly questioning my actions and trying to foresee how they could, in any way, negatively affect Wilder down the road. Mealtimes are a big area where I feel like I'm walking a tightrope, trying to do everything just right so he will have a healthy relationship with food. I want him to love foods of all kinds but not love food too much. Sometimes my concerns go a little overboard and border on the fantastical though.
Once I put Wilder in his highchair, I better have something ready for him to put in his mouth or he acts like the world is coming to an end. So I've taken to heating up vegetables quickly and giving him those while I prepare the "second course", then giving him that while I cut up his fruit. So he's always eating one thing at a time. A few times I've tried to put more than one thing on his tray at the same time and he just swipes it all off onto the floor. I worry that by serving his food this way, I'm inadvertently turning him into someone who eats one thing on their plate at a time and he'll do that for the rest of his life. Not that there's really anything wrong with that; but I hate thinking that something I've done will cause him to have some weird quirk.
Also, Wilder will not wear a bib. He acts like it's choking him to death and pulls at it frantically until he rips it off (I wash my hands of that quirk though. I've analyzed and re-analyzed and there is absolutely nothing I did to instill that weird aversion in him.). I quickly got tired of constantly having to change him after meals because of all the food plastered to his front so now I just strip him down to his diaper before every meal. But the other day I was thinking about this habit and the thought briefly flashed into my mind: "What if, because of this, he develops some weird eating disorder where he can't eat unless he's fully undressed?!"
I know, totally unreasonable. But, after almost a year of being a mom, I'm so used to thinking this way that I just can't help it now. I totally overanalyze every action. I'm sure it has a lot to do with being a first-time mom. I think with the first child everyone is a little over-cautious. I'm sure by the second or third, they'll be eating crayons and it won't even faze me. Wilder, you're getting my best and my worst, buddy. Hope it doesn't screw you up too much ;)