Some days I swear I feel like all of our parenting methods are drastically flawed. Some days I question whether our gentle approach to our children will result in loving, strong men or if we'll be just another family whose kids seemingly rule their own worlds, submit to no authority and refuse to play by any rules.
Some days, when the two year old insists on peeing in everything but the potty and the baby throws a screaming party if I even think about putting him down, I second guess our intuitive approach to raising our boys. Are we spoiling them? Will they understand boundaries? Will they ever be able to put themselves to sleep? Do we linger too much on meeting their wants? Are we catering to their wants, or are we catering to their needs?
Oh, I could go on and on wondering, thinking, obsessing about whether we're taking the right path with our kids ... about if we're being the parents God has called us to be.
And then there are days like today -- days when I see so clearly the person our two year old is becoming. Days where I can feel with every part of my being that we're raising two strong, yet gentle little boys.
I found our two and half year old interacting with a baby doll we think one of his friends left here about a month ago.
He was holding the baby and opening a plastic bag that held an outfit I just bought for EJ. He tenderly cuddled the baby in his arms as they opened the bag together.
"Oh, look, baby, new clothes! It is very nice. What we say when we get presents?" he asked and waited in silence for the baby to reply.
"Very good! It so nice of you to say thank you for present the man gave you. I proud of you!" he exclaimed. (Apparently the baby expressed his gratitude to the man ... who I believe must be a reference to the Curious George's The Man in the Yellow Hat.)
My two year old then decided he and the baby were going somewhere. He took his baby over to his snow boots all while explaining that "it cold outside. We wear boots outside so your feet don't fall off."
He then proceeded to put his baby's boots on.
And then he let go. And the baby bounced off the floor.
"You OK?" he asked the baby as he picked him up off of the floor. "I sorry you have owies. I kiss them."
He carried that baby around the majority of the afternoon, just like I hauled baby EJ around the house as we cooked, cleaned and played.
Be still, my heart. Your little boys are going to be just fine. And silence, my self-doubting mind. Each time you were late because you were sharing why it's important to stay warm in the winter didn't absolutely impress upon him that it's OK not to respect time frames. And, hush, oh, you memories of past mistakes. Apparently those few times you nearly shrieked in decibels high enough for only the dog to understand that he'd better put his boots on RIGHTTHISMINUTE as you were late getting out the door haven't over taken all of the times when you've explained why the boots are so darn important anyway.