I am so not that mom. The mom that freaks out about their baby getting into every little thing. The mom that doesn’t let their child play in the dirt because they shouldn’t get dirty. The mom that won’t let dogs near because something could happen. The mom that has too many expectations for how their baby will be different than every other child on the planet.
Babies are explorers. They want to get into everything. They want to put everything in their mouths. They like non-conventional toys. I can’t tell you the number of times that Roly Poly has ignored her toy drawer or books and played instead with the handles on the dresser or her bowls and cups in the kitchen drawer.
I understand that every parent has their own style and goals and expectations. And, in my opinion, that is exactly how it should be. No family should feel pressure from anyone else to do something that doesn’t make them feel good about their parenting.
Now, having said that, I have my own parenting style. Like the title of my blog and this post, I like to keep things simple. I believe that as long as I keep Roly Poly’s environment basically safe (baby gate for the stairs, closing the bathroom door, lock on cabinets under the kitchen sink), I am happy to let her explore everything to her heart’s content. Don’t get me wrong, there are boundaries – like don’t play in the bathroom – but for the most part I think it’s totally ok and normal for her to get into absolutely everything (and boy do I mean everything). She explores the cabinets in the kitchen, she eats grass and dirt and tree bark when we go outside, she wants to play in the dog food/water when we visit Granny B. And for us that’s ok. She’ll learn what is good to play with and what isn’t. She’ll learn that grass and dirt and tree bark don’t really taste good so she’ll leave it alone. She’ll learn that some things are yucky and shouldn’t be played with and some things aren’t. And if she doesn’t, we’ll deal with it when the time comes.
I like being a more laid back parent. I let a lot of things happen so that Roly Poly learns that there are natural consequences for everything. I like that I don’t spend most of my day telling her “No”. Because, really, when you use it all the time it loses its effectiveness.
Think what you want about our parenting style. (I will say if we were to put a label on it, it would probably fit under “Attachment Parenting”.) What we’re doing works. Our little girl is happy and healthy – for the most part – and she is enjoying life. And, from what I can tell, enjoying being able to explore this new world all around her.