I came home tonight to the delicious smell of pulled pork in the crockpot, and something else. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was unpleasant.
I asked Mark how the evening was and he said they had an “exciting” night.
Vomit. That was the other smell I couldn’t put my finger on.
Mark told me that while the baby was screaming in the high chair, Sully started choking on a tortilla and cheese and ended up vomiting all over the floor. Exciting, in deed. Mark seemed to think it was a good thing that he choked because now he’ll stop shoveling food in his mouth so quickly. I didn’t think it was a good thing that he choked, it scared me and made me wonder how much worse it could have been.
Mark is always doing that, allowing the kids to learn from their mistakes. I don’t. It’s not easy for me, it doesn’t come naturally. I’m always running around trying to prevent injuries, removing anything that is remotely dangerous, yelling out warnings. With three boys, preventing injuries can be a full time job. It’s possibly my greatest weakness as a parent and why I’m so grateful that Mark and I are so different in so many ways.
A couple of years ago, I was visiting friends in Chicago. Mark sent me a picture message of Brady’s face after he had taken a header off the slide in our backyard. The first thought I had was “That would have never happened if I was home.” It wouldn’t have happened because if Brady was on top of the play structure, you can believe that I was standing right beside it, ready to catch him if he fell. But what would he have learned? I won’t always be there to catch him. I would have never let him play up there without being right beside him, but since the day he fell off, he doesn’t screw around up there anymore. Maybe Mark is on to something.
If I could put my kids in a bubble and protect them from all hurt and danger forever, I would, but that’s not reality. They have to experience life, even the bad parts, in order to grow and learn. I KNOW that, it’s just incredibly hard for me to allow. I can appreciate that there are things that Mark is much better at than me when it comes to parenting.
Brady will learn how to ride a bike without training wheels this summer. We already both know that will be Mark’s job. If I was in charge, I would just keep running alongside the bike, holding on to the back of the seat, entirely unable to let go. I won’t even be able to watch at first, I cringe just thinking about him crashing and falling and I know he absolutely must in order to learn how to ride a bike. I guess that’s how it might be all of their lives, me wanting to hold on, Mark letting go, and quite possible having to restrain me from running after them.
I’m still reserving the right to slice their grapes and hot dogs until they are in college.