Welcome back to the wonderful world of Bailey’s blogs. It has been a while since I sat down and completed one of these anecdotal short stories. I wrote this piece months ago, but due to family matters and then focusing on completing and launching my debut book it was put on the back-burner… until now.
Let’s set the scene with the daily morning drop off routine with my children. My son started kindergarten last fall and my daughter is a few years older. Because of the difference in age my daughter has access to her class in the back of the school while the kindergarten students have a dedicated isolated door, that’s away from the rest of the other grades. None shall enter the school until the morning commencement bell has rung. On a good, on-time day, I drop my daughter off with a hug and a “have a good day and make good choices” speech before venturing to my son’s school annex.
There are two morning kindergarten classes and the kids are supposed to line up against the wall and walk in when the teacher opens the door at the ring of the bell. One class, the one that is not my son’s, lines up perfectly every morning. Their backs against the wall, standing straight up, looking ahead with barely a word spoken between them while their parents standby in their little cliques, drinking their store-bought coffees and staring approvingly at their children. Meanwhile, my son’s class, with the few spare minutes before class, are running around, playing tag, laughing and having a great time. I usually stand by myself, mostly because I had spent the majority of my morning preparing my children to leave the house on time and I have not had the opportunity to brush my teeth and in result have lingering wicked coffee breath. I know it is best for everyone in the vicinity to leave me to my introverted ways while I watch and laugh at the stark differences between the two classes.
This day in particular though, I witnessed a child stray from the drill sergeant side of the door to run around with my son and a handful of his friends (both girls and boys I would like to add). Once the mother of this five-year-old realized that her child was participating with “our” class, she immediately stopped her conversation (mid-sentence) with another mom, strutted over to her daughter and strictly, yet eerily calmly, stated “you do not run before school.” She pointed at the door and the berated girl marched towards her classmates. The mother then turned her focus to her toddlers who were also running around with full smiles, and lectured the same message, all while patting them on their toque covered heads (as if trying to comfort the blow). The toddlers then stood beside her as still as British Royal Guards as she continued her previously interrupted conversation.
Now I have to ask: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? I honestly had to control my urge to roll my eyes, even though I was wearing my sunglasses (they are only tinted and not mirrored). In regards to my son and his “wild” ways, I honestly think that the teacher covertly thanks me for allowing my child to burn off some extra energy before asking him to sit quietly at a desk and pay attention to her instruction.
When did it become a faux pas for our children to be children? We are constantly being bombarded with new studies regarding hours of optimal play time, limiting screen time, down time for mental health, one sport vs. multi-sports (I can go on). When did it become so hard to determine the “proper” way to parent and to balance a child’s life? Was it the launch of the internet? The heavy dose and daily barrage of social media? The fear mongering about yet another product that parents have been using for years that suddenly becomes too risky for our children? Seriously, how involved should we be in controlling every minuscule detail of our children’s waking moments?
Let’s let our children be kids when they still have the wonder in their eyes, the imagination in their mind and the energy to burn. Let them run, get dirty, and find out that the best part of their day was building a mud castle with their new best friend, you know, that one they had just met a mere twenty-two minutes prior. I want to enjoy these days/years of watching my children make themselves dizzy on the tire swing, jump in piles of leaves or make lopsided snowmen. I want to savour this time before I find myself staying up late at night, awaiting my children to come home and worrying if I sufficiently taught them to be responsible young adults.
To end this blog, I leave with these thoughts. Let us teach our kids manners, respect, to be kind and to care for one another. Let’s not worry about the superficial items like dirty clothes or scrapes that I guarantee our children will accumulate. Remember that clothes can be washed, and scrapes will heal (scars are just really cool mementoes). We only have our kids for a brief few years. It is work? Hell yeah. Does it get any easier? Hell no. Am I perfect at this? Not even close. Every stage in our child’s life is a different struggle. But remember, each stage also comes with a unique set of rewarding experiences for them and us. Let’s attempt to let our children enjoy their childhood and not rush to push them forward to the next stage. Let’s let our kids be kids.