Adeline has a will of her own. I mean, I know all babies do, but seriously, this girl is headstrong. It’s starting to come out in the typical toddler way of being obsessed with one thing for a period of time. She went through a phase where Night Night, Little Pookie was her favorite book and we had to read it to her over and over and over again. Now it’s Goodnight Gorilla and Goodnight Moon. (I’m not sure why she’s so obsessed with bedtime books, come to think of it.)
Fine, that’s normal. But now she’s obsessed with one particular outfit. And it’s not just that she wants to wear it all the time (which she does) but that even when she’s not wearing it she just wants to bunch it up and walk around holding it. WTF?
So the other day she was wearing the outfit and I was getting ready to take a shower. I asked her if she wanted to come in the shower with me because she really likes that. She said yes (by which I mean, she indicated with a combination of babble and gestures that she wanted to) so I helped her take off the outfit. But then she did her usual thing of bunching up the outfit and cuddling up with it. She refused to put it down to come in the shower.
Part of me wanted to just rip the damn thing out of her hands and drag her into the shower and get it over with. But that’s not really my style. I know she’s young, but I like to give her choices. Plus I didn’t really want to deal with the ensuing tantrum.
So I knelt down beside her and calmly gave her three options: 1) don’t take a shower with mama, 2) take a shower without the outfit and then put it back on when you’re done, or 3) bring the outfit in the shower but then it will be wet and you won’t be able to wear it anymore. Guess which one she chose?
Upon exiting the shower I still had to deal with a tantrum, but at least it was of her own making. You might say she’s too young to understand those choices. But I would say, first, girl is crazy smart, you’d be surprised! And more importantly, yes that may be true, but she learned something that day. She learned that choices and actions have consequences and we all have to live with the consequences of our choices.
It’s not that I think she has now sufficiently learned that lesson. It’s that I think it’s a lesson worth teaching, even to a one year old. Even if you have to teach it over and over again. Because a wet and unwearable outfit isn’t really a bad consequence. But if I don’t teach her that lesson now, she could end up with much worse consequences as she gets older.
What do you think? Do you let your children make choices and then feel the natural consequences?