For the love of sons...
for the love of sons…

 

We'd been to the shopping centre to pick up some new DVDs for the kids because frankly, I'm a little over all the one-on-one time we've been having.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding!

Or not. You decide.

So new DVDs and also an Optimus Prime bouncy ball that cost about five bucks more than it should have (it was $6). And cinnamon donuts.

The little fella was in the pram, the big guy was walking. This arrangement is always punctuated by me shouting for Luca to, "Come back!" and for Zee to, "Sit down!"

It's an event.

When we were done with the centre and all safely strapped into our carseats, Luca's voice drifted from the back seat.

"I try to be a good boy, Mumma. But my heart doesn't let me."

"Oh!" I said. "Why not?"

"Because my heart wants to be naughty."

And it hit me then. I am holding my kid to the standards of another child. A child with a different heart.

You know those kids who walk directly beside their mother's, never rushing ahead or champing at the bit to get away? Just calmly and seemingly, contentedly, going wherever their mother leads?

I have been trying to turn my kids into that kid. That kid is the model kid. That kid is the one whose parents are lavished with praise for raising such a well-behaved child. That kid is the one I stare at longingly and whose mother I want to set on fire with my raging envy.

But who is that kid? Is that kid shy? Frightened of large spaces or crowds? Or just docile by nature? Maybe walking beside their mum is what their heart wants to do.

That's not my kid. Either of them. They are both runners. Little boys with boundless energy. They notice things and exclaim. They are fascinated by the huge sparkly Christmas decorations, smile and wave at perfect strangers and delight in the echo their booming voices make in the underground carpark.

They are just like me.

It's in their hearts.

So today I realised I need to give them the space to be what is in their hearts. Naturally, I don't want them to run screaming around the shopping centre and as I explain to them, the reasons for that are primarily ones of safety. There are boundaries to everything in life and it serves them well to acknowledge those boundaries. But if Luca wants to stop and watch the escalator for a few minutes, there's nothing so pressing in my day that I can't stop and let him. If he wants to hear his voice echoing back to him, is it so terrible that he use a loud voice for that moment? If a passerby is offended by the volume of my child's imaginative exploration, then fuck them.

I need to let my children off the leash – the leash of my expectations of who I 'think' they should be.

I told Luca, "You know, wanting to run and shout and throw the ball in the shopping centre isn't naughty, honey. I know those are fun things to do. But when we're in a shopping centre with lots of other people, it's dangerous. I just want to make sure that neither you or anyone else gets hurt, does that make sense?"

"Yes, Mum."

Today I let my kid off the hook for being a kid.

It felt good.

 

Baby Loves To Run
Run, Baby, Run
Naughty Hearts Run Free

 

In case you missed it, I'm also keeping a guest pregnancy journal over at Birth.com.au – check it out here. And the new entry here. I'd love you to leave a comment telling me what a radiant pregnant woman I am. Note: there isn't an actual photo, I'm hoping you'll use your imagination and imagine me really, really radiant….

Hello friends

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I’m Angie!  I mum. I write. I wife. My husband would say this is the correct order.  He’s so neeeedy. I live with my family in Melbourne, Australia, where I complain about the weather for 90% of the year – but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Except maybe in Lake Como, waving to my neighbours George and Amal each morning.

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26 Comments

  1. Fran

    Just gorgeous Angie – you have reminded me to just let my little ones be themselves too. Ally insists on stopping whenever she can see her reflection so she can work out some new dance moves, which is super frustrating if we’re in a rush. I’ll remember this post the next time I try to drag her away xx

    Reply
  2. MJ

    This is beautiful.

    Having had one kid first who’s the stay-by-my-side type (and yes, not terribly confident around strangers), and the second kid who chomps at the bit and thinks nothing is more delightful that having her mumma try to catch her, I’ve concluded it’s nothing I’ve done, parenting-wise. I’ve decided it’s random – it’s the only explanation I can come up with…

    I love that you give your kids enough freedom to just ‘be’. They are going to grow up such happy, confident boys, and that’s what matters, right? x

    Reply
  3. Amethyst

    We recently had this epiphany!! Wow, great minds ;o)
    Does it really matter if my sons, hoot like owls at the top of their lungs for a couple of minutes when we get in an echo-friendly place? Or should I care that the lady at the bus stop keeps giving me the evil-eye because my children MUST ask questions non-stop for the 15 minutes it takes for the bus to come? Will it kill me to wait a few minutes on the walk home whilst my son smells EVERY rose hanging over the fences of EVERY yard we pass. Ummm, no?
    They remind me to take my time and to take pleasure in the things I’ve been ‘taught’ to ignore…

    Good on you Ange, you’re a lovely Mumma.
    xxx

    Reply
  4. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh, Fran, that made me laugh! How funny is Ally? Ha!

    Somehow we get stuck in this perpetual forward motion frenzy – there is very little stopping to smell the roses, ya know? So I want to change that.

    Reply
  5. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Well, I don’t think I’ve been giving them as much freedom as they deserve. So here I am, light-bulb moment and all.

    It must be fascinating to have two such different personalities. Luca and Zig are different in many ways but that fire sign is alive and well in them both. God.help.me.

    Thank you for your sweet words. Now to live up to them….

    Reply
  6. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Great minds indeed! xx

    Your son has to smell every rose? Well, that is just as cute as can be as well as being a really subtle little hint, huh? Stop and smell them, baby, stop and smell them!

    I think I get hung up on what they ‘should’ be doing but what do I care what others think? It’s crazy and in the process of trying to have the perfect kids, I’m squashing their spirits.

    No amount of disciplining can change the heart of a child – they still want to run and explore and all my yelling does is just make the experience horrible for everyone. Pointless.

    Reply
  7. Bron

    I don’t bother with the pram anymore. Conner will sit in the trolly for ages and be happy with that, but I usually let him walk for a bit because he’s so good about long shopping trips. So when he’s walking instead of in the trolly he’s usually 10 meters behind me climbing whatever he can find, hiding behind everything and having a ball. So have to keep an eye on the dawdler of the family, meanwhile Kai’s off and running, skipping, hopping, jumping 20 meters in front. I often feel like I have a swivel head to keep checking on them both. Its usually only 10 minutes of it before I give in and Conner’s in the pram, but Kai is always that bit in front of me doing his dancing steps…

    I love shopping with my boys!

    Reply
  8. Bron

    Not pram, trolly.

    Reply
  9. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    You know what, Bron? When I let go today and just gave Luca a bit of breathing space, I actually enjoyed MYSELF so much more, too.

    I think it’s awesome you love shopping with your boys. Way to embrace life in all it’s crazy ways, girl. xx

    Reply
  10. Bron

    I’m sure other shoppers don’t love us, but a lot of the old ladies love it.

    Reply
  11. Soph

    Oh so true and thanks heaps for the reminder on this one! Just wanted to say Angie that your blogs/posts/whatever the technical term, really make my day. When I see on Facebook that you’ve written something the little voice in my head squeals ‘yay, some decent reading – I’m bound to get a laugh’. So thank you. Just wanted you to know you’re appreciated very muchly – I’m prob one of many who always reads but rarely comments. Wow you write well. Do a book!

    Reply
  12. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh Soph, that’s so nice of you! I am making virtual love to you as I type…unless you don’t like that in which case I never did it.

    Yes, 99% of readers don’t comment but I know you’re there. And I love you for it! xx

    Reply
  13. melbo

    I so agree with this – I was quiet and compliant as a child, mainly by temperament. I still couldn’t do much right though or so I felt. Parenting then was still about control in some ways.

    I still carry the seeds of this and find myself irritated when the boys get rowdy sometimes. I’m just not in the mood for it. I often wonder how it is that I have managed to produce two children so different to me in some ways.

    I am constantly learning to just go with the flow. Never ending process …

    Reply
  14. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Going with the flow. Yeah, I’ve heard of that. Ha!

    This guy Bren worked with told me the story of how when he was boy, he was sent to the neighbour’s house at 6am every morning because his parents worked. He was told to sit at the kitchen table, in the dark, and not move until the neighbour got up at 7am. The boy was three years old.

    Apart from being a pretty terrible story, it is also kind of incredible to me – I can’t imagine HOW I could possibly have gotten Luca to do that at the same age?

    I know there’s talk about how we’re too lenient these days, raising princes and princesses but whatever parenting style was necessary to make a three year old boy sit still for a whole hour doesn’t sound ideal either.

    Reply
  15. Victoria KP

    Love this! My boys are all over the place. And I’ve definitely gotten those “looks” on occasion. But those little boys have hearts of gold.

    Reply
  16. MJ

    It’s very strange – it might not sound like it, but the Leo is very much alive in F! She’s just intense in other ways, like when she wants something (but I guess all kids are, right?), or to do something – perfectly – HER way. P’s not under a fire sign, but it sure feels like it most days…

    But yes, I’m constantly amazed at the differences in personalities of two kids born from the same gene pool!

    Reply
  17. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    I think maybe, as a loose rule, girls don’t tend to require ‘running like fuck’ as much as little boys. I mean, my kids can RUN.

    Reply
  18. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    It’s so hard to ignore the looks though, isn’t it? To not be subtly influenced in our parenting choices in order to avoid the looks.

    Reply
  19. Belle

    Totally & utterly loved this honey, it was just what I needed to read!! Ash was & still is for the most part that child who will stay by my side, but the boys, forget it!!! I swear the regular shoppers at Eastland know their names now purely from me calling out to them constantly!!! Bless little boys though, how boring would our lives be without them?!!

    Reply
  20. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Thank you, my friend!

    I think girls are more likely to stick with their mums. It’s obviously not a hard and fast rule but I think there is some truth in that.

    All little kids have energy to expend but boys – they have a SHITLOAD.

    Reply
  21. Genna

    Wow! Lightbulb moment for me. As a mother of two inquisitive, energetic boys, thank you. Fantastic!!

    Reply
  22. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    It’s so hard not to compare our children, isn’t it? Since when did being a child become something to suppress or contain?

    Thanks for reading, Genna. 🙂

    Reply
  23. Galit Breen

    Oh your heart- I love your heart.

    And the way that you see them? Really see them? I swoon for you.

    xo

    Also? Sweet friend, are you pregnant?! How did I not know this?! When are you due?? So many congrats to you!

    Reply
  24. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Thank you, dear one. The feeling, as you well know, is mutual.

    And yes babe, I am all kinds of knocked up right now. Sooooo knocked up right now. xx

    Reply
  25. Megan @ Writing Out Loud

    Beautiful post, Angie. I too am so proud of my little one for being a carefree kid who just wants to run and discover new things. But yes, it’s bloody hard work sometimes – more than once I’ve wished for her to just sit still for five minutes or walk by my side nicely. But then I think I’d be so worried about her I’d insist she run off anyway!

    Reply
  26. Ladybird

    Dude, recently when my youngest child pantsed himself in the middle of Target and ran up and down the aisle screaming with laughter and growling like a T-Rex – I didn’t thwart his spectacle – I merely stopped to tape it on Brad’s Iphone – and then I uploaded it on Facebook :P.
    Young hearts run free, indeed. xx

    Reply

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