Funny, how as time goes by, my parenting rules seem to all fall by the wayside. I am the youngest of seven children and have heard my whole life from my older siblings how my parents let me get away with everything. Now that I am the mother of six, I completely get it! Here are 10 things I let our youngest children get away with:
1. Stay up past 7:00 pm. When our oldest 4 were little they were all in bed by 7 pm sharp! My husband and I would blissfully head downstairs to watch television in peace. Now, I am lucky if I get the youngest in bed by 9:00 pm. Life is so hectic in the afternoons here by the time dinner is cleaned up, homework is done and baths are complete and we can start reading it already way past 7:00pm.
2. Wear whatever they want. If you can dress yourself, you can wear it. I was still dressing my older two daughters up until first grade. That is pathetic on my part. Now, my 5 year old has been dressing herself for years. I just have to work on training the one year old!
3. Drink juice boxes. My older four children only had juice boxes as a treat or the occasional picnic. Now, if you can grab a juice box by yourself at dinner time it works for me. One less spill and one less glass I have to pour. Thankfully, they don’t choose them too often.
4. Quit a peewee sports team. We used to say to the older kids once they signed up for something they had to finish. They were part of a team, the team needed them, blah blah blah…. Ok, I get that in high school but at 5 years old? The “team” will probably not care that you may not be there to pick grass or dig in the dirt while you wait for the ball to come to you.
5. Play with food and water if you are occupied. My oldest children sat in high chairs where I spoon fed them until they were way too old. When they started to make a mess I would wipe it up right away. Occasionally, they were allowed to play with their food when I was in the mood to clean it up. Now, I feel like every meal is a sensory exploration of food while my youngest eats. He could probably use a bath after each meal. But if it means he will sit for a few minutes in the high chair while I get the lunches made or the dishes done it works for me. I just rinse him off in the sink, change his clothes if necessary and go about our business.
6. Sleep in our bed. This one is laughable!!!! Our oldest never came in our bed. I didn’t even nurse in the bed. I sat up in the chair morning, noon and night. That went by the wayside with each child. By the 5th and 6th child, they never slept in a crib until close to 6 months old. If it meant I could sleep, I didn’t care where they slept. No one is in the bed now and the youngest is 20 months so we have come full circle.
7. Act like a lunatic during meal time. My oldest children ate dinner all at the same time and in a somewhat organized fashion. Now my youngest will climb up and want to eat at the big table with the older kids – fine by me just eat. He runs back and forth on a bench we use in the dining room while he eats one bite at a time – fine by me I didn’t have to get up for a few minutes. One time he was eating ketchup from a mini cup at McDonalds and I had no clue. Once I realized, I did take it away but we still crack up about it, I was sitting right next to him.
8. Giving in to screaming. Oh boy am I guilty of this one. Our youngest is a screamer. He is a late talker so I understand why he screams but I should ignore it more often. That being said, ear piercing screams are painful and super annoying so if giving in to you makes it stop, I do it. There is a time and place to work on this and I have to choose my battles. Shopping at Target is not one of those places where I want to pick a battle – so go ahead and eat a baby food pouch while we shop. I will just warn them at the check-out that he licked it all over before they touch it.
9. Do things one more time after I just said “only one more time”. I get side tracked easily from the older children who need my help so I tell the toddler “only one more time” only to let him to do it probably 100 more times because I need to help with homework, sign a paper or cook dinner.
10. Eat lollipops at age one. I think my oldest daughter was three years old before she ate a lollipop! The last two definitely had lollipops as babies. Of course, I watch them very closely with it but we have many events that the older children have to attend and the babies need something to keep them occupied for 30 minutes during an award ceremony, basketball game or a long car ride (and I do not want the baby to fall asleep). Someone is always watching them with the lollipop so that is guilt free but the fact that we never brush those baby teeth afterwards….whoopsie!
What are you guilty of letting your youngest get away with?
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