Apr 3, 2010

Staying Up All Night

A few days ago Jack proclaimed to us that he was going to stay up all night. I thwarted any knee-jerk reaction of disapproval. I aim to parent through love and trust, instead of parenting through fear -- fear of what might be, fear of what might happen, fear of what people might perceive, fear, fear, fear. (Now, I said I aim to parent this way; admittedly, I don't always reach the mark.)

So, I supported his idea and let him stretch his wings. At 8:45 p.m. he climbed into bed and set himself up with a pile of his library books, some mazes, and his headlamp. He pulled his sheet over his head and became a shadow underneath with the dim glowing light. Sean and I went into the living room to watch a movie (Adeline and Ella were already asleep). I checked on Jack every fifteen minutes or so. I didn't disturb him; I just peeped around the corner. Finally, around 9:45 p.m., he came into the living room to let us know that he wanted to go to sleep. So, we tucked him in and kissed him goodnight. He instantly fell asleep. The next morning he spoke of how cool it was that he tried to stay up all night. He said he's going to try again one day.

I'm happy that we chose a lifestyle that affords us this flexibility. More importantly, I'm glad I trusted him and respected his ability to learn some of his own boundaries. Yes, sometimes this life is messy and we take chances, but it's filled with respect and questioning and joy and dialogue and love and encouragement. It's an exciting journey for us!


Kelly_of_the_Freckles said...

I love this! Just the other day I was on the phone with a friend and Natalie was doing some spectacular sofa acrobatics. I had to hold back from protecting my belongings and remind myself that the time in our lives when we find jumping on the sofa extremely satisfying is very short. I can replace the sofa, but I can't give her back this time. My friend asked me what I do to punish her for her behavior. I told her I don't punish, but I allow her to learn by natural consequences and we discuss why those natural consequences happened. I had just finished saying this when Natalie missed the arm of the sofa and squished herself like a bug against the wall. Point made! Natty and I laughed and did gentle re-enactments of the incident, but she has not gotten quite so wild on that sofa since. :)

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