Applesauce on the cabinet

Yes, you read that heading correctly. I said ‘on’ and not ‘in’. Applesauce on the cabinet.

The other night, I was in the kitchen doing something (cleaning I think). My son was finished with his container of applesauce. As he started walking away, I reminded him I’d like him to put the container in the recycling bin. “Oh yeah.” he said, then made his way over to the sink (where we have the bin). Right before he arrived…drop! splat! Applesauce on the cabinet.

Now I realize this is a simple mess. I didn’t react other than to grab a paper towel, wet it, and clean up the splatter. I even think I was smiling as I was doing it. My point is not about the mess, it’s about the changes we, as dads (and moms), adapt to.

I remember a time when my son was only a few months old. I came downstairs from taking a shower and found an explosion of building blocks all over our living room floor. I stopped, wondered, then laughed. My wife said to me “It’s all good. This is developmentally appropriate.” Developmentally appropriate – how true. Exploration, experimentation, touching, tasting, banging, clanging, grabbing, squeezing, dropping…all of it.

How does this relate to our applesauce – well, it’s par for the course. It’s standard behavior. It’s developmentally appropriate. Kids make messes. Kids make mistakes. Kids screw up. It’s not to piss us off. It’s not out of spite. It’s not to test our patience. It’s because they’re kids. They’re still finding their way of being. They’re working on getting things right and as they do, they get it wrong.

As dads, it’s important to remember to give them space to learn. I’m in no way dictating what you should do. And I’m in no way saying I get it ‘right’ all the time. I have my moments. We all do. I want to simply say that we have an opportunity to witness the development of our sons and daughters. If we spend the majority of our time upset with their imperfections, we’re in for a long ride. It could be much more enjoyable and much more rewarding if we stopped, took a breath and allowed our children to see how our actions are developmentally appropriate.

Applesauce on the cabinet

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2 Responses

  1. Patti Reusch says:

    I read all your daily blogs, Greg and Have a few responses. First of all, I’m touched you included Moms in your invitation for feedback. I have a ton

    I read all your daily blogs carefully, Greg. Thank you for sharing your gut and experiences. It takes enormous courage to “put yourself out there”. Thank you for including us Moms, I think this type of honest sharing is helpful to us becoming better parents, and better people in general. At least I have found it so. So let’s get this conversation going, shall we?
    I love spending time with kids. That’s a good thing because I’ve spent my life in their company. First as one myself, as a teen babysitter, as a young mom of a son and daughter, as a mom of these two through their teens, twenties, and now thirties (yes, I’m THAT old). I am an Oma (German or French for grandma) to two baby boys Even my career has been working with children: teacher, foster care socialworker, managing dommestic and international infant adoptionand currently a nanny. Many of those years I also ran parenting training classes. I’m not saying this so you think I know everything there is to know about raising/ guiding kids, Just the opposite. I have been Interacting with these amazing little creatures from infancy and they continue to teach me, if I take the time to truly listen. . I’ve made my mistake. None of us get through raising our children untarnished. How many times have we wished we could go back and change our behavior? We all know that’s not possible but there is a next best thing. That is the power you are providing with this blog, Greg. and I applaud your endeavor . For myself, and all the parents out there, thank you for giving us a place we can have the conversation.

  2. Patti Reusch says:

    In response to the applesauce incident. When my two we’re young like your guy, and would spill or make an error, I’d sing “Everyone Makes Mistakes ” by Big Bird.
    In no time wherever any of us (me included) erred, my kids and I would break into song. Great message. Catch Big Bird’s rendition on YOUTUBE.

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