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.