"We got lucky" I always say.
But did we? Is it really just luck?
Andrew lives a life in a house with nearly every element designed for his convenience and safety. He has a small cocoon of a room with all his favorite things. He lives with two siblings who worship him - his twin treats him like a little king, and Ava calls him "my treasure". His two parents are borderline obsessed with him. We love, literally, everything about him. We are like those obnoxious first time parents who think their kid is the most amazing creation ever. Everything he does is so damn cute and every milestone he hits is cause for celebration. Hell all he has to do is look at us and we praise him! And every single time his eyes meet ours we smile these huuuuuge goofy grins at him and usually coo at him how cute he is, or special, or how much we love him.
On the other hand, haha, we have these two other pretty awesome kids too. BUT we would not call them angels, nor do we praise them half as often as they see their brother be praised.
This is something that while it has always been somewhere in the back of my mind, has come to the forefront because of some reading I have been doing for my next trip to SonRise in two weeks.
The book I am reading suggests, like it's title, that "To Love is to be Happy With". Certainly we use happiness to show Andrew our love day in and day out as it is our only means to communicate with him. But what about Ava and Ben? Now, I am not suggesting they are neglected or made to feel second fiddle. They aren't. They are as enamoured with their brother's visible blossoming as we are. We spend quiet, happy time with them singularly, even if only a few minutes, daily. They are loved And they know it.
But maybe they need more. The book I am reading suggests that children, when allowed to be free of judgment, can be their best and true selves. When we teach that actions are bad and we yell or hit, the child comes to believe at some level, perhaps, that something is wrong with them.
Andrew lives a life free of judgment from his parents since SonRise. Ava and Ben don't. I am going to work hard, really, really hard to let go of my judgments of them and show them just as much total acceptance of their persons.
Frankly, Ava is my tough one. My golden hearted firecracker. Fast to react. Quick to fight. Is she so defensive / offensive because we have taught her to live on guard?
This isn't about a life free of discipline. It's not about letting them run wild. Just as when Andrew does things like eat dirt or mulch or runs down the driveway we have to stop him, all children need boundaries. Aside from physical harm, though, we pretty much let the little guy do whatever the heck he pleases. The house is set up so he can't get into any real trouble. Why not give them the safe gift?
But I think we do need to loosen up. Let them be. Let them, like their brother, blossom in a home with two parents who will unconditionally accept and love, free from judgment.
Let's see what happens.