So if you haven’t noticed in prior posts, I have, pretty much, the most cautious child ever.

Obviously, she gets it from her Daddy.

And it has it’s benefits, for sure. For instance, I’m pretty sure that she has NO idea what blood is – because she never puts herself in a position from which blood would be allowed to exit her body.

She’s just that careful.

But, of course, her cautiosity gets in the way of her having as much fun as I think she could have in life.

For instance: Yesterday. We went to a splash pad with our Mom’s group, hoping to have a more successful experience than last week’s activity.

While all of her friends enjoyed running through the great sprinklers of life (pardon the Veggie Tales quote), Ali stayed on the perimeter, catching what water she could without actually getting any on her person:IMG_1806 IMG_1807
Sure, she was content enough to play in her oh-so-safe way, but what else are Moms for if not to push their child out of their comfort zone?

So, I recruited Abby, Ali’s older, braver, and wiser friend to create a peer pressure situation.

Ali looks up to Abby. She respects her a lot.

No, she reveres her.

I asked Abby to take Ali out to the sprinklers and show her how to run in them:IMG_1809
Ali started to pull away, but out of her reverence for Abby, she went ahead.

IMG_1811I watched.

They went all the way to the middle. Water was coming from every direction.

Ali panicked.

She pulled away from Abby and stood there, crying her eyes out.

So, obviously, the Mommy Guilt immediately set in, and I ran to rescue her from this sadistic situation that I created.

And, obviously, she wanted to be picked up and taken out of the water area.IMG_1819

Which, obviously, resulted in me becoming quite soaking wet (which I would have never had the opportunity to become had I not forced her to get wet):IMG_1815
And, obviously, denim and cotton doesn’t dry as fast as swimsuit, even in an Alabama August. So my punishment for pushing her past her comfort zone was all-day-long sogginess.

After that, she was quite done with the water, thankyouverymuch. So I changed her into dry clothes (wishing I could do the same), and we went to the playground part of the park,IMG_1821 wIMG_1831where I let her play her way, maximizing her own cautiosity, while I watched, quite soggily.

But, for the record, I come by this whole “push your child out of their comfort zone” naturally.

Join me back to my childhood, circa six years old. . .

We had a steep hill near our house – VERY steep. My brother (JC) would always ride his bike down it, having huge amounts of gleeful fun.

I, on the other hand, was MUCH too cautious for such activities.

(Maybe Ali gets it from me after all.)

One fateful day, Mom finally decided that The Time Had Arrived. Rachel must experience the fun that she has been missing. So she MADE me ride my bike down the steep hill, despite my teary-eyed pleas to spare my life.

And, toward the bottom of the hill, my bike skidded and crashed in a bit of gravel. And I fell forcefully off of my bike, getting a rock lodged quite deeply in my cheek.

Mom, of course, experienced Mommy Guilt in it’s greatest form as she sped my bleeding face to the doctor to get me stitched up, probably getting a bit soggy herself in the process.

I still have quite the gashy scar across my cheek, and Mom just MIGHT still have a little bit of Mommy Guilt over it.

So the moral of these stories is: If your kids are content with their minimal level of fun, LET THEM BE. Because they WILL find a way to make you regret your decision to push them, and therefore make you suffer eternally with Mommy Guilt.

Or sogginess. One or the other.

15 thoughts on “Public Service Announcement: Forcing “Fun” Only Results in Soggy Guilt.

  1. Okay, I have no idea what it means to have a cautious child. Just enjoy it honey, it will save you a bunch of money in copays. :)

  2. Rachel, where was that "splash pad"? Maybe Maddie, Chris and I would like to visit it… Looked fun.

    BTW–they do outgrow it just a bit. Maddie was a lot like that, but she does lots of things now that I never dreamed I would see her do: dive into a pool, ride her bike with no training wheels, sing a solo at church…

  3. What a good Mom for running out there and getting her! I would most likely stand and laugh and then yell "come here" repeatedly until the situation was resolved.

    P.S. I LOVE that serious face she is making. Now I'll have to teacher her to raise one eyebrow to denote her seriousness.

  4. Did you "really" need to "rescue" Ali? I mean, I understand the being upset thing, but I think it is ok to push out of the zone. There is also a difference in water and gravel…Lastly, 2 questions: Did Abby stand by her once they got to the middle? or was she crying because Abby left her in the middle by herself? I don't know but how does that situation affect the Abby / Ali relationship? Deep thoughts..I'm surprised too….

  5. Mama Hen – too true!!! Accident doctor visits are a nonexistent thing around here!

    Shelly – it is in Gardendale on Fieldstown road. A bit of a drive, but it was a lot of fun. It would be more fun if you wait until after school starts…

    Rachel – she has quite the array of serious faces. With some eyebrow training from you, she'd be a pro!

    1. I can tell when my child is in shutdown panic mode – and she was definitely in it. At that point, yes – I rescue her.
    2. Abby tried to stick by her – she tried to comfort her but Ali would have none of it.
    3. Ali and Abby are fine – Ali still reveres her, and, of course as it always works, she actually remembers the memory of going in the water with Abby fondly. I also made sure Abby knew that we appreciated her trying to help Ali afterwards..

  6. Awww, poor Ali. She'll grow out of this stage. Emma was this way, and trying to force her into doing things just made everybody miserable. She's a lot more daring now, but never has had an ER visit, so it's all good.

    At least you didn't have to completely roast in the August heat. That was Ali's way of cooling you off.

  7. Awww, Ali's serious look just breaks my heart.

    Glad she enjoyed her time on the playground though. I agree with Mama Hen, enjoy it while it lasts. Those ER bills rack up quickly!

  8. Well at least she looked adorable in her little swimsuit! I wish mine were a little more cautious! We went to a party last night and I looked up to see she had gone with the bigger kids and someone had helped her up onto the trampoline…with no adult supervision. Yikes. She was having fun though. :)

  9. Amen and Amen!!! Having been a cautious child myself and having had one (out of 3) who was cautious and grew out of it, I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion. While it is important to encourage them to try new things, if they are enjoying themselves on the sidelines of excitement, then let them be. I know as a child, if I was left alone to play as I wanted to, I would eventually get brave enough to try the more exciting things – maybe not that same day, but eventually.

    But I also feel your soggy pain…wet jeans is one of the yuckiest sensations in the world!

  10. I definitely don't have a cautious child, just a shy child.

    And quick question: What in the world were you doing wearing jeans outside in the middle of August in Alabama? Don't you know it's hot as hades out there!!

  11. Awww…I feel for Ali AND you. I couldn't get Jack to go in the splash things either until I gave it up and got wet WITH him. Now when we go to the zoo, I'm the mom that you see running around with my cover up on over my swimsuit as we run around the splash area together. He loves it now and kind of sort of goes by himself.
    Oh and if you want to feel much much better about your story and make your mom feel better too…I got one for both of you.
    Jack was learning to go up and down the stairs by himself and enjoying it immensely while I was trying to get him ready to go somewhere. He finally sat down on a step two steps from the top and would not come on up the stairs. Fine, I say, I'm coming down to you and you are getting dressed NOW. Well getting a shirt over Jack's big noggin can be tricky sometimes and for whatever reason the shirt I picked for him to wear that day and the way he was positioned etc etc turned into me pulling shirt over his head but it requiring such force that it knocked him off balance and he tumbled head over heels down about six steps! Talk about Mommy guilt! Thank God he was fine–sometimes already having a VP shunt is a big ol' blessing I think. :)

  12. Luke wasn't brave enough to run through all the shooting water either, he got close enough to fill up his bucket and dump it on himself but that was it!
    Hope you weren't too soggy when you met your friend for lunch!


  14. OOOh, mommy guilt. At least your mommy guilt comes with a lesson and no lasting effects, only temporary sogginess. Haha!

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