Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Puppetmaster

Now that Ryan is “cruising”, he wants to spend as much time as possible marching about with my (or Daddy’s) help. Which means that I spend several hours a day steering him around the basement. Now, we’ve been working on childproofing the basement as much as possible, but there are still some things he can find to get himself into trouble with: the serving dishes on the shelving unit, the drawers in my sewing table, the shelves of books and DVDs, and the pool chemicals in the corner. But the advantage to his needing to hang onto someone while he explores is that I have the power to steer him away from anything he shouldn’t be getting into. I am the Puppetmaster!

It’s kind of a funny feeling to be able to steer him around. He hasn’t completely mastered the art of “one foot in front of the other” so when I steer him in a particular direction, his feet often tangle up and face a completely different direction from the rest of his body. But he doesn’t really resist, and a little nudge in the direction I want him to go in is usually enough to get him heading that way. I’m not sure if he gives up or if he really doesn’t care where he’s going as long as he’s marching along. But it must feel funny to him to be moving along with no control over where he’s going!

I suspect this is a good analogy for a lot of his moving along in life – Daddy and I will do our best to steer him in a particular direction, and early on I’m sure that he will go along without much struggle or fuss. But I’m also sure that the older he gets the more he will want to control his own direction. Hopefully he’ll at least consider Mom and Dad’s nudges, and hopefully our early direction will still be in the back of his head, guiding him. Even if he isn’t willing to admit that our guidance had any influence on his decisions, I know it will. And even when he goes against that guidance (and he will), maybe he’ll remember it when the direction he chooses for himself turns out to be less than wise.

Mom and Dad can’t play the Puppetmaster forever, nor should we. Pinocchio eventually needs to lose his strings and become a little boy instead of a marionette. But if we play our cards right, our voices will always be a little Jiminy Cricket in his ear.

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