My youngest son, Zachary (19months as I write), loves the bath. When we say, ‘bath’ he jumps at the word and heads for the stairs. Despite the way his heart is drawn to bath time, he is actually terrified of it. Well, half of it.
He has crafted an imaginary line in his mind down the center of the tub dividing the good half of the bathtub from the bad half. He is sure to stay safely in the water on the good half of the tub and avoid the bad half at all costs. Should a toy he is playing with float across the imaginary line to the dark side, he has but one recourse, scream in terror, obviously. That toy is certainly lost for all eternity if I don’t retrieve it for him…
This brings to light a question that I have: Why is he not concerned when my hand ventures into the dark waters to fetch the lost toy?
I am sure you are wondering why he is so frightened. He wasn’t always. This is a new thing. One day at the end of the bath I began to let the water out as always, but this time he noticed the danger. The drain. It first silently, then noisily sucked away all the water forming a little water funnel as it went. Horrific, yes?
Surely this fate is one to avoid, hence the safety of an imaginary line.
I watch his brothers play in the bath making use of all available space and water. Stretching themselves out fully. Zachary loves the bath but I wonder if he could enjoy it more if not confined to just one side? If he didn’t carry the stress of worrying that his toy will venture out of reach. For his brothers nothing in the tub is out of reach.
How many things in my life do I draw an imaginary line on out of fear? Are there drains in my life that I think could sink me, when in reality they are far too small to do any real harm? Do I allow myself to stretch out and make use of all available to me in this life or does fear keep me confined without even realizing it? —Wow mama, those are some deep bath time ponderings while getting screamed at, splashed in the face, and rescuing toys from certain danger!
Recently I said yes to something that scares me. I was offered the opportunity to speak about one of my favorite topics, the crossover in my life between strategies I used as a teacher and now as a parent. I will be focusing on the strategy that I feel has had the greatest impact on me and one I’m trying to really focus on in my life as a parent.
I am really excited about it! I am also terrified. Even though I know that this is something I want to try, I can think of many logical reasons to say no. I could draw an imaginary line and keep myself safe even though I know this is a good ‘yes’ for me. This is certainly a Toddle Spot for me (a place in my life where the steps are wobbly). I am going to walk anyway, and I am happy about it.
I am going to go ahead and jump in this tub, stretch-out, and splash around (fully clothed, of course). When my time is up and they pull the plug on me, I’ll survive it….Even if I fail. Most drains that I am afraid of are bigger in my mind than in reality.
If you are local and interested, I will be speaking on Sunday, April 24th at Pathway Church in Redwood City as part of a parenting series that begins this weekend on April 3rd. Service starts at 4:30 and there is childcare provided, thank the good Lord!
For more information please click here and feel free to contact me with any questions.
I hope to see you there!
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