Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let the Little Things Stay Little

Today, much like any other Tuesday, our mailbox was filled with the usual junk mail. There were grocery store flyers, coupons and other advertisements - nothing special. I usually go to school on Tuesdays and my husband watches our 6 month old son. In the past, I have come home to find my living room resembling a home where a small puppy may live. Toys with teeth marks and scraps of torn and chewed paper everywhere. Also in the past, I have freaked out and said things like "You let him eat paper?! Are you crazy!? No wonder he is constipated! Do you have any idea how many carcinogens are in that paper?". Today, I looked at it differently.

Donnie is learning to crawl, er...something like that...he uses more of a scooting and rotating method to get where he wants to go. If there is any kind of paper product anywhere on the floor, he will find a way to get there. Even if you are holding him, he will find a way to escape you just so he can relish in the simple pleasures of paper fun. He clearly loves the stuff. I assume it's a fairly common obsession among 6 month olds. It makes noise and has a lot of tactile stimulation.  Sounds like a good time for a little person. Inevitably, he found his way to the junk mail. Yes, I could of put it out of reach, but I just didn't. I had been sitting on the floor trying to read the ads seconds before this video was shot.

This time, instead of ripping the paper away and watching my son scream bloody murder, I just let him play. How can I expect my son to become a confident, independent child if I am constantly hovering over his every move and taking away every fun thing he finds? I imagine that ad and magazine paper is much like the thermal paper that was recently found to contain many, many carcinogens. But, I am slowly realizing that I can't worry about every little thing. If I allow myself to worry about every item that contains a carcinogen, I might as well put him in a plastic bubble (although I love watching the movie "Bubble Boy"). I'm not going to just let him sit there and consume huge amounts of the Winn-Dixie circular, but I am not going to tear it away and hand him a toy that he is sick of playing with. Babies need to play independently and explore new things in order to learn. Maybe he's not going to learn a whole lot from chomping on some ink laden ad, but he's going to giggle and have some fun.  He is so curious these days, do I want to squash that new wonder?

I know that I can't let him play with everything that he finds amazing just because "aww! he likes it!". If he picked up a razor or electrical chord and thought it was the coolest thing ever I would still take it away as fast as humanly possible. I just think little things like paper are no big deal. I'm supervising, making sure he isn't ingesting large amounts or choking. He is learning, having a good time, and finding that he can have fun all by himself. Yes, there's chemicals in the paper, but, to me, letting my son play with some paper is pretty inconsequential. That's just my opinion. He will survive.

No comments:

Post a Comment