I was you. I was the woman who stared at the off-his-rocker 4-year-old boy on the playground or indoor play space. I, like you, eyed his mother or nanny thinking ‘why can’t you control your child?’ I thought, ‘this kid is way out of control’. I thought, ‘he must have little to no parenting’. And all I can say now is…karma really is a B*!
My son is a great kid. He is sweet and smart and sensitive. He scares easily and is incredibly over protective of his brother. He believes he is a super hero and can protect everyone. He listens (most of the time) and follows MOST of my rules without prompting. He will ‘read’ books for hours and goes to the library every week to pick out 20+ new books that he will sit and look through for hours.
But despite all these things, he is a BOY. 100% BOY. Wild and full of unearthly amounts of energy BOY.
So yes. When he is allowed to “run free” he does so. With reckless abandon. When he is let loose at the playground or a play gym, he runs…FAST. He throws balls and kicks them high in the air. He jumps around like he’s a super hero despite lacking the physical prowess of an actual super hero.
And yes, when he does this, he looks like he was raised by wolves. His wild hair flows as he barrels through space with little to no body awareness. He runs into things and people. He is tough as nails, so when he plows into something he bounces off and keeps going often not realizing anything in his path.
So yes, to you, he looks beyond out of control. But to me, he is just being free. He is playing. Trust, if you think what you see is out of control, you are in for a rude awakening in a couple very short years. Because, like me, you have NO IDEA the capabilities of a little boy full to the brim with fiery energy for days. So yes. He is wild. And yes, he did run into your precious little Johnny. But he also said, I’m sorry. He looked Johnny in the eye and said, “are you ok?” He looked around for Johnny’s mommy. Then he turned and ran away bouncing with more energy than he had before. Because he is a boy, and when he is allowed to play in a place where he can be 100% free, I let him.
At home we have rules. When we are at a store or somewhere it is customary to act civilized he does. But when we are at a park, or a play space, he is allowed to PLAY freely.
I let him run wild. I let him jump and fly about like a maniac. But I also make sure he is aware of his surroundings. That he is careful of smaller kids and mindful of his actions. And while you see an insane boy being reckless and loud, I see my son playing happily and trying his best to control his energetic little body. I see him quickly look around to find the path he can run the fastest through without knocking anyone down. I see him peek over his shoulder before he chucks the ball into the air behind him.
To all my wild child mamas out there…I see you. I feel you. I know the struggle of letting your little one play freely while dodging death stares from strangers.
To all the mamas of future wild children…I see you. I was you. And despite your best parenting expertise, your little precious will likely to grow up to be a kid. Because that’s how life works.
So embrace your kids and LET THEM BE KIDS! They are wild and loud and messy and full of life. You can dim it all you want, but the fire will burn from every fiber of their being. So instead of shuddering at the chaos, take a closer look. See the joy, the fun, the freedom. Try to embrace it, because society is going to try to put that fire out. They are going to be told to sit still, calm down, be careful, be quiet WAY more than they are encouraged to run free, jump high, and play wildly. So let them. Let them be little. Let them be loud. Let them be wild.