It was, however, reassuring to see a girl, just a week older than Jet, get that two-year-old smile on her face as she climbed up onto the tile platform between the play pool and the outlet of the giant slides. Her father stated, in the same tones that I would have used, that she was NOT to jump into the other side. And she just smiled that smile at him before tensing to jump. He caught her before she did and we had the usual flailing and a few screams before getting interested in other things on this side of the area.
This had an interesting bit about how young kids like rules. As a parent, I wouldn't know it from the way Jet's been acting, but at a gut level, I think it's true. Even when Jet's kicking and screaming, sometimes I know that it's good that we're reinforcing The Rules calmly and consistently. Some things are so. Like only being able to go off the deck with shoes. That one only goes to the sandbox with some supervision, even if it's just Mom weeding and watering the tomato plot.
But sometimes it's just really hard when Jet's obviously having No Fun. It's often harder for John as when Jet really starts kicking, Jet's now tall enough to get John in a very, very vulnerable spot. So both John and I have gotten good at the football hold. It's also hard in that I sometimes wonder if I wasn't imaginative enough to give Jet choices. I try, with everything we do, to give him a choice so he has some control. Even if it's as simple as, "Do you want to walk with us or do you want me to pick you up and carry you?"
That paid off last night, as Jet was clinging to some candy machines, and I gave him that choice. I picked him up for two steps and he said, "Walk! I walk!!" so I set him down and he walked with us! Wow. It went the other way the other night at the grocery store, where he said, "Up! Up!" and I carried him through the store instead of having to chase him all over it trying to fix all the chaos he was creating.
And Jet's testing every rule and seeing what holds. It's to be expected, and I hope he does get a sense for who he is apart from us, and that he gets to make choices and they matter out of it all, but it's still hard to do.