Harry modelling his scabs
Letters to Harrison,  Parenting

Enforcing Rules With a Two-Year-Old

Rules, Harrison.


I’d prefer you follow them. There’s not many in your life so far, but the majority of them are centered around keeping you safe.

This fact is (apparently) to your frustration, since you seem to try everything in your power to do just the opposite.

Sometimes though, violating our rules results in damage to more than just you. I’m not sure how we’re going to navigate the coming months with a small, defenceless sibling, since I couldn’t have saved you from calamity last week with an infant on my chest.

You tried to ride down the skate park hill.

On a run bike.

No brakes,

and approximately three weeks of biking experience.


Toddler Riding Bike
Note the grade of the access path, the conveniently placed retaining wall at the bottom.


I feel like it is stating the obvious to identify the multitude of disasters that could have ensued, though I will apologise for kicking your back tire out to make you fall before the more serious acceleration and collision could occur. I think I am currently more traumatised than you.

I am amazed by how fast you heal at this stage though. My skinned knees remain roughly scabbed, yet your smooth little kid cheeks are already pink and shiny with healing. I remained sore for days after falling in your wake, and you were running at 100% by the next morning.

How many more of these crashes are in our future? (I’m told many)


How To Slow You down?

Papa and Mio had things right when I was a kid. When I was little-little they were strict. I recall watching neighbours play basketball in their driveway while I’d already been put to bed in my room. They let up, though, and by high school I had the most freedom, because “the rules” became automatic. I wonder if we should be stricter with you?

Just like we recovered your lost bike within minutes of posting online yesterday, In a small town I’ll hear things. Any trouble you cause will likely get back to me, things you thought you might get away with, stupid decisions, and misguided actions will be reported back by the web of communication that exists when so many people know each other in a small area (I’m sure you’ll still manage to get away with a fair bit, don’t worry).

A second child will slow me down more, and I shudder to think how that will affect my reaction time as you grow wilder and more confident. I hope in your two year old brain (absorbing so much information right now) that these lessons are retained on some level. Maybe- at the very least- each catastrophe only has to happen once for that to occur?

We nurture your tendency to explore and test boundaries, but how do we get you to limit them?

I suppose every so often, we let you crash.


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