Right now, Jesse’s life exists within boundaries – a playpen for naptime, blue tape for playtime, highchair for dinner time, and mommy and daddy’s arms. As he matures we will slowly and with God’s wisdom, loosen the bounderies, loosen our hold, allowing him to choose what is appropriate and safe on his own. He will learn to set boundaries himself, by our instructions in the things of the Lord, and by our example of Godly living. That is the goal of parenting – to hold safely while releasing wisely.
As you see in the picture, Jesse is sitting happily within a boundary of blue painter’s tape. His play area is clearly defined in the living room by furniture and lines of tape. He can go anywhere in the room, as long as he doesn’t cross the blue tape. The radio is off limits, as well as the entry into the kitchen, and the dirty corner where the stove is (and those tempting pieces of coal he would love to have for a morning snack). Now that he is actually crawling, he comes in close contact with the tape frequently, but each time he actually touches it, he receives a ‘time out’ (our code word for a swat :)). He has learned quickly and has a healthy respect for the tape. We love it because it keeps life simple:
1. He doesn’t have to memorize several dozen items in the living room that are off limits – just blue tape.
2. I have hardly had to baby-proof the living room, which would be difficult in our small quarters and with him already learning to climb – I just put a strip of blue tape down.
3. making sure he isn’t into any trouble is as easy as glancing around the corner and checking that he’s still in his territory.
Of course, he tests the limits daily. But it’s a simple, clear to understand concept. When he reaches out one inquisitive little finger to caress that which has been forbidden, glancing knowingly in daddy’s direction, he will most assuredly be corrected. The lip may pout, a tear may fall, but sunshine returns so quickly, you know that he is happy and content to the core of his chubby little frame. He feels secure and well loved, because we are willing to help him learn to be wise.