So my daughter is a protestor. It’s so trendy now, even for the littlest of kids. I guess it’s bound to happen, with the cultural climate, as it is. Luckily, her objections that I’m writing about here, aren’t as militant as some can be.
Every morning lately, during her bath time, I announce that ‘It’s Time to Wash UP!’ As I am preparing her pink scrubby with watermelon soap, she is mounting the protest. It’s a peaceful one, almost without any noise at all.
On my ‘wash-up’ cue, she has begun a pattern of grabbing the shower curtain, and ducking underneath it. Then she is sheltered between the inner and outer curtain. She just sits still in quiet defiance of the wad of soapy suds I’m wielding at her. It’s a pretty cute actually, and it made me realize something today.
JoJo is exercising and expressing her individual preference in relation to the washing portion of bath time. She has no problem with the beginning of the process. She is usually happy to be stripped down and plopped into the tub. She plays and carries on for awhile without issues. After the scrubbing and rinsing, she is back to blowing bubbles and splashswimming in place.
It’s easy to understand she won’t participate completely willingly in the cleaning. She also doesn’t completely melt down, but a few wimpers and squeaks will be her only cries. At least for this last few day period, she submits to it, but is clearly showing me her feelings on the matter with her, insta-hiding tricks.
For our entire lives, we curate and develop an intricate web of personal boundaries. The beginnings of which probably look something like this example with our kiddo. We are the ones who ultimately choose the flexibility or rigidity of our boundary lines, when it comes to actions we engage in. We have tons of control and therefore responsibility to make split-second or long-term decisions on what we will participate in, endorse, allow, require or fight for and against.
Maybe one definition of our personality would be a long list of these boundaries and choices that we have created a unique pattern with, and that others know us by. It is fun to watch this little human grow in front of my eyes and show me truths about the larger concepts of consciousness and existence.
We obviously start young with the development of expressing our opinions to world. I wonder about my own life and inner stances. Do I hold myself highly accountable to examine my boundaries? Where and why, do I tend to protect and stand fast? Where do I let blow free in the breeze, my own involvements and interactions?
I think Joella is probably just doing now what feels good. It feels fun to play and splash. It’s less pleasant to be swabbed all over and then soaked down with a shower wand, like the family dog. I get that. It’s not the most enjoyable part of bathing.
However, it’s also necessary and healthy to be cleaned up once in a while. It’s probably more fun in the big picture to be a sweet smelling clean-faced little tyke, than a stinky tot covered in sticky breakfast goo from head to toe.
Right now, I help her make those decisions. I do what I think is best, even if she’s showing me it’s not her thing…
For myself though? I might not always look close enough at the consequences. I might fall into a trap, and act like my little girl. I might choose to do what feels good, instead of what is good for me. In fact, I know I do it. Probably more than I care to admit.
As far the things I protest against? Hmm… how about giving up my selfishness, being the most helpful husband I can be, or letting another peanut M&M remain in the bright yellow heavy plastic sack. Although I’d like to tell you that I hold tight to my disciplines of goal setting and life-mapping and spiritual development, I’d be lying to claim it.
These are just a few examples of boundaries that I need to re-evaluate. Some walls need built and reinforced at all costs. Some need torn down and removed altogether. But that’s just me, just the choices I’ve made up to this point, and it can and will change soon, it always does.
Just as our darling daughter shows us, the change is rapid and unpredictable. Maybe this time next week, her protesting will be overpowering. If you see her hair matted in oatmeal and the remnants of toast crumbs and jelly on her cheeks late in the day, you’ll know what is going on. 🙂
Until next week my friends, invest energy in the examination of your own boundaries. Reestablish your personal sovereignty. Remind yourself, that you have lots of choice in this life. Not as master of circumstances, but of your responses to them.