A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Urban Playground

Jack in a puddle.

One of my biggest struggles as a mother is to let go of my agenda and listen to Jack’s. I set out to the park on an unseasonably warm day in Chicago. I mean how many days do we get to enjoy such a treat? On our way out the door Jack saw a puddle and squirmed to explore it. I tugged on his coat and coaxed him to the park. He resisted. I resisted back.

Jack in a puddle

I stopped myself and asked, “what’s the big deal? Why can’t he play here? Why does he have to play in any designated area just because it is what I thought of first?” I put him down and he jumped into the puddle. He was elated in a way not often seen. I lost 10 minutes on an extra load of laundry, but gained a happy and healthy exploring toddler whose self-esteem and brain developed leaps and bounds in a way it would not have if I had demanded his compliance of my arbitrary structure of the day. I also gained a snuggley warm bath with my baby boy who is growing faster than the speed of light. Splash on, Jack. Splash on!

Abby Theuring, MSW