OK, so I specifically don't blog about being a mom. There are other blogs for that. I mention it in passing, but I've avoided straight-up mom blogging.
But today is different.
Today, my son and I went to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis with a friend and her son. It's a really fun place. It's very hands-on, and there are signs everywhere emphasizing to parents the importance of play and the skills children learn through play—problem solving, coordination, etc. I loved watching my boy discover a sandbox for the first time and seeing life-sized dinosaurs. His eyes were like dinner plates! He played with everything, explored everything, touched everything. His favorite activity was in an exhibit called "From Polar Bears to Penguins." They had a slide set up, and the kids put on a little penguin vest and slid down on their tummies just like penguins slide on the ice.
He could have done that all. day. long.
He doesn't like slides at the playground. Won't go on them. "No slide! No slide!" Refuses. But this was different somehow. I don't know if it was because there were so many other kids doing it too, or if it was that he got to slide on his belly. Who knows? But as soon as he hit the bottom, he said, "Mama, again! Mama, again!"
Then he got creative. He'd stop halfway down the slide and sit up. Or he'd flip over onto his back and push himself the rest of the way with his feet. Then he'd just lay on the mat at the bottom of the slide and laugh as the other kids ran into him.
I wanted to move him out of the way. Not because I thought he'd get hurt (the other kids weren't going that fast, and they all saw him and tried to be careful. I was impressed, actually), but because he was in someone's way. Because I thought his fun would inconvenience someone else.
I think about this a lot, actually. When we're in the grocery store, he likes to be kind of loud. He enjoys riding in the cart, and we have this game where I let go of the cart and let him go a few feet down the aisle without me, like the cart is out of control. He loves it. He screeches and laughs! As long as he's making happy noises, I don't really care how loud he is. It's like we're in our own little world. We get some funny looks, but it doesn't matter. It's a fun time for me and my son, and I love it.
When does that stop? When do we become so concerned about what other people think? I love my son. I love that he's a happy, good-natured kid with a great imagination. I love that he thinks to go down the slide backward. The other kids didn't mind. Why did I?
I know this is such a random post, but our experience today really made me think about how people perceive me. And my son. Where's the line between "our little world" and the world we share with everyone else? I know I have to raise him to be considerate of others and to be polite, but if everyone seems to be having fun, should I intervene? Do other moms have this little world?
And, on a bigger scale (and to tie it into my blog), is there ever a time when I'm in my own little world with my Heavenly Parent? Do I care what people think about us? During worship at church, is anyone looking at whether or not I raise my hands? I shouldn't care about that, but sometimes I do. I wish I didn't care what anyone thought.
It's weird, living in the world. With all these other people. Isn't it?