Up until now, our parenting choices have been pretty successful, I'd say. Parenting an infant may be mentally exhausting, but relatively easy. Is baby hungry/wet/dirty/tired? Then I guess you have to feed/change/put baby down. Ta-da! That's pretty much all you have to worry about in most cases. If they survive to a year, I think you can give yourself a big pat on the back and call yourself an amazing parent.
But from here on out, things get to be more challenging. I first realized this a few weeks ago when we enrolled Barrett in a class at My Gym. For those of you who don't know, My Gym is a location where they have all kinds of activities for the kids - slides, swings, a ball pit, trampoline, etc and the kids spend the hour doing a mixture of group activities with the instructors and playing on their own. Surprisingly our little social butterfly was a bit shy and timid at the class. The time came each class for a group activity, sitting in a circle and singing or playing a game together. All the other kids seemed to do so well in participating along with the teacher. But Barrett wasn't so interested in sitting and listening and squirmed away to trot off to explore a different area.
I looked at Tim - "what are we supposed to do?" And my great co-parent, my parenting partner, my backup, just looked at me and shrugged. I want Barrett to have fun, which is the entire point of us doing this class and if he sees something else that catches his interest, I don't want to force him to sit there, have him cry, and basically take all the fun out of the class. But at the same time, he needs to learn to follow instructions and sit quietly and participate with the other kids. What to do?
In the end, we let him go off and go explore on his own. I figure that the most important thing at this particular event was for him to have a good time. Was this the right thing to do? I don't know. I am scared that from here on out, our parenting decisions are only going to get harder and harder!