Inside Lane

Hands Off Parenting

Thor: (as we were walking out of the house, and he was trailing his hands over everything in sight) I wonder why I like touching things so much?

Me: Probably because you’re a normal kid. You’re curious and human, and you want to know what things feel like. The trick is in knowing when you can, and can’t touch things.

Thor: Impulse control.

Me: Right.

Thor: I don’t have a lot of that.

Me: Again, because you’re a normal kid. The part of your brain that helps you control impulses isn’t finished yet.

Thor: When does that part get finished?

Me: Somewhere in your early 20s. That’s why you need parents. My job is to be the part of your brain that isn’t finished yet. That’s why I’m always telling you to stop things, or change things, or watch out. I am your impulse control center.

I honestly hadn’t thought about it like that until I said it to him, but I am my son’s impulse control at this point. Without me stopping him, he would have run out into traffic a long time ago. That is just fact.

Thinking about parenting as being someone’s brain made me laugh, but it also terrified me. I don’t always make the best decisions for myself!

We went on to the mall to chase Pokemon and watch a movie, and he leaned against me as we walked. He elbowed me throughout the movie, laughing, looking for my reaction. He pulled my arm around him in the car. He ruffled my hair and grinned.

He tickled, and poked, and grabbed, and hugged, and I found myself hoping that as his brain develops, and he learns to navigate the world without me, he never grows a brain wrinkle that kills his impulse to paw his mother.


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