The other day a good friend of mine came by with her 1 1/2 year old and the baby she's visiting. Her little boy so wanted to go up to the tree and touch the ornaments. She stopped him and redirected him. As I watched him, the memories came flooding back of when my kids were that age and how they wanted to touch everything. It was a bit stressful to me. We worried about the tree tipping over on them. We worried about damage to the ornaments that had weathered the years through both of our families and many that my great grandmother had made.
It's an interesting thing. Should I have cared? How important was it? What's a good solution? What's most important? That's the question that's easier to answer.
My kids and the memories they'll have when they grow up of our Christmases. I don't (and didn't) want them to be stressful ones. I'm afraid that's what my kids often think of me! They still love me though. Anyways, I was working on a gift for my brother and his wife when I thought of a good gift for friends...
Child Safe ornaments!
So, here's my plan. I went to this website. There's a bunch of great Christmas shape templates. My plan is for my kids to color them with me. Then, I'm going to laminate them and cut them out. We're going to tie a string through each so that they can hang on a tree.
This is the laminator that I have... http://amzn.com/B00BUI5QWS and the laminating sheets that I use... http://amzn.com/B00BWU3HNY The sheets end up costing 13 cents each. 5-6 ornaments can be laminated with each sheet.
We're going to make these ornaments for our friends with 1 and 2 year olds--who love to touch the tree. My hope is that it will make my friends' Christmas' a little less stressful when it comes to their Christmas trees by having some kid safe ornaments to hang on the lower branches.
I wish I had thought of this when my kids were really little to begin with. After a year or two with my little ones, I did come up with the solution of giving my kids their own tree. So, that's what we've done for three or four years. It has all kid friendly ornaments that aren't easily broken.
There are lots of things we change about our lives when our kids are little. We do these things so that we can enjoy them instead of being stressed because they're who they are--Little kids love to touch things! It's totally natural. They do have to learn boundaries and as parents we try and be reasonable. But, if you have to constantly say "No! Don't touch!" it can get very stressful and disheartening. It can steal the joy from many moments. So, my approach has always been to do what I can to make our home more child safe, but at the same time say "No. Don't touch." when I needed to. One example of this was two years ago, when I took all of my Willow Tree figurines and put them in a box downstairs. Three had been broken accidentally in the course of two months. Rather than getting upset again, I thought it would be better for all of us if I just put them away. I know a lot of people would disagree with me, but I know my personality and I knew it was the wisest thing for me and for my kids. Though my patience and grace for my kids has grown a lot, there's wisdom too. Knowing that it's wise to simplify so that it's easier to cope.
I'll post a picture when they're done!