We have this child. She’s not quite two and she always looks slightly disheveled like she just ran with the wolves and tickle-wrestled a mob of meerkat cubs. If you throw dust or a feather towards her, it will adhere to her sticky self. One might assume that by the third child you would have this parenting gig down. Not true for our joyful and fearless toddler who sees herself as a peer to the olders. As we guide her through the frustrations and infuriation she experiences when her one year old physical ability does not match the goals in her mind and heart, I am left glaringly aware of the words I am speaking over her. Limiting words. Boxing in words. Yes, there will be an amount of motherly caution. Although, as I hear myself I am reminded that my words must also be a blend of encouragement and affirmation of the attributes that she has been given and is exploring. “Don’t you know you’re too little to…” seems to be sliding off my tongue too often lately. It takes more courage for me to step back and watch her figure out what she is and is not capable of instead of immediately moving her to away, stop, can’t, safety.