Because if I do, *I* is sure to exercise his freewill in ways I will not appreciate.
Right now, for instance, he is pulling every dvd and vhs tape (yes, we still have a vcr) off the shelf. He will eventually put them all back, if I ask him and he's in the mood. Sometimes the stars and planets line up just right, and it happens. Really. Sometimes I get that lucky. Other times, I cajole one of the other beasties into helping pick up or I just do it myself, because it's easier than the nagging (by me) and the whining (by them, "I didn't make the mess"...which receives the response, "I don't wear your clothes, but somehow I manage to wash them for you. It's called being a member of the family blah blah blah "..because you know at some point they stop hearing the words I'm speaking and I start sounding like an adult from a Peanuts cartoon.)
Last night *I* was dancing on the table (fully clothed, so that was a new trick) and he threw (and I do mean that as in he pitched) the drink *E* had left on the table onto the floor. I asked *E* to leave the drink on the counter because I, seasoned mother that I am, expected something like this to happen. But why listen to me, I'm only the mom. Maybe it's the poor lighting (I prefer the term mood lighting ;) ) but I do not see a stain.
It's all small stuff really. I tell him "No", I remove him from the situation and he knows I am not pleased. I can look back and laugh. I try really hard not to laugh when it's happening because, well, that might give him the wrong idea.
Then again, sometimes it's good to laugh at small stuff, because life shouldn't be all frowns and rigid rules. I don't want any of the kids to be mean or destructive, but sometimes they're being goofy and an accident happens. Sometimes they're just being and an accident happens. I break glasses and spill drinks too. Sometimes they're tired and cranky. Sometimes I'm tired and cranky and not the nicest person (Like last Saturday).
If I try to be attentive (not look away...for too long or too frequently) I can usually catch the little things before they turn into big things. I don't hover and if it's a little thing (like the dvds) I don't get uptight unless he's taking them out of cases and using them as Frisbees. If it's something dangerous (dancing on the table) or destructive (holding a marker with a gleam in his eye and no paper in sight) I jump in and redirect.
And when the bigger things happen, there is redirection, sometimes discipline (ever tried to give a time-out to a 2-year-old? That's a workout!) and always ALWAYS grace. I don't hold grudges and there are second chances and more...just like God gives me second and third and thirtieth chances. God never looks away no matter how often I disappoint Him. God never gives up on me. God is the ultimate parental role model. I can never be as perfect in my parenting as God is, but I can look to Him for guidance, pray to Him for wisdom and lean on Him when it gets hard (because parenting is not for wimps...or perfectionists ;) )
So I keep my eyes and ears open, hoping that as the beasties get older, they will make better use of their freewill ...my 15 yo does not draw on the walls or dance on the tables...I'm trying not to think about when he goes away to college though. ;)