Our old toilet seat broke from the kids slamming it, not purposely, but so they wouldn't get their fingers smashed. I got a new "whisper close" seat. The kids thought it was so cool and had to test it out. I started to freak out a bit about breaking the brand new one, but I let it go, knowing they had to experiment. At one point I did tell Sunshine she needed to stop playing with it and she replied, "But I need to see how it work!" Fair enough. The time to test out the functionality of it came. Monster is in the bathroom and I notice the toilet seat closing while he's standing there. I start to yell at him to pick it up when I notice what he's doing. He's trying to see how close the toilet seat can get to closing before he pees on it. He's being a boy. I take a breathe and say, "Just don't pee on the seat" and walk away. (I should add my kids go potty with the door open, so I was walking by) Three weeks ago, I would have flipped out. I would have told him he is never allowed to do that and if I caught him doing that there would be some sort of consequence. But really, what was he hurting? Nothing.
Kids need to be kids. I started out parenting believing that. Then, I let other people's views on how my children should act skew those beliefs. My parents never baby proofed their house because they believed children should just not touch anything and should listen when you tell them not to touch. Children are naturally curious. They are going to touch, especially in someplace "new". Monster, being who he is, didn't just want to touch, he wanted to explore, learn all facets of whatever it was he was touching. I started to become rigid. This was not the behavior other people expected. That's when the "don't"s started. Don't do this. Don't touch that. Don't act like a kid. Yes, rules are important. Yes, children need to be able to keep their hands off things they shouldn't touch. Again though, the question is, what are they hurting? Why shouldn't my daughter be able to take the Brave doll off the shelf at Target and look at it? She's not opening it. She doesn't flip out because she can't have it. She's looking at it. As adults, I don't think we realize how many things we touch. We pick things up at stores all the time to see them, yet we expect our kids to walk through stores with their hands at their sides and stare straight ahead. The important part is that they don't destroy what they are touching. Of course there are exceptions to everything. I'm not going to let my kids play with wine bottles or digital cameras in a store. Now that Monster is getting older though, he thinks he should be allowed to look at the digital cameras and electronics. I get it. He wants to know how they work. He wants to know how everything works. It's really just innocence. Isn't that the point of childhood? To be innocent for as long as you can?
So, if your kids want to run through the sprinklers naked or look at every single matchbox car in Target, stop and ask, who is it hurting? If the answer is no one, let them be.