Over the last couple of years I have worked on being less uptight about, well, everything. As it relates to parenting, this translates to loosening up regarding Laurel making messes, being excessively careful at the playground, eating veggies, etc. I find that things just work enormously better if I lighten up and play it cool. Plus, she's a kid; it's age appropriate for her to make messes, get a little scraped up at the playground, and go on periodic veggie strikes.
Yesterday, however, I had a moment where I couldn't hold back. It was 90 degrees out at school pick up time and the kids were enjoying freeze pops. Laurel took some bites then really wanted to bring the freeze pop home to show her dad ("it's blue!"). By the time we got home it had melted to juice but she didn't care.
Laurel managed to get out of her booster, out of the car, into the house, and up the stairs without spilling the freeze pop. But when she got to the top of the stairs I reflexively called out, "Red light! Don't go past the hallway!" (Our bedroom, where Jon was getting changed, is wall to wall cream colored carpet.)
Jon came to meet Laurel at the bedroom door and she excitedly lifted up her freeze pop to show him ("it's blue!") and a bunch of the electrically hued juice spilled on the floor, literally all in front of her but an inch shy of the rug.
I decided at that point that some nagging is OK. Pick your battles. I didn't put up a fight when she crossed through the house, over the living room carpet (electric blue stains on the blue/green/yellow rug probably wouldn't be noticeable), and up the stairs. But I'm really, really glad I nagged her before she got to the cream colored carpet -- especially because it took me 3 separate attempts to remove all of the sticky freeze pop substance from the hardwood floor.