Viva Free-Range Parenting

Parenting makes me laugh at myself. Almost as much as I cry and beat myself about the face. I can’t laugh at myself without also laughing at others… to which I say, Viva Free-range parenting!

I’m very much not a Helicopter Mom. My rotors don’t go off much–really my kids have hurt themselves more when in reach of an adult than they have on their own. Just this week, I blinked and Zach let go of the monkey bars right in front of my face. Though the common misconception seems to be that Those That Don’t Trail in Shadows are also Not Paying Attention. So not true. Usually.

I found myself at the mall (shudder, gag— I don’t like malls) to return a shirt that I bought a few weeks ago. Loved the shirt– really. Unlike my current collection of t-shirts, this shirt was the Other Self’s style of yesteryear– hippy-tastic, with it’s peasant-style and embroidery. It was also $60, which is just too much for McCheapy (me) to spend on a peasant shirt.

Thus I was already at the Temple of Doom and Consumerism on a cold and dreary morning that began before sunrise with Small Person 2.0 Riverdancing on my full bladder. Which is how I ended up in the Hotzone of Viral Impact, otherwise known as the mall’s indoor play area. My general MO with these places is to do a scan for creepy-guy-with-no-kids, perform a perimeter check for open areas in the fence, and then to park myself at the exit. Once my child is happily socializing with the other petri dishes, I settle in to catch up on my Very Important internet reading.

Sadly, a lot of the attending parents today did not share my relaxed and groovy attitude. There is only one reason to purposely hang out in a place that smells vaguely of urine and goldfish crackers, and that is to let your kid roam free. These play places are like bars were to single me, and as such I don’t go there to pick up new mom-friends.

In general, my kids behave age-appropriately, most of the time. That is, they aren’t flawless angels– but they also aren’t vicious. However, if your 10 month old kisses my 2 year old, he might then begin to hug her exuberantly (or lightly wrestle, depending on perspective). Perhaps, instead of glaring about looking for me, you could stop your dear daughter from planting kisses on strange boys. Ah, I jest.

The rest of the helicopters that trailed after their older toddler and preschool aged children? Mostly rotor-moms, as determined the by the number of murderous glares that you shot to the 5 or 6 other parents that were enjoying their freedom this morning. And that’s totally cool if that’s how you want to roll. Certainly my hovering wouldn’t have prevented Elliot from gently biting that kid on the slide. I mean I didn’t see it happen, but I did notice a guilty looking Elliot and a crying toddler. After asking E if he had bit the kid (yes), I did what I always do– forced the apology and delivered the consequence–leaving the playground–all while my kid kept repeating “but I used words first“. Apparently, the words of “stop pushing” wasn’t working, so Elliot enforced his spot on the slide rotation against the (bigger) kid with a wee nip. Small People— not miniature adults.

Even had I been hovering, it’s not like I could have prevented it. Right, Rotor-mom? I mean, you were hovering…and it still happened. /wink-wink/

Come back tomorrow, when I tell how Baby Jesus killed Santa Claus in our house last weekend.