I took my son to the YMCA yesterday. We have a membership there which will forever be in the budget because at $70 a month, it includes two hours a day of free child care, and James loves it because it’s stuffed with building toys like train tracks, giant blocks, and a big puzzle mat. I’ll admit that I sometimes drop James off at the Kid’s Club and sit in the lobby for an hour drinking the free coffee and relaxing. Hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, right?
Most of the time, or at least half the time, I actually workout while James is in the Kid’s Club and then we go in the family pool together before we head home. Yesterday there was a dad in the pool with his eighteen month old daughter. Unlike most of us modern day parents, this guys was not hovering over his little girl like she was doomed to slip and fall and gasp her last living breath at any moment. He stayed a safe but reasonable distance from his daughter and when we she was attempting to do something a little past her ability he said, “Be careful princess. Your might bonk your head if you try that.” The little girl wanted to step off the edge of the pool into the water. It was only a few inches deep, but the step down was big for her and there was a slide right in front of her that she could have fallen and bumped her head on. The dad didn’t move to stop her. He simply repeated his warning that she might fall and bonk her head. The little girl looked at her dad, looked at the step, and went for it. Much to her dad’s surprise, and mine, she made the step gracefully. She looked back up at her dad and smiled. If she knew the words, she would have said, “told you I could do it, dad!” Her dad smiled at her and said, “my little daredevil.” The little girl was clearly pleased with herself.
My husband has a similar hands off approach with our son, and it drives me insane! I’m always nagging him to pay closer attention to our son because I’m worried he’s going to get hurt (my son, not my husband). My middle school English teacher would cringe at that unclear pronoun reference. Sorry, Nancy. My husband, in return, always says that kids won’t take as many risks if they know you’re not right there waiting to catch them. We have argued about this for two and a half years but I think I’m ready to concede. I mean, I’m not saying I was wrong. That’s just crazy talk. I’m just saying that my husband’s theory might not have been entirely ludicrous. In fact, looking back, our son has had his two most serious injuries when he was under my care. So… I guess maybe it’s true. Maybe you have to let your kids learn their own limits even it means scraped up knees, elbows, and faces. Maybe that’s why kids are made so resilient; why their bones bend instead of break, why their cuts heal over night, and why a kiss can heal almost any boo boo. Maybe my husband isn’t entirely ridiculous. But you know what, I hate when my husband is right about parenting things. I hate it. I’m the mom. I’ve spent 2 1/2 years with the kid, scouring the internet and reading parenting books trying to figure out why he won’t eat, won’t sleep, won’t listen, won’t brush his teeth, and won’t stop throwing his food! I should get to be right! I tried harder!
I realize there is a more mature and enlightened way of looking at this situation but I hate being wrong about things. I’m thinking I’ll just pretend that my husband hasn’t been doing this all along and that this “new” minimalist parenting concept was a result of my recent infatuation with the living simplly. There, I feel better. So, to answer the question, “no, husband’s cannot be right about parenting.”