Alternate Title: Everything I Learned About Parenting I Got Off The Internet
Not really, but close.
So, I was in love with the idea of Attachment Parenting. They made it sound so easy. You tune into your child, meet his/her every need without delay, and they end up growing up to be confident and secure. Because you anticipate their needs, you help them to know what their needs are, you can help them name their needs, and then one day they wake up saying "I'd like to have a cup of juice, please, mommy."
Somehow I failed at Attachment Parenting 101 if that was the goal, because our reality doesn't really look anything like that.
So, back to the internet I go to learn more about how to mostly-but-not-totally-crazily Attachment Parent.
I don't want to be an overprotective, burdensome, overbearing, smothering mother. Just a concerned, involved, attached mother. How hard is that? Where is the balance?
We go to music class most Saturdays, when we don't have one Plague or another. After music class the children all play on the playground equipment which is right outside the door. I haven't been on a playground in many years. My daughter plays on a playground at daycare daily, with caregivers standing by but not hovering. How bad can it be to let your kid go down the slide?
Oh. My. Gawd. You know the caricature of the mother who won't let her kid do anything because she's afraid of him getting a boo-boo? Me, totally. I admit it.
Then, when I think to myself, "you have to relax, V, and let her play", she falls off a swing, "SEE!" I practically hissed to myself, "THIS is why I don't RELAX, because she will FALL."
Very large slide. Very slippery slide. Very fast slide. Very tall slide. ALL characteristics that make it the Awesome Slide if you are a small child. ALL characteristics that make it the Very Scary Slide if you are a parent.
So I'm simultaneously trying to protect my child from falling off the swing/top of the structure/slide, catching her as she shoots off the end of the slippery slide onto the sidewalk (who designed this playground layout anyway?), and also trying NOT to be the overprotective, crazy mother that everyone laughs at.
How do you do that?
My daughter doesn't do steps well. She doesn't do anything well that involves motor skills yet. She has chronic ear infections that affect her balance. And she's 18 months old. So I decide to go ahead and stay close to her, and fuck whatever the other parents were thinking.
While trying to help her down the steps on another piece of playground equipment, a dad told his daughter she had to wait a minute to go up. I a very snide tone I hear him say "we have to wait for Wee One to come down..."
Seasoned mommies and daddies, more capable than I am apparently, write on their blogs about the crazy overprotective mother on the playground. I am her, I know that.
What am I supposed to do?
I didn't get the Mommy Manual, I don't know. If you got a copy, and you know all the answers about how Mommies are supposed to behave, please, fax me a copy.