Not to put too fine a point on it, she has always been a challenging kid. Very bright, very spirited, and stubborn as a Borax twenty-mule team all rolled into one. Parenting her has always required considerable mental judo and a good sense of when to let go, because she has never, ever, sat down and done what she was told. All the more so these days when she is a wilful teen exploring her independence while coming to terms with an ethnic identity that diverges from her parents', as well as living in her own head with my cancer and mortality issues.
Reading that article reminded me of something that happened on the playground years ago, when she was three or four, that I think says it all about both my daughter and my own parenting philosophy.
The playground near Viejo Rancho Lake was one much like those described in the article referenced above. Modern, soft-edged play equipment over a deep layer of bark mulch in an ovoid space surrounded by benches on which parents could sit and carefully observe the entire play space and all the activities within it. Working at home, and having slightly odd hours (my normal workday was and is 6 am to 3 pm Pacific, to conform with my employer's Central time zone office hours), that meant in the afternoons I was often at the playground with
(A side effect of these afternoon hours was that I was the only male playground mom. The neighborhood moms knew me and knew which kid I was connected to, but the park got a lot of drop-in play, as it is a pleasant space near three bus lines and two major through streets. Drop-in moms were often very suspicious of the bearded guy with the long hair sitting on the bench watching the children play. As
The playground has these tall swings, the kind where the top crossbar is about nine or ten feet up to provide a long chain drop and therefore a higher peak for the swinging experience. The frame of the swings is 2" pipe, bent and fitted to make the structure. One of
One day one of the drop-in moms approached me as
Apparently it was. This woman was so protective of her offspring that she didn't want them seeing someone else's child doing something interesting, fun and challenging.
We have so much to give our kids. Maybe we should put away some of the protective instincts and let them be children. Loud, dirty, rambunctious little creatures who jump off the garage roof and run around with sticks. And climb tall things. That her mother and I let