Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Dear Alex getting a lesson in the simple joys of dropping rocks in the water off the dirty dock
- and a lesson about never going near the water without mommy or daddy.

Dear Alex at home in her crib, in the hoodie that she wouldn't take off for a day and a half. No big deal.

This morning I did my usual check to see what was new on boingboing.net, and found a link to this: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ and it kind of struck me that, well, Lenore Skenazy is right on, and we're already practicing what his smart woman is suggesting. A long, long time ago I started lil'screamie with a half-serious and not very well written post about "protecting your baby from the dangers of sharp edges", and a host of other things that struck me as absurd fear-mongering to sell products - It bothered me then, and it still bugs the crap out of me. I think it's our responsibility as parents to let our kids get dirty, make mistakes, experience the consequences of making a bad choice, and to learn from that experience. I really want that self-confidence and strength that engenders. I personally can't wait 'til she's old enough to run down to the deli to pick up some half n' half for daddy's coffee. In the country, I try to take her outside as much as possible and really let her run free, And even occasionally leave her alone (never out of sight, just out of her view) to see what she does, and see how she's doing. She almost never notices that I'm not hovering behind her, and she just plays. How simple is that? This weekend, she found herself a pile of leaves - a deep pile of leaves, up to her waist, she waded in sat down, and buried herself in them. Wet and dirty and cold? You bet. But she had fun, and I didn't worry - when she's not so sure about something, Dear Alex will give out a little cry for "daddy", and I'll always be there for her, but I won't micro-manage. The article and blog that inspired this post are directed more at slightly older kids, and at parents letting kids be kids - an appropriate backlash, I think, to a culture that's gone waaay over the top in protecting our kids from harm and germs and failure and, well, life.
I'm all for lightening up, and it's never too early to start teaching a kid the skills they need to separate what's safe from what's dangerous, what can really hurt them from what's unreasonable fear, and how to tell the difference.

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