Pass The Bubble Wrap, My Kids Are Going Outside

As I’ve mentioned, I consider myself a helicopter parent. I interfere with social interactions. (Honestly, I was left in a room full of people I didn’t know, also known as a wedding reception where I only knew the bride, and I would’ve LOVED to have a mom help me make friends. Or at least to negotiate the bullies and crotch dancers.) And while I let my kids jump and run and get bumps and bruises, I am there while it happens.  And I may suggest a different route to get off the three-story high slide than JUMPING.

So when I read that Free-Range Kids are having “Take Your Children To The Park And Leave Them There Day” on May 22nd, I think: Awesome. Now I can’t go to the playground on Saturday. Because I already HAVE two kids. I don’t need twenty-seven more.

Because I helicopter. And if you’re kids come into range, I helicopter while throwing you dirty looks.

I have two theories on why I parent like this:

  1. I’m psychic. If I think my son is going to fall down the stairs, I need to spot my son as he climbs. Because when I don’t? He falls. Seriously. As some of you remember from my barrage of tweets on Thursday, I had a bag of my DYED bridesmaid’s shoes THROWN OUT. Guess what? When I put that bag down a week before I thought: I should take those shoes and Spanx out because Scott is TOTALLY GOING TO THROW THEM AWAY. But I dismissed my psychic abilities. (Which for the intention of seeming sane and educated, we shall now call women’s intuition.) And I got to buy a SECOND PAIR OF DYED SHOES.  Intuitive!
  2. I am fairly convinced that the only kids who benefit from stand-off parenting are bullies and social butterflies. Neither of my children fall into these categories. Or at least I DON’T. Either way, if I hadn’t interfered with my son at soccer practice by calling him over and telling him to apologize, he would’ve gotten away with pushing two boys. The kids may have worked it out eventually, but I have enough trouble with making mom friends at soccer.  I don’t need a NEW REASON to be ignored.

But today I realized that I knew nothing about helicopter parenting.  As you have heard about a hundred times, N has a BLACK EYE. The picture I posted yesterday is the one from the day she fell off the chair. This is her today:

N's black eye of DOOM

And I spend the ENTIRE DAY in TOTAL FEAR that she will get hurt. My son touches her leg and I yell: GENTLE! She tries to stand up, and I look for pillows to place around her at strategic angles as she cruises the coffee table. I TAKE HER TO THE DOCTOR. Just in case we should be doing something MORE for her eye. And to be sure it’s still functioning. I’m surprised I didn’t ask for antibiotics

The doctor reassured me (over and over) that N is fine. (Although her eye will look like this for TWO WEEKS! Send more pillows!)

As I put her to bed tonight and consider sleeping on the floor IN CASE HER EYEBALL FALLS OUT, I realize that I was not a helicopter parent UNTIL A CHAIR, MY DAUGHTER AND MY HUSBAND CONSPIRED TO MAKE A HOVERING LUNATIC.

Maybe I SHOULD drop off my kids on Saturday.  Just until I get my intuition back.  But can I include bubble wrap?  Because she only has ONE EYE LEFT!

Boy in Bubble Wrap
Photo courtesy of I Hate My Parents)

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

18 thoughts to “Pass The Bubble Wrap, My Kids Are Going Outside”

  1. OMG, N looks so much like you, and I barely know what you look like, except for your twitter pic, ha ha! I would freak & peak if my child got a black eye like that, so I’m with you.

    My kids are almost grown, so I don’t have to worry as much as I used to, but I was always a helicopter parent, I guess. My guys had some special challenges b/c they had lost their birth mother at 2 & 5, so I was pretty protective. Plus they were and still are very introverted.

    Hope N (and you!) are feeling better soon.

    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Finishing up “Stiff” =-.

  2. Im not sure why this generation does spend sooo much time “Hovering” over our children.

    Don’t get me wrong I did the same freakin thing.

    However I am going to tell you that you have to STOP doing it. It does n o t help them any as they get older. It actually makes things worse.

    I know its a hard thing to do, but you gotta stop. Trust me on this. Mine are 15 & 20. I know how it has effected mine.
    .-= soccermom´s last blog ..Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh YES =-.

  3. Where in the heck did you find that bubble wrap picture?! I am laughing my head off that it even exists. I like to refer to my parenting as the funnel approach. Yes, I need to broaden the funnel every now and then, but in general with behavior and social circumstances and independence, it’s a heck of a lot easier to broaden the funnel then to bring it back in. And Nora’s eye looks fine! Just like that side is going to Glamor Shots, that’s all.

  4. Oh, the poor thing! I hope she gets better.

    You are okay to helicopter right now – your kids are still so little. I have always been on the protective side, but I’d like to think I am being reasonable. My son now plays outside on the street alot but either my husband or I always go out because we have traffic coming in in both directions and he’s not yet developed enough to remember 100% of the time to look both ways, so I don’t want to take that chance just yet. You just go with your instinct and you will know when to let go of the reigns. You just do it little by little, as they grow and develop.

    As for bumps and scratches, though, I had to learn to let go of that quickly, having an active boy. I try to teach him common sense so that he’s not trying to jump off a 6 foot jungle gym of course, but otherwise keep in mind that the more day to day bruises and cuts heal. My mom raised me to fear danger in absolutely everything, and to this day I can’t swim, drive on the highway, etc. I don’t even like the swings. It’s crippling.
    .-= Cecilia´s last blog ..Sigh…The Torture of being on Auto Pilot =-.

  5. When my boy was just past his first year, he took off walking and I stayed behind, curious about how far he would go without me. He went far. He fell. And he ended up with a nose scab that was very Hitler ‘stache. Not pretty. We left two days later to drive a couple thousand miles, and I had an irrational fear of accusatory looks across state borders.
    I felt like a wacko. 🙂 So I admire your confidence.
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..House lust =-.

  6. The first time I let Annie, aged 7, out to go play by herself unsupervised, she ended up on the front porch, shoeless and unintelligible. Ended up in ER with concussion, and police. Rape kits were involved…turns out she wasn’t abducted and drugged, etc. as some feared. Police figured out from description of her injuries that she had a monkey bar accident. The school playground is a block away. Her sister had just learned how to do flips on the monkey bars. She is just now going out without any supervision. She is 27
    .-= molly campbell´s last blog ..RECIPE FOR DISASTER =-.

  7. I’m often helicoptering too. But as my big girl approaches 5 and big kid school, I hang back more and more in social stuff. But I still get panic-stricken if I lose sight of her at the playground.
    Parenting – it’s our job to keep them safe and to teach them independence. Pass the bubble wrap over here while your at it.

  8. Have a couple of more kids, and then you won’t be able to hover anymore.

    I was a helicopter parent with the first two, but I just couldn’t be (as much) with the second two. I truly think the kids are better off for it.
    .-= Mrs.Mayhem´s last blog ..I Am Not Athletic =-.

  9. I sat right next to my son and watched him pull a stocking hanger off the mantle and slice his lip open. Right. Next. To. Him. I was hovering, it happened so fast, and and he still got hurt. That shook me up a little, I’ll admit. Even when we’re right there for them, we can’t be right there. This mothering thing is scary!
    .-= Stacia´s last blog ..Five for Ten: Lust =-.

  10. I was a young, stupid mother. I only know this now of course, when my children tell me all the death defying incidents that could have maimed them or killed them. I gasp in horror at my stupidness. So, I don’t blame you for being all helicoptery. Eventually you’ll let go. But now now-they’re way too little and they need you to be the official “pillow carrier in case of falls”. You’re doing a great job!
    .-= Reasonably Chubby´s last blog ..I Was A Fifth Grade Prom Queen =-.

  11. My son Diego fell and busted open the spot just above his eyebrow a few months ago and needed stitches!! I felt so awful and even though I was right there next to him when I happened, I felt like a total slacker mom. I’m so sorry about your daughter. I’m sure it will heal in no time! And as you know, I’m right there with you with my rotors quivering, just waiting to fly in and fix something all the time…

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