Having two kids makes a person a different kind of parent.
Namely, I can no longer hover over my one child and marvel in his every move. I can’t stand under him to catch him if he falls head-first from the bar from which he’s hanging upside-down. If I do, I won’t be able to catch the baby, who has managed, at 15 months, to climb half-way up the playground structure ladder.
I decided recently to take the boys straight to the playground, weather permitting, as soon as I pick them up from daycare. Bringing them home was bumming me out, because too much tv was involved. Cake had so much energy after being cooped up in his daycare “class” all day, that he was running back and forth in our living room as though it were a racetrack. So I thought I’d let off some energy, avoid the boob tube, and possibly give my honey some alone time when she got home from work by taking them to a place where they are supposed to run around in circles and climb things.
It has been fun. I’m glad I made the decision. It has also made me look long and hard at myself as a parent. I really need to be with Trucker in the playground. I’m used to being with Cakie, though. Lord knows, they don’t stay together. So I’ve had to let go of Cake a little. I’ve become that mother of a “big kid” about whom the mothers of little singletons are thinking and possibly saying under their breaths, “Where is his mother?” I’m right here, on the other side of the playground trying to stop the one-year-old from jumping off of the concrete water fountain, thank you very much.
Mind you, Cake is a good kid. He loves babies and is generally careful around them and loving to them. He’s also a little dare-devil. And he’s pretty athletic. So I’ve had to look seriously at the risks in my playground (there are very few). I have to just let him play and stop hovering. Trucker needs me to hover, not Cake.
Then the other part of me hears that evil kidnapper guy who imprisoned that girl in California in his back yard for all those years. Apparently he said to a woman who was trying to print out a child-safety flier at his copy shop, “All you have to do is grab just one [child.]” That just makes me into a crazy person. Our playground has only one exit, so it would be hard for someone to take him without me seeing. Regardless, in the playground I do a little dance between fierce protective mama and “Where is his mother?” mama.
The truth is, I think I am a little over-protective. And I think Cake is partly glad that I have to watch Trucker instead of him. He likes to be free of me for a while. Having Mommy stand right there while you try to be Wolverine and a pirate simultaneously can seriously cramp a four-year-old’s style.