Readers! To get the blood flowing this Monday morn:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I got a random issue of a parenting magazine in the mail. I don’t subscribe, but I guess it’s a teaser issue to try to drag me in. There’s a Q&A feature in which a mother asked if it was okay to leave her 2.5-year-old in the living room watching a movie while she put her infant down for the night, which involves nursing the baby to sleep in another room. (From my experience, this is usually a 15 minute task, 30 minutes, max.)
The response from the “expert” (with some sort of PhD behind her name)? NO!!!, because Something Could Happen. The advice? Put your 2.5-y-o in a “contained” place and don’t nurse the baby to sleep but put him or her down more quickly, if you must be apart at all. Even better, the implication is, would be to nevereverever let your 2.5 year old out of your sight, not even for a MINUTE.
Yeah, right. As I was reading that, my 2-year-old was in the living room alone, using a movie to wind down for the night after all the stimulation of grandparents. I bet that “expert” would call CPS is she saw the neighborhood gang roaming around the semi-country acre lots on our cul-de-sac –“unsupervised,” sometimes. There is a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old, two 6-year-olds, a moderately to severely mentally retarded 4-year-old, and the aforementioned 2-year-old, all playing happily while parents do no more than glance out the window periodically and keep an ear out. Heck, she’d lead the lynch mob herself if she knew that we let the older four wander in the woods behind the neighborhood by themselves!
My 2-year-old HAS been injured enough to take note–twice, in fact. And both times, she was being directly supervised by an adult in the same room with her. Once, she was within arm’s reach and just tripped, fell, and put her tooth through her lip. The other time, she nose-dived through a screen to an open window that was 10 inches from the ground and scraped the bridge of her nose on the brick. There was no way to be fast enough. Accidents happen.
But the worst she’s suffered when outside with the boys is a skinned knee because they have been raised to be responsible–as I am raising her.