Is it just me, or do you always have to have sight of your children?
Despite Mini's need to hold on to the buggy when we're out walking, if the mood takes him, as it does at parks and sometimes in shops, he runs and explores.
I struggle with this a little bit, ok a lot.
I know I need to back off, give him space to explore, watch from a distance and let him be a normal young boy, but at the same time I worry...for all sorts of reasons.
You know those mums you see at the play area hovering right by the climbing frame, or standing at the bottom of the slide, following their children around? That's me.
It doesn't help that I don't wear my glasses as often as I should, and I really do need to be close to distinguish my 6 year old from all the other 6 year olds, but I have this need to be able to see Mini at all times. And I have found that the design of most of the parks around here don't make it easy for you to sit at the side and see your child running around...there are bamboo screens, log pole fences, and usually a large climbing frame in the middle so wherever you sit, your view of the opposite side of the play area is blocked.
So why do I worry?
The lack of distance between birth family and us. And the fact that we know they visit our town. This makes me incredibly paranoid about them snatching him. And yes, they are that much of a risk....yes, even now after this many years.
Mini's clumsiness. I guess to others he wouldn't seem that clumsy, but he is always tripping over his feet, and his legs are multi-coloured - dotted with purple, yellow and black bruises, punctuated by bright Ben 10 plasters. When he's 8 foot up on a climbing frame, I worry that his clumsiness will cause him to fall, and I want to be there to catch him.
Coupled with the clumsiness, is Mini's 'hurty' problem. The one where he'll come running for a bumped knee, but not for a split open head. Indeed he recently bashed his head quite hard at school, but didn't tell an adult for 2 hours, til it really started to hurt. However, a fall in the playground resulted in a bit of a grazed knee, which he reported straight away, and happily went off to the medical room for a clean up and a plaster, and on returning home he screamed and cried when the plaster was removed, has limped for 3 days, and will only sleep in short pyjamas that don't brush against his leg!
So anyway, I worry that he'll get hurt, but won't say anything. And I worry that he'll have a seizure, but he won't know (because he never does) and so I'll miss it.
I worry that if I'm not nearby, Mini will run off. Because he does. Because the grass is greener and he wants to see over that hill. Because he doesn't think about getting lost, or running near a road or car park. Because Mini lacks common sense. Despite lessons to teach otherwise, Mini doesn't have much safety savvy. And I've had those heart-in-mouth moments when he's ended up too close to a moving car, or edge of the road for my liking.
Mini's social skills aren't great. I feel I have to be nearby in case I need to intervene or remind Mini to take turns, or to make sure he's OK if confronted by another child.
And I guess I'm just one of those parents. I have this overwhelming need to keep them safe and nearby. It took me a long time to have my children, and it wasn't easy to have either of them. Therefore, I must keep them safe at all costs right?
Twice I've experienced that heart-stopping, stomach churning moment where I've lost sight of Mini. On one occasion it took me 3 or 4 minutes to find him and I cannot describe to you how I felt, it was without exception the scariest moment of my life. Thankfully, I was with someone else who saw him and pointed him out where he was happily playing and running around, and hadn't of course noticed me looking for him, turning paler and paler as I did so!
I've tried, really I have, to keep my distance and I manage it better at soft play where he's more enclosed, and he couldn't escape the building. And we're fine at the beach as it's much more open and I can see him and anyone else approaching us too. But at the park, or in a shop, I just can't help it.
This is definitely my issue and something I need to work on. Mini and Dollop both need space to develop, and they need to become independent. The trouble is, both need to learn dependence first and I'm just not sure we're there yet. There's a fine line which I'm yet to find, so any pointers would be gratefully received.