I have to be careful how I word this and how I identify the cast of characters since I live in a small community and folks might read this and think I was talking smack about them and retaliate by accusing me of counterfeiting all my kids’ Boxtops for Education.
Once upon a time, I was at a children’s tee-ball game. The average age of the players was no older than 6. The coach, we’ll call him Coach, was watching his wife, we’ll call her Mom, who was taping the bench where the players would sit whilst waiting to go up for their at-bats. Mom was taping the spots in an orderly fashion and doing a bang-up job.
Part of me was thinking, That’s nice, I bet she saw that on the Pinterest. The other part of me was, Yeah, I bet you those kids can probably figure out how to sit down without someone taping their names for them? And anyway, have you ever met a 5 year-old? Sitting isn’t their best gross motor skill. Unless you ask them to empty the dishwasher. Then suddenly they’re champion sitters.
Okay, but then Coach starts critiquing Mom about her measured taping skills. He starts arguing with her about there not being enough room for all the kids on the bench. Like maybe she should have used a tape measure to precisely allocate a certain number of inches for each tee-baller rump. He starts hammering out each spot on the bench where the tape line should have gone, and suddenly Mom is feeling bad and Coach is clearly irritated and I’m on the sidelines totally embarrassed that this is happening.
Why is the five year-old tee-baller and her best seven pals not doing this themselves? Even if it’s not perfect, why are they not the ones marking up the bench so that they can take pride in their butt-assignment system? Why are we as American parents riddled with so much guilt and why are we so quick to swoop in and help our kids navigate situations that we ourselves were fine to figure out. Further, why are we taking all parenting cues from Upworthy videos and bloggers (hi.) and glossy photo DIYs pinned to the internet?
“Have you talked to your tweens about over-the-counter medications?”
I read the above on the Twitter tonight.
It is not enough to cloth diaper and puree organic root vegetables and help them with Sudoku-style math every night.
You have to add not oversnorting Afrin to the list of Things to Talk about with your Tween. Or you fail.
The moral of the story is, I should never have read Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting). Laissez Faire parenting, aka parenting that encourages discovery, is so my jam.
Packing my bags for France, parenting abroad indefinitely. Who’s with me?