"A helicopter parent is a term for a person who pays extremely close attention to his or her child or children, particularly at educational institutions. They rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling them or letting them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children's wishes. They are so named because, like a helicopter, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach whether their children need them or not." ~ wikipedia
I'm always joking this is me. But seriously being a helicopter parent is not healthy for growing independent children. Austin obviously has this worse but Tommy isn't that much better off.
This summer I watch kids from our neighborhood biking all over the place, the little girl down the road comes down unsupervised in her Barbie car. Clans move along and I'm sure Tommy would have a blast joining them but I fear letting him off on his own. Plus Austin would be upset because I'd certainly make him stay home.
Just this summer I've finally let Austin play out in our yard by himself. Of course I open the window so I can hear the basketball bounce but as soon as I don't hear him for even a minute I go check on him. Sometimes I'll panic because he's gone, only to find him playing in the backyard or in the garage. Why am I so paranoid? I live in flipping Mayberry, nothing bad ever happens here. I have this irrational fear of that one strange time where the kids get snatched, or a big dog attacks, or they upset a bees nest. I know I'm strange. Our kids are the only ones in the neighborhood that are forced to wear bike helmets and Tommy can't ride unless I'm out there.
I always thought I would just hover over them for safety issues but now I'm starting to worry about school. Just for Austin, Tommy has never had an issue with school academically and he is one of the lucky ones who probably never will. But Austin, Austin, Austin. I'm highly questioning this move to Kindergarten. He's not excited about it at all and I fear he will be crying all day. Then again, he would probably cry going to school regardless after being home all summer. But he's just not seeming like he's a. mature enough for Kindergarten and b. smart enough and c. mobile enough. Let's expand on this.
a. Maturity - See the crying above. Also, behavior wise he'll copy others and he also tends to not listen. He does what he wants and sometimes just refuses to stop something even if knows the consequences. He's a whiner and tattle tale too. Not a good student combo.
b. Brains - Could he have some sort of mild learning disability? We work everyday on numbers and letters. The letters and sounds he does great individually. But ask him like what does pig start with and he'll say some odd letter and I'll even give him a "p" and "s" and he might say "s." Numbers are even worse. We've really been working for over a year and he can't count higher than 13 without getting jumbled. He recognizes "26" and "15" because they are my hockey numbers. Every morning he gets on the scale and is either 33 - 35 pounds and he won't know what the number is. Isn't that strange? And sometimes he just doesn't want to perform and won't do anything. I've noticed he has trouble patterning a huge skill.
c. motor skills - scissor work could be downright dangerous. His printing is not too bad but he holds his pencil wrong and doesn't write fluidly. i.e. he'll form his letters in unconventional ways. Then you've got the problem of getting him lunch, he can't change his shoes, or put on his coat. I'm putting him in a classroom where he'll surely dominate the teacher and how fair is that to the other kids?
I know you all are going to come in here and blast me for this but it's really how I feel. And don't get me wrong, I'm proud of Austin and am so happy with all he's accomplished. These fears seem almost silly compared to what I feared back in 2004. But you always strive for more and I just want him to do well. I think I've done a very good job realizing he's not Tommy, however am I doing Austin a disservice by pushing him so hard? And I do know there is nothing wrong with Austin repeating Kindergarten if necessary. But what if this is the longest year of his life and I set him up with a hatred of school? Once again that irrational paranoia gets me.
Oh what to do? I suppose for now I'll just keep hovering close by. ;)