Monday, April 29, 2013

Paranoid or Protective?

Shortly after having my child, or maybe even during pregnancy, I discovered that the brain of a parent is different than those without offspring. It conjures up visions of the worst case scenario during everyday moments with your children. These day-mares may be a parent's way of identifying dangerous situations and protecting their child, but not usually. A trip to the petty zoo conjures up a the thought of The First Mate getting head butted by a goat. A look at the ducks swimming by could end in a slip through the railings. This is my life, now. A constant build your own adventure book that always lands on the THE END page. Luckily, like the books, it's still make believe.

My daredevil at Disneyland.

Am I alone in this twisted thought hell? I don't think so. I think it is a common occurrence among parents. In fact, I am willing to bet that video hoax of an eagle stealing a child was derived from a parent's nightmare after putting an animal hat on their kid.

I've done my best to ignore these daymares and let my child learn and seek his own adventures. I have accepted the fact that I am the mother of a boy. A boy who has no fear. He wants to explore everything and do it all himself. What I refuse to do is be careless. I won't put him in a dangerous situation just so he can explore. For example, he wanted to see the water in San Diego harbor this weekend. I didn't let him out of the stroller for fear of a rocky plummet into to sea. I did see someone else letting their small child climb on the rocks and I nearly had a heart attack. Maybe I was being overprotective, but those rocks convinced me otherwise.

I would love to keep him in a world of flowers, rainbows, and no harm, but that's not parenting. It is my responsibility to prepare him for the real world and all the dangers it holds. However, it is also my job as a parent to keep him safe. There has to be a balance between the two. I will continue to let him be the fearless boy that he is, but I will listen to my intuition. If my brain tells me a pack of wild boars might trample him, I'll ignore it. If it identifies a real danger, I will listen and do my best to keep him safe.

Please kid, just smell the flowers!
How do you walk the line between being paranoid or just protective?

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