I got pretty evil glares and stares at the park a couple of days ago. And a couple of moms even came up and asked me if i wasn’t worried that my child may fall off the ladder he was going up. One more concerned parent tried to help Siddhant put his shoe back on while i just stood back ‘lazily’ and watched.
Of course i am worried. Every little muscle in my body is pulling me to the ladder telling me to hold Nishant by the waist or legs to support him. But I also know that this is a park for kids his age and most of the stuff there is stuff that he can do if he tries. There is astroturf and grass and i am not so worried about scrapes. And i am close enough that i can grab him if required.
But i feel that my children need to learn.
If they don’t feel confident enough to run across the little moving wooden bridge, they can play on something else and come back to it when they feel ready…or not come back to it at all. If they follow another kid over the bridge and make it to the other side on their own, i feel it will really do wonders for their self confidence and sense of self. If they are scared of the swing going too high, I don’t want to stand behind them and convince them it’s safe. They can see the other kids playing on it and will take that step when they want to.
A play ground is not just a play ground. It is a space where kids learn and grow by watching and doing. They gain confidence, develop gross and fine motor skills, practice balance, learn observation. They can repeat something as many times as they feel like without it turning into a tedious chore. They can help each other out and learn about cooperation and collaboration. They learn to take turns and make friends. And i am not absent…just not unnecessarily involved.
My sons wear crocs or shoes that they can slip on and off as they like. I want them to be able to do that. Every time i do it for them, i am not allowing them to learn. It’s not like i am asking a two year old to tie shoe-laces!
So, I am going to ignore the glares and stares because i don’t mind being called a ‘bad mommy’. I would much rather my children enjoy the park and learn at their own pace and interest when they are here!