We’re not a family of beach bums. We’re the opposite; whatever the opposite of a beach bum is.
In other words, we like to go where the crowds aren’t and where the weather isn’t very hot.
Fortunately, my wife’s family is in Sacramento; which gives us a good and necessary reason to travel out there once a year.
This weekend, that’s where we will be flying. With Jack’s 2nd birthday coming up on November 16th, this is the last time we can take advantage of him getting to fly for free.
No doubt about it, I’m very excited to take a week off from work and travel to one of my favorite spots in America.
But of course, I’m looking at this from a realistic perspective. A “vacation” with a nearly 2-year-old where we’re flying cross-country is not exactly a vacation for me.
I don’t mind being a glorified version of a stage hand while my wife catches up with her family and gets to see Jack, after over a year since last time.
Even the plane ride with Jack doesn’t intimidate me much. After all, I survived it last year when he was much more high maintenance.
The only thing that worries me is where he will sleep. It’s a really big deal to me.
If he doesn’t get good, consistent nights of sleep while we’re out there, I will turn into the Incredible Hulk.
(Not the updated Avengers movie version, but the 1978 Lou Ferrigno TV show.)
I don’t like me when I’m angry. When Jack doesn’t sleep well, neither do I; then I turn into a monster.
Jack still sleeps in his crib and he has outgrown his Pack N Play.
So one option is to put up some safety rails alongside a twin bed once we get there.
Another option is to buy a cheap or used Pack N Play as soon as we arrive, but A) I don’t want to have to worry about that after getting off the plane and B) I don’t want to spend money on something I may not be able to bring back home.
The best case scenario is we find a friend or family member who has a Pack N Play that we can borrow while we’re there, but no luck on that so far.
I guess this dilemma took the back burner in the midst of planning not only the trip out there but also Jack’s birthday party for that side of the family.
But here we are, days away from leaving, and I don’t have closure with this.
To dissect why this causes so much turmoil and unsettledness for me, it is because it’s my job to get Jack to sleep for all his naps and bedtimes. That’s one of the things I do! I’m very proud of that skill.
Without me getting him to sleep, it’s a world suspended in chaos. Bad things, man.
Getting Jack to sleep is something I’m an expert on. But without the appropriate place for him to fall asleep, I can’t work my magic.
Years later, the child has trouble finding their classes in high school and even college, calling their parents for help. Similarly, the child is still completely dependent on their parents, well into their 20′s, for laundry and cooked meals.
Ultimately, the child never really learns to stand up for themselves or believe in themselves.
They never learn individuality, because their concept of it is based completely on how their parents perceive them.
By the time they reach adulthood, all the “babying” their parents have done has preserved them in a perpetual state of “what am I supposed to do?”
Now is your chance to enlighten me, as well as the rest of us, who don’t understand your parenting style. Now is your chance to defend your proud stance as a helicopter parent. Set the record straight by overwriting the stereotype I just shared.
It turns out that several people who read both Part 1 and Part 2 of “Oh Wait, Are We Helicopter Parents?” a few weeks ago had to ask me what a helicopter parent even is.
Basically, it refers to any parent who “hovers over” their child to the point they could be considered to be practicing attachment parenting.
The stereotype would be a parent who when dropping off their child at daycare, creates anxiety in their child by lingering around too long, instead of properly saying goodbye and giving their child confidence they will be okay for the day without their parent there the whole time.
I realize now, I’m definitely not a helicopter parent.
It’s more about risk management and being my son’s bodyguard, necessarily.
When I think of a helicopter parent, I think of someone who freaks out when their child darts away in the middle of a park.
My preconceived idea is that the parent sets such tight parameters on that child that he or she doesn’t know how to act when they are presented with a window of freedom.
I would like to think of myself as the kind of parent who encourages my child to be independent. I want my son to want to explore his world, but yet at the same time have a concept of the real dangers that exist out there.
While we were at the pumpkin patch a couple of weekends ago, my son Jack was excited when he saw the pick “potato sack slide.”
But as we climbed up the stairs and he saw how far down his Mommy was, he began to get scared and started to cry.
Needless to say, we went down the slide together, despite his reservations.
For me, it was a symbolic of how as a parent, I’m there to push him when he needs courage, to inspire him to try new adventures, and to remind him that while I may not being hovering over him, I’m still there keeping him just as safe.