Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Landing the helicopter

Remember when we were kids and we could play outside for hours and hours without every checking in with Mom? That's how it was at my house, anyway. I grew up on 10 acres of land next to my grandma and grandpa's 10 acres and their neighbor, my uncle! We had so much room to run and play. "Urban sprawl" wasn't even a phrase that existed yet and the world at large (i.e. the backyard) seemed trustworthy.

We played in the dirt, jumped in an abandoned old speedboat that was propped up on the property. Played in a huge shed full of tractors. Climbed very high trees over a swamp. We had incredible adventures right in our backyard.

Today, when it comes to playing outside, I'm a bit of a helicopter parent. I find myself constantly saying, "Walking feet on the sidewalk! Watch out for the swing! Don't run with sticks! Get back on the grass! Stay where you can see me!" I'm constantly directing. Our backyard ends at the woods and between the neighbor and us there is a public sidewalk. It ends at the treeline, so its not used often. On the other side of us is an empty lot. We have no fence. I never let the girls play on their own because I feel too far from them if I'm in the house. Too many stories about children being taken right under their parents' noses swirl around my paranoid brain.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Unseasonably warm. I put baby/toddler boy down for his nap around 12:30pm (he had refused his morning nap) and the girls begged to go outside. I had things to do inside, so I walked them out to the backyard, which is down the deck's flight of steps and gave them their boundaries. We reviewed what they were to do if I called their names and then I set them free. I landed the helicopter. I went back into the house.

I could hear them at all times. I watched them out the window every couple of minutes. I sat on the deck for awhile reading blogs while they played, but I left them alone. I kept my mouth closed. I let them play in the dirt, go into the woods a few feet to gather grass cuttings, sticks, more dirt and whatever else struck their fancy!

They played together so beautifully outside. For 3 hours!!! I called them in only when the boy woke up. They came for chocolate milk and then took an hour and a half long bath! No fights, no arguing. They were having so much fun in the bath I literally had to drag them out of it! Teeth chattering because the water had turned cold, but they didn't care. It was lovely.

That's what childhood should be. Carefree, fun and full of laughter.

Three under a teepee


  1. Hi, I'm you're newest follower from the blog hop! Will you stop by and follow me?

  2. Awww childhood should be like that indeed! I am now following you thanks to Welcome Wednesday, and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog;)
    Today is the first day of our Show Yo' Flow Campaign, so stop by to see the interview with Tiffany and maybe snag one of the awesome prizes she has for our readers! Happy Wednesday!

  3. I miss the "good ol' days" too. I found you on Welcome Wednesday and I am now following. Hope to see you around soon at Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  4. My brain runs in paranoid hover mode as well, probably until will …………I guess forever!

    Following you too!

  5. Such a sweet photo. Sounds like you all had a wonderful day!

  6. Glad your girls had a great day!

    Living in Los Angeles I imagine I will always be a helicopter parent as well. I keep counting down until we are ready to move to a quieter area, although I imagine even then it will be difficult! I'm not sure if it's the world thats changed, or our view of parenting, but it certainly seems more difficult to just let kids be free these days!

  7. Sounds like a wonderful day! Thank you so much for stopping by and grabbing our Bee Friendly Button!

  8. What a great day! Thanks for following my blog, I'm following you back!

  9. Really cute picture.

    I hate how childhood can't be as carefree because of all the crazies in the world :/

  10. Hi! I love their teepee. :)

    I'm a new follower from the Friday blog hops. My hubby and I have a room by room tour of our house underway, cutie pups, and a newly organized gift wrapping stash. Please stop by to visit and follow us too when you get a chance.

    Enjoy the weekend! :)

  11. That is why I am glad I have a fully fenced in yard. So I can throw my kids out into the yard and let them be. As long as they stay out of my flowers! :)

    Visiting From Red Dress Blog


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