I'll be the first to admit it. I am impressionable. If someone I like and respect tells me something or points out something to me I hadn't seen before, the seed is well and truly planted.
My grip in my parenting is often wobbly. I am finding scores of really interesting blogs and reads about kinds of parenting, ways to be positive, be connected, stay calm, be an example, etc. It is just the kind of reading that hooks me and also frees me. Gives a bit of direction to point my sorry ass self in when I am stuck with my own temper or cluelessness about how to best help Lew.
(Here's just a few I am particularly obsessive about consulting)
And then we go to the playground. The playground in the park near our house is really designed for bigger kids, but tell that to sweet Lewis, who has been conquering the big steps and big slide since he was 1. It is fun it a little daunting to let him explore and play, albeit with a sharp eye, possible hovering and lots of "carefuls". He loves being around other kids and part of the "scene."
Here's where I go tense and want to leave:
... the big kids come. 3-5 year olds are HUGE. They are STRONG. And FAST. And truly are not yet wired to care about a toddler's feelings ("Go away" "Stop following us" or ignoring small Lew's wave hello) or well being as they zip by him or knock him over. So that gets me. I don't expect little kids to get it. I do expect their parents to be 1% watching though. And so often they just aren't paying a lick of attention.
... I also sometimes see parents treating their kids in a very different way than I want to treat mine. Not listening. Bullying. Not watching. Ignoring. My stomach knots. I know know know that I do not have the answers and everyone deals in their own way. My parenting instincts are mine -- I get that. It is just very hard to witness upset kids being ignored. Here I am full frontal faced with my fears of bad parenting. And. I. Must. Flee.
I sometimes think Lewis and I need this cocoon of time together for me to get better and clearer about what kind of parent I want to be. My impressionable side at this point simply cannot watch parenting behaviour that I do not want to copy.
I do not want to judge any parents. I don't WANT to be judged. It is a serious job and we are all in our own boat. And yet I find that my incredibly helpful resources (see above) direct me in such a different way.
Until I can start to look at other families with more compassion, and be more rooted in my own gentle parenting, and Lewis can get up those slide stairs on his own, I think you'll see us at the playground only during the quiet hours.
Hopefully I'll be listening to Lewis, letting him play without too much direction, helping when he needs it, watching him, giving lots of love and we'll be walking home holding hands.