Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Helicopter (and other ramblings)

Have you ever heard the term Helicopter mom? I never have until recently and now I've heard it a lot. So, either I've been completely oblivious, which is entirely possible. Or, it is a relatively new term.

I'm not a helicopter mom, by they way. I'm not negligent either. I just give the kids lots of room to practice and grow and develop. And, I firmly believe in natural consequences.

R, I think, is probably going to be the most athletic of my kids. He's got balance and coordination and energy and drive. We will see how that plays out with his asthma and lung issues. We had just weaned off breathing treatments and ramped back up due to the next round of sickness. He doesn't let a little thing like not being able to catch a breath or breath fully slow him down. Although, he is sitting better and quite calmly and quietly for treatments these days. He's quite fond of the TV and only gets to watch during treatment time.

N, is not so steady, but getting better all the time. She's so proud of herself. I have some pictures of last weekend with the proud look I need to post. Anyway, when she was first getting started, I was right there to show her how to turn around and go feet first to come down, to make sure she didn't loose her balance, or get pushed off by her brother. But, she has it now. She's more cautious. She is slower to pick things up and reach milestones than R, but she watches both of her brothers and when she has a few minutes of peace and quiet to herself she practices. But, when she gets it, she gets it and becomes proficient fast.

It's amazing having twins and control subjects with each other. R's behavior so typical of "boy" behavior and N's so typical of "girls". N can spend a good 10 minutes or so multiple times per day trying to fasten the buckles on a stroller or highchair. Her fine motor skills are amazing compared to either of the boys actually. R probably barely sees the straps and I don't think it would ever occur to him to actually try to fasten the torture restraint that keeps him from go go going.

N, of all my kids, needs time to herself to explore and check things out. Now and always, I need to carve out little times for her just for some alone time for herself. R, can not stand to be alone. From the very beginning, the moment he was brought home from the hospital. He needs someone else there. Don't even think if leaving him in a room by himself while you take N in the other room for something. Oh my word, the hysterics. The PT was telling me once that she was working with N in the twins room (often it works best and need to have them seperated during sessions because R just is too jealous and wants all the toys and attention) and Noemi went to the bathroom. This was before R was mobile (and I was doing a project with Max's class at the time so not home). R pitched such a fit that she ran out there thinking something major was going on. As soon as he saw her he was all smiles and happy. This is not atypical. Now that I think about it, R got almost all the drama for the family.

Anyway, speaking of the PT, that brings me to main point...she's a helicopter type. :) Don't get me wrong, I love her. She was briefly Max's PT for a few sessions because he was a toe walker. About the third session, she looks him in the eye and said "Max, stop walking on your toes." He did and that was the end of PT for Max. Anyway, we really clicked and she had said if I ever need any PT for the twins (was pregnant at the time Max was released) to request her. I took her up on the offer and it has worked well. But, it does make me laugh because she is so worried about them falling or getting hurt and that is part of being a kid and learning to climb and walk. She's told me about a friend of hers who was all upset because her (I think it was 5) year old had fallen and gotten his first bruise because she was so cautious and hovering and protective. I'm sorry. I don't even think that is healthy.

How do you ever get the proud look, that confidence, that self esteem if the child never gets a chance to try?

I understand the term and what it means to be a helicopter mom and read about a couple in some doctor's office magazine about a couple who was headed towards divorce because she was helicopter (actually used that term) and he overcompensated in the other direction.

I guess I don't understand the fear or the motivator for the behavior...the hover behavior. What are you trying to protect them from? The safety one I guess. To my philosophy (and I know we all have our own that works for us and our families..or not) it does more harm than good for a social and psychological perspective. We all have failures and falls and frustrations and disappointments in life. To me, my job isn't to prevent the failures and the falls and disappointments. It's to teach them how to deal with them. "Oh R, it sounds like you are frustrated because you can't push the toy over the rock (or through the chair or whatever), it may help if you pick it up or back it up a bit and go around". If I "fix" it every time, how does he learn to fix it for himself. Don't get me wrong. I'll show him. I'll help. But the saying holds true typically small kids small problems. Big kids, big problems. I want to teach them with the small stuff when the consequences are small.

Anyway, even I no longer remember the point. I need more sleep. I'm headed there now. The rythme was interrupted by Max who awoke coughing and crying with yet another nose bleed. He got the first one last month and had two or three then. He got one yesterday at school, one last night, one before bath tonight and one just a bit ago. Usually, he handles it quite well, being tired and woken from the cough and the blood had him a bit overwrought. He's calm and back to sleep hopefully for the night and without a bloody sheet/pillow mess to greet me at some awful hour or in the morning. I was left to try to regather my thoughts and am further rather than closer to sleep time myself.

Oh, and in the proud category. I got very little sleep last night. My own fault, the kids were all fine and slept through with no problems or pee accidents. And, I'm not feeling so hot myself, but today was the next possible 'be kind to yourself and get out and walk day'. I didn't want to. I didn't feel like it. I did it anyway. I'm proud of me. To me, working out every day at the same basic time is much easier. It is a habit and you can do it by rote without even thinking about it. Trying to fit it in when and how you can, feels much harder to me. Like making the commitment each and every time.

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