Last night my DH’s paternal grandmother called me (she is the woman who prepares the most scrumptious Romanin dishes for Saturday family meals).It took me a while to understand just what she was worried about and why she was calling. It had something to do with food, risk, DS being outside and she is worried. It turns out she had read an article in the newspaper about a child choking on Bisli (an Israeli treat – deep fried pasta) and she was worried that I am letting DS play outside and he will put something dangerous in his mouth and choke. I tried to reassure her that I am not worried and ended up just assuring her I would check outside to make sure there is nothing he will put in his mouth. It is too foreign a concept for this grandmother to not worry.
This was in stark contrast to a conversation I had had with my parents about me letting DS play outside and not always be in my sight. I am aware of where he is, what is in his environment and just let him get on with his thing. If he goes quiet, I check on him. But he is left pretty much free to choose what to do and how with me making sure there are no rusty nails lying around and nothing that I would be horrified at finding in his mouth. It is working for us and DS is having a ball from what I can see.
These two phonecalls highlighted such a difference in parenting philosophy. The first phone call (with grandma) highlites the tradition of a baby in a playpen and discouraged from exploring his/her environment with scheduled play times and pretty much a scheduled day – the child is dependant on the adult for something to happen. The second phone call highlited for me the attempt to let DS set his own pace and seek out what he needs in order to learn and make sense of his world. I have no idea if this would work for every child, as DS is a careful child and to date has not done anything that warrants me being worried for his safety. For now it is working for me to not worry about him and his safety, within reason. Our home has been remodelled to allow for his free access to whatever he can reach and outside is his playground (other than my seedlings, which I am trying to protect).
I do not feel comfortable worrying about his safety all the time, and in a way I think it is not healthy for him to have me constantly monitoring his every move and activity. I am comfortable with his independance and comfortable with him still needing me to breastfeed him and be with him to fall asleep. It is working for us.