It’s my only child you see ….

I have three children.

I will confess that with baby one, I was a tad more highly strung, and saw “Death and Pestilence” everywhere. I would often lie in bed at night worrying about how my son might be killed or kidnapped tomorrow, and that I need to be still more vigilant.

I started to get afraid of taking my child into a public area and thinking he was not just going to hurt himself, but he was going to DIE.  It made me realise I need to seek psychiatric help and that was not “normal behaviour”.

It’s good to worry. It is bad to be paranoid about it.  All the time.  And not feel comfortable with your child being anywhere, except with you.

There are many moms who are helicopter parents.

They have taken caring for their off-spring to the point where it is actually way into paranoia and not-healthy.  If you cannot go out and leave your child behind (with a babysitter, not by him or herself with a box of matches) then maybe it is time to sit down and have a bit of a think about how connected you are to your child.

I’ve come to realise that the most moms I encounter are so afraid of their child hurting themselves and dying, that they cannot just sit and leave their child to do what children do.

There is this constant fussing and fretting, and checking and re-checking and ……….<eye roll + sigh>

I am not sure whether it is time, the introduction of baby two and baby three, more time, my age, the fact that some times I actually just want to sit and see what happens, that I am not as much of a “helicopter parent” as many parents I know and see.

For some reason it is often parents who have one or an only child, who just appear to be unable to “cut the umbilical cord.”

Kennith will vouch for the fact that when I am trying to appear calm when it comes to most things my-kids related, but the truth be told I usually am freaking out.

I regularly want to run and just pick my child up, and ensure that they do not get any of the knocks that life has in store for them.  I attempt to appear calm and collected, to allow them in some instances to make a mistake, or take a fall and get up.

I often give off a calmer impression than how I actually feel.

If it was up to me, I would dress my kids in 1 metre of cotton-wool, lock them inside, ensure all the corners in the house are bubble wrapped, feed them only food I had grown and picked myself, and prevent them from ever listening to Justin Bieber!

But reality has dealt me a different set of cards.

I have learnt that I cannot be as “verkramp” as I would like to be.  I need to sit back and let my kids sometimes do things that I would prefer them not to do, because they are kids and they must do certain things, to learn that life is well, life, and that you can fall down, and you will get a scrape, your knee might even bleed, but you know, it is okay.

I am using this as preamble to what happened on Sunday.

Georgia is invited to a birthday party.  I don’t know the mom other than the cursory “hi” and “bye” one mutters in passing fetching and collecting children from the same school.

Her daughter S is having a birthday party.  Party involves strawberry picking and other activities that require children to be transported to Stellenbosch <about 15 – 20 minutes away.>

The plan was that S’s mom transport all the kids to the party and return them to one venue.

I enquired whether the vehicle was fitted with individual seat belts and Georgia would be strapped in.  I was given the affirmative.

I was still cautious, as I am a bit anal about how my child is transported – and non-safety seat belt kids drive me to distraction.

I wanted to make sure I see the car and see who will drive Georgia and get a “feel” for the who, what and how.   If I was unhappy, I would just drive her to the venue and drop her myself, and go and collect her.  No problem.

I am hoping to allow myself the time to assess the situation while I am there. Instead of flying into a hysterical maniac panic before hand and shaking my hear whilse pursing my lips saying “I won’t let my child drive with anyone but me …. I won’t, I tell you, I won’t.”

This is whilst appearing vauely calm, but to be honest I am thinking Death and Car Accidents on the R300 like every other hysterical mother who has opted not to allow their child to come to this party.

I am not going to drop my kid off and wave goodbye and I tyre-burn it out of the parking lot with a gin-and-tonic in my hand.

I want to check who is going with, what the transport is like, and that she is assured of a buckled up seat, and what the vehicle is that she is going to be transported in.

I get to the location where we are all meant to meet.  S’s mom is running a bit late, as party days are hectic.  I am standing there and I start chatting to another mom, her daughter is B.  B is running around and Georgia knows B from school.

I ask if sheis going to let B drive with party-girl S or if she is going to go with the venue with her daughter B.  Polite conversation more than a burning interest to know.

She looks at me and goes: “Yes, I am going to drive to the venue, and B is going to drive with me.  I am very nervous to let her go with someone else – as you know I only have one child!”

And then she smiles knowingly at me.

I am not sure whether I should say: “Oh yes!! I find with three I can be so more laxi-dasie.  Because goodness I have an heir, a spare, and another spare.  Of course I do not mind if one of them dies in a car crash.  That will just be a minor inconvenience.  I have three and all, which is far less precious than YOUR ONE.  When you start breeding them en-mass like I have done, then it is so much easier to not make a fuss if one of them dies!  Yes, you are right, your one is far more precious than my three!”

That is what I should have said.

Instead I thought “stupid bitch” and pursed my lips disapprovingly and decided to get really interested in Georgia and the seeds that fell off the tree.

Side bar:  This is not the first time I have had the comment.  It is easily the 4th or 6th time someone has said this to me.  I am not sure exactly how to interpret it or respond.  Presently I just stand there and think to myself that this person is clearly going to come up with a punch line. If not I need to just punch them in the throat and walk away. 

Acknowledge cartoon source:  http://nickandzuzu.com/