Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What A World We Live In

Mister Man starting up preschool had me thinking. Yeah, I know that's a bad idea, but it's what happens sometimes. Things are really different from when I was growing up.

Mister Man has been receiving various therapies -- speech, occupational and physical -- since he was 17 months old. I was lucky enough to have friends who were able to lead me in the right direction when I felt there wasn't something quite right about Mister Man.

My mom had no such interventions. She talks about how many things are so similar between Mister Man and I, and that frequently makes it hard for her to understand why he's in a special needs school and I turned out "just fine." Apparently I probably had low core strength as a child, which led to delays in gross and fine motor development like being able to cut and write properly. You should see my handwriting now, as I never learned to do it properly. And don't ask me to use a pair of standard scissors. My mom blamed it on being left handed, but "we know better now."

On the plus side, we moved around a lot as a child, following my dad's jobs as he was promoted or transferred. I rather enjoyed going to new places and meeting new people, but I know my sister didn't. Married to a math teacher, I know that I'll never leave the state, as there's no way he's giving up his place on the scale or his pension by moving elsewhere.

In fact, while Mister Man has lived in three different homes, we moved to our current house when he was still two. His only memories will be here, and he'll have friends that he went to kindergarten with. I always envied my friends who knew others from infancy practically. My oldest friends are from eighth grade. I wonder how much of an impact on me that's had.

At the same time, we rarely lived near family. We visited frequently, and they visited us. We'd even vacation with my grandparents. I had good relationships with them all and loved them, of course.

With my parents, my wee ones have a very different relationship. They live fifteen minutes from us, and they frequently do childcare for us -- at their insistence. There are times when I wonder if they love my parents more than they do my husband and I. The "grandparent rules" are all well and good when you see them sometimes. I am concerned about the impact of having these rules in play so frequently, but I wouldn't trade their relationship with my parents for anything.

By the time I was four and almost five, I remember heading over to friends' houses by myself to play. And coming back in time for dinner. Mister Man still naps frequently, and so many children are so scheduled that it's hard to have the unscheduled playtimes, let alone the trust to allow them to go on their own without knowing exactly what they're doing.

At least we have sidewalks in our neighborhood, something I learned from my childhood. We never had them, and there were definitely times I was concerned for my safety while walking. Plus, there's far less excuse to cut across neighbors' lawns this way!

I'm a younger mom than my mom was, ironically enough, but in many ways I know more than she did. I've read more than her and consulted more experts. She raised my sister and I as best she could, and we're both contributing members of society.

I can only hope that my children grow up with the same measure of love and safety and respect and happiness that my sister and I did. As long as they grow up happy and healthy, it doesn't matter what's changed over the years. As long as they grow up happy and healthy, I've done my job.


Anonymous September 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM  

My mom used to shove me outside to play alone all the time, or run down the street and play with my neighbors. Times really have changed!

So what's the story with Little Miss? Is she going to school,too?

Kori September 3, 2008 at 9:49 AM  

Perfectly said. You're doing a beautiful job.

Tabi September 3, 2008 at 10:02 AM  

I too remember being gone on my bike the majority of the time and my mom not knowing exactly where we were! That seems crazy to me now! My kids don't even get to go outside without us watching....oh how times have changed!

Insane Mama September 3, 2008 at 10:54 AM  

YOu are doing a great job! My mom threw us outside all the time to play and it was the best!! :)

Emily September 3, 2008 at 12:46 PM  

You know what they say, "All you need is love" ... so true

Mabunny September 3, 2008 at 1:24 PM  

You seem to be doing a great job MIchelle! Mr Man and Little Miss always look happy. You care about what happens to your children, and that is very obvious in the way you talk about your family.
Have a great day!

anymommy September 3, 2008 at 4:54 PM  

I moved a lot as a child too and it makes me so happy to think that my kids could go to the same school system all the way through. On the other hand, I learned a lot moving, so there's always pros and cons. I think you're right, things have changed, but they still stay the same. They'll be just fine.

the sits girls September 3, 2008 at 7:07 PM  

Motherhood is different for everyone, and you just do the best you can. We all approach things the way we know how or the way we were or weren't raised to believe...

The fact that you care shows us how much you DO care. That means a lot.

Outnumbered2to1 September 3, 2008 at 9:37 PM  

I am so with you on how times have changed. I was at the public neighborhood pool by myself from 1st grade on. My kids do not have that kind of freedom. Sometimes I feel like a paranoid parent but I don't think I'd take a chance now adays.

Debbie September 3, 2008 at 10:20 PM  

Were you in my head typing this post?? I nodded my head YES through this WHOLE thing??? Playing outside is only done now if I am out there with them as I am afraid of letting them be out there alone. My daughter is 8 and I still take her to her friends house. At 8 I was walking a long way home from school by myself! Things have really changed...haven't they! And it sounds to me like you are a great Mom. And take it from someone who knows first hand, Early Intervention ROCKS!

Mama's Losin' It September 4, 2008 at 1:09 AM  

I can't imagine allowing my kids to walk by themselves to a friends house and then to be home in time for dinner. We used to do that all the time when were little too...funny how much that has changed!!

Jenni September 4, 2008 at 10:42 AM  

I grew up in the country, so that gave me even more freedom to roam around freely. I also lived in the same house my entire life until I got married. I was ready for change and adventure and have lived in three different states since then. But now I want to get a house I love in a town I love--in the country, so my kids can have the experience I did!

Thanks for stopping by yesterday.

Rene September 4, 2008 at 12:24 PM  

Michelle -- thanks so much for stopping by my blog on my BATW day!! Hubby's cancer diagnosis has me a bit behind on sending out my thank yous but know that your comment was very very appreciated!

SwimBoy was in speech and occupational therapy starting at age 3 until he finished 5th grade and it was the best thing ever. He had trouble with those small motor skills and his verbal abilities. Not sure why but I'm really glad we caught it early and got it treated!! Good luck with preschool this year!!

Angie's Spot September 4, 2008 at 2:23 PM  

It still makes me sad that my girls will never have the pleasure of taking off in the morning and staying out all day, playing in the woods and with friends until dinnertime without a worry in the world from them or me. These times they are a changin'.

Cookie September 4, 2008 at 4:13 PM  

yup, times sure have changed! I can remember being outside all day too, and that was before I even started kindergarten.

Michelle September 4, 2008 at 8:25 PM  

Jaci - I'm with you. But it scares me to DEATH to think of doing that to my kids. And there is a story with Little Miss. I'll post on Monday when she goes to HER first day of preschool (but not until late at night since I have to go to the office and will already be going in way late so I can get Little Miss on the bus).

Kori - Thanks! That's so sweet of you.

Tabi - Welcome! Yep, I remember those days, too. We did generally stay in the neighborhood though, which probably helped.

Insane Mama - Thanks! It was definitely the best. I see my neighbor kid out alone wandering (without friends which maybe is what worries me more) and I just can't see my wee ones doing it!

Emily - Remind the wee ones of that in about 10 years, would you? I have a feeling they will have long forgotten that truism!

Mabunny - Thanks! I definitely care about them, but what mom doesn't?

Anymommy - Yep, I definitely learned a lot moving, and I truly enjoyed it. But hey, schoolteacher husband means a stationary life. And that's not bad!

SITS Girls - Hey there! So how do I go from a mom who let me out to play from dawn 'til past dusk (anyone remember Ghost in the Graveyard?) to me who won't let the wee ones cross the street in our neighborhood without holding my hand?

Outnumbered 2to1 - Public pool by yourself? Yep, that's definitely not happening... and not only because the nearest pool is 10 minutes by car!

Debbie - Yep, I walked right in and stole your thoughts. HA! You can't post this one now ;)

Mama's Losin' It - I think I might let them go to a friend's house. When they were 8. In our neighborhood. I think. But to trust them to be home by dinner? Definitely a call to the parents!

Jenni - Welcome! Yep, country definitely gives you freedom. I rode horses and spent a TON of time just wandering outside with them and near them. It's a great way to live -- here's hoping you're able to give your kids the same experience!

Rene - Welcome! Of course I stopped by. I can imagine that you're a bit swamped. Good to know I'm not alone in the therapies! Fingers crossed that someday we'll be done with them!

Angie - Never? You'll never let them? I'm hoping that by the time they're 13 or 14 I'll be able to let them go. Ok but maybe not without a worry.

Cookie - Before you started kindergarten even? Wow! You were lucky. I just hope that I'm not coddling them too much so that they never grow up to be able to make decisions and have faith in them.

Ronnica September 6, 2008 at 5:49 PM  

I think there ARE pluses and minuses to how children are treated in society today. In some ways they are pushed aside as if they are not worth spending time with(primarily by those who choose not to have kids or have them but push them into daycare and a lot of activities from an early age) and in others they are focused on too much (when everything is centered around them and their desires).

Vicki September 6, 2008 at 9:57 PM  

Wow, I think all modern mothers have these same thoughts. It was so much less structured when we were kids. I kind of like it that way...

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