A few months ago Rob came to me and told me he thought that at six years old Brandon was old enough to take a shower on his own. I was appalled. There was no way my sweet wittle baby was going to shower alone. Who would wash his ears? Who would make sure he washed behind his ears? Who would be sure the dirty boy grubbiness was scrubbed out from under his chin. I did the only logical thing possible and asked my friends on Facebook. Every single person agreed with my husband. (I'm soooo giving you all dirty looks right now). They even agreed that my sweet little four year old Codi was old enough to shower on his own. UNACCEPTABLE PEOPLE! That's my tiny little baby. Of course Codi loves it. To add insult to injury he's started telling me he wants to put his own lotion and jammies on after the bath.
I draw the line at taking away my lotion time!
There are so many other things I wonder about though. For instance, every morning when I drop off Codi at daycare there is a girl there who leaves her 7 year old in the car while running her younger child into the daycare. I don't get it. What if he put the car in gear and ran someone over? What if he was stolen? What if? A MILLION THINGS CAN HAPPEN (in my head it's more like a billion). I don't understand this. What age is appropriate to leave your kids alone in the car? I can't actually imagine an age that is ever okay. Thirteen? NO! Fifteen? Um, people still kidnap fifteen year olds. Twenty? Possibly if they have developed implanted GPS chips by then.
Is there some day going to be a switch in my head that tells me it's okay to leave my kids in the car while I run into the bank? I see kids sitting alone in the car while their parents run into the store or Starbucks and I have heart palpitations for a whole day over it. Not to mention Lainey has officially put the fear of God in me about leaving kids in the car.
The same thing happens while dropping of Brandon at school. Every day I park my car, get out and walk to line with Brandon. I wait until his teacher comes out and walk to the door with him. This seems normal. Many moms do it. BUT many moms do the opposite. I see so many moms drive up to the curb (some stop in the middle of the street), push a button on their mini van so the door opens, let their kid out and drive away before their van door even closes. It blows m mind. How do they know their kid made it to class. How do they know someone didn't grab their kid when they walk behind a bus and take them. HOW DO THEY KNOW? Which makes me wonder, what age is acceptable to let your kid walk to their class alone? I can't actually imagine letting my kids walk to school alone at any point during elementary school. Middle school? Isn't that when gangs come around? Isn't that when kids start getting beat up for their shoes? And in high school…high school isn't that where all the little girls are going to jump on my little boy and try break his heart? I honestly cannot wrap my mind around just letting them go all by themselves.
What did Monica in Friends say to her son? "I'm going to love you so much no girl is ever going to be enough for you." That's how I feel. Only I don't think any situation is going to be okay. I dread the day my son asks to go to the park alone with his friends. The park? Doesn't ever episode of Criminal Minds start out at the park?
Brandon was slowly growing out of his car seat. So I purchased him one of those convertible carseats that starts out as a five point harness booster seat that still buckles into the car. I kept him in the five point harness until a week ago. Everyone else has their kids in a normal booster that just uses a seat belt, or no booster at all. Finally last week Brandon looked at me with those big huge eyes and asked if he could please have a booster seat like his friends I gave in. I realize I can't have a 16 year old in a five point harness….I wish I could though. I have a panic attack every time we drive now. What if tomorrow we get in an accident and he dies because I took him out of the harness? I take solace in the fact that I can probably at least convince him to stay in the booster seat for another 5 years. With a lot of bribes. Am I crazy though? Is it normal to let an almost seven year old sit in the car without a booster? Am I just neurotic and overly worried?
I am terrified of my children growing up. I'm sick at the thought of them turning sixteen and driving off on their own. Or having a sleep over. I am horrified imagining the first time one of my boys ask to go to a concert alone. Or to the mall with their friends.
There are so many things that can go wrong. So many predators. So many bad people and boogie men and enemies out there. How is a mother ever supposed to feel okay letting her little boys go? I imagine it's similar to how dad's feel about their daughters.
I've devised a plan. Basically when they turn about ten I'm going to find a reason to just go ahead and ground them for life. That way there will be no sleep overs, trips away from me, unsupervised insanity.
Am I alone? Am I a minority? Did I just offend hundreds of mini van driving moms who drop their kids off? How do you feel? At what age am I supposed to start letting go? When am I supposed to let them grow up? Perhaps around thirty five?
This is all so hard!