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Letting Go Of My Baby

As I mentioned yesterday, JD borrowed the movie Finding Nemo from the library. I love this movie for many reasons and not just because of the single parent theme.

Nemo’s dad, Marlin, is so overprotective of him—and I am admittedly like this with JD. I don’t know if it’s a single mom thing, a I watch too much Nancy Grace thing, a I've seen a lot of life in my 31 years thing, we’ve visited the ER for falls two times already thing (he was fine), but, yes, I worry and I’m cautious with my kid. Sometimes I randomly call his school and check on him. I cut grapes in half if they're big. I carry Benadryl chewables everywhere and JD has Asthma, so I keep his inhaler and spacer mask on me too (even though, knock on wood, he’s never had an attack).

This is not to say, I don’t let him climb the jungle gym—I do. I don’t overreact when he scrapes a knee—“shake it off," I say! and I slap on a Band-Aid. When he says he needs help with his sneakers, I tell him to put them on himself and if it’s a twenty-minute stand-off, fine. F I N E. "You can do it!" I cheer. Because he can. My goal is to not let JD see my reaction(s). I may think, OMG—but I really just smile and cringe a little on the inside. I want to raise a confident kid.

But, like Marlin, I sometimes feel like JD is not ready to do things. (I think this has to do with me losing my baby. The toddler bed is gone. No more nighttime training pants. The stroller is no longer stored in my Jeep. He drinks from a cup. Likes showers, not baths so much).

Last month in Hawaii I learned my baby is no more. I had a luncheon to attend and I left JD with Uncle Carlo. When the lunch was over I headed back to the pool to find Uncle Carlo sitting up on a lounge chair and JD nowhere. Panic quickened in my chest, my stomach, my head.

WHERE IS THE BABY! I said and I spun around—and yes I said “baby!”

“I sent him for an ice,” Uncle Carlo said and pointed across the pool. The ice station, was in all fairness, in our view and there was JD walking back with his larger than life ice and change.

“You let him go alone!” I said. “OMG!” and I rushed over to JD. Jesus, I thought!

Now check out this part from Finding Nemo (it’s when Nemo swims away from his class and his dad catches him—busted!):

Marlin: You know what? I was right. We'll start school in a year or two.
Nemo: No, Dad! Just because you're scared of the ocean...
Marlin: Clearly, you're not ready, and you're not coming back until you are. You think you can do these things, but you just can't, Nemo!
Nemo: [pause, mutters] I hate you.

Gulp. I never want to hear those words from JD to me (inevitable).

“MOMEEEEEEEEEE! I got a green-orange-yellow-red-and purple ice all by myself!” JD said with a huge smile and walked right past me back to Uncle Carlo.

“Uncle Carlo! I did it! The lady gave me a dollar and these nickels back too!” he said. Then he sat down and ate his ice. I walked back.

“I watched him the whole time, Christine. He was never out of my sight. You think something is gonna-a-happen-to-thisa-kid when I’ma watching him—Comemon!” Uncle Carlo said (#thingsItalianUnclesSay) as I plopped down next to JD and ran my fingers through his damp hair.

“Fine, I said.”

Have you loosened the reigns on your preschoolers? I am. I really am…

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