Monday, August 24, 2009

The kid's gonna be alright

I hover. It comes naturally to me. A smidge of control freak mixed in with an annoying amount of always being right sets poor Little Bird up for a lifetime of me up in his business.

Already, I'm consciously trying to let go where I can. He runs in the play area at the pool while I watch without chasing. He climbs up and goes down the Little Tykes slide without me holding his hand. He is learning everyday how to do more without me hovering.

This weekend, I stopped by my favorite maternity store to see what might be on sale and capable of making me feel cute - in other words, miracles. She keeps some toys in a little play area. Bird remembered right where they were and ran to them, leaving me to shop blissfully. It's a very small store, so I didn't think twice about leaving him to play while I tried on tops in the dressing room right next to the play area.

There were also two sisters there with their mother and a little girl who was about three. One of the sisters was pregnant and shopping, the other left to go to the china shop next door, and the grandma was giving fashion advice. Bird and the little girl were playing.

At least, I thought they were.

The little girl looked so sweet in her smocked dress with matching hair bow. It never occurred to me that she was a little three year old piranha.

As I was checking out, Bird came over and stood by me. The little girl followed him and started to whack him in the face with her fists. I let out an instinctive, "No," as I scooped up my child who was just standing there, being pummeled.

It happens. I wasn't upset, and I didn't think ill of the girl or her grandma. It could have just as easily been my child who has thrown a tantrum over a train. I just picked him up, and we moved on. No big deal.

Until we got home and I noticed his arm.

Bright red bite mark. Clear as day. It could have been used to trace her through dental records if needed. That little girl bit my Bird. Hard.

At first, I was all over myself about not watching him closely enough. How could I have let that happen? I made vows all night long to never let him out of my sight again - to never let go of his hand - to never stop hovering.

Then, the next morning, the bite mark was gone.

It dawned on me that he was alright. That really, he was going to be alright.

In a couple of weeks, we go to Mother's Morning Out for the first time. Bird won't just be out of my sight, he'll be out of my reach. I'll pack his lunch and backpack, and drop him off. As in leave him. As in get back in my car and drive away without him.

He might get pummeled. He might get bit on the arm. Or, God forbid, he might be the pummeler or the biter. I don't know what will happen.

But I do know that he is going to be alright.