1.free from tension and anxiety; at ease."we were having a great time and feeling very relaxed"
Captain snot nosed and I stayed home from the world yesterday as he is attempting to fill everyone of his shirts with a layer of crusty boogers. I am in no way surprised as we spent one morning running around a room of gymnastic equipment layered in toddler mucous and the other day playing with grown ups with big grown up world germs. But, I think, hey, he got to have fun running around, climbing, meeting new kids, and letting people love on him for being 1. What harm is a lil stuffy nose when compared to all of the little things he learned in those two days...
Yesterday at church, someone came up to Pete to ask him how the big first birthday party went with Luke being all tiny and non-verbal and all the adults being all big and ya know social. Luke had about 1 week of stranger anxiety before realizing how silly that was and went right back to being his happy go lucky self, so we never thought anything of it. I'm sure he thought "strangers give me attention, smile at me, make me giggle, and sometimes throw me in the air, STRANGERS ARE AWESOME".
Nice lady: How was he around all of those people?
Pete: (I'm assuming it goes like this because I wasn't actually there) Who Luke? Oh he was fine.
Nice lady: Oh right...y'all are relaxed.
Normally a word that means, free of tension and anxiety, is now filled with the stigma that we somehow do not care as much about our kid as you do. I have come to loathe the term "relaxed".
In the context of parenting, relaxed has developed this stigma (at least in my mental brain) of being hands off or not cautious enough. Yes, we have let our child engage with other children, adults, and yes I even let strangers tickle and play with him when he's antsy in the check out line at Target. You want to play peek a boo with my kid while I'm right here in public? Go for it. Am I fearful of creepos and germs? Yea, I don't like creepos, who does? I'd like to meet someone out there who actually is like, yes, I like creepos, creepos unite.
Do creepos live out there? Sure do, what would the news report on without creepos, but do I think the little old lady buying Mylanta at Target is a creepo? Negative. Mylanta lady and creepo, not the same person.
I feel the judgement in the word relaxed, even if it wasn't placed there to be judgey. Even if it was meant as a compliment. The judgey side comes right on through.
We're relaxed parents. We let him explore and be his own person. We let him smile and wave and chat with strangers. We let him try new foods. We let him play with animals of all shapes and sizes. We take him to places there may be germs, gasp. We let our friends and family hold him at parties, and have since day one. We let him come in contact with those of varying beliefs and backgrounds as us (not that he knows any of this, but hey, we try). We let him learn through us that being fearful and extra cautious is good and wise, but certainly not how one should be day in and day out.
Confessions: I've picked a pacifier off the ground, wiped it off and given it back to him. I've formula fed him since he was 8 months old. He's gone to bed 30 minutes late before. He's had to push a nap back several times. He's had bits of brownie, cupcake, and a cookie. He's had juice. He's gotten dirty. He's had a cold. He's cried when someone held him. He's ate dog hair. He's been knocked over by the dog. He's bopped his head. He's fallen off the bed. He's rolled down the stairs. His nails get too long (because he hates when I cut them) and he's scratched his face. He's put the dirty drain stop in his mouth WAY too many times. He's crawled around the house naked. He's ate a dishwasher pack. He's watched TV. He's swallowed leaves and plant leaves. He's slipped and busted his lip. He's slammed his finger in drawers. He's done A LOT of not fun things that have made him cry...
But he's still thriving. He's growing. He's learning. He's healthy. He's social and doesn't fear people. He trusts us (we think). He's independent.
Does relaxed mean I don't love my kid enough to protect him? I sure hope not, I don't believe that to be true. Isn't protecting him also showing him that he can trust us as his parents to make smart choices for him? Isn't protecting him showing him that people aren't always evil? Isn't protecting him teaching him that you shouldn't live in fear of others? I dunno, maybe I'm too "relaxed".
I respect the fact that we all have different views on what parenting should be. But next time you throw around a seemingly harmless word like "relaxed" think of how nut jobs like me might take it.
Nut job, out.
For more mom word vomit, visit my blog at thegoggindiaries.com