Some might call me over protective, though I don’t see it that way. At age 8.5, Book Boy has never really been on his own. Oh, sure, we don’t directly hover over him every second at home, and he and Book Girl are allowed to play outside unsupervised (preferably in the back yard). But I’ve never let him go around the block by himself (it’s a big block, he’s a dawdler, and we really don’t know anyone in the neighborhood). And when we go out, to the mall, Target, whatever, I prefer to have him in my sight just about all the time.
Am I really that worried that someone’s going to make off with him? No, I just want to be able to keep an eye on him.
Anyway, given all this, you can imagine Book Boy’s surprise when I let the leash out just a bit last week. We went to the newly re-opened Imagination Station (formerly known as COSI, it was closed for two years due to lack of funding) with three cousins and their assorted kids. Though we had four adults and eight kids – not a bad ratio overall – I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, because three of them were mine. They were well behaved, of course, but Book Baby wanted to nurse, while the two bigger kids wanted to go in different directions.
Laura, my cousin’s wife, could see that Book Boy and Book Girl wanted to start through the museum, but I was stuck on a bench with the baby for a while. So … she suggested that she take BG where she wanted to go, and that BB and Drew go where they wanted to go. I was a bit hesitant at first, but Drew is 12-1/2, very responsible, and is a certified babysitter. I asked Laura if she felt comfortable with Drew being responsible for BB, and she said yes. So the boys were off! They weren’t on their own for very long (maybe 30 minutes, twice), and with four adults, we bumped into them several times, but BB really seemed to enjoy his first taste of freedom from the grownups.
I don’t know how long it’ll be before I let BB go off on his own again, but it felt good to let him go for a while.