Friday, May 30, 2008

Being a parent is hard

Driving to work today, I saw (as I often do) little kids standing by the side of the road, presumably waiting for the school bus to pick them up. Some of them look pretty darn young, not that much older than my 2.75 year old daughter. And I can't help but think, "What if someone snatches that kid up? What if she doesn't make it to the bus or gets lost? How am I ever going to avoid having a stroke when my daughter is the one standing by the bus stop?"

I had a small taste of that two days ago when our neighbor's kid, who is 13, was over helping my mother and I with my 2.75 year old and my 3 month old. This kid is just starting to get some experience babysitting and so she comes over and helps, both to get her and the kids used to each other and so we can assure ourselves that she'd be ok alone with our kids, which eventually she will be when she's older. I was downstairs then came up and noticed that my toddler was nowhere to be seen. I asked my mother where she was and she said that the babysitter had taken her for a walk around the block. My first thought was a huge worry - what if my daughter gets away from her, runs away, gets hit by a car? My daughter can be somewhat difficult to steer when walking with her out in public - she's very strong willed, and also getting just plain strong as she gets bigger and bigger. The babysitter was not all that big at 13 - I was worried she might not be able to handle it if it came down to a wrestling match to get my daughter home. So I sat there, worried, for a while, then was about to go looking for them when they came back home. No problems at all, my daughter was well behaved and enjoyed herself. But I still worry even thinking back on it.

Damn, being a parent is hard.

(P.S. My mother is over for a few days to watch the 3 month old during the day - my wife just started back to work this week after her maternity leave ended. Her mother comes here this weekend to watch the 3 month old for the next three months. In this way, he doesn't have to start day care til he's about 6 months old and we don't have to start paying for day care until then, either - though we did have to pay for her mother's ticket (1200 dollars) and will have to buy extra food, etc. while she's here. Still, we come out ahead and grandma gets to spend time with the kids.)


Tammy said...

I love it that you call you toddler your "2.75 year old". It busts me up.

When my son was less than a year old my in-laws took him with them to a Super Bowl party. It was a low key affair with a bunch of their friends. They were an hour late getting him home, and I almost died. I was convinced they had all been killed by a drunken driver. By the time they pulled into the driveway I was completely panicked -- and not only did I yell at my mother-in-law (who I love), I snatched my son from her arms as if she were some kind of insidious babynapper. This was my son's GRANDMOTHER for god's sake, and they were only an HOUR late. Insanity...

Yes, being a parent is hard. 12 years later, I have chilled out considerably.

Erin said...

Yeah, in another 12 years, she won't be 14.75, she'll be "14 or something like that," and you'll say it as though there's a question mark at the end.

DBB said...

When people ask how old she is, I tell them 2 years and 9 months, but I just didn't feel like typing all that out and so just went for 2.75. I only bother with the decimal because when you're 2.75 years old, that 0.75 extra years over two really does make a difference. Probably once she's 4 or 5 and in school, I'll just keep a "half" designation (where appropriate), because I figure there half a year makes a difference, but probably by the time she's six and in first grade, it won't matter as much anymore, so full years only at that point. Yes, I have thought about this. Yes, I'm a deranged human being.

I do hope I never completely lose track of how old my children are. Though I do admit it sometimes takes me a moment to remember how old I am.

I do hope to chill out some. I REALLY hope my wife chills out A LOT. I won't even repeat some of the regular, worried-type questions she asks me about possible hazzards for the children.