I’m sure you’ve all heard of Helicopter Parenting where the parent continually hovers around their child trying to help and protect them in whatever they do. I get the impression that this sort of parenting is generally looked down upon by most people not just myself. It really irks me seeing parents (sometimes literally) spoon-feeding their little prince or princess and God forbid they fall over! Quick call for a medic! On the whole I am not this type of parent, I am relatively laid-back (if relatively means on the verge of snapping in two.) I encourage my children to get up and carry on before I offer cuddles and counseling and I try to instil this in the people I surround myself with. That is until we venture into somewhere new. New houses, groups, outdoor spaces you name it, if we haven’t been there more than about ten times I turn into less of a helicopter, (which let’s face it you can often hear but not see( and morph into something more like that annoying fly who seems transfixed with your face. The only way I can console myself with this is the fact that I imagine/hope most Autism parents are the same way especially if they have children who could give Usain Bolt a run for his money.
Last week we were away on holiday in a villa in Spain (it’s OK you can feel jealous.) When booking our trip the list of “necessities” was endless, a downstairs bedroom and bathroom for my grandmother and the same for me and the children. Like 99% of Spanish properties, it has deep, tiled stairs. Close to some amenities, a pool not directly outside the front door and enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate 5 adults, 1 teenager and 2 children comfortably. We found the place and booked months in advance.
Now the property was slightly misleading as one of the bedrooms was accessed via an outside spiral set of stairs, not ideal for myself or grandmother but we managed to make it work, also there were steps up to the actual villa. Only five or six but enough to make me worry more than usual.
The main issue which I had somehow managed to overlook was the fact that I was petrified of the children being by the pool. At just turned 3 and almost 18 months and both with an alarming water fascination I was on high alert. I think only the thought of an open fire could have made me more scared. Lets just say the idea of me relaxing around the pool was never ever going to happen unless they happened to be napping or were actually in the water with someone else.
A combination of slippery floor and very excited children were enough to test out my heart on more than one occasion. Both children wore swim vests around the water at all times which I think is more good sense than over-protectiveness but I was still in panic stations. Towards the end of the holiday I realized I had to let go just a little bit and let my girl play in the shallow end with her bucket without me holding her by her jacket/hand/hair. She had such fun but of course got up and ran after a while and she slipped and fell. She cried, but not for long and she was quickly back playing with her bucket again. My little man didn’t get this luxury as he is just too crazy and at a week off 18 months I think I’m pretty justified to not want him going head first into the deep end.
Strangely the place I felt most relaxed was the beach. I’ve never liked the beach, it’s full of sand which seems desperate to escape in every nook and cranny of your belongings. Also with two children who tend to think of sand as a delicacy even the thought of it is hard work. This time was different, both children adored the water and playing with the sand. My girl spent hours running in and out of the water and I happily sat and watched knowing that with no rocks the worst she could do was splash her face which they both did and got up laughing.
So, beach holidays from now on then? The pool seemed quite overrated after their reactions in the sea. Either that or I have year to get them both completely water safe hmmmm