For the first year and more — oh, who am I kidding? — for all of the Bean’s life so far and probably for the foreseeable future, Starrhillgirl has had to periodically pull me off the ledge of parental panic. She has often reassured me that my tendency to let the Bean do his own thing while I do mine — whether my thing is the laundry or reading blogs — was a good idea, that I shouldn’t feel guilty for not spending every available minute on the floor playing with his toys, even when he was tiny. (Here’s an article she tweeted recently about why.)
Today the parenting style I think of as High Quality Neglect is paying off, not for the first time, but in spades. I have a migraine, and it seems that the nifedipine, which I recently stopped taking, was indeed making them milder. Nice while it lasted. The Bean’s babysitter came in the morning, when I would usually be teaching, and took him for a walk, but she left before noon. I’ve spent the afternoon on the couch with the curtains drawn.
And the Bean? After lunch, he spent more than an hour doing this:
Reading. To himself. Peacefully and quietly and happily.
Edited to add: mea culpa, gentle readers, I have committed one of the parent-brag sins that irritates me most in others: taking credit for something I can only really claim I have tried not to impede. Lord knows there are plenty of things the Bean hasn’t or won’t do, despite my making the same attempts to encourage them that other parents may claim created the desired behavior in their children (see: un-picky eating, sleeping). The Bean’s apparently enviable level of independence is, I am sure, largely his own nature (perhaps related to what my mother refers to as “ferocious concentration” in me and my father, a trait that makes us great at taking tests and very irritating to live with). All I meant to credit myself with was not destroying or standing in the way of his developing concentration.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go capitulate to his demands to watch Thomas the Impulsive Engine.