How Much Is Enough?

One morning this week I took my not-quite-six-month-old son out in the rain. Without a raincoat. Or a hat. On purpose. I think he liked it, although his conversational skills are a bit underdeveloped, so I can’t be sure.
My daughters eat cereal off the ground. In fact, I have said things to them like, “Everyone do your part to help clean up. Start by eating these Cheerios on the floor.” My middle child intentionally eats sand on a regular basis.
Sand is yummy!
I never take my kids’ temperatures. If one of them feels really super hot and it’s interrupting their sleep and/or interfering with their daily activities, I will give them a bit of acetaminophen or ibuprofen or whatnot. We almost never go to the doctor for anything other than “well” visits. If they seem really sick, we would, and we have, because I just know, but I couldn’t explain my thought process.
I try not to flip out about the small stuff. Let kids by kids, they are resilient, and all that. I don’t want to be The Parent Who Worries About Every Freaking Thing
However . . . I also don’t want to be The Parent Who Stands Just Outside The Playground Fence Talking On Her Cell Phone And Lighting Her Cigarette

Look out below!
Free Range Parenting sounds good on many levels, in theory. Still, I can’t completely get on board. Talk to anyone over age 30 and you will inevitably hear some story about something they did as a kid, when no parents were around, while they were outside (“until the street lights came on” seems to be a common denominator). All of these stories end the Exact Same Way: “ . . . and I turned out fine.” Really? Fine? You wanna go there?

Helicopter Parenting, on the other extreme, sounds a wee bit obsessive. Eventually I would like my children to be able to function in the world without my day-to-day assistance.
But I’m not raising chickens. Or helicopters. 
I’d like to think I’ve reached a happy middle ground. But sometimes I let worry get the best of me. Usually I’m okay, until Something Happens. Then the paranoia sets in. And it’s hard to let go. 
For instance, my middle child is a bit of a daredevil. I was a lot calmer with J’s antics until one evening last December when she fell backwards off the couch onto her head. And her eyes did that weird, rolling back thing, and she almost passed out, and I yelled at her to stay awake until we could get to the emergency room. (Which, thankfully, is about a 90-second drive.) She had a pretty good bump, but was otherwise fine.
I can’t help it; injuries just really freak me out. I am getting better at this, but sometimes I need to remind myself that people survive gunshot wounds to the head, falling off cliffs, and being impaled by tree branches. In the grande scheme of things, this is so minor.

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