I have been thinking that this is the type of childhood I want my children to have--wild and daring and full of play.
This does lead to a couple of problems. How do you keep your children safe while letting them play in their own way (which I will add is sometimes dangerous)? The other day I lost Noah at the park. I had left him to play by himself at the end of the park that's geared for babies while I played tickle monster for Claire as she came down the big-girl slide. Noah, of course, did not even know he was lost and had just moved on to a slide in another section of the park but the park is large and there's a lake at the very far end so I was panicked for the 2 minutes he was missing.
I don't know what the answer is. I don't know where the happy medium is for wild childhoods and safety from speeding cars and getting lost in the woods and strangers who would harm my kids. The pull to helicopter-parent my children is strong but I don't think it's good for them. I think it's good that Claire wants to go quickly up the stairs to story time while Noah and I walk slowly along--that does not mean that the moments she is away from me I'm calm and collected--I panic a little if I don't see her right away when we finally get to the top (probably only 3 minutes behind her).
What do you do? How do you keep your children safe and let them have freedoms too? Is the sick feeling in your stomach while you wait for them to come back to you just something that is normal and grows stronger as the teen years approach?
I normally err on the side of too much freedom (as can be attested to by this picture. Noah in a cast and Claire with a bandaid on her forehead because she got a rug burn serious enough to warrant a bandaid while jumping off her bed into a pile of pillows--and you'll note that in this picture they are eating breakfast and doing an art project so all of the bed jumping took place VERY early this morning).