I've often said that our kids (Josh and I's) will be part of the most over-raised generation yet. I don't mean it in a good way. I'm not sure all of this obsessing is really healthy...for them or us. Maybe this is just the natural backlash of our OWN generational difficulties. Josh and I are, after all, ourselves part of the "generation without a cause". With no draft to run from, no nazi's to fight, no great depression to rise above, we have in a way nothing to live for but ourselves. We often (again Josh and I) joke about the "new quarter life crisis" that seems so in vogue around our peers. It used to be a man woke up and realized that he wanted his youth back...now we just never leave it behind in the first place. But I digress.
But actually, to digress further before I get back on track, I am in no way trying to say we (Josh and I) are above any of that or that other people we know arent. And its not to say that there are no good fights left to fight, either. There are still causes to stand behind, it's just that it often seems that to our generation joining a cause means clicking a button on Facebook and then...oh wait, where is that funny youtube video again? And yes, I mean myself as much as anyone else. I am in no way above over-raising my child, either. I am a perfect example of obsessive child raising.
And I find that my digressions actually ran full circle and I am back to my point. Dont you love circuitous thinking?
My lastest venture into perhaps negative over-parenting began this Thursday when I found out that a local co-op preschool a few children I am aquainted with attend had a few spots open in Zeke's age group. I've thought about this co-op a lot, in fact, but always in a future-like way. The way the co-op works for Zeke's age group is you attend, both child and mother, for 2 hours one day a week. This would obviously work for us, as Zeke is in no way even NEAR ready to be seperated from me for any length of time, but usually does OK as long as I am in sight. It would also work for us as they dont mind baby siblings coming along at all, and it was even priced so that we could afford it.
Eager to provide Ezekiel with every possible opportunity and advantage, my mind filled with the positives. It would foster independance in a way that Zeke can handle, it will help him learn to socialize (something our very shy child struggles with greatly), it will help him begin to learn classroom behaviors and maybe even some colors and shapes while we are at it! Filled with all these thoughts of what a wonderful mom I will be for doing this, and how much Zeke will blossom with such an opportunity, I discussed it that night with Josh.
Josh does not suffer from the over-parenting syndrom nearly as much as I. He saw the disaster that this would most likely be as soon as the subject came up but, in case you havent heard, I married a great man, so he broke it to me gently.
Or at least he tried. He started out on shakey ground, bringing up the fact that I will have a newborn soon, one that will eat ALL THE TIME, and that maybe it was more than I could handle right now. Not a great angle, I didnt want to hear that my own abilities could somehow negatively affect Zeke. Seriously, just try to tell me that I cant fly in order to save my child from the deep seated trauma of such-and-such. I can fly mister and I will!
He switched tactics quickly, to quoting my own previous and often stated opinions. Good idea, couched in all that intelligence and good sense (I said it after all) all that mumbo jumbo about my biting off more than I can chew might go down easier. Because it is true, after all, that I've said this winter we really need to focus on our family and strengthening our relationships not only with the new baby when she comes but also with Zeke and each other. Adding a new family member can put stress on all bonds, after all, and will create a whole new balance within our family. We need this time to hunker down and make sure our marriage is on strong grounds, that Zeke is feeling safe in our love and his own position, and that on top of all of that we are bonding with our new child during these important first months. Its a big job.
It's also true that I've said we (and by that I really mean I, since Josh isnt guiltly of it) need to be careful not to push Zeke too hard. He is still a baby, no matter how easy it is to forget with him getting so big and learning new things everyday. And it will be even harder to remember with another baby in the house. But just because we have another child doesnt mean Zeke needs to grow up faster. They can BOTH be babies. Just ask Zeke. He still refers to himself as "baby Zeke" and just you try to tell him he's a big boy...it makes him VERY mad. And I have also said that I need to be careful not to push him towards independance and socialization that he isnt ready for. I want to be the kind of mother that accepts who my child is and the pace that he is ready to take, even if that is sometimes slower than another child. I never want Zeke to be ashamed of himself, or to think that I am ashamed of him.
After all of that, along with reminders that Zeke and I go to playdates and socialize that way all the time, and how he is not even 2 years old yet, and that new enviroments and schedules throw him off SO much right now and so much more...after all of THAT, the other stuff, you know, about there being a NEWBORN coming soon and how even if they are welcoming of it at the preschool, maybe I wont be so welcoming of having to get out of the house by 9 am once a week or so able to focus once I do make it there seemed a lot more logical, and also more kindly meant.
So it looks like co-op is out. For now, at least. We will bring the subject up again next fall when they start the 2010 "school year". By then Zeke will be 2, Blueberry will be 6 months, and everything will be different.