I don't know how I feel about this. Actually, I'm actually kind of proud and happy which is surprising.
On Saturday, after my daughter took her first swim class, I took her to the children's museum. It was the first time I went to the museum. It was not the first for my daughter.
As soon as we got to the museum and entered, I took her jacket off and she took off and didn't look back. At first, I followed her around like a chicken hawk. Then I noticed two things: 1) she didn't look for me and 2) all the other parents, were nearby but not hovering. Ok, there were a few hovering moms but those kids didn't seem to interact with the other kids.
Not wishing to be labeled, 'the helicopter mom', I slowly backed away. I wasn't as far as most of the parents but I wasn't on top of her either. And as I backed away, I also allowed myself to soak the museum up. I didn't just fixate on my child.
I usually allow her to fall and get back up by herself but I haven't yet allowed her to figure out social interaction issues. I started to at the museum. I realized I can't be there when someone takes her toy or pushes her or cuts her on cue. She is going to need to figure those out. I can guide her, which I did when she took a boys light bright peg but for the most part I was proud of her reactions. She didn't seemed phased too much and only disliked when a child tried to climb over her to get to the co-pilot seat on a trolley.
TG wandered to and fro and played happily at first by herself but then learned to interact with some of the other kids. She also liked to walk to adults, pull their pant leg and wave hello.
I only interacted with her when she either was doing something potentially dangerous, like climbing into an exhibit that wasn't meant for climbing or when she took another child's museum toy or when a child potentially was doing something dangerous around her, like climbing over her.
I actually found myself enjoying and feeling proud that my 14 month old played well by herself and with others. I felt proud she didn't always look back for me. I saw a confident kid who felt safe to explore and essentially learn without hesitation.
We stayed until closing and when we got home, she refused to go to bed until she could see her dad and tell him all about her day.
As I sat there listening to her babble on to her Dad, I realized we have a great kid and I only hope our relationship with her continues to grow stronger.