I've realized something unusual about myself, when the twins and I are at a playground. I generally find myself a shady bench or table, pull out a crossword book, and absorb myself. I'll glance up to see the kids, every now and then, but I just let them do their thing. It's easier with twins, too; they definitely interact with each other a ton.
In much the same way that "feminism is the radical idea that women are equal to men" (attributed to Rebecca West, among others), free range parenting is the radical idea that children aren't idiots. It's realizing that they need to learn through experience. It's not a term I'd heard until recently; in fact, when I first heard about it, I was flatly against it. The idea of not knowing where my kids are? Terrifying.
But wait. I started having childhood flashbacks to following my brothers into the woods, not coming out until my stepmom rang the giant cast iron bell inherited from her grandmother's farm. I remembered the whole neighborhood, ages fifteen and under, dividing up into teams for flashlight capture the flag in the summer. I remember walking to the bookstore half a mile away, in my early teens, and telling my mom I'd be back in a few hours.
Maybe this idea isn't so radical after all. The more I think about my childhood (which really wasn't that long ago!), the more it seems I - and everyone else my age - was "free-ranged."
Thanks to this article by Libby Anne for making me think through this again. I'm interested to see how it affects my future child-rearing ideas!
I'll come back to the twins and I at the playground tomorrow, and write about the Incident that got this stuck in my brain. Though it really wasn't big enough to warrant a capital I.