Some people would say my mothering is too lax . Probably they would be right. I was at a play date today and another mom told me that Leo was eating sand from the playground. Leo is not walking yet, but he is nearly one, and is impossible to hold when he has the opportunity to get down and explore. I tossed a glance over my shoulder and said that sand was probably not as healthy as cat food, but the yuck factor was lower. She laughed and I left it at that. My toddler soon ate his fill and moved on. Leo has recently developed a taste for Purina Cat Chow and has learned to let himself out the screen door while my back is turned, to get his own snacks. This is why the cat food is now on the picnic table, another yuck.

My laxness may have something to do with the fact that Leo is kid number three, and therefore by definition bullet proof. You know the first one is fragile like china, the second is more like Melmac, and the third, well he has to protect himself at a young age so I would call him Kevlar. I don’t yet know the properties of the fourth child, but I am hoping for Teflon. If I am in luck number four will be just as easy to clean.

I read Parent’s magazine, which mostly I like, but a recent issue stressed that the parent should be in the same room in which the children are playing at all times. Presumably this will keep them safe, from each other as well as environmental hazards. I have three kids and five rooms in which they may play. Short of cloning myself, (why on earth would I want more than one of me?) I can see that my kids will have to find ways to be safe on their own. I can child-proof my house, but they will learn to be better citizens if I am not supervising their every move. I wish those editors would get a dose of reality. How do these people cook anything? They are probably the same people who made it nearly impossible to buy soft soap that isn’t anti-bacterial.

How much supervision can anyone provide while trying to do other things as well? Part of the job of being a stay at home mom (or even a working parent) is keeping the laundry washed (and folded if possible) and enough clean dishes around to be able to serve at least one meal. I can’t be there when they get older and go to school, and they need to have a working set of social skills long before that.

I belong to MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers, and I like their magazine because it doesn’t have articles on being the perfect mother. It has articles that say “well, I did a better job parenting today than I did yesterday, but who knows about tomorrow?” The last issue had an article about dealing with a poopy potty trainer in public. I can relate to real life.

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