Scarlett woke from her dreamy return to childhood with a renewed sense of strength and organization. Right, then.
First she would organize a meeting. She rang the country rooming house and one of the spinsters went to retrieve Velma while Scarlett dashed off to get paper and pen.
She grabbed her planning book and got back to her red phone before Velma answered from the countryside.
“Yes you and Vesta both. I just think that if we could all sit down over a gin or a bottle of wine we could sort out enough details to look at a few flats while you’re here. Then we could give it a good think before we meet again.” Scarlett was running on all cylinders, quickly calculating where to put everyone in her admittedly over-sized New York apartment.
Velma would stay in the guest room as usual, while Scarlett could make up the sofa in her guest room to be very comfortable for dear Vesta.
“We do have to be realistic, after all, dear, about what we can afford. So you and Vesta come to me and we’ll lay our cards on the table and go look at real estate in our price range. Oh I can accommodate any itinerary, just get yourself and Vesta together and come.”
I am queen of the helicopter parents. But there are enough of us that we are becoming a social problem. Here’s my story.
Thing 1 was coming, they couldn’t stop him, it was only 24 weeks and 3 days. Someone asked: should we try to save him? Well, yes. Yes! Ten days later, a team of doctors closed the door behind us to explain brain bleeds, sepsis, meningitis. Shall we pull the plug? Well, no. No!
Babydaddy laid hands on him every day, massaged him when he was ready. For the three months he was in intensive care, and the three weeks at an intermediate hospital, I would get up in the night and pump breast milk, thinking about my baby across town. Babydaddy delivered it every morning, earning the name “milkman.” It was funny.
We had every therapy going for as long as possible: early intervention, the intermediate unit, private therapies. Terms multiplied: sensory processing dysfunction, sensory integration problems, orally defensive, auditory sensitivities, comprehensive developmental delay, cognitive function impairment, retinopathy of prematurity. He did occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, play therapy; we consulted with a neurologist, school psychologist, wraparound service provider, developmental specialist. He worked with an occupational therapist for a year and a half to tolerate teeth and hair brushing.
Not surprisingly, parenting didn’t feel natural. I learned to read to my baby watching Phyllis, our physical therapist. Voices, commentary, labeling colors, counting… she was very good! Merging professional research skills with my genetic propensity for silliness (mom was class clown, dad’s distantly related to Lucille Ball), my mothering style came together. Eventually. But I still channel Phyllis on occasion.
Thing 2 was full term. They are complete opposites; she is a sensory seeker with a wild sense of adventure and an inventive sense of fashion. Keeping them both busy and happy is an exasperating and sweet challenge. I still believe that every day can be fun and educational while reinforcing kids' boundaries. I’m on a mission to save us helicopter parents from ourselves. No more bubble wrapped kids and guilty parents. Let’s teach them coping skills. Let’s get fun.