I just finished the book Free-Range Kids and I have to say, it's pretty genius! The concept of trusting your kids to play right outside the house while you read a book or work on something inside is something I wanted to be able to do but couldn't wrap my head around. I wanted to trust Jack enough to let him play close by 'unsupervised' but society says I shouldn't do it because it would make me a bad mother. This book spoke to me about how and why we could trust our kids. Empowering them doesn't mean we're endangering them (this is so obvious to say but to actually say "Hey, 3-year-old recently-toddler baby of mine, go forth and play. I trust you not to run away, or somehow get hurt while not under my constant vigilant supervision." That's a whole other thing.
As I type this Jack is playing in the sandbox outside and I'm sitting on the couch inside while Henry plays. I can hear Jack, occasionally I'll poke my head out to see that he's there but I'm not actively watching him. We talked about staying close to the house, coming when he's called and staying AWAY from the storm drain (I mean, hello! Did we learn nothing from baby Jessica!)
This is great because Jack is happy to get some time in his sand box. Henry is happy to play without being harassed. And I'm happy because they're happy.
Bigger than that- this is another thing I felt like I had to wait for. When we were trying to sell our house I felt like I couldn't learn to use my sewing machine because I needed a craft room to use it. I couldn't put Henry in cloth, I couldn't make preserves, I couldn't line-dry our clothes because we needed a house not a townhouse to do all those things. Also on the list was let Jack play. I clearly needed a fenced yard in order to let Jack (and eventually Henry) play outside. I'd be a derelict if I let him play outside unconfined.
Not so!Henry showing off his prototype diaper. I'll make a few changes to the design but over all I'd call it a success!