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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

when do i let my kid outside alone?

here is maya with a butterfly on her head at the california academy of sciences.  with all of the million dollar exhibits there, her favorite encounter was this one.  i chaperoned this field trip and one kindergarten boy who had never been there before told me "this is a magical place."

the school year is almost over, and i am counting down the minutes.

we were at a friend's house near precita park yesterday and she was telling me how nice it was that her third grader can leave the house alone to cross the street to the park and a new cafe.  i was doing this kind of stuff at age 6.  i remember roaming the woods and finding forts, an area we named strawberry field, the mulberry bush grove, collecting baby frogs. and walking probably 10 blocks by fourth grade to the pet store, and the drug store to buy candy.  yes, there were some wierd times, like when someone hung pornography in the branches of the trees by strawberry fields, and when i almost got hit by a car while running a lemonade stand with aggressive marketing.  but i survived.

it is just too crazy where we live for me to let my kid out alone yet.  i know it is a combination of my tendency to worry and the reality of many mentally ill folks,careless drivers, and crazy traffic around here, but sooner or later this needs to happen.  i need to let him out there alone so he can start to feel more independent and confident.  is living here making my kids less independent?  they are still in the look mommy, watch me, watch me, look, listen stage, sharing their hula hoops skills, calvin and hobbes strips, yu-gi-oh cards.  it is nice and annoying at the same time to have your attention so desired.  do many nine year olds still say "mommy look" upwards from 20 times a day?

anyone reading this have an opinion?  does living somewhere less safe hinder your child's development of independence?  and when are kids ready to be alone in a gritty urban environment?

we will be in sonoma for a few weeks this summer, and i will be giving my son some space to cross a street alone, and buy himself a treat, and then return safely to his mama.

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