"What’s important is that we embrace the idea that risk taking is a part of childhood" - Richard Rende
Something about being four, it seems like Maeve is picking up new skills every day. And I don't just mean her toilet-paper mummification skills, although we're getting plenty of practice. But she can climb to the top of the jungle gym, drop from two feet off the ground, ride her bike all the way to the park, and even, at long last, buckle herself into her own carseat.
I do my best to encourage these new freedoms, even while my brain is screaming she will fall and die and it will be your fault. I try to listen to that other part, that says she's getting older, she can do it, just stay close and be ready to help.
I'll tell you what, it'd be a lot easier to be a bad parent. To not let her take risks on the playground, never take her places she might misbehave or be uncomfortable, and not even try to teach her new skills. That would be way easier. I never realized, at least before becoming a mom, that being a parent meant doing the hard work of finding a balance between protection and encouragement. All the time.
But I keep trying, just like she does.