So I have been reading the Free Range Kid blog and am becoming increasingly interested in encouraging my kids' independence as well as concerned about Ten and both her reluctance to be independent and what I perceive as her nearly absolute lack of skills to do so safely.
Since September, nearly every day at around 2:30 I have met her at the Starbucks across the street from her school.
It has been a fabulous arrangement. Our little private school (I can't believe we aren't public school people sometimes, let alone CATHOLIC school people) doesn't have a bussing system so we drop her off and pick her up.
Along with everyone else at the school.
You can imagine the congestion.
So I thought to myself: why not have her meet me at the coffee shop, then if I get there early (or, more likely, if she is a little late) I can crank out a little work, or read a book AND I don't have to waste 20 minutes of my life in the car in line in the back of the school!
Neither BioMom nor I were concerned at all about Ten making the trek across and down the street. There are lights and even a "manned" crosswalk after school. For the first couple of days, I was a little panicked when she showed up ten minutes after school let out, but I relaxed into it and it has been a great arrangement for us. We hang out there and she does her homework before we grab Big whose preschool ends about and hour later. Plus she knows that there is no expectation of purchasing snacks there and the Starbucks people don't mind us hanging out without purchasing.
Recently though, I've been settled into an afternoon caffeine pick-me-up (ala Cousin) and a little computer work when she's sauntered in sans homework.
As I've mentioned before, there is nothing like a bored preteen when you've got some or other deadline, or even when you've got a nice cuppa hot coffee that you just want to relax into.
So, the other day she asked if she could go to the library.
My heart sank a bit. As said, I had my hour all laid out before me! What would I do with this "to-stay" cup of coffee? Did I really have to pack up my computer and head down the block to only re-set up in the library, hence losing 10 minutes of precious work time?
So I asked her if she was interested in going by herself.
The library is about 1.5 blocks away from Starbucks, down a street of businesses (a grocery store, a restaurant, Subway, a movie rental place and Caribou) then across a very busy street (with a light) and past a liquor store. These are all places that we have visited on numerous occasions and a little urban corner that we pass nearly twice a day on average to and from her school.
This is to say that she is certainly familiar with the area. Plus, if one were concerned, they could literally walk backwards from Starbucks to the library and keep the Starbucks in sight the entire time.
She showed no hesitancy so we made a plan for me to meet up with her a few minutes later.
All went swimmingly. I finished my coffee and my work and even made a quick stop for some Summit at the liquor store before heading over.
I found her curled up with a book at a library table in the children's section.
Wanna know who DID freak out?
Any thoughts, ideas or reactions?