Beginner Pedal Parenting: "That's So Epic"
I get the impression that parenting doesn't usually involve all that many strangers spontaneously offering up compliments. I am apparently an awesome Dad.
At least, according to twenty-somethings in a band on line at the Co-Op.
Compliment with care.
I like to give Little Oil a wide berth. In other words, I am lazy and permissive. I actually think it works quite well and the kid does seem pretty capable and independent to me. I sometimes get compliments from well meaning strangers about Little's ability to find items at the food Co-Op on her own or to explore the park further than an arm's reach away from me. (Don't judge me! The Co-Op is an extremely familiar place, all the staff know Little and she really can navigate the place very well.)
Free Range is the way to go.
Folks, usually young, hip types who maybe hadn't considered that spending time with a toddler needn't involve yelling all the time, have once or twice complimented me.
That's so cool that you can give your kid space. You two must really trust each other.
Now, this never ends well. As much as I wish it were otherwise, I fear that I am not a humble person and I don't need some busybody pumping up my head. Worse, nothing brings on a knock-down, top-of-her lungs temper tantrum like a cocky Poppa.
So yeah, I guess sometimes parenting might involve random, uninvited compliments from strangers. But they can go so wrong!
Nice Bike! Cute Passenger!
Pedal Parenting, on the other hand, invites all measure of accolades for oneself and one's kids. For an attention-hound like me it is very gratifying. Whole bus-fulls of strangers point and wave. Drivers roll down their windows to ask Little Oil if she is having a good time. She soaks it all in and mugs for the spectators. Waves back. Answers questions. It is hilarious.
Maybe there are some tsks. I've never heard them.
The best compliments come from those same twenty-somethings, climbing uphill behind us. They on their fixed-gears (remember, we are building an image of these kid-less bohemians based on cliche. Some may have gears), us on our cargo bike, with blankies and dolls and library books and diaper bags and balance bikes.
Now their eyes seem to say,
Wow, I don't have to stop pedaling after I bring a kid into my life.
Now their voices say,
That is so epic!