“House or apartment?,” he asked.
“House,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s not the same then. It’s a totally different game. She can send them outside to the yard and go read a magazine. You’re not on top of each other like you are in an apartment. In an apartment there’s no escape.”
Now listen—I know that my friend is delusional. Life with five children is incredibly demanding, house or no house. I don’t think my sister has gotten to sit down for more than five minutes in 16 years. But there’s some truth to what he says.
Over Sukkot I took a mini-vacation from my cramped urban apartment to a close friend’s big house in a tree-filled Boston suburb. It was a break from work, nanny-shares, cooking and—I hesitate to admit—my 5-year-old, who spent hours on end playing fireman in the basement playroom with his 3-year-old friend.
When I checked in periodically to maintain my peace of mind, everyone teased me for being overprotective. But they don’t get apartment parenting.
You see, our “playroom” is our living room (which is also our dining room). When I’m at home my son and I are rarely farther than ten feet away from each other. It’s lovely—I get to observe all sorts of enchanting creative play that I’d otherwise miss—but it’s also really demanding, and a little stifling for us both. Read the rest of this entry →