Shock Report: I’m a Helicopter Parent

If you’ve met me, then this isn’t really shocking, and I apologize for the misleading clickbait-ish-headline-slash-title.

But I hear helicopter parents are a thing, and an irritating thing at that. Despite ample evidence over the course of many months, I only just figured it out.

Here’s how.

Thanks to a local Duluth-area-moms Facebook group (a helpful parenting resource these days if ever there was one!), we discovered THE COOLEST PLACE. It’s called The Avenue Coffeehouse, and I am not exaggerating, it is the coolest. It’s a coffee shop (obvs) in an small, hulled-out movie theater. They keep the coffee and goodies in the concession stand area, naturally, and have fleshed out the rest of the lobby with all the squishy furniture and kitschy-funky ambiance and wifi you could want out of your local indie purveyor of percolation.

Then there’s the theater part.

The Ave (along with a local church) hulled out the theater space and created Little Jack’s Play Center.

The first (!) set of play areas at Little Jack's.
The first (!) set of play areas at Little Jack’s. The black divider in the back of the photo is what cordons off the nursery area.

So what you have is a large, enclosed, majorly soundproofed, open space for kids to play. That sells coffee. In Minnesota. In January.

Nolan's favorite corner.
Nolan’s favorite corner.

Are you KIDDING ME!? This place is a godsend.

(Getting to the helicopter part, I promise.)

I have GOT to get me one of these for our house.
I have GOT to get me one of these for our house.

So Nolan and me drove the thirty-ish minutes to check this place out. I figure even if he doesn’t like it, I’ll get a decent cup of coffee out of it.

I'm calling it a win.
I’m calling it a win.

Safe to say, he likes it. And the coffee is light years ahead of ‘decent’.

There were only a handful of other moms/grandmas/caregivers in the play space while we were there and for those ninety minutes or so, I was the only adult darting around the room like a crazy person. Once I figured that out, I got to thinking some more…

If all moms are crazy people (and it’s an assumption I’m forced to make, that they’re all crazy at least some of the time), how come I was the only one jumping around like a scalded cat?

I’m mixing my metaphors pretty badly, but if you’ve seen Nolan in action, then you have witnessed the behavior I’ve just described. I’m kind of always doing it.

Hence, helicopter.

Couldn't get him to investigate the giant purple caterpillar climber-thing, though.
Couldn’t get him to investigate the giant purple caterpillar climber-crawler-thing, though.

I’m not sure when it happened. Maybe it’s the natural evolution of a stay-at-home mom who stayed-at-home way too dang much the last couple of years.

So now we Take Steps. Not sure what they all are yet, but the first one will be a return trip to an awesome coffee shop with a jungle gym in the back.

Naturally, their cache of Legos, Duplos, and Mega Bloks won the favorite spot.
Naturally, their cache of various building blocks won favorite spot of the day.

*Minor disclaimer: You’re only seeing photos of about 25% of the play area. Why? Because there were other children there playing, and I’m not about to put up photos of somebody else’s kid without their permission. You want to see the rest of the space? Come visit.

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