Feb 2 2011
Helicopter parent — (noun)
colloquial, 21st century term for parent who pays close attention to child’s experience and problems; named because — like a helicopter — parent hovers closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether child needs the parent or not.
I am not a helicopter parent.
Nor should I be flying one. Not even a toy.
For Christmas my Uncle Bill gave the kids a remote-controlled Silver Bullet helicopter. Because he believes that any toy worth its weight should be battery operated.
Not a night goes by where the kids aren’t clutching the remote and jamming the joystick on high, sending the little bug-like device aloft. (Flashing blue lights on either side give it the appearance of a sinister fly on steroids.) Typically it buzzes the ceiling a few times before the operator abandons the controls, resulting in a crash landing behind the radiator or in the kitchen sink.
“Gimme that thing,” I said, after the helicopter suffered another powerless free fall from rafter height. A 3 year old can pilot this, I thought. How hard can it be?
I eased on the controls and the chopper droned to life and took off… right into a potted plant. The whirling rotors hacked several leaves to ribbons. I quickly scraped up the plant remains before anyone noticed, then tried again.
This time the helicopter succeeded in lift-off, but suddenly veered right. The blades whined with an angry buzz and ground to a halt.
“Ow!” Hadley yelped.
Martin looked up from the kitchen where he was shoveling food into the baby.
“You didn’t just fly the helicopter into Hadley’s hair, did you?” he asked flatly.
Hadley shook her head a few times but the chopper held firm, its beady blue lights glaring into her locks.
It took a good five minutes to extract the helicopter’s blades from her head.
The toy is intact.
Hadley’s hair… not so much.
Just another step closer to my parent-of-the-year award…
Operation Chopper Extraction