I happened to notice today that I hadn’t updated my “About” page since I started this blog, over two years ago. So I thought I’d best do that, as it said that Emily was named Beth and was 2 1/2. Hope that wasn’t confusing any new visitors! I use pseudonyms for my kids, and I changed the names I used at some point during the blog. I updated *some* but not all of the old posts.
It’s been warm here. Shockingly warm, for January, really. I took the kids to the park yesterday and today. Although, both times, the parks weren’t all that great. Next time I might just drive a bit farther and go to the really good park. Today’s park wasn’t too bad, although there was another mom there who was sort of annoying me.
It’s hard to pinpoint what bothered me. Part of it, I think, was her familiarity with us. She acted like we were old friends from the start, chatting to my kids and teasing them within a minute of our arrival, when we’d never met. One thing that really bothered me was when Emily started trying to climb up this thing that was sort of like a double helix, attached to the side of the main climbing structure. So you could climb up it, then climb onto the top of the climbing structure and go down a slide. Well, when Emily started up it, this women went to block the top and sort of roared at Emily. I could see Emily sort of balk, so I played along, saying, “Oh, no, there’s a monster at the top!” Emily then grinned and kept climbing. But when she got most of the way there (and this is not a huge thing, she was maybe two feet off the ground), she started to fall, then managed to catch herself and get down safely.
I could have caught her, preventing her fall entirely. But, honestly, I don’t think parents who catch their kids from every potential fall do their kids a service. I think that kids *need* to get a little scared, to fall, to get back up and climb again. I think that we need to let kids have adventures and excitement, and not babyproof their world.
This woman obviously didn’t think so. Because as Emily caught herself, the woman gasped. “Oh, my! Wow, you almost really fell and hurt yourself! Wow, it’s a good thing you caught yourself, you would have really been hurt! You need to be more careful. Goodness, you would have been seriously hurt.” Over and over and over. I didn’t quite know what to say, as my first thought was, “Shut up!” Emily is already not incredibly adventurous, a bit scared of trying new things… this was not helpful.
And the thing was… her feet were down, her head was up, it was two feet to the ground. If she fell? She’d land on her feet, probably topple backwards, scream and cry… and recover. We’re not talking head injury or broken limb.
Right after that, Emily ran off to something else. The woman was still going on about it, but this time directed to me. So I responded, saying something like, “Well, we’d rather the kids take some risks and not always protect them from falls, we think it’s better for them to fall a bit, get up, and discover that they can be tough and they can get on with things.” She said, “But she could have really been hurt!” I don’t remember what I said, but we went another round or two and then gave up (I had to walk off to help with a kid).
Of *course* about ten minutes later, Emily fell while going down these steps that are supposed to look sort of like stairs hewn in rock, three rows of them (with the center misaligned). A seriously easy thing to climb up and down… Charlotte, my 1-year-old, went up the stairs with me spotting her from behind. Emily fell off the last of these because she was climbing down too fast, and screamed and screamed… and I felt like the woman was probably thinking, “I told you so.” She didn’t even look at me, so this was just totally in my head because of our previous encounter. But I was rather glad to leave that park in the end.
Charlotte has started really getting into things. She loves to eat, and for a while she’d bring you a bowl and a box of cereal if she got hungry. Then one day, I noticed that she had a bowl of cereal that nobody had poured for her. She’d poured it herself. Yes, this would be the thing that my 17-month-old would be precocious in… procuring her own food. She keeps getting into all the unlatched cabinets, homeschool stuff, crayons, basically anything she can find.
The other day, Jenny had a ring pop. She didn’t have it in her mouth at the moment, just on her finger. Charlotte spotted it, went over, and sucked the lollipop part right into her mouth and clamped down *hard*, so that she was sucking on the lollipop and the ring part was still on Jenny’s finger. Jenny freaked out. “Mommy, Charlotte’s getting my sucker!” Charlotte knew perfectly well that this was probably her one and only chance to taste a lollipop until she was beyond the choking stage, so she had that thing clenched between jaws of steel and she was *not* going to let go. I probably should have been all freaked out–“Sugar! Choking hazard!” I did rescue it from Charlotte, but inside I was laughing my head off. It was just so utterly hilarious. Poor Jenny. As soon as I freed it from Charlotte, she popped it back into her mouth before Charlotte could get another chance, and that was it for Charlotte and ring pops for at least a couple of years.