This morning my dentist told me that she spent two hours in the ER last night with her four-year-old daughter, trying to get out a metal clasp that the little one had shoved up her nose. As if going to the dentist weren’t already scary enough! The entire time she was filling my cavity, all I could think about was how my 6-month-old baby already seems like a little dardevil. He’s always trying to launch himself out of his car seat, stroller, vibrating chair, my arms, etc. Every single thing he touches right now has to be taste tested and shoved halfway down his throat. I have also detected a definite glimmer of delight whenever I twirl or flip him upside down. After emerging from my own childhood basically unscathed, am I doomed to spend my son’s carrying his crutches and signing his casts? Is it too much to make him live in a bubble for the next 18 years? What if I make sure there’s wifi?
When I was a kid, I remember my mom getting mad at me when I’d hurt myself. She was sympathetic and caring too, but her first reaction was always a bit angry. As I got older, I called her out on this and asked her why she would yell as soon as I started crying. She said that it probably was due to her being mad at herself for not protecting me and then projecting the anger to me. After I pointed it out how ridiculous this was given that I was already hurting and didn’t need to be yelled at thankyouverymuch, she tried to curb her reactions. Unfortunately, I have realized in the past few months that I may have inherited this not so wonderful trait. My voice definitely goes up several octaves whenever anything goes wrong. I try to remain calm, but I notice myself becoming more than a touch shrill. I am determined not to scream at my kid when he’s in pain. I figure it’s the least I can do once my kisses lose their magical power to make it better.
We’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had any real scares or issues. Seeing friends go through the nightmares of dealing with a sick or hurt kid makes me treasure my baby that much more. As much as I hope to protect him and keep him safe from his own damn curiosity, I realize that fear and pain are two very important teachers in life. Though I will hate it, I have to let him be stupid and irresponsible so that he learns from his own mistakes. I just hope that those mistakes don’t involve any big booboos.