Tumbling [almost] twos
Is there a bubble suit or something for toddlers? Or an invisible force field to protect their chubby little limbs and saucer-shaped eyes?
In the past couple of weeks Hollis has taken more tumbles than in his entire life combined and they've been bigger than the run of the mill trips and falls (think more along the lines of cracking his head on a corner). They're scary because of the potential for injury.
The first incident was while we were video chatting with Anthony when he was in Greece. Hollis was on a chair next to me. I looked left for a second and when I looked back I saw a blur to my right and he was on his head and neck then flat on his back. I hissed, "SHIT!" and leaped over and scooped him up. I'm abnormally paranoid about neck and back injuries and so I was greatly relieved that all parts were moving and the worst that happened was he had a smudge of rug burn on his head. He sobbed for a few minutes, hiccuping his upset into my neck.
The next incident occurred out back in one of our plastic Adirondack chairs. I mention their plasticity because it means they weigh as much as a handful of popcorn. Again, we were hanging out, sitting side by side, talking about the weather and the birds and the leaves. I look right and when I look back to my left: NO CHAIR! He'd flipped it right over the ledge, done a flip, and was now pinned under the chair with a mouthful of crispy Texas dirt. I had no idea I had the power of flight, but I do. I flew to his side and searched his face. He was shaken up, but didn't seem to be in pain. I brushed him off, helped him spit out the dirt in his mouth, and told him that must have been pretty crazy. He just looked at me as if to say, "I'm not so sure about all this," but nary a tear appeared.
There have been other moments like these as he becomes more confident physically and more curious in general. I know that pain, injury, and failed experiments are critical to his development, but jesus christ - I feel gray hairs sprouting now. I need Valium.
I wonder all the time how my mother could have ever let us leave the house for hours at a time completely unsupervised. It's a miracle I'm alive. That any of us are alive! I used to play in a "creek" with friends, which was really just gutter runoff. I can't imagine what kind of radio active shit was in there, but there I was, neck deep in it. I used to scale fences, flip off of monkey bars, and ride across town for an ice cream cone alone. I can't imagine my life without those things to bolster my imagination and confidence, but does that mean I have to let my kid do those things too?? I can barely stand watching him fall in my own backyard let alone contemplate him OUT THERE all on his own. Someone shoot me now.
Seriously, is it just me or does our world today seem a lot more dangerous than the one in which we grew up?? What's the big difference anyway? The dissemination of information about bad things? Is that the biggest change? That now we hear all about the heinous things our brothers have done against us or are crimes against the young and innocent really on the rise? Were there really less bad men out there when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s and that's why our mothers let us run amok?
I'm glad I have a few years to work this out. I definitely don't want to be a helicopter mom, I don't think I have it in me even if I wanted to, but there's a fine line between robbing my child of a sense of self and of his own accomplishments and keeping him safe. Do I say NO to all the things he wants to dive into because it's dangerous? Will he never get to play with firecrackers? Will I not let him take apart the toaster because he might get electrocuted? Or do I let him experiment, possibly get hurt, and learn from it?
I want him to have a rich and exciting life and I want him to do all sorts of things in this life time like these things:
But can my heart really handle it?? Oy. Maybe I should just invest in some of this for me:
And one of these for Hollis: