Saturday, 2 June 2012

What goes up...

A few months back I'd check on Bug every 10 seconds If I was in the kitchen making dinner. These days I nip into the living room, make sure she's not on fire, and continue cooking.

I seem to have stopped worrying about her in the confines of our home. Yesterday, not long after waking, Bear and I lost track of her:

BEAR: Where's Bug?
ME: I think she's looking at stuff under our bed.
BEAR: What stuff?
ME: You know. Guns and things. Matches. A couple of paedophiles.
BEAR: Shit. That reminds me.
ME What?
BEAR: We need to throw the paedophiles out.
ME: They'll be right dusty.

Thing is, when out of the flat I become overly cautious. I use 'cautious' cautiously. One day Bug may choose the words 'overbearing,' 'protective' and 'suffocating.' Of course that would be a private conversation between her and her therapist so best not to speculate.

I follow Bug around playgrounds like a paranoid shadow in case she falls into a puddle of scrapes and tears. As Newton famously never said: what goes up must drop down like a bastard. Not that she's had any big falls -- not with me around. If she stumbles, I catch her. If she looks like she's going to stumble, I catch her. Sometimes I decide it's best to stay at home to give the stumbles the slip.

Overbearing, protective and suffocating

There's a climbing frame at our park that Bug loves. It's shaped like an ark and has a raised platform four feet off the ground with sheer drops on three sides. Bug's covered in skin not bubble wrap so I dash around like a mental trying to stop her falling off. I shit myself regularly. Bug thinks it's a game and tries to dodge my flailing arms. I shit myself a bit more and leap as she dives off the edge. She lands in my arms and giggles. I breathe more and shit less.

The thing is, I'm worried she's kamikaze becasue she knows I'll be there to catch her. It's lovely that she has such (blind) faith, but it's not helping either of us. I need to teach her to be safe in a way that doesn't involve tears, tantrums and whatever else I can do to make her feel guilty.

I'm open to suggestions.

Bye for now.



  1. Thanks for this post - the trouble with kids is that they like to do the things that scare us the most - like climb the tallest tree, swing higher than any of the other kids etc etc - and I guess the painful thing is that you just have to let them. So, when every fibre inside you is shouting "get down now!" on the outside you need to smile, encourage and grab them as soon as they are close enough.

    1. Jeremy.

      She's taken to clambering up a chair so she can get onto the table. She then climbs from the table into her high chair. It's all very Dukes of Hazard and makes me think the high chair is somewhat redundant.

      Thanks for the advice. I will try smiling instead of grimacing when I grab her!

  2. As the great Michael Caine said, in Batman Begins, 'Why do we fall, sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.' Sometimes your job as Dad is not to catch, but to pick back up :-) x

  3. oh its a hard one, ever instinct you have wants to protect her, thats what dads do. but sometimes letting them fall is teaching them more. I use to let my daughter who took on average (with medication) 25 epileptic fits a day windsurf, canoe, absail, gorge-walk, cycle, play in a park and swim. She also crossed roads going out and about and going to school-life is a risk, and sometimes they learn more than when we wrap them in cotton wool.

  4. It seems that you have developed the bird gene - I can say that I am one. My DH thinks I should let them carry on, climbing up castle walls and everything. Me, I walk around, fluttering, going NO (only to stopped by my husband glaring at me!)


    1. Bird gene. I like that. Yes. We were at the park last week and I tried really hard not to flutter. Really hard.

      Let her climb up the climbing frame. I looked calm on the outside when in fact I was doing little poos.