Monday, October 6, 2008

Hard Knocks

Yesterday, I volunteered in Little Monkey's Joyland class at church. It was me and one other lady, who was a young early-twenty-something newlywed with no children. Between us, we had 6 babies. We were very lucky because all of our tots were the same age (13 months) and were actually very easy to care for. It was fun to see all these babies play together! Except my fellow-teacher was freaking out everytime my son would climb on this little set of baby stairs.

The wooden contraption only had three stairs on either side and the whole point was to teach toddlers how to climb up and down stairs. Even though the highest point was only about 12 inches off the ground, of course there is risk involved!

My problem is this: my son thinks he's Evil Knievel. He's very much like his father in that aspect. He has no fear. He definitely doesn't get that from me. So while all the other children were busy banging blocks and sucking on their pacifiers, my son is climbing these stairs with a puzzle piece in each hand and standing at the top dancing like he's playing Dance, Dance Revolution. I knew eventually he was going to fall. I knew he was going to hurt his head or bruise something. But I also know my son. You have to let him find out the boundaries on his own. Otherwise, he doesn't learn.

Not really sure where he gets that from...ahem.

Holding his hand the entire class time or pulling him off the stairs was not going to teach him anything. Nor was it going to help the other teacher with the remaining five babies in the room. I have no doubt that she thought I was a bad mother, not paying attention to the safety of my child. What she doesn't know is that I had a stroke everytime Monkey stood at the top of the stairs. It was a physical battle for me to NOT go over there and just remove the darn thing from the class. I was keeping a close eye on him in spite of my non-chalant demeanor. Of course, about an hour into class, he got to the top of the stairs, started dancing around and fell straight onto his head onto the floor, legs in the air, arms flailing, puzzle pieces flying all around him. Of course, I dropped what I was doing and went over and hugged the stuffin' out of him while I checked him over. Nothing broken. He was fine. Nothing more than a knot on his forehead and a little carpet burn. Poor little guy! I think it scared him more than anything. He snuggled in and boo-hooed into my neck. For about 6.2 seconds. When he realized he lost his puzzle pieces, he immediately squirmed to get off my lap and go find them. Only to be distracted by the stray Goldfish crackers under the table, which he made a beeline to go eat.

I breathed a sigh of relief, looked up and saw all the babies and the other teacher just sitting on the playmat, staring silently with eyes as big as saucers and mouths agape.

Someday when she has children, she'll understand. Someday she'll understand that if we could protect our children from every harm in the world we would. She'll understand that more than anything else, we hate seeing our children hurt in any form. When my child hurts, I hurt 10 times more. But if I am doing my job as a good parent, allowing my child to test his boundaries and allowing him to get hurt are some of the things that will help him grow most. Even if I have the ability to stop it, the end result of my child's well-being will far outweigh the immediate pain he might experience at the moment.

Thank you Heavenly Father for showing me that lesson today. I feel like I understand you so much more. I'm so sorry for being so presumptuous to think I know better than you.


Flakymn said...

I loved this blog!!!!

Mandi said...

Usually I find when I learn things the hard way those lessons tend to mean so much more. I never forget them ... Love this post.

The Johnson Junket said...

This post really hit home with me. I have been choked with fear over something happening (whatever that might be) to Audrey and I know I have to let her be hurt sometime, but that is easier said then done... especially with a 2 1/2 month old!

Karrie said...

I totally identify with the "internal cringing", but have to admit that I mostly laughed while reading this b/c our little guys are seriously peas in a pod. Let's put it this way, the schnitz's new favorite word is "crash" and he refuses to acknowledge that the playground equipment he most likes to play on is labelled "5-12 year old"!:-)

It's hard to let the explore their boundaries, but I'd much rather deal with the occasional bumps and scrapes than have him develop a spirit of fear in life. One of those would hold him back a LOT more in the long run.

In the meantime, I'm having a lot of fun watching my little guy be SUCH a boy! (I have a sneaking suspicion that they might actually have more fun than us girls;-)