There are those that say a little danger is good for you, for your kids even. Let them play in the dirt! Climb trees without care! Put stuff in their mouths! Live on the wild side!
I am not one of those people.
Paranoia often gets the best of me. When Henry crosses the street I make him look both ways, and after he does I make him stop and do it again just in case, and then hold my hand. When we get to the doctor’s office I dispense 50 squirts of hand sanitizer into his able palms before he sits down in the waiting area. If he drops something on the floor or touches the side of the chair he is punished with more and more squirts of the foamy germ killing liquid. Ophelia too feels my overprotective wrath. You threw all your toys out of the car seat and onto the grocery store floor? Guess you’ll just have to play with your feet!! Cutie!
But lately I’ve been feeling I need to relax. This is somewhat to do with my excessive coffee addiction. I crave the stimulating juice right when I wake up in the morning, then again around mid-morning, then after lunch, and in the afternoon, and in the late afternoon….you get the picture. So I’m trying to lay off the coffee and while I’m at it, lay off the kids. That’s why, when I brought Ophelia to work, I let her right down on the carpet and sprinkled some toys around her, and when she said enough toys! and grabbed two glass bottles and began banging them together I just smiled. When she scooted on her little belly toward a giant stack of paper pamphlets I thought, how cute! When she knocked over a container of 300 paperclips I screamed, “OH my god! And snatched her away. And then she cried hysterically so I let her chew on just one paperclip under my close watch.
A desire to relax my strict need for safety and order is also why when Henry got a scooter for his 7th birthday and asked if he could ride it around the house, I said “Sure! Scooters in the house, no problem!” That’s why when he said “Mom, do I need a helmet to ride it outside?” I said, “No! Helmets are for babies!” That’s why when we got to the park and read the big sign that said “Tennis Court: No SCOOTERS, Bikes, or Skateboards,” I said, “That sign is for babies!” That’s why when we discovered several feet of broken glass strewn about the tennis court I said, “Just scoot around it!” That’s why when Henry wiped out on the tennis court floor I said, “you’re ok! Just get up!” That’s why Henry now has a giant scrap on his left knee that pains him to walk.
“How to be safe while laughing in the face of danger.” That is the blog post I will be working on…for my lifetime. In the meantime, here are some recommended play toys for having fun while also trying to be less stringent.
A Glow Stick. Because all babies enjoy an early morning strobe.
A Red Balloon. Just don’t leave the room for a minute only to come back to discover the string wrapped loosely around the child’s neck. Slim chance this would actually happen, but take it from me.
Some Red Garland. Because when they’re tied up NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN!