Trouble on two legs

pics-27707-175.jpgToday, in the space of a few hours, little Luka has managed to a) get an electric shock from playing around with a plug socket b) fall down some stairs and c) prod his finger into the fan at the back of a computer. Phew! He certainly knows how to find trouble.

This might sound like unobservant parents but it’s pretty normal for curious little tots. They’re a disaster looking for a place to happen. Forever gravitating naturally to dangerous things, as if they understand that forbidden places and items are somehow more fun. The more you tell them ‘no’ the more they want to see for themselves.

Keeping an eye on your little one is a full time, and tiresome job, and gradually you are going to have to learn to leave them to their own devices, checking in on them every few minutes. As they get older you begin to trust them to longer and longer periods tinkering by themselves.

Luka is at this stage. At 17 months old he’s quite confident and can amuse himself. You can’t spend the rest of your life worrying about your offspring so I’ve conscientiously allowed him more and more independence. But with that obviously comes a bit of judgement and, crucially, learning from each incident and ‘adventure’.

It started with secretly trailing him to see what he got up to and how close he might come to danger. Then I would watch him tackle something potentially hazardous just to see how far he would go and the consequences. If he started to climb into the pond I’d see if he could stand in it alone or recover if he fell over. Well, the pond has since been fenced off but it’s nice to know that he isn’t totally useless in recovering by himself.

Lately he’s taken quite a few knocks. He slips and falls and bangs his head, sometimes he cries but mostly he now just gets up and carries on. If anything it’s the bump to his pride that sets him off on a crying spree, and this is usually only when someone is there to witness it. He’s made a leap of confidence which all of us take with us through life as our comfort zone gradually increases. This I think is one of the really important elements I want to instil in him.

By contrast, his conservatively minded grandmother tends to be neurotic and highly strung about his movements, kicking up a constant drama at his every move. Well, he is unusually inquisitive and active, but with her minding him it’s a constant ‘awash, oooooohhh, noooooooo’. I try to discourage this, allowing him freedom to learn and develop his confidence, as it will be critical to his character in the future.

So, although we have plug sockets sealed, occasionally he’s going to pull out a plug and ‘get his little fingers in the way’, thankfully nothing serious occurred the first time. I didn’t intend for him to ‘test himself’ like that, but it’s useful information. There will be times when he slips through an accidentally open stairs gate – I’ve watched and ‘covered’ him dozens of times as he climbs and he’s always sure footed, but he did fall the other day and rolled down several stairs before luckily coming to a stop. He was in tears, but wasn’t badly hurt, it was just the shock really. 

Between the two of us, we’re building up a ‘confidence and boundary’ profile, of what we can and can’t get away with – always under dads’ discreetly watchful eye.

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