Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why Walking is Scary

I figured out why walking is scary.

A couple months ago, whenever I excitedly mentioned Vander getting closer to walking or that I was looking forward to him walking, everyone who is already a parent said  I was crazy. I have even heard stories of parents discouraging their second children to walk.

Well they were definitely right.
I had thought since Vander was already pulling himself up on couches and counters, and going through cabinets and drawers, that was the biggest concern. I knew that the whole learning how to walk process would be a little scary since he would be unbalanced and fall a lot, but I figured that was relatively short lived.

It has been just over a month since Vander started walking and I can tell you these last couple days have been the busiest, most stressful and hysterical (not the funny hysterical, the going crazy hysterical) of parenthood so far.
I got my first glimpse of how walking is scary when we went to a baseball game with Vander’s girlfriend from daycare and her parents. She is a month older than him and while we were at the game, she realized she can run. So she was taking off through the crowds on her steady feet going wherever she pleased while mom and dad corralled her. Terrifying but also cute since she is adorable and in my “I am not at the stage yet” naiveté, it was also kind of funny.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I have a child who in the space of 24 hours managed to fall off the one patio step and hit his head on the concrete patio, fall down three steps and hit his head AGAIN and then fall forward onto his wooden play cube and get a bloody indent on the bridge of his nose. Clearly we are shooting for a kid without and braincells.
In the first year or so of parenting my attention and undivided supervision of Vander has fluctuated. (I would never consider him unattended, but he has played in a separate room from me for example) Vander started as a tiny (relative to now) blob that didn’t move at all but I was totally terrified some thing is going to happen to him, so I didn’t let him leave my sight, carrying him around with me constantly. Then I started to feel slightly more comfortable so I could let him nap in the crib and have full use of both of my arms for an hour or so. I could set him down and he would stay put so I could go to the bathroom or make some lunch.  Then Vander started to roll over and started sitting up and since he would fall and it was full on undivided attention again. Then he would sit on his own and play with toys in the middle of his room safely, so I could go to the bathroom without him being in the bathroom (short lived time mind you, he started to follow me soon), or I could put laundry away in the next room. Then crawling happens so he started following me. This is when the real first round of baby proofing happened for us. Crawling and pulling up all happened at the same time, which entailed a lot of falling. Enter the helicopter parent for a couple weeks until Vander got the hang of it. Then I was able to step back on hovering and get use of both arms again since I didn’t have to carry him everywhere (technically didn’t have to, he still wanted to be carried all the time). Slowly but surely he moved closer to walking and I was so involved in helping him walk that I gave undivided attention since it was all so fascinating. Then as walking gets better I let him follow me around and he didn’t fall quite so much so I didn’t need to hover quite so much either.

The last couple days, something just happened where he is sure enough of himself that he thinks he can go anywhere and do anything, but he really can’t, so he does a fast walk and falls and starts getting into things more and can reach higher on the counters. I feel like I have to be 110% focused on what he is doing! I used to be able to sort the mail or start dinner or be in the next room and Vander would be fine. I would check on him every couple minutes and always have a sharp ear out and nothing really ever happened. Now I feel like I need to anticipate his next move or we will have another bruise or scratch or something.
I do know we need to up our baby proofing. We need to actually put on the cabinet locks and make sure he can’t grab anything off the counters or tables.

I know he is going to fall, he is going to bleed and he is going to have bruises. Boys and girls both just have owies and boo boos all the time. As long as I am preventing some of them and preventing the serious injuries, then that should be considered a win. Getting to that mind set, feeling like it is OK for Vander to have a scratch or for him to fall down, is hard.
We have done a pretty good job of getting him used to falling. He doesn’t react much which is great, but that means those times when he does react it makes my heart sink that much more.

While those first couple steps are so much fun and I am so glad Vander is walking, the running around like a crazy child without any fear is definitely terrifying.

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