Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A Little Less Like Me Please

There are aspects to myself, and particularly, my parenting facets that I would like to improve.

I was about to type the words acutely aware, but on quick reflection I do not think that necessarily be true.

If I was to appraise myself, or attempt to describe my qualities, attributes and potential weaknesses, I believe I would get reasonably close to an impartial opinion.

That typed, I can remember getting some pretty surprising results from my subordinates and peers in some management consulting malarkey.

It was all good. Well, good for me.

Some of the results suggested I was viewed as a figure that liked confrontation, and was feared by some in the office politics merry-go-round.

I could see how they had concluded that, yet I do not feel that was an accurate description of myself.

I just have a reasonable quarrel knack, can see things from different perspectives, sometimes, and would struggle to turn a blind-eye to things I knew I needed to sort, or tackle.

The results also highlighted some points I agreed with in full.

Like, I am not really a completer/finisher yet would strive for results, and want them achieved via the best, and optimum means.

A lazy perfectionist.

Lazy should probably have a capital L, oh, that last one did.

It is an inherent part of me, that has sometimes translated its way to clumsy.

I have often been granted that tag, and have even encouraged it at times, but, it is now my belief, that clumsy is just a by-product of my indolent self.

Physically I would blame my lack of agility for some accidents I may have, falls, or dropped catches. But I have learned that rather than blame it, it is better acknowledged and I just need to give more time, and thought, to where my next step, or movement should be.

Which brings me back to being aware, but still not really doing much about it.

And in our house, children or child seem, to follow example.

Max was having another not paying enough attention to his direction of travel spells clumsy period at the end of last week, and for the weekend.

There was a real heart stopping moment on Friday, when he took the fastest, yet risky, route down the stairs.

I was following him out of my bedroom, and I heard a collective of horrible sounds that I have feared since the stair gate went.

And, yes, my boy had fallen from top to bottom of our staircase.

After very nearly following suit, I was quickly at the bottom myself, and took my son’s crying as a good sign.

And the fact that he would not lie still, insisting I cuddle and kiss everything better with immediate effect.

He quickly forgot about his injuries, and was very lucky to just have a couple of slightly bruised knees.

My lecturing quickly followed, how he should always use the banister, and take his time rather than rush and run an increased risk of another bounce.

But I think lecturing is only really part of it.

Later that day, he was off to a party at a local play centre. His grandparents took him, as I was booked in to help my sister celebrate her own birthday.

The boy loves those sorts of places, running around like a nutter, up and down tubes and slides, then getting fed cake is just a ridiculous bonus.

He had been gone about an hour, when I got a call.

“Don’t worry, but…………….”

Max had paired up with a couple of chums and was haring round the place on a sort of toddler circuit training regime.

On one of his trips down the biggest slide there, he had slipped at the bottom, and wacked his face on the side of the plastic slope of joy.

Ice pack applied, and the call was just to warn me he would be returned with a bruise he did not leave with.

I spoke with him later to check he was OK, and to see if I was required, which I was not. But his granddad informed me that he had gone back on to the slide soon after, and done the same again, this time striking his forehead rather than his cheek.

When he did return home, after giving the obligatory tickle check, performed to ensure the identity of the boy returned, I got to asking him how the party had been.

“Fine.” He said.

No mention of the new colouration of his head, none at all.

I asked him what had happened, and already had my own suspicions.

See, he was slightly behind his friends on those particular goes around, and decided to attempt to stand up before he had come to a rest.

And I suppose the first time, and bump, was just practice.

I should have expanded my stairs lecture to include all forms of travelling downwards.

Heaven help us on the escalator.

I hope this is behaviour that I can influence in a positive way, and would very much welcome any ideas of how to do so, and also hear about the experience of others. Share/Save/Bookmark


Kat said...

I am praying my children haven't inherited my lack of coordination, but have this suspicion that LaLa is doomed.

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Lily bless her has my clumsiness and my hubby's perfectionist/competitiveness gene - poor thing is doomed ;)

Eddie 2-Sox said...

"Life's a teacher" old son.

While I don't think we should deliberately put our children in dnagerous (or potentially dangerous) situations, it's by making their own mistakes that learning is achieved.

It may even take two or three attempts at the same fall/trip/bump, but they will cotton on eventually.

As long as you're there to pick up the pieces, that's good enough.

Later today Sam is off to the skatepark for his first time on ramps. He'll fall over a lot, but he'll enjoy himself, and he will improve his balance and skills. It doesn't make me a bad dad for allowing him to be in such a situation - indeed I'd argue it marks me out as a better dad than one who is intent on producing a cotton-wool kid, afraid to take any risks in play as a child, and later afraid to take any risks whatsoever as an adult.

Life's a teacher.

Robert said...

I'm with E2-S. Without being exposed to risky situations, how can any child learn to cope? You know your child best, so you are the one to decide what degree of "danger" to expose him to. It's a difficult choice!

Miss Britt said...

If the worst thing my kids get from me is my lack of coordination - I'd be thrilled!

CK Lunchbox said...

There are a bevy of traits I hope my boys don't take on, but it would seem I'm too late in some respects. I'm not sure, however, if clumsiness is one of them (I'll admit to). Still, the most terrifying accident had been my 4 year falling off a stool while clutching a screw driver (have no idea where he pulled it from, probably his brothers) that he gashed the side of his head with. Angels had to have redirected it's "pointy end."

When I asked him about it after the ER he sort of touched it. "Oh ya, dat." And off he went.

You're a good dad.

mare ad mare said...

Dang - talk about a bad day!
Falling all the way down the stairs w/o bumps or bruises is pretty lucky.
My 2 year old fell ONE STEP, and broke her collarbone...
My oldest broke her elbow at a playplace on one of those crazy slides (while I was studying for a Calculus exam - needless to say that didn't go well).
The other one broke her collarbone when the dog took off on her.
So - coordinated or not, freak things happen...

ah parenthood.

Stacy said...

Keep in mind, as scary as these situations are, the mere fact that he is willing to get right back up and go is really so important. You want your son to learn from experiences and to proceed with caution...but not with fear. Teach him about what went wrong and how to attempt avoiding these same spills again...but not to fear them. My ex husband used to yell to my son... hey! Remember what happened last time! Keep it up and you will end up in the hospital next time! This instilled so much anxiety in him that he started choosing to avoid the playground altogether. We learn from our mistakes...not fear them.. so it sounds like you are doing an excellent job handling this with him!

dadshouse said...

Crying is a great sign when kids fall. My daughter fell out of her crib when she was little. We called the doctor. "Did she cry?" he asked. "She's bawling her eyes out," we said. "Good. If she didn't cry, I'd be worried."

T said...

Oh poor baby. And poor Dad. I'd be losing it myself! Whew!

This phrase made me laugh out loud: "plastic slope of joy". Ian, you have such a wonderful way with words!

How to help the clumsiness? Believe it or not, ballet. Or gymnastics. Do you know if there are such places that offer those classes? This will give him an awareness of body alignment and spacial ability.

And LOTS of Arnica, Ian. Go buy some homeopathic Arnica gel and/or tablets. Its wonderful for bruises.

Tismee2 said...

I agree with the others, he has to get the bumps and bruises to learn how to climb walls and run down stars.

I sometimes think we forget what we did when young and in those days we were allowed to be more adventurous.

I cringe when I think of the danger I put myself in when out playing on my bike and skateboard, in the woods or hayloft making dens!

Be brave!

Kerrie said...

Agreed with Eddie...letting him take calculated risks and learning from his bumps will set him up well for tackling future situations he encounters.

That he gets up and has another go is very telling. Like Eddie mentioned, sometimes it takes two or three turns for them to realise that maybe he had better try another way.

My daughter fell down our wooden steps head first on her back when she was about eight, I watched utterly horrified waiting for the scream as she hit the bottom. It was an eternity (in reality probably only 2-3 seconds) but when the scream came I was so relieved.

She only ever did it once, used far more caution on the stairs after that one.

30something_mama said...

Hi! Got your blog from Mssinglemama's list and seems like you do your darndest hard to be a good dad. So take it easy!

And your son at 3? You're going a long way still, my daughter is 6 already and mastered our winding stairs eversince she was 3. A little more patience, reminding (over and over again) is in order.

Goodluck! and nice reading your blog!

Mr Lady said...

I'm a firm believer in the idea that they'll never stand up until the fall down. I buy a lot of frozen peas, just in case. :)

Zoeyjane said...

With the exception of MrLady's stairs, I've put in a lot of time into allowing Isobel to fall down. Seems as though her first 6 months after learning to walk were spent with a wreath of bruises across her forehead - and to be honest, she still will trip or just fall over sometimes (and runs like some sort of wild beast) - but she eventually learned.

And the crying thing, she's rarely been a big crier after a fall unless really tired. It might have something to do with the fact that I used to clap and shout out, "Excellent bail, dude!" whenever she tripped at 9 months. Apparently, I was too damn funny for tears.

clairesmom said...

Yep! I agree with the 'life is a teacher' comments. Although, does my opinion really count? I have a two year old girl and so far no such visible injuries. I am hoping, however, to allow her to feel the fear and do it anyway- to a certain degree...?
She did draw blood one time.
Whew! That was hard.

Single Parent Dad said...

Kat - Fingers crossed.

Violet Posy - Oh dear.

Eddie - I hope so, and has been my thought to date, but due to the number of recent incidents, I have had a little ponder.

Robert - True.

Miss Britt - Ha. So what would be the worse thing?

CK Lunchbox - Cheers, and I grimaced when I read your screwdriver story.

Mare ad mare - Ouch. And I know that hurts, I've done it.

Stacy - I think that is important too. I was actually glad he did get back up, as his grandparents can be a little conservative when it comes to bashing about.

Dadshouse - I was pleased to hear it. Not often you say, or type, that.

T - Ballet, and gymnastics, now there is an idea.

Tismee - Will try.

Kerrie - True, and I'm glad your daughter was unscathed and educated all in one.

30 something mama - Glad you found it. Max is four now, I really should update my about me.

Mr Lady - Disaster planning, I like it.

Zoeyjane - Quality preachings right there. I usually ask how the floor/ground/stairs are, he loves that.

Clairesmom - Not good. Not a fan of toddler claret myself.

Not a soccer mom said...

My son tumbled the stairs a couple time when he was little, heart stopping moments when I was but a mere inches from him and couldnt catch him. If it is consolation, he is now almost 20 yrs and a big strong healthy man.
My only advice, sometimes clumbsyness is or can be caused by bad eye sight, wouldnt hurt to have him checked.
But- boys will be boys. at least no stitches. Hang in there you seem to be a very stand-up, and caring father.

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