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Five big falls in 6 hours

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Five big falls in 6 hours

Watch her fall, pick her up, comfort her, dust her off, and watch her fall again. This seems to be the story of my life today. Alexis is growing in stature and in independence. She is tackling new obstacles regularly as her confidence and physical abilities increase. As her mother I both watch with pride and yet cringe with dread at the same time. I hope against hope that she doesn't fall. Some obstacles I forbid her to climb, but whenever possible I let her experiment. It's my job to keep her safe yet I have to let her learn too. Human beings learn through trying and failing and trying again. It's in our nature. Perseverance is an admirable quality and so is an adventurous spirit. I don't want Alexis to fear new things and I know I can't wrap her in cotton wool. I still feel like a failure when she falls though. I hate when she is hurting and I can't take the pain away. It's especially horrifying when I see it happen but I can't catch her in time.

This morning at playgroup she climbed up the ladder on the play fort and sat on the ledge. She turned around to shimmy back down as there was no slide, just a tiny ledge. As she was preparing to slide down the ladder a smaller child came up the ladder. Alexis backed up to get out of the way and fell backwards from a sitting position onto her back. She thumped her head on the ground. I saw it happening but I wasn't fast enough to stop her. All I could do was pick her up, cuddle her, kiss her, pat her on the back and dust off the grass. She wriggled from my arms back to the ground, where she proceeded to have another turn. She was successful this time, thankfully.

A few minutes later she was playing in a toy house with a few other kids while I was talking to some mums. I hear a bang crash noise and I glance over to see the house fall apart and tip over. A familiar startled cry cemented my fears. The child underneath the house was my little Alexis. It had knocked her over in its path and it landed on top of her. Fortunately it's only a plastic house and not heavy, but it was an awkward fall and she clutched her arm for several minutes while I held her, trying to comfort her and stop the tears.

I was concerned she may have severely hurt herself but the more experienced mummies assured me she was just frightened. I don't blame her for being frightened, it was her second big fall in a matter of minutes. I felt like a terrible mum, but what's the alternative to letting her play? I can't keep Alexis inside all day everyday watching TV doing nothing in fear she might hurt herself. Even if I tried she would just bounce around on the couch until she fell off (this may or may not have happened a few times before).

It didn't take long for Alexis to ask to be let down and run off to play again. She was having an altercation with a small child about whose turn it was to play with a particular toy so I led her by the hand in search of something else to play with. I thought the seesaw would be safe. I requested the help of a three year old little darling on the other side. It was a fairly dodgy ball-style seesaw. I had to physically pick Alexis' side up and push it down again. Alexis and her little friend giggled and giggled and giggled. All was great until Alexis let go and when I tried (unsuccessfully) to catch her the seesaw tipped over and her little friend hit the dirt too. I felt terrible but they both hopped back on. Sure enough, after a few minutes of giggles, it happened again. I suggested we play with another toy.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful until later this aftenoon when Alexis found a chocolate on the table and I thought, sure, let her eat it, why not. Fool! She was sitting on a chair as she does all the time. I have tried to discourage her many times but she keeps climbing back up so I gave up days ago. So she was happily eating this choccy when the washing machine finished and I quickly ducked away to swap it to the dryer. I wasn't gone long but my heart came up to my throat as I heard a drop, a sook, and then a bang and then a scream. She had dropped her chocolate, bent down trying to pick it up, and fallen. She bumped her mouth, with a huge mouthful of chocolate, and scared herself silly.

I was so scared. I didn't think I'd get away with the fifth fall in 6 hours. I brushed aside the "I'm a terrible mother what a useless failure" guilt trip to calm her down and assess the damage. There was no damage, thank the Lord, just one frightened toddler and an even more frightened mamma. I dropped to the floor, held her close and sung "Jesus loves me" until she stopped crying. I then gave her a dummy and she stopped zooming entirely. I desperately had to go to the toilet (of course) so she started up crying again, but once I finished she asked to brush her teeth and then she was fine. She sat and watched a TV show for a few minutes while I cleaned up the chocolate explosion. Before I knew it she was climbing up onto the chair again, giggling her little heart out.

Thank God that someone watches over my child. I feel useless when I'm too slow and awkward to get to her in time but at least she is not seriously hurt. I do fear though that one day I might not be so lucky and a trip to emergency will be on the cards. If that ever happens I guess I'll deal with it when it happens. I can't watch her 24/7. I can't stop her trying to grow up. I guess kids get hurt, it's a part of life. All we can do is be there to pick them up, comfort them, and dust them off, ready to fall again.

That said though, I might start double checking the dining chairs are pushed right up against the table. Ah who am I kidding? She can drag the chairs out anyway, she does it all the time.

Do you have boisterous toddlers? How do you cope with them?

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At September 7, 2011 at 7:26 AM , Blogger Julie said...

I actually had the opposite problem to you with my first two (and it looks like my 3rd too). They were slow to develop physical skills and were (and still are) quite cautious. They weren't really climbers etc.

I think it sounds like you are doing a great job. We need to let our kids take risks (within reason). This helps them learn new skills and learn when to use caution. Kids fall over all the time without being seriously hurt. It sounds like Alexis recovered pretty quickly each time.

God knows what you are dealing with (being pregnant and chasing a toddler). I'm glad you recognise that He is watching over you and Alexis!


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