Safety First (and Other Confessions)

I’m nuts. There, I said it.

Now that it’s out there (and you’re thinking “what took you so long?”), I’ll tell you why I think it’s so.

I remember when my sister had her first child, 9 years ago, and suddenly, she couldn’t handle watching Law & Order anymore (wimp). In fact, I vividly remember selecting a movie to watch together and she said, “I can’t watch that one. Kids get hurt in it.” (come on, seriously?) I told myself, firmly and convincingly,  “I will never be like that.”

Flash forward to yesterday, when I’m crying during Hunger Games as a “kid gets hurt” and there’s nothing her protector can but hold her while she’s clearly dying and tell her everything is ok. I can’t even explain it. I mean, I have a healthy child who is (to my knowledge) in no danger of getting a javelin tossed at her out in the woods during a fight to the death (she’s not, right?!)

Still. Even the simple things, like an “Elefun” game our friends gave us brings out the crazy person in me. First, it has nets with plastic handles (see image to left), which Zoe MUST put on her head then walk around with the handle poking out front. What do I see? Suffocation or my daughter tripping (she’s not that stable) and shoving that handle through her throat. So I hid them and swapped out with a colander.

But that wasn’t enough. It has vinyl “butterflies” that you catch with those killer nets. Guess what I see? Choking hazards. And the last straw for Elefun was on Friday night when I saw my husband look across the room and say “HEY! What’s in your mouth?!” She had no joke almost swallowed a butterfly… Dear garage, welcome your newest occupant: Elefun.

Don’t get me started on meat. I have a new-found love of tofu. Protein without the choking danger. Even our pediatrician says “grind it” when we ask her about getting more meat in her diet. Good news: Zoe loves tofu.

That gymnastics party we just attended: danger everywhere. Those big kids could run right over her and never even notice. She could get swallowed up in the foam pit – or worse, those kids could jump right on top of her in there without even seeing her! In contrast, my husband just sees new, fun experiences for our daughter (oh, and protein – apparently she has teeth she can use for chewing meat, but they’re very small).

So see? Crazy. We just went to another kids birthday party on Saturday (with friends and alcohol), and I watched other, apparently sane parents (including my husband) let their kids run around, swing bats (basically at one another’s heads), kick balls (basically at one another’s heads), and even play with (gasp) rocks. Little ones! I just held my breath for 3 hours – even with a glass of wine.

Maybe this is just a phase (for me), and it will pass. Or maybe I should just let Bart do the parenting until she’s old enough to stop shoving things in her mouth, toddling over dangerous ground and experimenting. And be thankful she’s in no immediate danger of javelin battles to the death. At least I have that. I do, right?!

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