October 6, 2010

Last night I took the baby downtown to have supper and visit with my dad. His living room has wood floors and, now that the baby is completely mobile, he suggested we put a big comforter down on the hard floor so if she tipped over, she’d fall on the soft, padded blanket. 

Well. Within .00000045 seconds of being placed on the floor, she had catapulted herself off the blanket and, before I had a chance to put her back on the blanket, her arms gave out and she did a little, mini, 6-month-old baby face plant on the wood floors. ouch. 

I held her while she cried for about 10 seconds, and then she instantly forgot about the wipeout and realized she was wasting precious time in my arms when she could be exploring the floor, shoving remotes into her mouth, and changing the channel with her toes. So she braced her hands on my chest, arched her back and repeatedly threw her upper body away from me until I put her back down on her blanket.

And even though the whole ordeal lasted only about 20 seconds, it was the first time in her life when she ventured away on her own and took a fall. Needed me to comfort her, even if for just a moment, but then wanted to do things her way again. And even though I was nervous that she’d fall and bash her face again, all I could do was put her back on the blanket and, staying close by, cheer for her as she continued to practice this whole moving-without-hitting-your-face concept.

And in a small way, it showed me what this whole balancing act called parenting is all about: Create boundaries for her when she doesn’t have the maturity to do it for herself, but encourage her to explore and take chances in life. Be there for her when she falls, but allow her to learn from her own mistakes. Love her most when she gets it wrong, and  cheer like crazy when she gets it right.

OH and I guess I really need to buy some baby gates and possibly a helmet and some knee pads.


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