“Jennifer! I can’t believe you’re letting him do that! Isaiah, get down right now!”
“Mom, it’s no big deal, he does it all the time. He’s 7-years-old and he hasn’t fallen yet.”
“That’s ridiculous, that doesn’t mean he won’t fall.”
“At this point, if he falls, he’ll learn – and he won’t do it again.”
When I was 3 I did just that. I used the edge of our sofa like a balance beam, fell and cracked my head on the corner of the ultra modern – late 60’s – stainless steel and glass coffee table my parents had adorned their shag rug with.
I remember my parents wouldn’t let me sleep. I laid on the sofa all night with a mommy or a poppy always right there waking me up if I started to nod.
As a parent, I can assume that my mother was feeling a heightened sense of anxiety when I fell, and subsequently when we returned from the doctor/hospital? (Frankly I can’t remember) Looking back I had no sense of that.
I witness my mother’s anxiety now in the way she interacts with my son. She is so sure he will break his neck if I let him climb.
Had you asked me 5 years ago, I would have put money on him having a broken limb by 5. But I didn’t want him to grow up with my fear as the reason he didn’t do something. Being fearless and being stupid are not the same thing. My son is fearless when it comes to using his body. He is confident that his body will respond the way he commands it to.
The grace with which he uses his body makes the fluid motions of moving from the edge of one sofa – to another, seem effortless. Then, as one leg stays planted on the arm of the chair, he raises the other like a gymnast – poised – smoothly lowering it to the coffee table for a dismount, so he may start the dance all over again.
This has been a post for the Trifecta writing challenge. This week our one word prompt is:
Grace (noun) – third definition:
a : a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
b : a pleasing appearance or effect : charm <all the grace of youth — John Buchan>
c : ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
The idea of Trifecta is:
- Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
- You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
- The word itself needs to be included in your response.
- You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
- Only one entry per writer.
- Trifecta is open to all
And because a Scorpion can’t change its spots. This was the first thing to come into my head when I read the prompt. I knew it would be contrived to try and write a post about Grace Kelly, but it doesn’t stop me from sharing this song.
26 thoughts on “Living Room Acrobat”
I grew up in a suck it up buttercup house so it’s kind of the same deal here…ok not as bad…
My kid is the master of “What the eff are you doing with the knives while running after a cat in the middle of the road and talking to a drug dealer.”
He had 2 breaks this year.
Hopefully the only ones.
I agree that you have to let them go and experience.
Love that final image of him pacing the furniture like a gymnast; those moments are part of the best fun of childhood.
“Being fearless and being stupid are not the same thing.”
Kids get it-my daughter did, but it was a harder lesson for me to learn:)
I could really relate to this piece!
It’s SO important for kids to take risks, to learn, fall down, get back up – I liked this post. 🙂
Gorgeously written and gorgeously parented. *heart*
thank you lizzi
I am the over-anxious mom type. But I totally agree with you; I don’t want my child to take on my fears, but learn his own strengths and limitations. Great post!
I’m always worried my kids will break themselves. I probably do pass my fears on to them. Thankfully, there is my husband, who takes them to things that I won’t. I stay behind so I’m not fretting over them 🙂
It’s a tough road Janna, at least you have someone to balance you out!
I agree with you-our fears and our courage both pass on to our kids & you are right in allowing your son to find his wings:-)A beautiful piece,this:-)
Thank you so much!
I like how you encourage your kid to explore his limits. So long as there’s parental supervision, I see nothing wrong.
Maybe you should enroll him in gymnastics or ballet!
I try and supervise. But he’s 8, he had the sledgehammer the other day before I realized it. Luckily he still has all of his appendages.
My son also likes to test the limits of his body. Last week at the playground he jumped off the equipment 4 1/2 feet high. He’s only 3 feet tall for perspective. This is the second time he’s done this, both times with me watching. It always startles me, and while my instinct is to tell him “knock it off, crazy” I have successfully bitten my tongue both times, even though I fear the broken bones. I figure no matter how many times I tell him not to, he will only learn if he fails, and that failure will teach him much faster than I ever could. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long, bumpy ride 🙂
That’s it Rhonda, that’s exactly how I feel!
Beautiful use of the prompt! And I SWEAR that I was looking at that picture of your son BEFORE reading this post and thinking, “Wow, he looks so graceful, like an acrobat and a gymnast”. So you clearly know what you are doing, mama.
Thanks Rachel! That means a lot!
Children are amazing. And resilient. And highly skilled.
I keep telling my cousin she needs to send her 3 year old son to gymnastics or acrobatics. TO TEACH. The things he does, I could never describe to you well enough.
The other day, he climbed the bookshelf, tried to take down a tape, and a whole stack started to fall. I caught the stack with his MOUTH, then elbowed them back into position. MIND BLOWN!
Oh my gosh Alicia! That is actually my one fear! That a piece of furniture will fall on him. At least now that he’s 8 he gets that. Mostly.
I really admire your brave parenting values, as I’m afraid I’m more like your mom. Since my son had a freak accident at preschool and was rushed to the hospital with a concussion, I’ve never been the same. However, I think it’s wonderful that your son has beautiful grace in movement, and that you nourish that talent!
Sandra, I’m sure if anything like that happened to him I would be totally different!
Man, I’m on a roll with comments today! Just wanted to say that I love your parenting style. Kids should be allowed to fall, fail, and learn to get back up again. Kudos for not helicoptering!
Good stuff, Jen. I would have the exact same conversation with my parents. Oh wait, I do already. I agree with quick stepp Melissa above — way to be non helicoptery!
Thanks Deb! I guess I don’t think about what kind of partner I am, but that sounds good!