Friday, August 12, 2011

Throwing Caution to the Wind

I have spent the last 6 plus years protecting my children from potential danger. If there was something to do to safeguard them, I did it.

It all started 7 years ago when I started taking a daily dose of folic acid. This was suggested to prevent possible birth defects, so I did it. While pregnant with the triplets, I refused a baby shower because I was superstitious and feared jinxing the pregnancy. Before these children were even born I was taking every measure to keep them safe.

When they were in the NICU, I scrubbed my hands to the elbows like a surgeon. I wore gloves, a mask, and a hazmat suit when holding them. I did this to protect them from germs and cross contamination with each other. I took every possible precaution to make sure they were sheltered from any harm.

Once they were discharged, I did not use just any car seat. Like this post jokingly states, I had to buy the biggest, best, safest car seat on the planet. G-d forbid my precious baby ride in a less than state of the art piece of plastic. It was the Britax Marathons, times three, because I could not live with myself if something happened to them, while riding in my minivan. I kissed 900 bucks good-bye and felt that you could not put a price on safety. Gahhhhhhhh.

We hired a professional baby-proofer to get the house ready for three mobile infants. Gates were installed. Tot locks were installed. Electric outlet covers graced every outlet below the wainscoting. We bought a custom made jack-mat for the brick fireplace and locked the doors so that no one could crawl into the fireplace. This rendered our wood burning fireplace useless from that day on. Again, keeping these kids safe was a full time job.

As the years went by, the hazards did not disappear- they just changed. What used to be dangerous was no longer a concern. Instead, we had new issues- like crib tents, stairs, falling in the bath tub, jumping from couches, and beating the crap out of each other with blunt toys. Oh, and biting, yeah, biting sucked. Same worry and guilt- different circumstances.

Now, as the kids are officially school-aged, I find myself preparing them for danger, but letting them make some mistakes. I am not giving up my quest to keep them safe and sound, I have just gotten sick and tired of arguing and mandating their every move. I have to pick and choose the battles for well being, and I am teaching some lessons in throwing caution to the wind.

Like all education, there is a learning curve. In order to succeed you have to know failure. While I am not advocating outright exposure to diseases by taking them to chicken pox parties, I am allowing them to decide when they are ready to throw their own caution to the wind.

Today was a prime example of my steadfast quest to keep the triplets from injuring themselves. As they were getting ready to scooter on the driveway, they all pitched hissy fits about wearing shoes and helmets. I could have demanded compliance until I was blue in the face, but instead, I had an epiphany. My gut instinct told me to let them learn from their mistakes and teach a lesson in why it is my job to suggest a safer way to play.

Instead of requiring them to stop and put helmets and shoes on, I said, "Okay, guys, I am strongly advising you to wear shoes and helmets, but I am not going to force you- now that you are older and in kindergarten, you can do whatever you think is best- but I would wear them if I were you." Here is the video that shows what happened after my mature conversation with them:

You will notice bare feet and helmet-less heads. SHUDDER!

Ahhhh, but shortly after this video was made, there were scrapes and bruises. There were collisions with each other. CJ even face-planted onto the sidewalk and scraped up his sweet face.

Eli had a skinned knee and Natalie was banged up too. These were minor injuries but they were just painful enough that a lesson was learned. Hmmmm, it did not take a rocket scientist to realize maybe Mommie had a point.

You can't put a price on safety, and when you throw caution to the wind, it hurts. Just ask my trio- they know first hand. And knee. And face.

1 comment:

Amy Thompson said...

Natural consequences are the best :)

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