I have an 18 month old who has no fear. Well that's not entirely true; she's not quite 18 months old and has very little fear. She's a bit leery of strangers, women more so than men but don't even get me started on that. It certainly doesn't compare to her older sister's irrational fear of mascots or anyone wearing a big costume. Now that I think of it though the existence of a six and a half foot tall monkey or alligator that walks on two legs and gives people hugs is pretty irrational to begin with so maybe she's actually smarter than I'm giving her credit for. Either way, exploiting it works to my advantage. "We can't go to Toys 'R Us today, there's going to be a bunch of mascots there today." Don't judge me, it just makes life easier sometimes.
Back to little miss no fear, her favourite new game is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. She loves to jump off just about anything. And I do mean anything, tables, chairs, couches, stairs, slides, and so on. If she can climb it, she will jump from it. She does so secure in the belief she will be caught. It's very sweet that she has so much faith in me the she interprets any eye contact to mean "go ahead, I'm ready to catch you now". Also nice that she doesn't hold any grudges if I miss. I have no idea how she got that coffee table shaped bruise on her head.
The troubling part is that the bumps and bruises don't deter her. She just seems to think it'll turn out better next time. Couple that with her trying to keep up with her big sister and we've got the recipe for some trouble in the future.
To further fan the flames of my concern I thought back about myself as a kid. There was the time I when I was about 7 and had a great idea after watching Zorro. There was a scene where he swung from a chandelier while fighting the bad guys. Conveniently located right there in the room with me was a remarkably similar one just dangling from the ceiling as if to say you know you have to try. So after moving an armchair over so I could reach I grabbed on and swung from it. I can only assume the folks who installed Zorro's chandelier had a different set of building codes they needed to follow than the ones in place in our neighbourhood. While his had no problem supporting a full grown man, ours responded to my 50 lbs or so by detaching from the ceiling. Luckily, it didn't crash to the floor. The same can't be said for me.
Now you'd think I'd learn from that experience. Not long after though I was watching Wonder Woman, saw her flip over a fence and thought "I can do that". It's not as gay as it sounds, I had on Batman underoos at the time. Some more furniture rearranging to put some cushions on the ground, guess I'd at least learn to take some safety precautions. I got up on the couch leaned forward and flipped. I should say I tried to. I basically jumped in the air and landed on the back of my head. It now occurs to me that if they'd had Jackass when I was a kid I'm not sure I'd be here today. I also wondered after those stories if it's genetics that's at play with my little daredevil. A conversation I had with my dad not long ago didn't help.
My dad lives in Louisiana and has a backyard that borders a swamp. We were just talking and he actually said to me "You know the gators don't like it when you grab their tails". Uh oh. I think most reasonable people operate under the assumption that alligators don't like having their tails grabbed. Thanks to my dad though I can confirm that. I told my sister about this conversation and her response was "Yeah, they got really mad at us". Oh crap, it's worse than I thought. The really sad part is I was kind of jealous I missed out on the fun. I guess deep down I'm still that kid in his underoos with questionable judgement. I know when I see a neighbour kid climbing a tree because he want to "bungee jump" out of it with an extension cord I should be the responsible adult and tell him it's not a good idea. Truth is I'm actually thinking "I really want to see how this turns out".
When it's your own kids though responsibility has to win out, I hope. Whether it's genetics that makes her think jumping is the logical next step after climbing or the environment she's raised in isn't really important. It's just important I do what I can to catch her because despite my best efforts, or maybe because of them, it looks like she's destined to put on her underoos, flip from a chandelier, and grab a gator by the tail. How thrilled do you think her mom is?
9 years ago