Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One Small Leap

Apparently inspired by my previous post, the boy has ramped up his efforts at dangerous gameplay. 

The newest addition is "Let's Jump From the Ottoman Into the Nearby Chair." He's bounding a two-foot expanse, from about 18 inches above the ground. Yes, it could be more dangerous but the risk factor is exacerbated by the fact that this is a rotating chair.  

Essentially, he's aiming for a moving target. So, while the heights and distances might not be great, this could be an ugly spectacle in the making. 

Fortunately the boy is a wily fellow. He doesn't court danger all alone when he's got a willing dupe at his disposal to help mitigate any potential accidents.

Naturally, I'm that dupe — again.  

So the game is this; he waits for me to be seated in the target chair before he jumps and again I find myself as a landing pad for the boy. I could say "No," to this behavior and enforce a no-jumping policy. And I suppose if I was particularly worried about him I would. 

But, for now, I've got a known quantity and it's manageable. 

Now, if I attempt to take this away from the boy, what will happen? Yes. He'll want nothing more than to jump from the ottoman. 

Parenting experts might say that I've ceded control to the child here and that I'm letting him do the parenting. Maybe they're right.  

Or maybe I know that if I take away the ottoman, he'll ramp up his efforts and head further into the great unknown of gravity-testing gameplay. Like I said, I know the rules of the game right now. Yes, I know the games will change as he grows, but why speed up the evolution?

I've got two brothers and, looking back, I have no earthly idea how at least one of us wasn't in a cast at all times. Trampolines. Elevated decks. Tree-climbing. Going for rides in the dryer. Roller blading off ramps with only concrete to break our fall.

It's all boundary testing in which we indulged and while the boy isn't old enough for these activities, he most certainly is interested in pushing it. 

These angst-inducing prospects were seared into the fore of my thoughts this past Sunday. While Mrs. Blackwell and I chatted in our family room, I noticed something out the window.

It was very fast, very small and it zoomed by our window accompanied by loud screaming. It probably happened about three times before I bothered to stop our conversation, head outside and have a look to see just what was going on. 

And here's what I saw. (Go ahead, play the video.) I don't know how old these kids are. And, while this looks incredibly fun, I want the boy to have no part in it, ever. 

It's times like this I have to remember what our culture was like when I was growing up and what my parents did. 

Who wore a helmet? Not me. The only time I can remember wearing one was when I went for a ride in the dryer, or when my older brother decided to use the hair clippers on the helmet as I wore it and "accidentally" slipped and took a two-inch chunk out of my bangs. 

Who didn't stand on anything with wheels just to see what would happen when you went down a hill, a set of stairs or the hood of a minivan? 

I was a pretty cautious kid and I'd like to say that as I got older these temptations of fate became more infrequent. But, no sooner do I consider this thought than do I remember getting towed by a friend's car while wearing roller blades. 

I know I can't always be there and I know I won't. That said, all I can do is hope that when it comes to pushing physical boundaries the boy gets his mother's good sense. 

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