As much as I hope to raise my son with a degree of freedom and avoid sheltering him as much as I can, I have to admit it is really hard not to be on guard constantly. Â There’s nothing wrong with that, I know, but when things do slip up, when little mistakes are made, it is absolutely terrifying. Â I am not a religious person but I prey that I will never have to experience (let alone be the cause of) some accident that might hurt my child.
He’s only four months old and thus far we’ve had few scares, but there have been times: Â The time he choked on some vitamins I was giving him, the time a family member put him down thinking he could sit up on his own (faceplant), and just today, as we were leaving our in-laws New Year’s dinner, I slipped on some ice in the twilight and almost dropped him in his baby seat. Â I jumped so quickly to right myself that I slammed my foot to the ground and felt a surge of pain up through my back, a million thoughts running through my head playing out what might be happening. Â These things will happen, and they are tiny little things, but the weight of the little life in your charge will raise your blood pressure like little else. Â I was shaking so badly afterwards that I couldn’t drive.
I’m a sort-of fan of the Free Range Kids “movement”, though I think they get excited to the point of zealotry sometimes, but now that I have a kid I can say that I understand the impulse to try and micromanage a child’s safety to a point of insanity. Â I’m not saying I will act on it, but I do understand it.