Tuesday, August 02, 2011

i watched him fall

antonio is 4 years old. he is not a toddler anymore, he's a little boy. a fact that i have to remind myself of everyday. he's always been on the small side, and he's a little behind in his motor development. the result, i don't push him much when it comes to doing "big boy" things.

my poor son, he has a mother that, when he wants to jump in the pool, she worries about him hitting his head and suffering a spinal cord injury. or that when he is on his new swing set, he'll fall and break a bone or suffer a head injury. yes, i really have these fears every time he's out there. maybe it's that he's my firstborn and i'm overprotective. maybe it's that, as a pediatric physical therapist, day in and day out i've worked with kids to which those sorts of things have happened. most likely, it's a combination of both.

but as antonio keeps growing and making friends with other boys a lot of his friends are girls since "cousin jesse" moved away, until recently), i see how he struggles to keep up with them. he's the only one of his "posse" that wears a floatie at the pool. he doesn't jump on the trampoline. he doesn't take risks.

yesterday, as he played with his friends, he saw them go across the monkey bars in the backyard. i've told him before he's not allowed to go on the monkey bars unless an adult is nearby. but not wanting to be left behind, he climbed on up. i was standing in the kitchen watching, and realized there was no one close to catch him.

instead of running out, i just watched. he grabbed onto the bars and hung for a moment. then he reached for the next rung and got a hold. i was shocked, thinking he had hung on much longer than i would have given him credit for and that he might actually be able to get across. but then one hand slipped, and  then the other. down he went.

instead of running out, i just watched. waited. he got up fairly quickly so i figured no broken bones since he wasn't screaming hysterically. as he slowly made his way over, i noticed he was a little teary-eyed. apparently, he got the wind knocked out of him when he fell. but other than that, he was okay.

but as i went to bed last night, i actually cried over what happened. i cried because he fell, and i pretty much let him. i cried because i felt bad for him that he didn't get across. what if i've been wrong this whole time? what if i should have been letting him be a little more daring? i kept having visions of the nerdy kid in the movie "little giants" who wore all the padding. it's not like he was jumping from a fence, over a net, and onto a trampoline. he's just been wanting to do the monkey bars. did he not get across the monkey bars because he's just a bit smaller and a bit younger? or did he not get across because i told him he couldn't? i don't know the answer to that question, but it will definitely have me think twice before i tell him he can't do something.

between antonio and myself, i don't know who learned a bigger lesson. maybe we both did.


Kate said...

aw i got teary reading this! why do they have to grow up anyway?

Spence Ohana said...

Parenting can be tough - there's no guide book to tell us exactly what to do. But I have to say there is nothing wrong with being cautious. Don't be too hard on yourself for being overly-cautious at times, it's just your motherly heart being protective of your "baby". My son is my 2nd, and I find myself being way more protective of him than of our daughter. I sometimes wonder if he's not as athletic or not as smart as his friends because of my babying him and holding him back - and then I snap out of it and remember he's only 4. :)

I say go with your gut. Certain times call for being overly cautious and other times not. I can tell by your and Andres' posts you are doing a wonderful job raising your beautiful children.

cyj said...

I know Antonio will grow up to be a strong, self assured man because he has the parents who will be there for him.