He Says…. Danger, Danger!

(First…. when was the last time I blogged?  No idea.  I am letting Kate do all the heavy lifting.  Oh well, she is better at it than me.)

(Second… This post does not mean to disrespect my own parents.  I turned out fine, and unharmed, and I think they trusted me to do the right thing.)

So I was driving back from NY on Saturday and thinking about cute little Owen, and thinking about him growing up.  Kate and I had just spoken on the phone and she said he was trying to climb onto everything (well not exactly climb, but just pull up), and joked that he needed a climbing wall.  Now I used to do a fair amount of rock climbing in my youth and have done a little bit in the past few years, and DO think it’s a great activity for young children.  I’ve watched young children at the climbing gym do routes much more difficult than I can do, largely because of their size/weight, small hands, and the fact that most children are like monkeys.

Anyway, I was then thinking about how many seemingly dangerous things I did growing up, and how right now I can’t imagine letting Owen do these things.  Let’s tick through a few things:

-Rock Climbing: I started in 7th grade with and under the supervision of my step-father.  I was pretty attentive to the safety procedures and climbing, when done properly is very safe.  But by high school, I guess I had developed enough proficiency that I would often go climbing with just my friends, and my parents trusted that we wouldn’t kill ourselves.  We didn’t, but I imagine that some safety measures were (unintentionally) skipped, because we were young and careless at times.

-Climbing trees: Along the same line as rock climbing, because several of my friends started rock climbing with me in junior high we used to have get togethers at each others homes, where we’d bring our ropes and harnesses and climbing gear, and tackle a tree like it was Mount Everest.  While in theory, using all this gear made us climb more safely, I think that that was a false sense of safety as we’d go higher and higher.  Again, there were no MAJOR injuries, but I do recall a few incidents with rappelling from trees that ended in a twisted ankle and some major rope burn.  We also used to sleep overnight in trees on platforms that we built with our gear.  This was highly uncomfortable and we were harnessed in, but still…..

-Mountain Biking: Really this is no more dangerous than any other sport, and arguably safer than road biking, but I had my share of spills and cuts and bruises.  I started mountain biking with my father and he watched me go off some drops that now would make me sick to my stomach.  I DO look forward to biking with Owen though, as it is safe enough if you use caution, and it’s a great activity to do together.  But the thought of watching him try something dangerous makes me cringe right now.

-Zip Lines: This probably takes the cake and is tied in with the climbing rocks and trees.  My friend and I on a couple occasions built zip lines in his backyard.  The first one was built before we had really started rock climbing so we didn’t have the proper gear, or know a lot of the safety measures to take.  We bought some rope at a hardware store (which in hindsight was really not strong enough) and I made a harness out of a backpack.  We did all this under some parental supervision as we tethered a rope between two trees and jumped out of them “gliding” to the ground.  Again, we clearly survived this, but still….

Anyway, I guess thinking about the activities of my past make me think about what I’ll feel comfortable allowing or watching Owen to do.  He already seems like a bit of a daredevil as he loves to be upside down or tossed in the air.  I DO think that most of these “adventure” sports are safe when done correctly but like anything there is some risk involved.

I guess the alternative is that we can just teach him how to play chess.


16 responses to “He Says…. Danger, Danger!

  1. My parents let my brother and I have a REAL archery set in our back yards. As in, with *arrows*. They are both gone now so I am not able to ask them about the rationale. I was remembering this recently and wished I could ask my mom about it.
    My son, age 14, plays chess. But he likes archery at camp!

  2. I’m hoping my baby grows up and wants to ride horses. I don’t care how many times I got injured when I rode, I still think it’s worth it!

    If Owen wants to build zip lines in the backyard, it’s probably safer if you help him 🙂

  3. I’m pretty sure my brother had a bb gun (bb rifle, actually) with paper targets. This was in Newton MA (not rural, LOL) in the 70’s. Can you even imagine that in this day and age?

  4. i was always sooooooo jealous of friends that had zip lines growing up. not that my parents wouldn’t allow it, we just didnt have big enough trees. hubby and i already have plans to build one over our family’s pond ;). i think the most dangerous thing i did growing up was jumping out of the hayloft of the barn onto the ground floor. of course unsupervised. my opinion is kids really need to do stuff like that or they will grow up boring and not adventurous!!

  5. We used to jump off the roof onto our trampoline… Seems safe, huh? Pretty sure I’m going to wrap her in bubble wrap and watch her constantly!!!

  6. @Amber-
    We used to do the same thing! I actually think we only pulled that stunt when my parents weren’t home and we were teenagers.

  7. Your post made me smile, remembering the “good old days!” I can’t believe you never broke any bones. Owen will definitely want to try all of these things and more. Good luck!

  8. I know this is unrelated, but I saw this today and thought you might want to know. I love your blog even though I am a weird outsider, and I hate when websites take things out of context.


  9. I suspect our parents are all looking at how active Owen is and thinking, “Payback time!” He’ll put you through your fair share of parental terror.

    You know, it’s kind of weird that you were such a daredevil and at the same time such a worrier, don’t you think?

    – Sis

  10. @Tanya, Isn’t that crazy?! Someone else sent us that link yesterday. We had NO idea it was going to happen. The author never tried contacting us for our side of the story, which was clear from the slant of the article. Cool to have such wide exposure, but the article kind of made us out to be weirdos. Perhaps we need a publicist 🙂

    @Carolyn, Wow, I hadn’t seen that one! Apparently my “6am face” is now the billboard for crazies who post pregnancy test videos. When I read the Slate article (link posted above) I kind of wanted to respond and give some answers to the questions that were asked. Then I started reading some of the comments and realized that most people don’t care to understand our reasons for doing it. That second article on thefrisky.com is written with an annoying “making fun of people” attitude, and that author clearly didn’t contact anyone for information. But hey, perhaps it will open peoples’ eyes to the world of struggling-to-conceive bloggers. What a strange thing to exploit, though.

  11. As an aside, did you see your pregnancy test video is on slate as part of an article? I ran across this site when we were trying to conceive and your video was so touching. Apparently the slate writer agrees 😉

  12. I feel like adults are often thinking back to childhood activities and saying: “We were so irresponsible — I’d never let me kid do something so risky.” But I think back on the climbing and zip lines and have the opposite reaction. Sure, there were one or two incidents where [-ahem-] I might have been more careful, but for the most part, I think that our top ropes were secure, we knew the necessary knots, and tended to be overly cautious. Ben, even on that morning when you woke up by falling off your little ledge, you were clipped-in and perfectly fine. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I have a kid of my own, but I like to think that with a little adult supervision, teenagers are capable of learning how to be safe.

    No WAY would I let my kids jump off a roof onto a trampoline, though. Climbing safely with ropes is all about methodically taking time to be secured with ropes in case something bad happens. Jumping from a roof to a trampoline or swimming pool is a brief stunt that leaves no room for error. Maybe I only make the distinction because failblog doesn’t post many lead-climbing injuries.

  13. @Josh…. amazing comment.

    I guess in hindsight I think about how I never felt 100% confident in my skills when I was lead climbing up Cathedral Ledge. I think I convinced myself and John, etc. that I knew what I was doing, but I also think there were things I did not know. That said, I was too chickensh*t to take a lead fall so I clung onto that rock wall like nobody’s business.

  14. Benjamin-
    You didn’t mention the 50mph rides on skis behind the snowmobile I gave you over our improvised ski jump in Elmer’s pasture. Can’t wait till Owen gets older.

  15. @John — At least *I* wasn’t driving!

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