She Says… Skydiving By 5

Owen has always been a wild child when it comes to climbing and rough-and-tumbling and fearlessness. The past week or so, this has culminated in a new obsession with jumping off of tall things.

Like, things that are nearly as tall as I am.

It started with jumping off of the couch. Then he graduated to jumping off of a stair or two. And recently, with the addition of his big boy bed, jumping off of his bed to see how far he can get (dangerously close to a little bookshelf on the opposite side of the room, we have found). These days, no matter who is nearby or where we are, I hear his little voice shouting, “Hey! Watch this, guys!” and turn around to see him teetering on the edge of some precipice about to jump off.


Yesterday at the playground it was the top of this little climber. One second he was on the ground next to me, and the next second he was literally on top of it, ready to stand without any hands there to steady him. At least he called my name because he wanted an audience!

Benjamin nearly killed me when I allowed him to jump.

But here’s what I’ve realized. He’s going to do it anyway. As with most things that us parents attempt to control, I guess. But especially on the playground. If I want him to “go play”, I can’t stand hovering and telling him what he can and can’t do. And, frankly, I’m a huge proponent of letting him get a few skinned knees (hopefully not very many broken bones) to let him learn his own lessons about what he’s capable of. I am constantly surprised by what he really CAN do if I let him try. So my answer when he looks at me with that expectant, “you’re so not going to let me do this” look is almost always, “Ok, show me!”.

Granted, the first time he tries a new stunt I’m usually there with a hand out or spotting him so he doesn’t go kersplat on the ground right in front of my face. But especially recognizing that come July I may not always be there to catch him when he falls, he’d better learn what he can do safely on his own and what is actually too high.

I’ll probably eat these words when I’m rushing him to the ER someday in the not-too-distant-future.

jumpin1 jumpin2

But for now, we’ve been working on some sweet new tricks on our swingset at home (monkey bar trapeze! Transferring from ramp to slide mid-climb! Sliding down the slide head first!). Benjamin does not approve. Which is ironic, really, because I can guarantee you (and I’m sure his parents can attest) that Owen got this “watch this!” gene from his father. He definitely didn’t get it from me.

If he continues at this rate, the kid will be skydiving by the time he’s 5.

Or maybe not. Is there an age where all of a sudden better judgement kicks in and the fearless kid gets not-so-fearless? Did/do you have a wild child when it comes to stunts/climbing/jumping? Do you try to stop them from doing the really dangerous stuff? How?


9 responses to “She Says… Skydiving By 5

  1. I have 3 kids and 2 are boys. I can’t begin to remember the number of broken bones/knocked out teeth/ER visits/concussions we had with them all but especially the boys and ESPECIALLY #3. When he was eight, unbeknownst to me, he and his buddies built a treehouse over in the park behind us that had to be at least 30 feet off the ground. How they did it I do not know nor do I want to know even now. That boy was FEARLESS.

    Better judgement?. . . Never, in a mother’s eyes!

    My 16 month old grandson is now jumping off couches, beds, etc. *sigh*. But then, his mother – my daughter – was the one who encouraged her then 4 year old brother to jump off the top bunk resulting in his first broken leg so maybe it’s karma.

    Motherhood is a wild ride . . . and when can you stop worrying? Never, it seems. But most of us – kids and Moms – survive.

  2. My son is about Owen’s age and my husband is also more reluctant to let him take physical risks than I am. My husband, the king of “hey, watch this” so I am somewhat amused by his protectiveness. I try to stop the really scary stuff and let the rest go. Want to jump off the playground platform that is a couple of feet up? Go for it. Just put your toes on the edge and jump out so you don’t fall backwards and whack your head. Our little guy is pretty coordinated so I trust that he can keep up with himself.

  3. I wish I was as brave as you are! I am so scared of heights and getting hurt that I tend to lean more on the side of helicopter mom. I HAVE eased up a LOT since boy #2 has come along. I seriously think they have monkey genes in them. It is unbelievable to me the things they’ll climb and try to get into! My 14 month-old climbed out of his pack ‘n play this weekend and is thisclose to climbing out of his crib. Yikes.

  4. Fortunately so far Emmy’s enjoyment of jumping is restricted to back and forth between the sofa/ottoperson or chair/ottoperson and jumping on the bed. I hope it doesn’t go higher. I keep reminding her of how dangerous it is. I’m not sure if it’ll take a scary/painful fall to get through to her, which I dread.
    Here’s my favorite conversation we had as she was hopping back and forth from the chair to the ottoperson:
    Me: Emmy, is that a good idea or a bad idea?
    E: A good idea.
    Me: I disagree. What is it going to be if you fall?
    E: A hurting idea.
    Fair enough.

  5. My little guy has become quite independent with his climbing and jumping. He see the big kids at the park doing crazy stunts and wants to join right in. Makes this momma’s heart beat fast, but I know that I would be right there if something did happen. And I know that look you are talking about–mischievous, daring… yikes!

  6. kate..just curious…………if u can tell the first letter of baby’s name……… 🙂 or the last one………….!!!!

  7. Ethan is the same way – and I used to be terrified. And it was actually my mother who reminded me that it’s important for children to try some things and maybe get a few skinned knees along the way. So I let most things go now, and I encourage the big “leaps,” so to speak. I have found that he’s pretty sure of what he can and can’t do, and what is truly dangerous and what might just be a little thrilling! It’s actually a good thing now, since Miles is SO timid about physical activity – but he watches his big brother and sees how much fun jumping and running can be, so he’s more inclined to at least try. (P.S. Your baby belly looks the same as mine right now – and I’m, what, 6-8 weeks behind you??!?!?) 🙂

  8. @Olivia, Hahaha, this sounds exactly like my husband as a kid. Is that what I’m in for?!

    @S, Yep, same rules over here. It seems to be working ok so far.

    @Lauren, It wasn’t my first reaction, but I’ve come to realize there’s only so much I can control. Monkeys are monkeys… and kids are built to be rough. I’m constantly amazed at how his body bounces back when I’d be laid up on the couch crying about a twisted ankle or bloody boo boo.

    @Beth, Hilarious! I love the “ottoperson” term too. That conversation is priceless… at least she knows the consequence.

    @Sarah, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but, yeah. Gray hairs!

    @Anonymous, Sneaky, sneaky. I know our family would love to know as well, but my lips are sealed 🙂

    @Carly, A good influence or a bad influence… that probably remains to be seen. I went to a new doctor recently about my gestational diabetes and he said, “Oh my. You seem like a pretty fit person, but you’re carrying, um, quite a load there. I mean, you look great and your weight is in line, you just look big.” Ummm, thanks a lot! Hahaha. I definitely feel big, but I bet it only gets more pronounced with each pregnancy.

  9. Miss A at around that age started leaping off things in much the same way. First the couch, then the cat tree, then playstructures, and, and, and….

    Then, right around when she was 4.25 years old, she suddenly became “scared’ of everything. Like to the point where I was wondering if she was even really our child or maybe brownies had stolen ours and given us a changling child. She was suddenly “so scared!” to even climb the playstructure she used to scale like a lemur. She didn’t want to go down the Big Slide by herself anymore. Etc. I actually think it is more of a ‘snuggly/clingy’ phase she’s going through, rather than actually being scared. She’s discovered a bit of melodrama can go a long way to get teachers and some parents to wrap their arms around cute little girls. Honestly, I preferred the dangerously fearless. I like snuggling, too; but, I miss the crazy playing we used to do. But, as you’ve said before, I’m sure this too will pass.

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