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.
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?