Children have the capacity to scare a parent in ways that are beyond the comprehension of those without kids, and whilst it would be true to say that I have, with my children, at various times been anxious to some degree, there has only been one occasion where I can say that I was close to panic!
We’d gone to spend a weekend visiting my sister, and after a long day, the adults were all a little tired. My sister was making dinner, I was having a chat with her partner, and Mrs L. was watching TV with the kids. Or so I thought.
She thought that our eldest boy was spending some time with the lads, and when she asked me how the little man was, we quickly realised our mistake. Mere seconds later, we noticed that there was a breeze running through the house, meaning that somewhere a door was ajar. Somehow, young Boy-Boy, who was clearly bored with how the late afternoon was turning out, had taken himself off for a little walk. Mrs L. and I ran to the front door, which was wide open, and down the driveway. As we reached the road, I was absolutely terrified about what I might find. But our flame haired toddler was happily trotting down the middle of the road disappearing into the sunset. He must have heard me sprinting after him and thinking this was a great game, he picked up the pace. I managed to catch him about 400 metres down the road, about ten seconds before a car came tearing along the road. The potential consequences of this lapse are unthinkable, but as a parent, I’ve found it is all too easy to take your eye off the ball.
This was the first inkling we had that our boy possesses a trinity of characteristics which will, I am sure, make his early years, an exceedingly stressful time for us! He is very curious, almost completely without fear, and very, very fast. I don’t just mean that he’s fast for a two year old. He really is quick, and everywhere he goes, he runs. There is no gentle wandering for him and he is able to keep it up for incredible lengths of time. We are often asked where he gets all of his energy, and I have to confess it is a complete mystery.
You may recall that several weeks ago I took the two older kids to the zoo. Fraboo was very happy to dawdle around (with her Auntie in tow), thoroughly examining every creature, while Boy-Boy ran for about 4 hours straight. As a result, I had to walk briskly, or jog slowly, the whole way round too. As it was a baking hot day, it didn’t take long before my shirt was sticking to me, allowing the other visitors the opportunity to examine my “rippling” (or should that be wobbling?) torso, in a lot more detail than they would probably have preferred.
Worse is yet to come. As a result of his mad dashing, I didn’t even get to see the monkeys!
Now, I hear you saying: “Come on Ross, get him some reigns,” or “Just put him in the push chair”. These are both very worthy suggestions, and in fact we have just bought him on of those extendable dog leads. Neither Mrs L. or I, however, possess the courage to take him out with it. In any case have you ever seen that poor Mum at the supermarket, whose toddler is just refusing to play? Well that would be me. Why ruin a perfectly lovely day for me and everyone else within earshot with a screaming child, who simply will not move? Whilst, for the most part, he is a very contented little soul, he can exceedingly stubborn (I don’t know where he gets that from), and if there’s something he doses’t want to do, no amount of persuasion which will convince him to do it
As a parent, it is really important to know when to pick your battles. Of course, I must keep my kids safe, but really I don’t think that this is worth going to war over. Not only that, he clearly loves running, and let’s be honest, I could do with the exercise.