Thursday, 11 July 2013

missing heart beats


Sometimes I watch children, and honestly I am terrified - I see the child hurtling down the slide with virtually no body control whatsoever, the child is laughing and smiling, so I stand and watch close by, my heart beating a million miles an hour... the worst that can happen is she lands with a bang and she cries... but all the same its an unnatural feeling to see a child hurtling towards potential hurt.
She literally flies off the end of the slide and lands with a thud...
I stand poised... I let her make the decision between "is this pain" or "is this fun". She looks at me ... I look at her... she laughs stands up and goes back up the slide. I let out a sigh in secret.
She flew off that slide somewhere between 5 and 10 times - and each time my heart raced, maybe a little less each time, but all the same - I could feel those bumps even if she didn't care about them ... I knew my body just would not be able to cope with that sort of play and manage to enjoy the evening - heck it would probably take me a whole week to recover.

Her last few slides were more controlled and there was no flying off the end...


This last weekend we went to a park on the other side of town (in fact the VERY park where I probably had a few heart attacks when my twins were 15 month old and decided to explore the play equipment by the divide and conquer approach... I simply could not be in two places at the same time... and had to resign myself that there were going to be a lots of bumps, bruises and concussions - they did become excellent climbers very fast though) - anyway back to the weekend...
It was interesting to see how Michael "controlled" his decent so that he could lose control and speed down and bump all over the place (It impressed one dad of a 2 year old enough to give it a go himself - and the terror on his face was enough to let me know that it felt scarier than it looked). Michael, though, did this over and over again - going down the slide in all sorts of different positions, but coming back to tucking his feet close to his bum for maximum speed and loss of control on the middle bump! He had no idea how he was going to land really...

So it seems that children in the beginning have no control and just slide and laugh; then they learn to gain control and slide and laugh; and then they challenge everything and see how they can "lose control" again... and slide and laugh...

and still my poor heart skips a beat every time... but I stay put, I let them make their own sliding story, I don't want to be the big bad wolf and blow out their adventure ... but if the risk is TOO big then of course I am going to have to huff and puff...

I want to give the children the gift of risk-assessment - and that is not something I can give them if I wrap them in cottonwool. AND I believe that it's better to start learning about risk assessment when you are young and the risks you take are probably going to be smaller - if you do not have a good risk assessment later in life I assume the accident will be bigger...

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