No Fear of Falling

In which our reluctant hero notices that things are slowly changing.

We have recently moved from a family unit with a one year old and a threenager to one with a two year old and a threenager. That’s a lot of numbers in an opening sentence, four sure.

Now, this may sound like a major disturbance to the peace and tranquillity of our Waltons like existence in semi-detached suburban Wolverhampton, but, in reality, very little has changed. Why would it? The transition only took a second when the clock ticked past midnight on “Happy Birthday to You” day after all. Thankfully there was no howling at moon, but it is still an interesting time developmentally.

The verbal communication skills of our youngest are improving all the time, albeit with a few unnecessary fillers scattered about before finally getting to the point (see also this blog.) As are the non-verbals. We can now interpret a stamp of the foot, throwing of cutlery, hiding behind the curtains, or being presented with the remote control at about ten past six with a high degree of accuracy.

The one thing that I have noticed of late is the degree of competence that both children display in taking care of themselves. Which is probably just as well… *coughs*

It started with little things like putting on shoes and so on. But now, with a bit of teamwork, running a bath, getting breakfast, or escaping from the house into the garden to empty the water-butt are pretty much standard fare. No problemo.

Whether your little person is a few hours or a few years old, everything from day one is about keeping everybody safe and well. Survival is after all one of our primary drivers as humans. Hunting and gathering, providing warmth and shelter, pacing up and down the garden in a loin cloth while clutching a spear in case that the dinosaurs (GRRRR!) try to get us again is all part of a Dad’s job description. Especially in Wolverhampton.

Many of the things that I have done with our two over the years have been in part for fun (mostly theirs), and in part to (hopefully) help develop vital life skills.

I used to take our eldest to weekly swimming lessons when she was tiny to help build confidence around water. Obviously the neglected younger sibling didn’t get any of this. Oh, no. Instead he would make do with a bath on a Saturday morning if everyone was awake enough to negate the risk of drowning.

Anyway, whether it was the freezing water, the instructor throwing her underwater (presumably to recreate the album cover of Nirvana’s “Nevermind”) or just stopping going, by three years old she was frightened of the pool once more. It was easily fixed though. Swimsuits and armbands purchased, we simply jumped back in the deep end so to speak. Not with armbands on though. That isn’t allowed.

Two swims on and our eldest is now convinced that she can swim the channel, provided that her armbands are pumped up sufficiently, there is a “floaty floaty” nearby, and that she had remembered to go for a wee first. Our youngest just thinks swimming is brilliant. Especially the splashing. Which is fine in the swimming pool, but not in the bath. See also flipping himself over, head submerged, trying to do backstroke in the bathroom. Life skills? Hmmm…

[Insert name of climbing class for children here] is another weekly thing we do. It’s brilliant too and both our children love it. At one, our youngest could safely negotiate a six-foot plus ladder and climb across a set of monkey bars. At two he is fearless. Which is good if there’s a long ladder and monkey bars about, less good when faceplanting into the patio while doing Superman down the slide. Or faceplanting into the lounge floor while doing Superman off the side of the sofa. Life skills? Hmmm…

The garden can be fun and a potential death-trap in equal measures. Ridiculously positioned slides asides, our garden is full of all sorts of fruit and berries. Some edible, some that will kill you TO DEATH with a careless glance in their general direction. Probably. Telling the children not to eat them was all well and good until they discovered the edible ones. Now everything is fair game, be it pear or poison. It’s just better not to look really. Life skills? Hmmm…

Some of the stuff we have told and taught them has obviously stuck, which is as pleasing as it is surprising. Everyone, including Mum and Dad, now have to wait on the waiting spot until the front door is locked for example. Holding hands in car parks in case the cars don’t see you also seems to have been drilled in. As has wearing your boots if you want to jump in muddy puddles. I can’t think where that one came from, mind.



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