last first time

When was the last time you did something for the first time? As adults we can't say that we do this very often. Quite honestly, most of haven't done anything new in so long we can't remember what it was that we did. Some "grown ups" continually challenge themselves and push out of their comfort zone more often than not. I applaud them! But what is astonishing is how often kids do something for the first time! Can you imagine the amount of adrenalin rushing through their little bodies ALL of the time? Constantly daring themselves to be "brave" just like we tell them. Are we at all helpful in our encouragement when we ourselves don't ever really step out on the edge and push ourselves?

Today Will went off the competition diving board into the deep end of the pool.....for the first time. This is a kid that would not get his face or ears wet in May of this year. He just decided this evening to go for it with his dad and did not falter in his determination. The board is about 3 or 4 feet off the surface of the water and is very springy! Dad went first. Not a pretty dive by any means, but impressive nonetheless to Will and Hank! Will was next. He walked to the end, waited for a countdown from Henry and me, and then bonsai! Jumped in, popped up, swam to dad, and asked to do it again. Astonishing! In the end, he was pulling off impressive cannon balls and swimming to the edge without an adult in the pool with him. (He even tried a dive, taking us completely off guard, and experienced his first belly flop. Ouch!)

On the way home, I was thinking to myself, "What a HUGE the afternoon for him!" He did something for the first time. We had no way of knowing and he will never be the same. It is such hard work being a kid. But there are such amazing payoffs. He will go to bed a very proud boy!

And now I ask myself, "What can I do for the first time?"


the soda flows downstream

My dad tells the story that no matter where he was sitting at a table, any liquid spilled would defy gravity, take nasty turns, and end up in his lap. That was during an age when kids were given drinks without lids. Why was that ever an option? Up until tonight, I had never had a drink spilled on me. I say, up until tonight. It is bizarre to say it, but it could not have made me happier.

Why you ask? The unfortunate incident brought out the best in Will. As he picked up the ketchup he accidentally knocked over my diet coke. My plate was already cleared, so it was an unobstructed path to my lap! It happened so fast and I was truly surprised. William instantly jumped from his chair and said, "Mommy, I am so sorry. I didn't do it on purpose. Are you ok?" HELLO? Love this kid. Could all of my hard work be kind of paying off? He was so darn sweet he even asked the waitress if he could help her clean it up. Seriously? I knew there was a kind-hearted young man lurking in there somewhere! Hey, I will take damp, sticky jeans any day of the week, if I can witness will.i.am showing compassion for others.


the baby proof

I am mothering in an age of protection. This is something I cannot escape, and I am surrounded by suggestions, guidelines, rules and laws regarding such protection. Always put baby on his back to sleep. Don't put anything in the crib with him. Never turn your back while baby is on the changing table. Backward facing until age one and 20 lbs. Front facing in car seat until 30 lbs and 38". Booster seat in the back seat until he gets his driver's license. No bike, scooter, or push car without helmet. Locks on the cabinets, doors, toilet seat. Gates on stairs. Seriously, right? I have been conditioned to be fearful of the worst happening. I hear of horrible accidents to children and feel such empathy for the family. I know that it could easily be us. Thankfully, so far, it has not been.

I was a rebel without a cause. When we moved into our home 2 summers ago, I did not baby proof. Gasp! No gates, no locks on cabinets or toilets, and no bumpers on BIG brick fireplace hearths. (I did cover our outlets because Henry- at age five months-was already "experimenting" with conductors.) All and all, it was a great decision. My boys are fine. Henry learned to navigate stairs like a champ at 6 months and my house remained unscathed from screw holes and annoying locks! There have been hard lessons learned (picture illustrates such event. Toddler vs. brick), but I would like to say they will be better for it.

I do acknowledge the need for child protection. Our children do ride safer in cars and on their bikes than we did. But on the other hand, this uber-protection extends beyond just physical protection from bodily harm. I fear my boys may not have similar personal experiences that I once had as a kid. For example I was allowed to play outside with my friends until sundown. The rule was you had to be in for lunch and dinner. At the end of the day you had to be in when the street lights came on. We were distinctly aware that no one should have to come looking for you and it was up to you to pay close attention. There were consequences if you were late and we knew it! I sincerely believe it help build independence and responsibility that has served me well in my life. Will my kids have that? We are lucky to live in fantastic niche in the world that may afford our kids this luxury. However, will I be able to let my boys "go" on their own. I hope so. But there is this little quiet voice that repeats, "What if?" What if?

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