Face plants, scraped knees and tumbles are a good thing? Your advice SUCKS!

Since becoming a mother I have repeatedly heard the statement, "Oh it it will be different with your second child. You will be so much more relaxed".  I believe it, I really do. But is hearing that repeatedly making me parent differently?  Nope.

It's like I have a note on my forehead that says,
"Please, I cannot possibly be a great parent without your advice!"

I will be the first to say that I am over protective and completely neurotic about providing a safe nurturing environment for my first born.  I am a first time mom, isn't that completely par for the course?

OK, here is what's going on...

Yesterday FTD, Ollie and I went to my brother’s oldest son’s 3rd birthday party.  Throughout most of the party FTD and I stayed within arms reach of Oliver.  We stood close by when he wanted to go up and down the stairs, steadied him as he ran, and…well… I admit it, we helicopter parented the whole party.  But Ollie is 15-months old! We are not going to take chances when there are stairs to fall down and big kids running wild through the house and back yard... Oh and might I add, paying no attention to little Ollie tottering about.

My mom, sister and sister in-law kept telling us to chill out and let him fall down the stairs once or fall while running to teach him a lesson.  They kept saying things like, “Oliver has no fear. You need to let him fall down and get hurt to learn boundaries.”   Seriously all three said those words to FTD and I multiple times.  I would either ignore them, or flat out shake may head and disagree.  We DO let him fall down, but in a soft safe environment, not on concrete stairs or with a pack of wild boys who are paying no attention to him.

By the end of the day I was so frustrated with them wanting us to let Oliver run wild, I yelled out, “Look, I am a first time parent, I understand you think you know better than me, but I am not sorry, he is my son and this is just how it is going to be!”  With that statement both my sister and sister in-law agreed that they too were much more over protective with their first. But then added knowing what they know now, they wished they were not as protective with the first.  I ignored them and walked off mumbling how I didn’t care, Ollie was not going to fall down the stairs if I could help it.

See. This falling down is a bad thing.
The brits aren't all... Let her bust her ass.
What's wrong with my family?!

You know, maybe I am too over protective, and should let Ollie fall down, but I just cannot bring myself to do it. Maybe this wrong, and I should let him fall a little more. But the idea of letting my 15-month old fall down the stairs to teach him a lesson is just absurd to me.

If I let Oliver go through with all of his crazy ideas, i.e. climb on the couch and lunge off, he would be in and out of the hospital emergency room weekly.  At some point Child Protective Services would show up looking for the two Asses that call themselves his parents!

OK, maybe I am going too far with this idea of letting him hurt himself, but I am just caught between taking the advice of two parents I do respect (My sister and SIL), and looking after my son to the best of my ability. If I follow my heart and mother’s instinct I would continue on my path of being slightly over protective.  I do let him fall, I know that is important, but letting him do something that could potentially really hurt him is just out of the question.

I am sticking to my instincts on this one. Ollie is too young to be left to hurt himself. I don’t care what the inevitable “anonymous” commenter has to say below.  Oliver can learn by face-planting at daycare, and school, and on someone else’s watch, but not on FTD’s or mine. We plan to talk him through right and wrong, and hope he understands that when we say ‘no’ it is to protect him. 

Ugh.  I hate to start the week with a cranky post! This first time mom thing is so hard!  Do I listen to the mothers who have been there before me or listen to my mother's instinct? I'm stubborn, so of course I want to listen to my heart! But... Is that really best?  ARG!!!  I can't help but stick to my instincts on this one. I know Ollie needs to learn the hard way, but when it comes to things that could potentially hurt him... I am not taking any chances. Full Stop!

                                                                 HAPPY MONDAY!

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Anonymous said...

Allow me to get the first "anonymous" post out of the way...

I am a first time mom as well, but I agree with your family. The amazing thing about learning what not to do when you are young is how resilient you are!!! The older you get, the bigger you get... which translates into falling harder. And the stairs? If I remember correctly, Ollie has fallen off the couch before. Stairs are NOTHING compared to a couch. Seriously. A whole flight of stairs. All the way to the bottom. I know you think I'm crazy. But here's the thing... falling off the couch is about a two foot fall. Falling down the stairs is 6-8 inches. Granted, it's about a dozen 6-8 inches of falling, but it's still 6-8 inches. At his age, falling down the stairs is a GOOD thing because he will learn to be more careful before he's old enough to try and stop his fall, which will end up hurting him even more.

No responsible, loving parent wants their child to get hurt. Ever. To hear your child cry is the worst form of torture. But learning hard lessons when they are little and less likely to get a serious injury is, in my humble opinion, better than waiting. And letting them do it in front of you instead of on someone else's watch is better as well because then you can give him all the kisses and hugs he needs, instead of someone else. Start with one stair and let him fall. He's a smart boy, I bet he'll remember the second time he tries to navigate that stair. And then find a place with two stairs and let him have a go. I have a feeling you'll be happy with the results.

One last thing... I love the idea of talking your kiddo through right and wrong. But. You can't reason with a toddler. You have a couple of years before that is going to work. And then you'll hit the teenage years... and I know you remember all the wrong things you enjoyed during those years. Anywho... all I'm saying is that you have to let him learn his own right and wrong methods along the way.

You know your sister and SIL aren't trying to hurt Ollie, so take a moment and consider their point of view.

Kristy J said...

My standard parenting rule is I never give advice to parents who's kid is older than mine but I will say this...You are not wrong! Letting your kid ON PURPOSE face plant on concrete is not teaching him a lesson it's feeling the need to sit in the ER for three hours to make sure he doesn't need stitches or have a concussion.
The thing that is getting under my skin lately is parents of multiples or parents of older children doing nothing but trying to peer pressure or just down right the scare the shit out of first time parents. Seriously we're all in this together! We should all be helping, supporting, and encouraging each other and none of that involves purposely letting your kid get hurt.
Ok I'll just hop down off of my soap box for now. I think you're in the right, I think appropriately setting boundaries by talking to your child is the right thing to do. I'm on team FTMAD all the way!!!

Unknown said...

Hear hear, that drives me insane! Hubby has a nasty habit of doing it too, which has led to a fair few, shall we say, 'snappy' conversations.

Babies learn by taking risks, absolutely. BUT the risks can and should be in an appropriate environment. For example; Running on a flat reasonably soft floor with obstacles to go around/over... Good. Running on concrete floor at top of stairs with large children to go around... Bad. Feeding self with round-pronged fork... Good. Feeding self with steak knife... Bad.

I say stick to your (foam headed rubber pellet shooting) guns - if you are still helicoptering when Ollie is 4, then you may need to reconsider your strategies. Actually, thinking of myself when the older boys were 4, maybe we should make that 8 and you may need to reconsider your strategies. Or 12...? 15...??

Ned said...

i think its only natural for a mother to watch out for the kids and there is no harm in worrying about their safety as long as you're not driving yourself insane worrying about it.. and I don't do advises so I don't have anything else to say:)

April McCormick said...

HA! The fact that you know Ollie fell off the couch lets me know you are a LONG time reader... thank you for that...

I do agree that young children are resilient, but no way am I going to risk serious injury to let him learn a lesson. I have absolutely no intention of ever letting him fall down the stairs. EVER!

And of course I know my Sister and SIL do not want to hurt Ollie, and for the most part think they are doing both of us a favor with their advice. Still, both agreed they were just as protective with their first.

April McCormick said...

Thank You Kristy. There is such a fine line between encouraging advice and know-it-all my way is the best way advice.

At this point I am about to say SHUT IT! I will parent my child, you parent yours. In the end I bet they both know how to go up and down the stairs safely.

April McCormick said...

"Babies learn by taking risks, absolutely. BUT the risks can and should be in an appropriate environment. For example; Running on a flat reasonably soft floor with obstacles to go around/over... Good. Running on concrete floor at top of stairs with large children to go around... Bad. Feeding self with round-pronged fork... Good. Feeding self with steak knife... Bad."

SHAY YOU ARE THE SHIT! That short paragraph is exactly what I wanted to say but took an entire post!

April McCormick said...

Thanks Ned. It's very good practice that you do not give out advice.

Anonymous said...

I totally "helicopter" my 17 month old in CERTAIN situations. Playing on a new apparatus at the park gets a "be careful", etc. I'm totally with you on your post in the safety arena. Will I still do it at 4 as Shay says, probably not, but for right now: You betcha!

Janet Dubac said...

I totally agree with you April. Risk-taking is an essential part of child development and learning; but we must make sure that we are letting them take smart and calculated risks.

Amanda Brueckner said...

There's a difference between letting them learn through risks and letting them get hurt. Sounds to me like you were doing exactly what I would do when my son was 15 months and when my daughter was 15 months. This is not a first time parent thing, you assessed the situation and decided that NO a 15 month old should not fall down concrete steps or get trampled by a bunch of 3 year olds. Now that my daughter is almost 2 and my son is 4 I definitely let them run around and fall down and get hurt, my son has had a couple of ER visits but now he knows that jumping from the couch into his toy box is not a good idea lol.

Unknown said...

LMAO- you know me- and being a second time mom has NOT made me any more relaxed with the over-protectiveness- if anything, I've been worse this time around. So- PSHAW! Whatever- to each their own. It's like the MIL telling me yesterday as she was upset that I made Chase lay down for his nap (late as it was), that "she never kept her kids on a schedule and they were just fine" -Grrrr... (my response? um, yeah- look how they turned out). Anyway- I'd rather see someone too protective than negligent.

foodpixie said...

Something else parents of multiples don't seem to recognize is that my first child has not grown up with, or spent a lot of time with, older children or pets. She does not know to watch out for them, or keep out of their way. She's still learning how to walk well, and falls down on her own without some older child (ahem, my niece), or pet, pushing her down/out of the way.

It probably will be different if I have a second, but for more reasons than me as a parent being more seasoned and relaxed.

For the record, fellow first time Mom (and without Dad), I spent the majority of my Dad's b-day party keeping her out of harms way/holding/strolling her. I felt just the right amount protective against all the danger, such as a fire inside, a fire and grill outside, no fence around the yard which is adjacent to a busy road, thankfully just one other child a year her senior, tipsy-childless-adults, concrete patio and stairs, tiny objects to swallow, and cats big enough to knock her over, and she didn't get a good nap which makes her extra clumsy. If there had been a dog, and/or more kids, I may not have let her down at all.

It's going to be a long summer, or I'm going to need a great babysitter.

Unknown said...

Lol - I'm so glad you put that 'the' there! ;-)

AND, you will be pleased to know, I am taking junior off to an age appropriate indoor playground today where he will undoubtedly fall, trip, be pushed, slip, bump and bang his way around - in a lovely spongey environment where the difference in floor levels is less than 30cm at all times. Haha!

Anonymous said...

Buahahahaha yea right am I letting my baby run around stairs! (I'm a first time mom too) my SIL has a terror of a 2 yr old and she is constantly telling me howy baby is only wasy bc he's still a baby amd he will be the same terror at 2......um I don't think so! I haven't screamed in frustration at her yet but I feel it coming! It's part of being a parent I guess to listen to all the "advice" but you are my go to girl for everything baby and I recommend your blog to every parent I know so keep on doing what you guys are doing!

April McCormick said...

I am with you and Shay. I will probably ease up by 3! But a big fat Hell No to 15 months!

April McCormick said...

smart and calculated risks!! AMEN SISTER!!

April McCormick said...

I'm sorry But Jumping off the couch into the toy box... I hate myself for laughing so hard at that... The Karma was already coming and now that laugh will put us over the edge. I'll let you know what Super trick Ollie pulls off.

Thanks for backing me up Amanda. It's nice to know it's not just a first timer thing!

April McCormick said...

Oh yes my dear friend... you are going from a sweet little girl to a bull dozing bruiser of a baby boy. Whole new ball game for sure!!

Schedules and calculated risks are MY saving grace, and Ollie's too. I would be nut without both! Oh, and probably with a suit with my name on it in the ER too.

April McCormick said...

GREAT COMMENT!! Thank you.

Oh and

"It's going to be a long summer, or I'm going to need a great babysitter." I JUST SAID THAT THE OTHER DAY! Jinx, you owe me a coke! xx

April McCormick said...

Aww, thank you. That really means a lot to me. xx

If I have learned anything from all of the "advice" I have been given, 9 times out of 10 it smells like BUTT! I try to hold my nose and smile while it's being dished up.

Unknown said...

Go with your gut. Trust me, Ollie is going to get hurt plenty, and protecting him as mush as possible now is a good thing. Let him fall down the stairs? I had to read that three times because that is just terrible advice. Falling down the stairs can result in a serious injury. Keep doing what makes sense to you. Ollie is going to have plenty of time to make mistakes. He's only 15 months. Right now he needs parents to help him sort out what is safe and what isn't.

Jess said...

I'm sorry, but seriously I am not letting my kid fall down even one stair just to teach her the lesson that she needs to be careful! I've fallen down just one stair many times. You know what it's taught me? I'm a clumsy ass on stairs. Careful or not. I'd rather roll off the couch onto my soft (slightly cushy) carpet any day than fall down the stairs. Too many things to hit your head on or break. And skinning my face didn't teach me to be careful running on concrete. Obviously she's going to fall, and get hurt. I'm not that delusional. But if I can help it, she isn't going to end up with broken bones, or concussions from it. Forget everyone's advice. Arianna is my first child, too, and I just smile and nod, and walk away from the fantastic advice giver. Because nobody knows what's best for YOUR child, better than YOU.