I've Been Gifted A Climber

Every parent looks forward to their child becoming mobile. Or perhaps I should say, every first time parent look forward to their child becoming mobile…because once it actually happened, I found the parenting workload went from manageable to, “Oh my god, get her! Get her! What’s she doing?!

It used to be that I could lay her on a blanket while I cooked or worked on a project. Now she’s licking the glowing apple on my computer while I pry her little fingers from around the screen. It’s lovely to watch her making her way around the little play table we got her—and boy is she quick—but it was a whole new ball game the day we nonchalantly put up a baby gate only to watch her scale it like a well-trained spider monkey.

Yes, it’s true, we’ve been gifted a climber. She climbs things I didn't even know could be climbed. She reaches heights that are really something to marvel at as well as to be scared of. Um, hello, earth to my little offspring, you could really hurt yourself!

While I try to keep it in perspective that having a baby who walks early and climbs is really awesome in many ways (for instance, she impresses the pants off people), I’m also left scratching my head about what to do with this kid. It’s not as though I can reason with her at this stage and explain that climbing that high could result in an injury. I can’t pad the whole house in wrestling mat material to avoid injury (can I?) And despite myself, I can’t seem to stop worrying.

All of this, and my mother, as she observed my daughter trying to climb the chest of drawers in my bedroom, says, “You should really get Ipecac. Kids who climb sometimes get into things they shouldn’t.” Literally, my jaw dropped because I didn’t need a new fear, and I didn’t want to buy Ipecac. Of course, I will be buying the Ipecac because it’s one those situations where you have to “reverse black cat.” This is a technique where you act pessimistically so that you get lucky, thereby “reversing the black cat.” It’s not a guarantee, but hey, it’s worked before.

In the name of practicality, I suggested that perhaps when she’s a little older we get her an indoor climbing wall. From a more psychological standpoint, I love that my child is fearless and daring. It’s a trait that I know will continue to haunt my nerves, but it also excites me. My husband is not as afraid as I am, so at least there will be some ying and yang in our approach to parenting; he was born with a bit of the fearless gene himself.

Moments like these, when I realize that my child is her very own person with her own quirks and traits, I am in awe. It’s what makes being a parent great and also scary. She’s this little human, all her own, and she’s only beginning to discover it. Who knows, maybe some day she’ll scale mountains! Until then, I guess I’ll continue to chase her around the house, pulling her down off tables, chairs, dishwashers, and….oh what’s that? Great. She’s using the oven as a chin-up bar. 

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