Let it not be said that I’m a thrill seeker, or risk taker. Not for me the desire to jump off bridges with an elastic band the difference between life and death. And in my current, post Grace, non exercised state, the balance would be more to the latter end I feel. Neither am I a boy racer, laying down rubber as I screech from the lights to take on some souped up Corsa or Clio. I have an Astra after all. No, I think it’s fair to say I like to play life pretty safely.
This is doubly…triply…the case for Grace; after all, she is totally reliant on me to keep her safe and sound, and with my record on keeping alive house plants, I do need to be careful. From day 1 I had this irrational fear of dropping Grace…again, with my history on plates, this maybe a rational fear. I would check, check and check again satraps were in place on everything that Grace was place into. I followed to the absolute letter, every instruction around crib safety. I think three moves ahead, and remove from Grace’s reach anything which should not be reachable. On this, I think I need to up this to ten moves!!
But at the end of a week that has seen Grace sporting two marks and a mouthful of water as a result of Daddy Day “Care”, am I being careful enough? Was it just bad luck? Correction: Grace’s bad luck?
Mark 1: Grace is up on her feet every second she can be. She can’t actually walk yet, or even balance unaided but that doesn’t stop her. Woe betide you try and leave her on her back for even a minute. So I have to spend large chunks of time bent double, holding Grace’s arms as she shows off her stepping skills around the house. She is getting pretty hot at this now, and I’m sure it can only be a matter of weeks before she strikes off alone. But for now I am there to support her…or not as the case was this week. I was gently testing her limits with limited holding when she decided to suddenly execute a beautifully crafted pirouette. I was only holding one arm, but as she turned I didn’t want to break it off, so went with the move…as it spiralled down into a nose dive into the carpet…
Mark 2: Grace loves being up on my back now I’ve got the new back pack carrier. I think she enjoys being at a height above everyone else, looking down on them – a position I worry she already seems very comfortable with. This had already led to a couple of brushes with various parts of the house and it’s low lying ceilings and beams. But I think my…both of our…automatic reflexes have now mastered this. The problem came surprisingly perhaps, not indoors but in the wide open outdoors. I thought I’d try putting Grace on my shoulders and run around the garden (not mine). She loved this, and was giggling and laughing at the bumpy ride. Until she wasn’t. Not being my garden, and not being 7 foot tall, I hadn’t even noticed, let alone appreciated, the risk posed by the overhead washing line. Grace was now explaining this too me I screams and sobs of one syllable. Needless to say I felt very guilty about this at the time, 24 hours later, and still do as I, writing this five days on.
Water: being the careful and risk averse sort as I explained above, the daily baths are always carried out strictly by the book. Not very deep, 37 degrees exactly, and fully supervised throughout. Most of the time Grace is content just to sit in the middle of the bath, playing with eating her plastic duck, as she is soaped up and sponged down. Indeed, try and lie her down and she lets you know in no uncertain terms, that this is not what is wanted. At one point she lost the duck behind her and was reaching around for it. Despite the non slip mat (careful, see), soapy Grace had slipped my hands, turned herself over and got her face immersed before either of us knew what had happened. No damage done, and with a quick splutter, a spectrum of looks spanning confusion,shock and despair, and sobs that suggested she had just found out the world was five minutes from ending, Grace had been helped up and was quickly chewing the duck once more, and giggling as she did it.
So there you have it. My confessional for all to see, and possibly get me reported to Child Line I don’t doubt. However, thinking about it with hindsight, all of these things happened as Grace starts to want to experience the world for herself. I can’t carry her gingerly around forever like some swaddled, unexploded bomb like I did I the first few weeks of her life. These wont be the last bumps and bruises she gets, and I need to be more relaxed about that….I would just like not to be the cause of so many of them in future! So yes to continued rough and tumble daddy play, but yes to also being a tad more careful of those who look to me to keep them safe!