Monday, February 27, 2006

I love the smell of inner tubes in the evening...

I am the sort of parent that would make me wince if I wasn't me.

On the night I gave birth to Small Person I dreamed (dreamt?) that I dropped her on the escalator in our local shopping centre. A week or so later came the dream where I left her on the counter in the newsagent's because I "couldn't be doing with it". As a result of this, and my many, many neuroses, I am a total wuss when it comes to the health and safety of my daughter. When she was very small we had the sort of baby monitor that flashes and beeps if the baby "stops breathing". After the fifth time I rang the hospital in hysterics. Turns out that they had trialled these very monitors but ditched them a couple of months in after a whole raft of false emergencies in the special care unit. Did it stop me worrying? Um, no. The last nearly-six years have been an emotional minefield. Once the immediate threat of cot death subsided somewhat, a whole other set of disasters loomed large. Choking, being run over, meningitis, heavy books falling from a great height - the possibilities were endless. Small Person actually narrowly escaped a sticky end when the family rottweiler alerted me to her entanglement in the dressing on her moses basket, (people, if you put a newborn in a moses basket please don't have the frilly stuff on it - it's lethal), which I still can't rationally explain. So it sort of goes without saying that I am overprotective and generally panicky. She has a booster seat in the car, wears armbands when swimming and is fully up to speed on road safety and stranger danger. I panic ceaselessly about the mishaps that might befall her when she is beyond my watchful gaze - a recent spate of cold weather found me warning her against tying her scarf in a knot - I couldn't shake the image of entanglement on playground equipment. I know, I know. It's pointless. I try really hard to let her find her own way and on the whole I succeed. The Other Half should take credit for this; he is the voice of reason that cuts through my paranoid inner monologue and has reminded me that, without taking risks, we never learn our limits. The one shadow over us at the moment is her father's conviction that she will be fine as a pillion passenger on his Guzzi, but I am planning to take legal advice over that one and am confident that I can rule it out once and for all.

Tonight, however, I have surpassed myself. I have purchased a new rubber mat for the bath, in order that Small Person may enjoy a soak and a play with her ducks without the (imagined) spectre of drowning, head injury or impaling herself on the cold tap looming over her. It's a new mat. I am poor, so I got it from Asda. It seemed a bargain at £1.38.

As a result of my obsession and penny-pinching, Small Person currently smells as if she has spent a couple of hours wearing a gimp suit in a very warm room. Sweet. Well done me.


Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

Perhaps it's time for showers?

27 February, 2006 21:01  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

what, with the dangers of slipping and over-hot water? are you mad?

*sheepishly* we have a shower at the new house.

27 February, 2006 21:11  
Anonymous Tazzy and Piggy chimed in with...

The whole point of a heavy rubber bath mat is to hold the little ones under the water when you are sick of listening to the constant demands for attention.

Bloody hell, that was a long sentence without punctuation (almost as long as your paragraphs).

Word Veri: 'smellycunt'*

* not really.

27 February, 2006 22:13  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

See, it's one of those irrational fears. Like the fact I'm terrified that one day, when driving along, all the wheels of my car will fall off and I will die in a big fire ball. Mind you, considering the state of my car, maybe that's not so irrational...

27 February, 2006 22:25  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I don't mean to be rude, sg....
....How do you know what it would smell like if you spent a couple of hours wearing a gimp suit in a very warm room?

27 February, 2006 22:28  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

all you can do is simply decide to look the other way half the time, and go through agonies of indecision and second-guessing your every move ANYWAY because it's the right thing to do.
then you have a grandkid, and put him on back of the harley when hes a month old with grandpa.(and he loves it and cries when the ride is over. grammas' blood, i'm tellin ya. i have photos to prove this.)

27 February, 2006 23:51  
Anonymous Kristy chimed in with...

Haven't you had any hospital emergency room adventures with her yet? Nothing inserted up the nose that wouldn't come out without artificial aid? A couple of those tends to calm things down a bit, at least in my experience.

28 February, 2006 02:16  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Have NHS Direct agreed to start taking your calls again yet?

28 February, 2006 07:15  
Blogger Tickersoid chimed in with...

It's my fault both my Kids are arachnophobic. I didn't know at the time what triggered it.

I contributed to my youngests facial scar by ommitting to do something about the bodged repair on the toy pram' my brother inlaw had given them, And not standing firm when 'she' told the kids they could have a dog ( which youngest tripped over ) with out consulting me first.

I also got us on the 'at risk' list, when I tried to lock the front door and tied the said dog to the baby buggy not realising he was about to spot a cat. ( Yes I know it was a dumb thing to do ) Then, although she looked alright took her down to A & E as a precaution. Paradoxically had I just carried on, I wouldn't have got on the list.

Then there was the time, after the fist born. We bought our first car. I strapped her safely in a child seat, facing backwards, only to discover that when you throw a cigarette but out of the top of the drivers window, it blows back into the rear seat. Luckily it missed.

God I'm glad it's nearly over.

28 February, 2006 08:04  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

My daughter got meningitis last year.

She was 23 at the time.

So you've got years of worry still to come.

28 February, 2006 09:24  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Nice one Dave, that will really help allay any fears...very kind thought.

28 February, 2006 09:28  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

Actually, I was trying to say that the responsibility of having a child is life-long, and there will always be times (even when they grow up and leave the nest) that we will worry about them.

Whilst we must love and care for them, we shouldn't let that care, or our fears for them, overwhelm us, or else we (and they) will never be able to enjoy any sort of quality of life.

28 February, 2006 10:58  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Just think about the impact your comments will have before making them.

28 February, 2006 11:11  
Blogger Luke chimed in with...

Just found your blog. Last para is a gem.Hahaha.

28 February, 2006 12:49  
Blogger the plate invigilator chimed in with...

I can totally sympathise. My fears about choking meant that my son only recently experienced his first chewy sweet (I think it was a Gummi Bear). Note: he is four and a half, with a fine set of teeth and far more common sense than me...

28 February, 2006 15:47  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

Well I sympathise too. Not that I worried much, too absent minded, but we had rubber bath mats, swimming arm bands, booster seats, and did road drill and dire warnings about strangers. And a few other bits and bobs too.
I think all that sort of stuff is just common sense.
But it's hard on you worrying all the time as well. Wish you could feel easier.

28 February, 2006 20:45  
Blogger Jemima chimed in with...

However, (the sobering voice of reason commences) have you fully worked through the consequences? it's all well and good providing armbands during swim sessions supervised by yourself and the lifeguards in regulation pools. What happens when Small Person goes for a dip in the local disused quarry without any flotation device and finds buoyancy a different kettle of fish, so to speak? What if she developed an allergy to baby monitors? There are terrors around every corner: think it through!

28 February, 2006 21:45  
Blogger Kirses chimed in with...

my mum thought that my 1 year old nephew would drown in the dog's water bowl, but my sister thought he was more likely to get tangled in the blind cords...he is 2 now.

01 March, 2006 21:20  
Blogger Torquy chimed in with...

Hey, Surly Girl, don't be so hard on yourself. My own Small Person just turned 20 and is - surprisingly - sane. I used to dream I sold him, and paid a witch to make him disappear,and thought I was the only person in the world so lacking in nurturing instincts. He survived, and after years of being even more scared than I was he is now refreshingly normal (as far as a 20-yrs-old can appear normal to one of the previous generation). Having learned to let him go, I now transfer my neurosis to my pets. They take it even better.

06 March, 2006 20:04  

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