Sometimes my little boy can be fearless. He climbs up to the back of the couch and decides to jump down, arms flailing. He laughs breathless when he lands onto the pile of pillows he set up and trusted in blind fate would cushion him.
He’s not scared of running out into the mud when the tide recedes and we’re squelching through the beach at Forest River Park. He climbs on the big rocks wherever we go.
He would run a whole block down the road, staring at dump trucks, and flatbed trucks, and excavators – garbage trucks barrelling down the road at forty miles an hour, but he stops at the crosswalk. thank goodness.
He’s independent, strong, and tough, resilient and happy. I’m grateful for that – that’s the toddler I wanted. I’ll take the small temper tantrums, the headbutt (or two) that bloodied my lip one day, if he’ll get up when he falls, no whining, no crying.
It’s only in the last two or three months that he’s begun to show some fear. He will back away from brindled dogs curling their lips at him – but now even sweet white pups will send him back to mama, to stand next to her legs and watch with pursed lips.
As we walked to the Derby lighthouse the other day he stuck to the stones in the middle. When I lifted him up to show him the edge of Derby wharf, the steep drop down into the water, he clung to me tightly.
He hates to be lifted onto my shoulders now – although he still loves to be swung from his two little arms, back and forth, back and forth.
Being completely fearless is for fools – and I’m glad he’s started to learn this. It is good to learn what is dangerous and to fear it. But even as he learns to make smart decisions based on knowledge, I’m learning how much to let him try on his own first too. I want him to have that knowledge he needs to make smart decisions, and sometimes that means a bruised head.