The difficult change in being that proactive protector and watch guard is, though you think you’ve thought of everything, somehow your little one will find things that you missed. They’ll instinctively know how to go where you’ve not gone; find what you’ve over-looked; touch what you’ve said “not too.”It’s like magnets that suck them into these danger areas and this forbidden fruit of “no, no, no” becomes even more incising to them.
How can a toddler find these things? In the words of the Tootsie Pop commercial “The world may never know.”
Let me tell you a very small part my story. When you think you know everything, life has a way of slapping you in the face and letting you know that we’re not as smart as we think you are! Just after my wife had had our first child I saw a TV interview with a Mom whose small child had an accident. The Mom swore that she had only left the toddler for a minute with the unthinkable had happened to the child. Me being “Mr. Know-it-all” thought, “Yeah, right. She must’ve been taking a bath, talking on the phone or who knows what?” I couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that an accident could happen with such a small sweet innocent child that fast. This is just before life showed me how stupid I was to have that thought and judge another parent.
Fast forward my life to my son being almost 3 years old. I had totally forgotten the Mom that I saw on TV. We had lived in a 3 bedroom 1200 square feet 1 story house. My son had just finished his bottle and was playing in his bedroom, which happen to be directly facing the bathroom. I went to place his empty bottle in the kitchen sink which was only a few feet away. Me, being the wise father that I was, would NEVER had thought that anything would happen to my baby in the minute and a half that I was away from him. When as I placed the bottle in the sink I hear the sound of running water. Strange, I thought…?!?!?!
As I listened back towards our bathroom, something said to me, “You better run, now!” I did, and as I looked into our bathroom, there was my baby boy reaching into the bathtub holding onto the faucet and the bottom of his feet were swinging in the air towards me as he was falling into the tub with running water. I had never ran so fast and my heart beat so hard! I grabbed my son and held him as tight as I could. In that moment as my heart beat 100mph, all I could think was: “What if I were a minute later?” “What if I had did something else?” “What if I had not heard the water running?” “What if he would’ve drowned or got severely scalded?”
“Why isn’t there anything to prevent this from happening?”
At that very moment, I remembered the TV interview with the Mom and her saying “I was only gone a minute.” I had never felt so ashamed of myself!!! I apologized to the universe and said that I would never judge or prejudge anyone again without having the facts.
Here’s what I now know:
- Parenting is hard work!
- There’s no real pathway to being a good parent!
- There are lessons that can be learned from anyone.
- I’ve learned to listen more, judge less and watch everything!
- I try to never take for granted my loved ones
- I hug them tighter, kiss them more often, and tell them that “I love them” every chance I get.