When we're pregnant, we think about what type of parent we want to be (and don't want to be). We think about how we were parented and may want to do it exactly the same or we may want to do it completely differently. We watch other Moms and Dads in the grocery store or in a restaurant and unintentionally judge or praise them for how they handle a difficult child. Parenting ain't for the weak, as my Dad says.
I never thought that I would be an overprotective parent. As a child, my parents allowed us to explore and try new things. They would help and guide us but also let us figure things out on our own. We played sports, got injured, went on trips and did some things that were higher risk. The only two things that I can recall them refusing to buy were trampolines and Sea-Doos. Even then, we were allowed to rent a Sea-Doo on my birthday. My Mom just didn't want to watch.
In the last two months, the girls have gone from rolling around to crawling and climbing. Today, for instance, Teagan pulled herself up on every single one of our chairs, the bouncy chair, the coffee table and even attempted to pull herself up on the very wobbly jumperoo. I find myself cringing every time she stands there, usually holding on with just one hand. I picture her falling backwards smacking her head. It is inevitable, I know. My protective instincts are coming out in full force.
Before now, I could keep them safe, almost all of the time. While they may have wanted to explore, they weren't physically able. In the blink of an eye, I suddenly have two extremely curious explorers who now have the strength and agility to try things that could result in tears, bumps and bruises (or worse). I'm not naive. I knew this point would come before I know it. While my protective instincts are very much present, I do my best to not stand over Teagan while she proudly holds herself (one-handed) up on a chair.
I remember feeling something similar to this when they first started rolling over. I kept worrying that they would smack their heads. They did. Several times. And...they were fine! I will find that balance with this next stage soon enough.
There is no doubt that I will have to continue to find that balance between being protective and letting go, over and over again. I've witnessed parents who hold their children back over fear of them getting hurt. I will not be one of them. While I cringe at the thought of my babies falling and smacking their heads, in the future, if the girls want to play hockey, soccer or go skiing, I would never hold them back. That, I take from my parents who always let us try things. I can say with 100% confidence that I will not have bubble children!
Our sweet little girls are growing up and it is only just the beginning!