A couple of months ago we were having some work done on our house and we had scaffolding all around the first floor. The garden was full of tools and equipment and we didn’t go in it for days.
One particular day, one full of cabin-fever and boredom, my husband decided to take the girls into the garden for some fresh air. He left them playing in a safe corner while he tried to tidy up a little.
I was in the kitchen when I heard him call me. I was in the middle of something but he said it couldn’t wait.
With a smile on his face and a slight look of apprehension he pointed towards the ladders.
The tall ladders.
The ladders that led to the scaffold.
The ladders gripped by little hands.
The ones that little Miss A was halfway up.
In one second I felt such a mixture of emotions. Fear, shock, worry, surprise, yet pride and excitement too.
My husband climbed up slowly behind her so she had a safety-net, though she was unaware of it.
But she didn’t need one.
She made it all the way onto the scaffold, turned around and waved.
The smile on her little face was beautiful.
We are realising, now that our little Miss A is 20 months old, just how different she is from her sister.
Miss C uses her imagination lots, she loves getting messy outside and role-playing but she was never really a climber. She can be quite shy by nature and was always very good at listening to us if we thought something was too dangerous.
But were those things ever really ‘too dangerous’?
As new parents we obviously wanted to keep our baby safe, to protect her and not see her get hurt. It’s normal, all parents feel it.
But now we have her opposite in our second child and we are learning that sometimes it’s ok to let them try.
I don’t think we were holding Miss C back, she is by nature more reserved anyway, but we were a lot more cautious.
Our baby (which I think she will always be called while she is the youngest, no matter how old she is) is a bit of a daredevil!
Miss C tried to climb out of her cot once, slipped and bumped her head and didn’t do it again.
Miss A did the exact same thing, told us she’d bumped her head but went ahead and climbed out again thirty minutes later.
She is a risk-taker, a trier, she is absolutely fearless and consequently much stronger (physically) than her sister was at the same age.
We find her standing on windowsills, climbing onto boxes, balancing on chairs and basically just trying new things.
Sometimes it results in a few bumps and bruises but we are learning when it’s ok to intervene (like the time she opened the front door by herself and stepped outside – she can reach the handle now so we have to keep it locked) and when it’s ok to take a step back.
We are there for her, we are the safety-net, whether she knows it or not, and we would never put her in serious danger. But doing certain things by herself is allowing her to learn her own limits, to know her own strength and what she is capable of.
It is actually amazing to witness.
When she was climbing up those ladders her coordination was brilliant! Her strong little legs got her all the way up to the top and I’m happy I got to see it.
I am certain she is going to keep taking risks like that, risks that she just sees as ‘opportunities’.
I am certain also that she’s going to give us many more heart-stopping moments.
And we don’t want to stand in her way when we don’t have to.
This is a new challenge for us, to watch our second daughter climb and run and dive straight into things without fear. We don’t ever want to squash her enthusiasm and we are learning to find the right balance now between safety and freedom.
But we are so proud of our little daredevil, our happy, brave, excited, fun-loving little mischief.
She certainly keeps things interesting!
I hope her strength and determination never leave her, I hope she will carry on taking risks and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces, just as she does now.
We just have to remember to let her.
“The more risks you allow your children to make, the better they learn to look after themselves” – Roald Dahl