Thursday, June 14, 2007

A fear of the fearless

Sister Goldenhair has become fearless of late. And I'm rapidly becoming a nervous wreck. Sure, I sometimes admit to quite a bit of white-knuckled parenting and days spent pondering the chances that my kid's cough is merely the first symptom of bubonic plague. But this is the big time.

My little monkey has become fearless in the water. She spent time at Mimi's house (Mimi is Woody's mom and the best mother-in-law a girl could have) yesterday and had a blast in the kiddie pool. So much so that Mimi felt compelled to warn me. It seems that SG was putting her face in the water, laying on her back in the water, trying to float, and generally trying to become a water dog.

And while part of me glad that she isn't afraid of the water, another part of me is terrified. As is my nature, I began to worry when Mimi told me all this, but I was worried more about her getting into a kiddie pool without supervision. Then I put my filthy kids in the tub last night for a bath. SG merely saw this as another pool. She laid down completely in the tub, water lapping at the edges of her cherubic face, and kicked her feet. She delighted in covering as much of herself as possible with water. And thanks to her independent streak, she tried to climb out of the tub while I was unfolding her towel. Small, wet children and slick, bathroom surfaces never combine well, and she fell back into the tub. Unharmed and undaunted, she prepared to try again. I helped her out, much to her displeasure, and felt my stomach sink.

While I wouldn't leave her unattended in the tub before, I can no longer feel even remotely non-petrified at the thought of her near any quantity of water. She can somewhat clumsily climb into the tub unassisted. Miss B is not afraid of water, but she gets nervous in a pool. Since she cannot yet swim, I think this is healthy. But what to do about SG? Do you try to make her see the dangers? Can a child of not-quite-2 understand without becoming phobic?

Well, at least I have an exciting new fear to keep me on my toes. Sometimes I long for the days when Miss B was a baby and I was blissfully unworried. Sure, I was concerned about lots of things, but not with the nearly hysterical fervor that seems to grip me these days. It's my job to keep my girls safe and healthy until they become adults, but so much is really beyond my control. What to do, what to do?

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