X is for ‘X-ray’ Vision: A Parenting Necessity
‘What’s in your mouth?’, ‘Where did you get that from?’ can be parenting nightmare questions. You know those situations where your crawling baby or toddler is chewing something you haven’t given them, or reaching for an object you didn’t know was there?
O yes, those situations … those ones, when you grab your child and
‘gently’ squeeze their cheeks to encourage them to open their mouth and give up its unwelcome inhabitant. Yeah, those kinds of situations … those ones, when you quickly open their palms to remove what shouldn’t be in their grasp.
I think I can safely assume that most parents know what I’m talking about.
Two of the things I’ve learnt since becoming a mother are:
My moving child – crawling, toddling, walking – sees things I don’t.
He sees my many mundanes as interesting and exciting; opportunities for exploration and instances of discovery. He probably thinks, ‘what’s this?’ a lot of the time; followed by, ‘exciting, let’s find out’.
You know … that pair of earrings that I put on the stool after work for a few minutes before putting it in its box … that tissue on my empty plate that I plan to take to the kitchen in a minute … that glass bottle of supermalt that I left on the floor for easy reach whilst eating … that pen on the settee that I don’t know how it got there … that tiny black thing on the floor in the hallway … that piece of ‘i don’t know what’ peeping from underneath the chair … the list goes on.
Most of these things are easily seen and they are quite substantial to hold; and hopefully easy-ish to keep out of the reach of curious hands. The ones that get me are the tiny things that you have no clue about. They somehow find their way to the path your child is accessing; sending out their special small people ‘look at me’ signals.
I don’t notice them until they are in my child’s examining hands or exploring mouth; they definitely know how to get my attention! I tend to freak out, as I try to figure out what they are and how my child found them. I of course make it my sole mission to remove them from his reach; that is, until the next one comes along.
I see things my child – crawling, toddling, walking – doesn’t see.
I see danger with these things that catch Precious Sparkle’s attention that I wish didn’t. Who knows what could happen to my ears if he succeeds in pulling out my earrings or if he swallows the tissue. What about that black thing … oh, and the green one … and that one whose colour I don’t even know.
I constantly risk assess every object around the house in terms of its educational and health value to Precious Sparkle. Is it too small? … no choking hazard allowed … Is it too big? Is it too heavy? Is it sharp? … swelling or blood spillage causing things are banished … Is it too thin? Is it too chunky? … Could he catch his fingers in it? … the questions seem endless; definitely continuous.
I make split second decisions in relation to the safety of all objects Precious Sparkle comes in contact with.
Things that I never would have given a second thought to, are now so important. I have to remember all the things I need to do or avoid doing all the time; like: keeping the toilet doors closed, not leaving bottles lying around on the floor, keeping important papers out of reach etc.
Conversations like, did you leave this here? … who left that door open? … where did you put the papers? … where is the phone? … is Precious Sparkle with you? … can you see Precious Sparkle? … where has Precious Sparkle gone to? … have taken on new meaning and urgency.
How exhaustingly interesting is keeping watch on what my child is ‘watching’! I never knew the mundane could have so much importance; both at home and when we are out and about. I have heard enough horror stories about what children pick up to play with or put in their mouth, to keep me awake through the night … definitely to keep me on my toes in my ‘acute safety watch’.
The other value of a parenting x-ray vision
Of course, there is value beyond keeping safe in all these. Having a parenting x-ray vision also means that I’m always on the look out for what could help Precious Sparkle with growing into all he can be. It also helps him to develop his awareness about what’s beneficial to play with and put in his mouth, and what isn’t.
I’m thankful for Precious Sparkle’s ‘x-ray’ vision, and the development of mine to support his inexperience. I don’t want to curb his propensity for discovery, but I have a responsibility to keep him safe.
I am his risk assessor until he can be this to himself.
I have to really see, until he really sees; because he sees much more than I usually see, at least in a different way than I see. 🙂
Can you identify with any of these?
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