We question ourselves with so many things when it comes to parenting. Did my baby drink enough, eat enough, sleep enough? Is it a cough or is it something worse? Have I failed at weaning or is he just not interested? So many questions that I have pondered over the years.
My biggest one that has been on my mind for a fair while now, is did we make our son over cautious?
You see our boy is a worrier. Not over everything – he doesn’t spend his whole time worrying about stuff in general. But you could say that he is a bit of a scaredy cat. I hate that term because it is exactly what kids in school would say. But in reality, that is what he is.
Again, not with everything. I mean take our recent trip to Chessington. Part of me thought that he wasn’t going to go on any of the rides when actually, he wanted to go on all of them. I spent the whole time queuing for the Vampire ride expecting him to get to the front and chicken out. But he didn’t. And he absolutely loved it and is already asking when we can go back.
But other stuff. Stuff that he should be doing freely and thoroughly enjoying – he is scared of them.
Take riding his bike without stabilisers. Now I know learning to do it is scary. We have all been there and we all remember that moment when we discovered that our mum/dad/uncle/whoever, was no longer holding onto the back of the seat and we were in fact doing it all by ourselves. Getting to that point and thinking you are going to fall off and hurt yourself isn’t exactly an exciting thing. But with our Zach, he worries about it before he has even tried.
At the weekend, he was telling us he wanted to have another go at learning to ride. And then just before we left the house, he changed his mind because it’s too scary. We took the wrench with us anyway and when we got there we did manage to persuade him to give it a go. And after a couple of goes round with me helping him, he gave up. Although we then managed to persuade him to do it again with Daddy, and he did. And just as he was getting really good – it was the end. Because we had said to do it another three times round, and that was the third time – it was over. He just wasn’t willing to try a fourth time because in his head he had done the three times. He didn’t care that he was getting better and better. That maybe another three times and he would be able to do it all by himself. Nope. On went the stabilisers and off we went.
And it’s not just the bike. He has 3 scooters at home and he never uses them – too scared in case he falls off. I see his friends whizzing to school without a care in the world and there is him, on his bike with stabilisers, getting off at all of the roads to wheel it across because he is unsure of pedalling it up without falling off.
When he walks on the wall at the end of our street, he needs a hand to jump down – where his friend just does it alone.
I wish, I so wish he had that air of danger to him – where he just jumps. Where he just zooms along on his scooter and where he rides his bike without those damn stabilisers.
His brother of course is the complete opposite. Already wanting to climb trees and jump off walls. To ride a scooter and go on the big bike without stabilisers. The complete daredevil who already at aged 2, tries to do roly-poly’s on the sofa and trampoline. My heart is forever in my mouth with that one around.
And that is why I question whether it is our fault.
Were we too overprotective with Zach? Our first baby. Did we wrap him up in too much cotton wool? Did we say be careful too many times that he then started being careful with everything? Did we cause him to question his ability of things? Did we tell him not to try and ride the scooter when he was too small for it, whereas with Oscar, we just let him do it?
I of course, don’t know the answer.
I know that I feel like I am less cautious with Oscar. Of course I look out for him. I would never let himself get into trouble on purpose. But I am far more relaxed and willing for him to try something than I probably was with Zach. It probably helps that he is a defiant little monkey as well and won’t let me get away with not allowing him to try something for himself!
As for Zach, I guess I’ll never really know. It may be just who he is. It may be that anything we did when he was little, has had no effect on him and this is just how he was always going to be. All we can do is encourage him to try things. Encourage him to jump off the wall with no hand holding. Encourage him to zoom along on the scooter and to just get rid of the stabilisers. And try not to be frustrated when he gives up on things before he’s really given them a go.
That last part though. That is far easier said than done.