Eudora. She’s sweet. She’s snuggly. She’s cuddly and charming. She’s also a completely and utterly fearless toddler.
For a while now, Eudora has been tearing around the house, climbing and playing. She’s so very adept at climbing that it has left her totally fearless about getting up or down. The first time she caused me a mini-stroke was when she decided to climb out of my bed. My bed is so high that I use an ottoman to help me step into bed. Eudora decided that she wanted to get down, so she crawled over to the side of the bed, turned around so her feet were dangling over the edge, and slid herself off. I caught her before she hit the floor.
The most consistent display of that irrepressible fearless toddler quality is on the changing table. She, like most toddlers, hates the diaper change. It requires staying still and cooperating. It restricts movement. In her mind, it just plain sucks. That means that she takes the most reasonable course of action for a fearless toddler: she tries to slide down, feet first. Unfortunately, Eudora absolutely does not look when she tries to climb down. She just slides and expects to land safely. I’ve always managed to wrestle her back on the table.
The worst, though, was at the park: we decided to take advantage of the long weekend and burn off some of Norton’s obnoxious energy by taking the kids to one of our local parks. Eudora loves the swings, and it’s the one place that Norton can actually push her and have it be okay. There are also slides and climbing structures that both kids enjoy.
I didn’t expect Eudora to enjoy the slide. When Norton was her age, we took him to that same park and he cried when we went down the slide together. Eudora was already showing her fearless toddler behavior by going down alone and squealing “Whee!” as she slid. That was surprising… and pretty neat. It became less cool to watch when she decided to try to climb the large, arching ladder that went to the top platform. Norton won’t even climb it. He prefers to stick to the safer rock wall.
Time and time again, Eudora ran to that blue ladder to climb. I pulled her off repeatedly… and finally decided to just let her go. She kept going back to it, and I would be right there. She went. Every time my fearless toddler pulled herself up on that ladder, I died a little. I wanted to be a helicopter mom and hover, but bring her to safety before she climbed too much. I finally contented myself with being extremely close and able to grab her if she got into trouble. Anything else wasn’t going to stop her.
So she climbed. And she kept climbing, slowly but surely, clutching her little pink monkey as she went. When she was pulling herself up to the third rung, she slipped. I rushed over and grabbed her as she dangled from that rail by her little hands. I saw a flash of fear in her eyes when I got her down, and she managed to get her little lip bleeding a bit.
In the end, though, she was okay. That little flash of fear didn’t stay with her, though. She was still determined to climb any obstacle and wouldn’t let anything stand in her way.
Do you have a fearless toddler? How do you keep them from getting too badly injured?