I’m a bit of a nerd. Hold on, before you say anything…I know I may give the impression of a rugged, suave, confident man-about-town daddy blogger but by day I am far more ordinary, doing stuff with computers and numbers and graphs and Powerpoint.
As my “nerdness curve” graph shows, I’ve had less nerdy moments since I started working in marketing but the problem is my colleagues, who tend to be painfully hipster-esque. Their “on trend attire and attitude only highlights and magnify my nerdness resulting with me being more nerd-like than before.
But I digress…
For those of you keeping up with the Illiterate Infant’s latest antics, you may be aware that there’s been some toddler health issues here. Not the end of the world, but we did end up in hospital for a few days.
Over this period I’ve had a bit of time to contemplate fear and how the amount of fear you have for your kids tends to ebb and flow over time. In a moment of hot shower clarity (not nearly as exciting as it sounds) I came up with my soon-to-be-patented parent to child-incident fear relationship model that I’d like to get your feedback on.
Basically (why do nerds always start to talk about nerdy things with the word basically?) you have your fear scale down the left, ranging from asleep, through Hip Dad and helicopter dad to shitting yourself Dad. The various events of your children’s life across the bottom.
What it shows is that basically (there I go again) as my daughter has gone from ovum to toddler, my degree of fear has steadily climbed. Sure it drops but never back to the level of those simple days when I first brought home the first little lady.
I still remember confidently walking around with her in one hand, flinging her into the crib for her night-time sleep. A bit tired myself, I lay on the bed next to her listening to her make those noises that all little children do when suddenly, there was silence. The noises stopped. I remember sitting bolt upright and looking over at her in a panic, leaning over and putting my hand under her nostrils and the relief when I felt the tiny puffs of air hitting the back of my fingers. Bloody kids!
And so it continues. Things settle down a bit, you move the little one into her own bedroom, you high-five your partner, congratulating yourselves on evicting the noisy border from your room. Your smarter this time though, you have a baby monitor so you don’t get anxious. You lay at night listening to baby noises through the monitor then… the noises stop again! Up the fear level goes before falling slightly below helicopter daddy.
And it goes on. Miss E gets a scooter so she can play with the neighbours kids. One minute you watching her tentatively move her self forward. The next she’s got one leg sticking out to the side, fanging (for those international readers – to fang is to move at outrageously fast speeds) down the driveway towards the busy road at the end. Bursting through the helicopter dad region you climb into shitting yourself territory before settling down again, a little more nervous than before.
There’s other events, first fall from climbing equipment, first time catching them climbing the kitchen draws like a ladder, first time falling off a trampoline. Each moment adding to the base fear that seems to grow continuously as your kids age (or age you). It seems that whenever you get your fear rate under control they are off giving you a heart attack again.
And then… The little $%#@’s go to hospital.
So what do you do? Do you live in a constant state of readiness for the next scary moment (tiring), let them learn their lessons (not really applicable at this age for health – and frowned upon by my Mrs Illiterate Infant) or just accept the fact, however hard it is that your kids are designed to make you shit scared… a lot.
Also, what have been your moments? Are you the relaxed, ice cool parent or a nervous wreck? Does the second or third or fourth child make a difference? Is it worse for boys than girls? Is it the same for Mums and Dads?