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Wandering on Her Own

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My daughter is cautious. Calculating. I don’t think she gets that from me. I run head first into just about everything, especially mistakes, and usually several times. Probably she gets it from my husband. Of course when I’m grumpy, this “cautiousness” is interpreted as “slowness” to me, making me grumpier. But my daughter, well she’s still a toddler and cute enough to get away with it.


After she finally started walking, I realized now that she was mobile, the dangers had increased exponentially and I encountered my other major parenting flaw: my incessant need for insatiable worry. My overactive imagination has played and replayed hundreds of scenarios where some crazed psychopath snatches her before my eyes and takes off at lightening speed, leaving me to imagine my baby being tortured and murdered. I sincerely hope my husband’s genes override mine in this area, or at least that if she does turn out to be a worrier, that it is drastically reduced. Like maybe that gene will get watered down with some of my husband’s genes so that instead of thick, sugary paste she’ll end up with a glass of Kool-Aid.


One day, while fighting every impulse I had to sprint to her side and then proceed to hover over her toddling steps, I watched her from about fifty whole feet away. This day was a huge breakthrough for both of us in a sense because as I watched her toddle back and forth and gaze off into the distance at something I couldn’t see (an angel? fairy princess? bee buzzing around?), I realized she is, in fact, real, and not just an extension of me. Yes, I am a horribly self-centered person. It’s a disease. Perhaps a child is the best cure for that, though. Before I could live my life exactly as I wanted, but then there was this tiny person who had no idea I existed. She only knew she existed and whee!


She wants to run and with her freakishly large 90 percent head, and sadly my propensity for accidents, she often bumps her head. Right now she has what looks like the state of Idaho smack in the middle of her forehead. Last week she ran into a tree. Not a small one, mind you, a ginormous one. I know there will be many more spills along the way and that, like the nervous dad in Finding Nemo, I can’t just lock her up to keep her safe because then nothing good would happen to her either. More than anything I want my baby girl to have the fullest, happiest life possible, I just have to figure out how to do that safely. Thoughts, anyone?

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