Beware the Coffee Table: Tentative First Steps

EricCarleMuseumBack story from a long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away:
As a two year old, I was running through the house and fell face first on the coffee table. I knocked out my two front teeth and forced my mother into early labor for my sister. Because my adult teeth didn’t grow in until I was about seven or so, I had to go through years of speech therapy because I learned to talk out of the side of my mouth and had a lisp. It’s a little known fact (at least until this blog post) that when I am nervous I STILL talk out of the side of my mouth.

Fast forward to 2010: 
When Lil’ E was about 9-10 months old he started pulling himself up on furniture which is pretty much right on schedule developmentally for a child his age. After the first time he bumped his head on the coffee table I panicked. I got rid of the coffee table. I didn’t want him to have to deal with what I had to deal with. The fact that he could fall anywhere else in the house and potentially knock his teeth out didn’t occur to me. Now I didn’t go so far as to bubble wrap the refrigerator or put foam bumpers on all the corners in the house; but that coffee table had to go.

Then Lil’ E went several months holding onto stuff while cautiously walking around…but never letting go. He’d walk along the couch and walls but as soon as there was some sort of barrier or break in the surface he was holding onto he’d get down and crawl. A month passed. He started doing this funny little scoot up on his knees but still wouldn’t walk unassisted. Another month went by. I was convinced it was my fault. If I hadn’t taken that coffee table away he’d be walking like a pro. Okay maybe not walking like a “professional walker” – they have kind of a weird wiggle to their walk, but you get my point.

Finally around 14 months he took his first steps on his own, and he never looked back. Lil’ E never really went through the clumsy take a step or two and fall stage. He kind of went from holding on to everything to walking unassisted. That’s not to say that he doesn’t take a header every now and again, especially now that he is running with wild abandon, but he had his own unique approach to walking.

I need to remind myself of this from time to time as Lil’ E is not me and my removing a coffee table wasn’t going to greatly affect how he develops. He will have his own falls, bumps and bruises and it’s all part of growing up. That doesn’t mean I’ll be bringing the coffee table back anytime soon though. They are evil, pure evil.

So don’t leave me hanging here with crickets chirping…what was the neurotic thing you did to “protect” your child? I know I’m not the only one.

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