I’m not very careful with kids

Pretty much every day, I take one of the most precious items in my life — my baby daughter — and toss her bodily up into the skylight.


Fern got a massive batch of splinters on her heel the other day, from playing barefoot on a wooden play structure. Three baths, a soak, and a painful extraction later, she’s unlikely to ever play barefoot on a wooden play structure again, far more so than if I’d just nagged her about it a million times.

That’s me all over: let ‘em risk a little.

I let Fern cut things. With a really sharp knife I might help a little, but mostly not. She has her own garden clippers, too, and they’re the same brand I use. Sure, I’m “supervising,” but c’mon — she could certainly squeeze in an injury even under my close supervision.

Besides, I’ve found kids always hurt themselves the worst when they’re right next to you, feeling protected. That’s true for baby Claudia, certainly. I regularly cross the room to grab clothing for her while she’s still on the changing table, and she always just watches me go and come back. Today when I was standing right next to her, she made a grab for my hat and careened off the changing table with the force of a cannonball — I caught her by the ankle with her head about an inch from the floor.

I just think that giving kids a little leeway to be a bit dangerous makes them safer in the long run — they learn their limits, how to cut correctly, what happens when they overstep.

I hope that’s comforting if there’s ever a concussion or an amputation.