Everything goes into Andrew's mouth these days. He likes to look directly at me as he puts mulch in his mouth and laughs.
Yesterday we were playing in the basement when he started crawling away from me, up the stairs. As I approached him, I noticed he had something in his mouth. It was a small metal ball, super heavy, and about midway between the size of a regular and a large marble. I have no earthly idea what it is, why it was in our house, or where he found it.
I stuck my finger in his mouth to pluck it out and he started giggling. Then, he darted his eyes around looking for something else to stick in. What a ham. No wonder I shove a pacifier in there at any opportunity.
I hope this stage ends soon, because only one of us finds it amusing.
It got me thinking. When we face a crisis such as a near-choking incident, do I feel any more or less anxious than I did before I knew what I now know? That kids can die. No, really, MY kids can die.
People ask me if I'm more protective because of what we've gone through. For the most part, I think I'm pretty much the same: careful in many ways, yet casual in a few others, and not overly anxious. Some people's parenting will always feel too lax for my comfort level, and others' will seem too restrictive.
The fact that my views on that haven't changed all that much shows I am either a slow learner or it is gift, for which I should be grateful.
For I know now that bad things happen, and that prior tragedy does not safeguard you. I also know that even though water safety was my number one concern as a parent, so much so that I refused to look at houses on water or with a pool, my son drowned, just four houses from home.
Things will happen. Some of that will have to do with me, some of it won't. And there are many times that I'm going to mess up, but everything will still turn out okay.
So we just do our best. We scour the floor for odd metal marbles. We try to rig up a 60 degree driveway with a safety net. We say a prayer when our new driver gets behind the wheel. Please. Please. Please.
And when we scoop out that marble or Lego, discover that we forgot to latch the baby gate and he's now on the top shelf of the cupboard, or swoop to grab a toddler heading into the street because we've grown distracted, we breathe a grateful sigh. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For we know that many times, often, almost always, things will turn out okay. Sometimes because of us, other times despite us.