Relax,Bruises Are Part of Childhood

My 8-month-old daughter looks like a cage fighter…

I don’t mean in terms of size.  But her appearance right now resembles a mixed-martial arts competitor – who lost.

CeCe has mastered the art of crawling and can pull herself into a standing position, which has led to constant rug burns and scratches on her legs, and plenty of bumps and bruises on her head and face.

Please don’t call social services on me.

My child may look a little rough, but she is mobile. I think that minor injuries just come with the territory, but other mothers have expressed a different philosophy.

“Don’t touch that! Don’t pull on that! Don’t put that in your mouth!”

These are the constant refrains that may keep our children safe, but they pretty much keep them from doing much of anything.

Safety is a priority, of course. But are we so afraid of a few battle scars that we can’t just let our babies explore?

It’s hard to learn to crawl when you only have two-square-feet of approved “safe space” to work with.

At a restaurant last week I watched a baby girl bonk her forehead on the high chair tray.

The frantic mother proceeded to check the size of her baby’s pupils, and I actually overheard the word “concussion.” The kid wasn’t even crying.

If I wanted to, I could protect CeCe from ever getting another bruise or scratch.

I could put her in a plastic bubble, create a special suit made of packing peanuts or insist that she wear a bicycle helmet to sleep.

But she probably would never learn to stand, or walk or run freely. She would be terrified of coffee table edges and concrete sidewalks for the rest of her life.
And that isn’t worth it to me.

So instead of panicking every time our babies crash and fall, maybe we should just help them through five minutes of “the-world-is-ending” crying, dust them off and send them on their way to try again.

You can do your best to stop your kids from falling down, but then chances are they will never learn how to get back up on their own.

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