Love hurts. Especially when it gouges your eyes.

8 Jun

My baby is an expert in physical violence.

Tiny pincer fingers grab the skin underneath my arm, jab up my nose and poke at my eyes. My ears are often used as some kind of steering wheel. I have been kicked, pinched, gummed, bitten, slapped, scratched, punched, scraped, elbowed, winded and bruised by my baby.

Nobody told me about this. And, they are ridiculously strong for their size.

I’ve had my gums scraped with fingernails. Fingernails that grow faster than bamboo, by the way.

I’ve had a fat lip, a kick to the throat, my hair pulled, my nipple bitten. I’ve had my head grabbed with 2 hands and thumbs jammed into my eyes. My baby is channelling Steven Segal with alarming accuracy.

Since my darling offspring began to stand up, anything is fair game as a hand hold. The flab on the inside of my thigh, my ponytail, my jaw. I have been fishhooked more times than I care to remember.

I’ve been headbutted. Regularly.

I take solace in the fact that none of this is intended to hurt me (or is it? Hmm?). The physicality of babies and toddlers is astounding. They are strong, motivated and determined to get around and get their own way and they’ll use whatever means necessary to achieve it.

Learning new physical skills is a wonder to behold. But with it comes brand new ways to injure the parents.

Pincer grip! Yay! Oh, you’re pinching my eyelid. That is not cool.

The standing on tiptoe thing my daughter does is excruciating when done, say, standing on my lap. Digging tiny toes into my thigh. Ow.

Of course they also hurt themselves with quite worrying regularity. Bumped heads, scraped knees, trapped fingers are all part of a steep learning curve. Not that they learn the lesson that fast, but they’ll learn it eventually. Right?

My daughter has a dangerous mix of enthusiasm, wobbliness and total lack of regard for personal safely. She’s stopped lunging head first off the sofa now. I caught her halfway off a few times. Climbing the stairs is like crack to this child. She’s addicted to stairs. She’s not fallen there yet, but she will at some point I’m sure and I’ll be there to catch her.

I try to let her explore the physical world, to climb and experiment. It’s how she’ll develop and learn her abilities and limitations. I try not to hover too close. But it’s hard when instinct is yelling DANGER DANGER in your mind.

I’ve not baby-proofed my house to hell and back. I’ve not covered all the corners with protectors, or covered radiators or hidden away all the cables. I’ve taken steps to ensure she won’t get crushed, electrocuted or poisoned but other than that I want her to learn to live within her environment. There will be a few cuts and bruises along the way, but so be it. She’s already had a cut on her temple glued closed after an altercation with a sliding door. She survived.

What new and inventive strategies to inflict pain lay ahead, I do not know. But, I may invest in some safety goggles.

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