Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Be Gentle

Most babies hear the phrase, “Be gentle!” fairly often. It’s usually directed at older siblings or other small children who are less than delicate about interacting with a small baby. With Ryan, however, I’m usually telling HIM to be gentle. He’s such a big strong kid that when he swats at something (like my face), he can do a lot more damage than the average baby.

His size definitely has an effect on how I interact with him. I love to roughhouse and wrestle with him, but I need to be careful because when he stomps on my stomach with his full weight, it HURTS! I have bruises all over my legs from him digging his toes into me while trying to scramble up the “Mommy mountain”. When I have him in my arms and he pushes away from me, my arms are practically wrenched out of their sockets with the effort to stop him from escaping. And I haven’t been able to toss him in the air since – well, ever.

Fortunately, his daddy is big and strong and tough enough to roughhouse with him properly. In fact, it’s probably easier for Herb to deal with a big baby because he hardly has to hold himself back. Just this afternoon Ryan was crawling around on the bed while Herb was putting on his running shoes, and as Ryan snuck behind him Herb threw himself back and pinned Ryan to the bed. If he were more of a delicate flower, we’d have to be a lot more careful playing that kind of game with him. But since he’s virtually unbreakable, we don’t need to be concerned with being gentle.

It will be interesting to see how his size affects both his and our behavior as he gets older. No doubt, when he starts playing more with other kids, there will be plenty of “Be gentle”s aimed at him. No doubt we will need to remind him often that he’s bigger and stronger than the other kids and that he needs to be gentle with them. When he reaches the toy-stealing stage, we’ll definitely have our work cut out making sure he doesn’t beat up any kids who try to take his toys – and making sure he doesn’t claim every toy he wants just by using brute force!

But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I’ll settle for making sure he doesn’t send me to the emergency room. At least, not too often.


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