I remember when we first had Aiden, I constantly felt the need to protect him from every little danger. I often times struggled to feel at ease. I was always afraid that he would get hurt. When he was sound asleep, even in my arms, I would check if he was still breathing. I think when you go through pregnancy, and even more so a difficult one, the fear of losing your child becomes real.
Towards the end of my first trimester, I bled. I’ll never forget the tears we cried when we heard his heart beating through the ultrasound. For a while, I found myself holding my tummy as if carrying it, walking gently, afraid that at any time the baby could fall. It may sound silly to someone who has had an easy pregnancy or a medical professional who knows babies don’t fall off like that but… for me, the emotional struggle was real.
When I was pregnant with Oliver, I thought – for sure – nothing will be worse than what I had experienced with Aiden. I was mentally prepared to bleed during the first trimester and give birth sooner than expected. Oh, but no! I didn’t bleed. But I was in pain for the entire 3rd trimester. I couldn’t even sleep lying down! We had about 5 false alarm trips to the hospital. He came out the exact day of his due date, not even a day early. But it was a different birthing ordeal – one that involved surgery. I can still hear the loud beeping sound of those machines and recall the nurses rushing back and forth, the hubby feeling helpless as he tried to care for an unhappy Aiden strapped in a stroller while trying to console me from the pain. I cried that night… I was afraid for mine and Oliver’s life and worried for Hubby and Aiden.
Oliver falls and hurts easy. He can be clumsy. He is the opposite of caution and the epitome of curiosity. He once hit his head on the corner of our dining table! We took him to the urgent care and while Hubby and I were severely panicking in silence – he was so brave and he didn’t even cry as they cleaned and stapled his wound.
See – babies grow up and so do parents. We live and we truly, learn.
Now, Aiden is 10 and Oliver is turning 7 in barely a month. As their mother, my fear of my children getting hurt or worse, of losing them is still there. I think as a parent, these fears never go away. But I have learned to put them in the back of my head. I have learned to keep myself in check. I fully understand that my fears should never limit my children’s childhood, learning, and lives. Hubby and I are on the same page. We have transitioned from straightforward “Do not’s” to conversations of “Why’s” and monitored/guided “How’s” as much as possible.
Take the kitchen for example. Aiden and Oliver are never allowed to turn the stove/oven on their own. But, it is one of their favorite areas in the house. We also use the kitchen to teach Aiden a lot of self-sufficiency skills. Oliver loves to play chef. He dreams of one day owning a family restaurant. So how do we do it? Between a clumsy child and a child in the Autism spectrum?
Aiden likes to buy frozen fries and cook it. He’s fascinated by the air fryer. So – we bought him his own small (1.9 qt) Farberware Air Fryer. He makes his own fries now. It’s small enough – easy and safe for him to handle. It’s a sensory, fine-motor, and self-sufficiency skills development activity for him. The fries come out really good and not greasy at all!
Aiden has developed an obsession for making smoothies. We got him a Ninja Single Serve blender. We taught him how to properly handle the lid with the razor so he doesn’t get hurt. We don’t allow him to clean it but he is allowed to clean all the other parts. Compromise. As far as the smoothies go, he has experimented on different fruits, yogurts, milk, and water combinations. It’s a sensory, fine-motor, self-sufficiency, and logical thinking skills development activity. He barely will taste what he makes but, he likes to make them. We do limit this activity to minimize the obsession. We keep the blender hidden. It only comes out on grocery days. But when it’s out – he is free to make mess and experiment away. And boy, does he go to town!
Oliver likes to experiment around the kitchen. So I got him the book “Kitchen Science Experiments for Kids” by Dr. Megan Olivia Hall. We love this book. The mess and ease levels are identified and most of the materials required are already in your pantry. Here are some of the things we got to facilitate safety so the kids can enjoy these experiments.
- Kids BPA-free plastic knives (can cut fruits, cakes, salad, break)
- Cut resistant gloves (also heat resistant)
- Kids oven mittens
- Oven & Microwave safe measuring cups
We will continue to teach our children how to practice safety around the things that they enjoy doing. We will continue to guide and teach. We will continue to strive to earn their trust so that we get their buy-in when we say “no” to the things that their little human bodies are not quite ready for independence yet. We will continue to encourage them to explore with appropriate caution and find ways to make the learning process fun.