After dinner, Phoebie, my six year old, asked if we could go downstairs because she wanted to ride on her bicycle. I thought it was great that she wanted to be outdoors, so I told her to get her helmet as we headed for the door. I knew that my two year old, Breyen, would want his sister’s bicycle (which is too high for him), so I grabbed his three-wheel scooter for him.
“Wear your helmets, children,” I reminded them. So they both wore their helmets as we made our way to the activity area near our home.
While Phoebie happily practiced her cycling, Breyen was distracted. He held on to his scooter, pushing and scooting a little and dragging it at certain points. It was obvious that he wanted to ride a bicycle too. He showed some interest in his scooter but most of the time, he was trying to see where his sister had cycled to. As he pushed, scooted and dragged his scooter along, I walked behind him, trying to make sure he was safe.
The next thing I knew, he fell over his scooter. His body was across the scooter and the bar of the scooter had hit his head. It looked like he could have scrapped his knee and I thought he was going to cry. I was shocked but no sound came out from my mouth because I wasn’t sure how to react. I wanted to say “Oh no!” but somehow it didn’t come out from my mouth.
Before I could do anything, Breyen got up, brushed himself a little and continued walking with his scooter. I was amazed. I was expecting some crying and him wanting some comfort. It took me two seconds before I decided to say, “Are you okay?”
“Okay”, was Breyen’s reply as he continued walking with his scooter.
A couple of minutes later, he had a similar fall – body across the scooter and the bar of the scooter had hit his head. This time, I held back my reaction and waited to see what he would do. Just as before, he got back up on his own, brushed himself a little and continued walking with his scooter.
Again, I was amazed. My son is way more resilient than I had expected and thought. Also, by holding my reaction back for a couple of seconds, I was able to observe what he would do to take care of himself. Because of my delayed reaction, he acted based on his own instinct and showed me his resilience.
Of course, I am not saying that safety should be disregarded, which is also why I am thankful that I reminded the kids to wear their helmets. If not for the helmet, Breyen would have been hit directly on the head by the scooter bar. His reaction to that may or may not have been different but he was certainly protected from serious injury.
With safety factors in mind, the little night outing has taught me to let go of my two year old son a little more and allow him to learn and exercise his resilience, because he is certainly more resilient than I know.