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Okay so I'm not at all PFB but do I go too far the other way?

(65 Posts)
spicemonster Mon 21-Jul-08 10:43:24

I have one DS who is 16 months. He is not yet walking but is a very fast crawler and excellent at negotiating steps (we live in a ground floor flat with a big step down to the kitchen and two up to the front door so I showed him how to go down backwards ages ago).

Yesterday I was at a party and there were four stone steps down to the back door (we were sitting in the garden). Twice people shouted at me because they thought my DS was about to fall down the steps but I said I thought he was fine and indeed he was. My friend whose house it is does not let her DD who is a similar age climb up or down the steps on her own.

Then someone else made a comment about the fact that I was letting him chew on a bottle lid (a plastic one from a 2 litre bottle) and that he might choke but I think they're far too big to choke on.

I also sit him on chairs on his own (he's never fallen off) and let him climb up the 6 steps from our front door to the front path.

But now I've had a couple of comments I'm starting to think I'm just a bit of a bad mother and too lax. Am I? He's never had a fall or any kind of accident and I really don't want to wrap him up in cotton wool but I don't want to put him at risk either.

cocolepew Mon 21-Jul-08 10:46:20

THe only thing that would bother me, would be the bottle top.

windygalestoday Mon 21-Jul-08 10:47:33

its very tricky the line between teaching him wht to do in tricky situations an allowing him to be in dangerous situtions.

stone steps can be lethal to anyone (ask my dh)

could it be people felt obliged to watch him and felt it should be you??

at 16 months hes still unsteady and only you as his mum know his capabilities which are still open to error.

Pannacotta Mon 21-Jul-08 10:49:10

Agree with cocolepew, wouldnt let my 14 month old chew on a bottle top.

stealthsquiggle Mon 21-Jul-08 10:53:10

steps - fine, but for other people's sanity maybe best to keep a closer eye on him in their houses? I let DD go up and down steps in our house but am a lot more careful with other people's DC because the steps are hard and have sharp edges - a different thing altogether to the carpeted steps they may be used to.

Bottle top - not OK - they are not too large to choke on.

spicemonster Mon 21-Jul-08 10:54:27

Do you honestly think he could choke on the bottle top? It's huge! He couldn't even get it all into his mouth.

Maybe that was it windygales although I was watching him but not hovering over him. I know that he turns around and goes down backwards so even if he slips, it wouldn't be very far.

ronshar Mon 21-Jul-08 10:55:24

people will alway feel the need to critise(sp) your parenting.
I also come from the school of "I would rather teach them how to do things like go up and down steps than have to constantly pick them up and wrap them in cotton wool.

Even within my family both my sister & I teach. My brother wraps. His child can hardly walk or talk at 31/2 both of ours do hand stands, run around and try to climb trees.

It has caused all kinds of trouble as all of the children are same age so differences are really obvious!
Do what you think is best. As long as you are still aware of the dangers and react accordingly then I do not see anything wrong with your parenting.

Pannacotta Mon 21-Jul-08 10:56:58

Agree with stealth, I'd perhaps watch him more closely in other peoples' houses, where he is less sure of his surroundings.
I think any bottle tops are a bad idea to chew on, even if they are big as he will do it again with a smaller one and that could cause him to choke.

plantsitter Mon 21-Jul-08 11:00:45

You sound like my sister. She is relaxed but certainly not lax. As someone with no kids yet (one on the way) though, I sometimes find it really hard when she lets her kids climb stuff, put things in their mouths and put their fingers in things but she has lightning reactions if they're doing something really dangerous. Her kids are really independent and brave as I result, so I hope I can be like that when my baby is born. I suspect I'll be too nervous though!

EffiePerine Mon 21-Jul-08 11:02:13

Teaching them to climb steps at an early age a v good idea

I would be a bit concerned about the bottle top tbh - a bit night break off as they;re not designed to be chewed by babies!

cocolepew Mon 21-Jul-08 11:03:00

But he might be able to bite a piece of the bottle top off. It doesn't take much for somebody to choke.

cocolepew Mon 21-Jul-08 11:03:28


MrsBadger Mon 21-Jul-08 11:04:24

There's a vital difference invisible to the casual glance between (eg) a) having an eye open, knowing what has they're chewing, assessing whether it's too big to choke on and if so leaving them to it and b) not knowing what they're chewing.

spicemonster Mon 21-Jul-08 11:06:22

I take your point about bits breaking off so will not let him chew them again (I did take it off him yesterday but not because I was worried but to stop my friend being anxious).

plantsitter - I don't think you ever know what kind of parent you'll be like until you're there.

I wonder if I'm quite like this because I'm a single parent to a boy so am sort of trying to play both roles? I don't know.

Thanks for not making me feel like a freak though

ThatBigGermanPrison Mon 21-Jul-08 11:06:22

stairs is good idea. Bottle top - well, I have a paranoia of choking. So that would be a no no.

TYOu also have to watch out for money!

HolidaysQueen Mon 21-Jul-08 11:13:50

pannacotta is right on the bottle - you may have been watching him while he was chewing this bottle top, but you might not be watching him next time when he goes for something smaller. So this is one I'd watch out for.

I don't think you are a bad mum - you're actively thinking about whether your approach is right or not after all which is the sign of a good mum - you're aware that some people don't do the same as you and are trying to decide if you need to modify your approach. That's what we should do as parents - learn from experience and other people but decide what is right for our children ourselves.

FWIW I don't think your approach is wrong. I think I will be like you rather than mollycoddling my DS. He is only 4 months old so not worrying about that just yet but have noticed I worry and hover much less than most other mums I know. I'm definitely of the school that children learn by doing and taking risks and that if they get a few bumps and scrapes then that is actually important to help them understand how to know their limits and keep themselves safe. If they are wrapped up in cotton wool then they grow up with zero awareness of danger which is much worse IMO.

Perhaps what you should do is if you are somewhere new then just help him out with the steps the first time, then watch over him the next few times so that he is aware that they are different to at home and that mummy is there should he need you. But I wouldn't change your parenting style to be very different when out and about compared to at home just because you think other people think it's wrong

People have a tendency to notice and comment on things they wouldn't do - they aren't any more correct than you, they just are different in their approach. Somebody moved my baby's buggy the other day because she thought the sun was on his face - I felt a bit crap but then realised that I probably notice things she wouldn't worry about with her son.

stealthsquiggle Mon 21-Jul-08 11:14:21

Spicemonster people have such different attitudes to this you will never please them all.

DD has been climbing on and off her trip-trap chair by herself since ~12mths and we took the baby bars off - she also takes herself up and down stairs and our house is not at all childproof.

A friend's DD managed to break her arm at ~12 mths by falling off a single, carpeted step - so you really can't win and the more skills they have the better.

That said, we have stopped letting DD (21mths) out of our sight in the garden at all since she started eating catoniaster berries and was then found at the top of DS's climbing frame hmm.

cory Mon 21-Jul-08 11:14:57

I think a vital point is that you know what your child can do. This is a good reason for not judging parents who seem to be asking less of their children either.

I frequently felt judged by my SIL because dd walked late and even when she was 4 I would pick her up and carry her on my shoulders after a mile or two, while their sturdy 3-yo kept plodding on without help.

Which yes, on the face of it, it does sound like dd was being taught to be a whimp, but I knew she wasn't as strong. And a few years later she was diagnosed with a joint disorder. My estimate of her abilities was probably about right.

When I gave in to what other parents thought she ought to be able to do, the results were disastrous. I let her play on the climbing frame, because my hostess assured me that it was safe for a child her age: it took her several hours to regain consciousness and at one stage the consultant was seriously worried.

I don't think I'm particularly PBH, but I have learnt to treat children as individuals.

cory Mon 21-Jul-08 11:17:33

To sum up:

children learn by taking risks they can handle

if they take risks they can't handle, they may never learn anything again

And, to conclude: Mother Knows Best

hermionegrangerat34 Mon 21-Jul-08 11:21:16

And children learn by having accidents! So they fall down a couple of they are more careful next time.

spicemonster Mon 21-Jul-08 11:21:19

cory - as I said, he's still not walking. I suspect that is in large part because he doesn't feel confident about not falling over.

HQ - I did hover over him the first time he negotiated the steps and once I'd seen he could go up and down safely, I backed off. But the friend who commented wasn't there at that point.

Interesting that no one has commented on him being allowed to sit on a chair on his own - that's the one that gets most gasps of horror!

ronshar Mon 21-Jul-08 11:25:39

My DD's have both refused to be strapped into buggies, chairs etc. I figured if they can sit straight on the floor what is the difference sitting in a chair? They will only fall off oncesmile. Then they learn to sit still.

ronshar Mon 21-Jul-08 11:26:17

What does PFB stand for? Sorry being thick today.

EffiePerine Mon 21-Jul-08 11:27:12

can't see the problem about the chair as long as his balance is good. DS eschewed his high chair many months ago (he is 21 mo). I think he likes being up high, plus he can get up and down as he pleases.

I used to get gasps of horror as well, esp when DS was at the stage of falling over all the time and I would just sya never mind and get him up again. He's now fearless re: climbing and rushing around so I may regret this approach grin

Fennel Mon 21-Jul-08 11:28:48

You don't sound lax to me. I am fairly casual with mine - I'm naturally casual, and I had 3 in 4 years so you have to just hope for the best - and none of them has ever needed a trip to A&E (I don't have a clue where our A&E hospital actually is) or fallen down something too damaging or swallowed anything dangerous.

They occasionally tumbled off things but never with any disastrous effects.

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