Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tool: Safe/Unsafe Test - If you have a dare devil...

As my son was chatting away upstairs, the drift of his self talk entered my consciousness.  The bath was done.  He had dried the floor and now he was going to dry the ceiling.  I was still processing that when I heard something about a stool.  I heard something being dragged.  I had the vivid picture of a wobbly, plastic stool in a slippery bathtub tipping my kiddo through the glass shower door in a grand, shattering explosion.  I voiced my concerns.  My son was clear that such things wouldn't happen.  I then had an epiphany, we discussed my new concept of an "unsafe test".

I described an "unsafe test" as a test where something so dangerous could happen that we couldn't even try it.  My kiddo is definitely in the dare devil, experimenter group and his idea of dangerous and mine may differ.  We had a little chat that evening about things like running across the street in front of a car (even if he was sure he wouldn't be hit) and left it at that for the evening.

Next day, I thought we could enforce this useful concept!  I gathered some pictures.

Rock climbing without safety gear?  He decided the gear made this a safe test.

We had a nice chat about how my parents' dogs sometimes bark or growl, but he'd gained their trust.  He agreed it would be an unsafe test to pet an unknown dog that was barking or growling.

Ah, construction equipment with it's fascinating caterpillar wheels, tons of greece and dirt, big stairs... we chatted about how these machines have all sorts of parts that I don't know about, so I felt safe with him exploring where I could see. (He climbed on the wheels and up/down that staircase = thoroughly filthy, happy child.)

We talked about how long it took for me to think this was safe.  How he'd showed me so many times that he could climb things and have good balance, so that this wasn't an unsafe test.  We also talked about how it would have been unsafe before he'd learned how to climb better.

The deal with this one was that he wanted me to help him get higher.  Nothing doing!  He could climb as far as he could do so alone i.e. within his limits.  It took him an hour to get there, but he was quite pleased with himself and able to get himself safely down again.

That would be a kid at the top of his shelves, winking while bumping his head on the ceiling.  He was a good climber by then, we labeled this a safe test.

This one was fun because we talked about how it was a safe test to dance with the umbrella (as I sang from Mary Poppins "Aint it a glorious day, Bright as a Morning in May, I feel like I could Fly").  But, the key was that we were watching the path carefullly.  It would be an unsafe test to see if he could spin when a bicycle was coming.


The grand finale...

I'll admit my jaw dropped when I turned around from saying good bye to friends to find him on top of my car?!?!?  I had to admit this in the safe test category though; he's just a solid climber!

So... if you happen to have a dare devil too, I hope you find the idea of safe / unsafe test useful.  I'm thinking it will become a regular concept to review in our household :)


  1. Note to self: Nice comments in OGrownups thread by same name :)

  2. Awesome! :) I really like the rule of you have to get there yourself. I will have to do that with my daredevil daughter. (But I must admit I've never turned around to see her on top of a car... now standing on top of her sisters dresser about to jump off... yes to that. :) )

  3. Oh, jeezy! I love the picture of Cameron on top of the shelves. His expression is fantastic- a cross between old curmudgeon and mischievous kid.

  4. Rose: Your little one sounds like she's solidly in the spunky category too! I love the spirit :)

    Eliza: Yep, that's my kiddo, although this does miss the glee that usually follows "mischievous"! There's none of he quiet that usually accompanies the cliche curmudgeon either :)