There's a point, between 6 and 9 months, where all babies get a sudden urge to face danger. They look back at their little lives and think: 'Have I really seized the day? Sure, I was learning to focus and role over, but my life to this point has been wasted. I should now live every day like it's my last, and make that as likely as possible'.
How did this love of danger survive evolution? Hundreds of thousands of years ago, on the African savannah, crawling babies and toddlers that spotted a Lion clearly thought 'Oh, yay, let's play. Mummy and daddy always try and stop me so the orange fluff ball must be fun!' No baby you'll be eaten! But they don't care. And yet somehow we survived many more years.
It's got to be deliberate. Around 10 minutes after Little Bear started crawling, he immediately went for the open dishwasher with his eyes on the knives (not even the plates, the knives first). When removed from this, he had the plug sockets in sight. In no time at all, our living room was transformed into a supposedly baby safe zone. But does that stop a mobile baby? He finds opportunities to pull himself up and then slide onto the wooden floor bumping his head.
Relatively to the rest of the room, the coffee table has to be the most dangerous object. Seconds after Pappa places corner guards on the coffee table, Little Bear rolls a ball over the table and to reach it, decides to drop himself to the floor hitting his lip on the new corner guards causing tears, a little blood, a lip infection and a week of antibiotics. Great.
Now when faced with dozens of colourful toys and instruments to play with at the local story-time, he makes a b-line for the buggy park and starts trying to lick the wheels. Pappa: 'No, they might have dog poo on them!' Little Bear: 'I'm up for tasting that. At least it's not like the poo you give me to eat Pappa. I wont even open my mouth for that'
If you put them near stairs, despite all the other fun (and safe) things there are to do, no, it's the stairs they'll try to mount. Presented with a range of delicious and safe foods to choose from, Little Bear will still try to eat the dangerously small plastic cap from the food pack instead. Put him in bed with us in the mornings and he wants to cuddle? No, he wants to jump off the bed. Despite so many fun things to play with, he's currently trying to eat and if possible strangle himself with my laptop cable. One second...
The good that's come out of this is that my previously very slow reflex time has become much faster. My wife and I can now dart across a room, as if we were ourselves running away from a lion. Maybe that's how it worked in evolution? Parents got faster and better at spotting dangers to cope with their little sprogs who wondered around blissfully ignorant of their life limiting tendencies.
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots
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