1 year, 9 months & 5 days into Daddyhood

…in the park yesterday, whilst attempting to climb something that was too big for you. I left you to it. I let you get on with it. I didn’t stand over you, over-protectively, arms poised directly behind you, ready in less than an instant to catch you should you stumble. I didn’t guide you away from anything slightly dangerous. I didn’t hold your hand as you climbed, slid and toddler-ran from one hard metallic play-structure to another. I gave you your independence, your freedom. I let you play. Though I barely took my eyes off you. And when you walked-climbed across the bridge-type-structure, halfway across the park, you looked at me and smiled and said, “Hiya!” – I think you appreciated my trust in you.

Then you attempted to climb the thing that was too big for you. I left you to it. I let you get on with it. I nervously watched from afar (relatively speaking) and told you, in vain, to “Be careful!”… You stumbled. You fell. You wailed. I dashed over. Blood gushed forth (or so it seemed). More wailing. More blood – attempts to soak it up with wet wipes. Mumbled justifications to nearby mums (“She’s always trying to get onto things that are too big for her”) – all of whom seemed, to my guilty mind, to be piercing me with accusatory glares (“How could you let your child bleed so much? You bad dad!”).

And then, when the bleeding and wailing stopped, and she was happily chattering away to herself in her pushchair on the way home, as if her lip had not just been a Niagara of blood, it occurred to me that this was no doubt the first of may hundreds of minor injuries and the treatment thereof which would be infused with feelings of terror, guilt, relief, and accompanied by copious quantities of blood, wailing and instant forgetting by the recipient of said injuries.