Secret Service Dad

Guest blogger Clint: As we walk down the alley behind the apartment to our parked car, allowing our 16-month-old subject to trot freely on her own, my head is on a swivel. I look down the alley towards the street, then the opposite direction. I scan the cars parked in the alley for brake lights or idling. I am within three feet of my charge at all times.

When we get to the car, I pick her up, and open the door, but not before checking my six (looking behind me) in the window reflection. If I had a weapon the safety would be off. As I place her in her car seat, I use peripheral vision to keep an eye on my blind spot. Once she is buckled, I do another 360 degree scan of the lot and get in, riding shotgun.

“All secure,” I report to the driver. My driver (wife) rolls her eyes and mumbles something that sounds like “idiot,” starts the car and backs out.

Unfortunately, I am not in the Secret Service, and I fear I am an overprotective fool when it comes to the safety of our toddler. Every time she stumbles, I tense up. I try to anticipate all danger before it materializes. If she wanders close to a glass coffee table playing with blocks, I will move them away because I can see her bopping her noggin on the edge.  As she runs, I scan the ground for irregularities to try to predict her tripping.

She does not help my paranoia, because she seems to be a natural-born daredevil. After her bath we dry her off on our bed, and she pops up and runs around, threatening to dash right over the side if we do not stop her. The bed is easily three feet off the ground. She enjoys being swung upside down and doing assisted somersaults.

I half seriously suggested to my wife that we get her a full helmet — football style — with a face guard, which would serve to protect her noodle AND ease my tensions. The reality is, she is going to get hurt every now and again, hopefully very minor bumps and bruises. I may be overprotective, but isn’t it better to be hyper-vigilant than leaving everything to  chance? Sometimes I try to relax, but in a way, being this careful makes me feel like I am doing my job.

Gotta go, codename “Wrecking Ball” just ran by.

Image by: blueintheburgh, flickr

3 thoughts on “Secret Service Dad

  1. Wow, I’m like the complete opposite man. That’s not to say I don’t try to protect my daughter from obvious dangers, but I don’t sweat the everday stuff. She’s a complete daredevil too… I can’t count the number of times she’s fallen off the barstools in the kitchen. But do we forbid her from climbing on them, nope, because 99% of the time she’s fine and it’s part of life. My daughter is only 2 years old, and there have been times I’ve seriously told her to “get up, rub some dirt in it, and stop crying.” I was joking of course (kinda) but when she’s goofing around, stumbles on something, and isn’t **REALLY** hurt, I don’t pamper that. If she seriously bonks her head on something accidentally and is hurt, then of course I rush over to her, make sure she’s okay, and then kiss the boo-boo to make it feel better.

    PS. Isn’t it amazing how a parent’s kiss can heal stubbed toes and fingers so easily? 🙂

  2. This story reminded me of a morning almost six years ago. I was driving my wife and our eldest daughter home from the hospital the day after her birth.

    It was only about 4.7 miles (OK exactly, I’d clocked it before) from our house to the hospital and I merged onto the freeway. Cars blew past us at blazing speeds. I looked down at the speedometer to get a better idea of how fast all these crazy drivers were going.

    I was going 45 miles per hour.

    I’ve loosened up a little since then….but not much.

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