A few weeks ago, we took our 2-year-old son to play in the grassy area at North Hills Mall. It is just a small patch of square lawn surrounded by shops and cars where children love to chase each other, run in circles and play catch. On this day, a group of older boys were tossing a football as toddlers scurried about. Our son got so excited when he saw the other children that he sprinted into the middle of the action grinning and waving his arms. Suddenly, we heard a thump and saw him go down.
He was sideswiped by an older kid who was running backward to catch a football. The force threw our son to the ground face first. As I picked him up, he made the no sound cry face before the wailing began. He had the wind knocked out of him but he was more scared than hurt. The boy who ran him over apologized.
The person who was most traumatized that day was me. For the next few days, I kept reliving that moment when the boys collided. I cringed as the crash replayed in my head. I blamed myself. I should have chased after him. I should have told him to watch out for those boys. I understand on a rational level that it was no ones fault but as a mother I can’t help but feel responsible. It’s a mother’s job to protect her child and that day I failed.
But still we need to cut ourselves some slack. We do our best to protect our children but no matter how hard we try accidents will happen.
At our home we have taken all the necessary precautions. We installed gates on the stairs, locks on the cabinets, and toddler-proof covers for the knobs on our gas stove. As much as we would like to, we can’t baby proof the world. Children will get hurt, and being over protective will do more harm than good.