Monday, July 10, 2017

Reasonable Risk

We all take reasonable risks that we don't even think about. When we get in the car to drive to work or school, running the countless errands we all have...those are reasonable risks. There's a risk we could get in a car accident. There's a risk our child could get hurt at school. We could stop at any number of businesses and wind up being the victim of a shooting. Right? I'm not advocating for this, but this is a reality we live in. But I'm not going to stop driving, or taking my kids to school, or running errands. None of us can stop living. Or driving to and from school, work, going to exercise, the bank, getting our hair cut, running kids around, going to the doctor or the dentist or running kids to the doctor and the dentist etc. etc. etc.... We don't stop living life. We don't even think about these things as reasonable risks, but that's what they are.... Reasonable. Risks.

Anderson Park
We let our kids take reasonable risks. Not the "go juggle machetes" types of risks. That's not reasonable. They're not trained in Guazabara. Yet. When my older son was diagnosed with epilepsy four years ago, and only 6 months after we spent a ton of money designing and building Anderson Park in our backyard, we had to make a decision about reasonable risk. Even though the pediatric neurologist said to not let Nathan do anything unless he had a helmet on and was harnessed, because he could seize and fall and then break his neck, we decided it was more important to let him climb, explore, and engage in gross motor activities. Exercising and getting to know how his body works, especially when there's four to five inches of rubber mulch beneath him...reasonable risk. He'll most likely bounce. And he has, many times, fallen off of our swing set and gotten right back up.
Watering his garden with a cast? Sure.

Four weeks ago, when my 8-year-old broke both bones in his right forearm on the monkey bars at school...with only 7 days to go before school was out for the summer...I had to make decisions about reasonable risk. He is not permitted to be around water...but the garden needs to be watered...and he planted his beans, peas, and lettuces before he broke his arm. So I gave him the hose. Reasonable risk. What could go wrong? I mean, his brother isn't even outside.

This is a child who is incredibly independent. In my conversations with other moms of children with special needs, of those who have a younger child who is neruotypical, the neurotypical child is incredibly independent, too. So, I know we're not unique in that.

But what is amazing about this kid, who was taking a reasonable risk when he was at school swinging on the monkey bars during recess, is that when he was ready to stop using his training wheels, he told me so. But I wasn't ready for no training wheels. I mean, at the time he was 4, so, no, your training wheels are staying on, little dude.

However, Sir Isaac isn't one who backs down easily, (I have no idea where he gets this from....) and went into the toolbox, got a pair of pliers, and started taking off his training wheels. Ok. Fine. Let's do this.

Also, when he wanted shoes with shoelaces, I told him he was going to need to learn to tie his shoes, and sure as shit, without more than me and his dad showing him a couple of times, he was tying his shoes proficiently within 24 hours. He's brilliant. Obviously.

So, here's the hose. Go water your garden. Thanks for helping. Be careful. Have fun. You are taking a reasonable risk, my child, by holding the hose with your left hand and keeping care to not spray the water in the direction of your right arm.

No, you may not spray your brother. I want to, too. Believe me. When your cast is off, you can spray him all you want. We both will. And thanks for helping me grow some deliciousness in our garden. 


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