Case in point. We spend a lot of time at the playground (called the "wee" by Munch after the sound one obviously makes upon going down the highest slide available). One of the wees we go to has a couple of crazy ladders that Munch often has me help him up.
The ladder in question:
The ladder's rungs are about 8-10 inches apart, and the ladder itself is probably 3-4 feet high. Whenever Munch has had me help him up this ladder, he does the first couple rungs okay, and then I have to hold him the rest of the way up, and he hardly gets his feet on the rungs by the end.
I think you may know where I'm going with this.
On Saturday, Hubs and I walked with Munch to this wee and Munch was going up and down the slides as normal. He'd lost his god-forsaken boppy (pacifier) and though it's no great loss to us, we worried how Munch would do on the 20-minute walk back home once he realized it was missing. So, we were looking around for the boppy.
That is not to say that I had left the wee area or had even turned my back on Munch. Hubs and I were merely looking down at the ground, rather than straight at our kid. For about 7 seconds.
In that 7 seconds, Munch was busy. I was standing straight across from the ladder pictured above (in the second picture, you'd be looking at me through the opening). And you'd be seeing me from Munch's perspective. Hubs was standing to my left, a bit closer to the end of the slide at the right of that same picture.
I looked up through that opening. And I saw Munch on top of that ladder. He had about two rungs to go when I saw him.
My reaction: Freeze and look away and call my husband's name. Hubs dashed to the ladder, but by the time he reached it, Munch had already stepped on to the platform. And was smiling like crazy at what he'd just done--he KNEW what he'd done and that he didn't normally do it.
I don't know if my reaction was the best one, but it was instinctual. Munch had a very precarious situation under very precarious control. One freak out from me, and he might freak out himself. I didn't want to do anything that would cause him to lose his hand or foot hold on that ladder and PLUMMET 3 feet to the ground. And, I looked away both so he didn't get distracted by me and, if I'm being honest, so I didn't see him if he fell, which I felt was inevitable.
And he made it.
It's so true what they say--"I looked away for a second, and in that moment my kid did X, Y, or Z." Hubs and I were both RIGHT THERE, facing Munch's direction. And up a very age-inappropriate ladder he went.
I know that this is only the first time something like this will happen. Munch has a go-get-em, freak-her-out streak in him. He does similarly when it's time to go downstairs. He'll dash for the staircase and get two or three steps down before I get there to "spot" him. And he looks at me with that same grin: "See what I did there?"
His whole life will contain moments when he will be in a precarious position and something will block me from getting to him, from helping him. Sometimes, it'll be something like the playground equipment or maybe a baseball diamond's fence.
It may also be Munch's own hand, held with its palm facing me, warning me off, telling me, he's got this, to let him do this.
And I'll have to let him.