As a baby* grows into the toddler stage and becomes mobile, he is naturally clumsy as he learns to navigate his way around, and falling down is a huge part of the process. In the beginning, the little one cries, desperately looking around for his mom or dad and refusing to calm down until he is picked up and given a little cuddle. The schools of thought in how parents should handle the crying child as time goes on differ a little bit. Some parents run to their child immediately upon seeing them fall, to brush them off, kiss them, and send them on their way. (Depending on the parents, this can last for YEARS.) Other parents tend to, over time, hang back a little bit (except in the case of an obvious injury) to see if the child will see for himself that it was just a little spill and pick himself back up.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Jim and I were a part of the latter group. Always at the ready just in case one of the kids needed that cuddle but waiting first to see if they bounced back, we would watch when the boys fell, waiting for their eyes to start watering.

“You’re okay, you’re okay!” we’d say from across the room, and after a while we noticed that, after falling, they would look at us, waiting for the reassurance.

Thus, here was the protocol:

1. Kid takes a spill.
2. Crumpled on the floor and moving in slow motion, kid gets ready to pick himself up, but then seems to remember something.
3. Kid looks at us.
4. We say, “You’re okay!”
5. Kid smiles, gets up.
6. Kid goes along on his merry way.

After a while, the protocol changed (with both of our kids at a certain age). After the boy fell down, he would exclaim, “I’m okay!” before getting up. BRILLIANT and EXCELLENT, all at the same time, don’t you think?

This continued for…okay, it’s still going on. You read that right. I have a fifteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old, and they still do this.

In fact, both of my boys, though not generally clumsy, trip UP the steps on a regular basis. This comes from one of two things:

1. Trying to take the steps two (or three) at a time
2. Moving up the steps too quickly

The sound of someone falling on the steps is as normal around here as the sound of the dog barking when someone walks by our house.

Following the fall on the steps, there’s something else we hear regularly:

“I’m okay!”

Okay? Hilarious is more like it.

*I’m talking about a real baby in this case, not a camera baby like “my” loaner Olympus. And by the way, have you checked out and/or subscribed to my Posterous photo blog yet? Nine out of ten dentists recommend it…

©2010 Suburban Scrawl