Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Daughter had a Black Tooth (or How I Learned to Stop Being Over-protective of my Kids)

I wasn’t always crazy and obsessed with safety and risk management. I’m blaming it on parenthood and working at various public health nonprofits. However it started, by the time my daughters had turned one and three, I might as well have bought the entire stocks of One Step Ahead and Whole Foods. I was a helicopter parent – making sure to feed them the right foods, stepping in to catch them before they fell, saying “be careful” when I caught them jumping on the couch.

And then one night after dinner, preparing to take the girls to the neighborhood playground, I “indulged” my then 3.5 year-old allowing her to wear her orange Crocs rather than securely laced sneakers. Two minutes later we were standing on the front porch fumbling for the keys while blood was pouring out of my daughter’s mouth. Somehow, between the front porch and the driveway, she had managed to face-plant and smash her front tooth into her gum. My wife wiped up blood, comforted my daughter, and I freaked out calling the dentist and the urgent care center.

It was the blood bath to end all blood baths - a cross between Fight Club and True Blood. My daughter was fine by the next morning. But I woke to realize that no matter what we do, we can't protect our kids forever and the last thing I want is for my kids to turn out like the millennials... Btw, remind me to tell you about the book I'm writing entitled "The Worst Generation." Hint, it's about the millennial's parents.

So a few weeks ago, as my two year-old was repeatedly climbing in and out of the pool and ignoring my requests that she stop, I didn't make a big deal when she smacked her tooth against the edge and took out a big chip. What could I do? No matter how careful and protective I am, my kids will do stupid things and they will get hurt. The best I can do is provide a nurturing environment, teach them right from wrong, and hope they listen to 10% of what I say.

Oh, and about the blood bath, my daughter's tooth turned gray, then bluish gray, then dark gray, the pink, and is now normal again. Apparently, kids have extremely resilient teeth.

No comments:

Post a Comment