wal·lop (wlp) Informal
v. wal·loped, wal·lop·ing, wal·lops
1. To beat soundly; thrash.
2. To strike with a hard blow.
3. To defeat thoroughly.
To be a parent is to be ever vigilant, or rather, there is some combination of parental supervision and child development that will ensure that the fledgling eventually reaches adulthood. The trick, is to know what that combination might be?
Many parents curl themselves into a question mark, hook their fingers through their babies' and guide their first tentative steps. Some parents remain in this unnatural position for more years than is commonplace. These parents deserve a special label, neurotic or over protective come to mind.
Every so often, these parents need a reality check.
When my first daughter was born I admit that I was over protective but she was my first baby. When my second daughter was born many years later, it was like a first baby all over again, even though she was second. By the time the boys arrived in rapid succession, I was already stuck in a groove, not to say rut.
As it turned out, it was just as well.
Whilst my daughter was swinging from the rafters and climbing up the outside of the staircase, the boys were in an entirely different place. I was wary, because I had been warned that 'girls are different from boys.' The trouble was that my boys were also so very different from each other. Girls and monkey bars, girls in trees, girls caked in mud, this I could handle. Boys and super clean, boys and no appetite, boys and sound super sensitivity……..well it made no sense at all.
I figured out my own logical conclusions, if the girls were loud, energetic and brave, then it was just as likely that the boys would be quiet, lethargic and…….cautious.
I knew that they couldn't be autistic because everyone knows that they are 'cold.' Mine were affectionate, very affectionate, more affectionate than most. I would stand in the park with a little Koala bear on each hip. I’d watch the other children in the Mum's Club gambol about. Mine clung to me as if their lives depended upon it. I didn't know anything about the calming benefits of deep proprioceptive input in times of stress. I squished my boys and shifted my weight from one foot to the other.
So what if they didn't talk much, boys often talk later than girls don't they? If they could correct my pronunciation of Parasaurolophus, surely everything must be fine?
So much to learn.
I slumber in the wee small hours of the morning, extra vigilant, as I am alone in the double bed. When I hear the crash next door I charge along the corridor cursing the floor plan and the distance to their door. Where are the spare bath towels for blood staunching? What is his current weight in pounds for drug administration? Where are the car keys? Can I take them all to the Emergency room in pyjamas? As I bang it open my son squeaks in surprise, a prodigy of possibilities. I see an overturned scratching post, the twitching tail of the cat, cowering under the bed and a boy with eyes like saucers.
Or something lighter over at “Alien.”