In getting the house prepped for a baby I became mindful of dangers around the house. I could see how outlets were the perfect size for tiny fingers and therefore covered them. I understood that bottle caps could be unscrewed (generally by the gums) and the poisonous cleaning product contained, ingested; so I moved them to high cupboards and shelves. However there were things I wasn’t ready for, and have come to realize that danger lies around the most benign corner.
Drawers – simple sliding drawers – have now become Chinese finger traps. Magazine stands are bludgeoning objects with the magazines themselves quickly converted to masses of wet paper chewing gum – a clear choking hazard. In short: nothing is safe! The world is an exploration and I never realized how dangerous this journey was. But I never knew how filled with wonder it could be either. Dangers aside, I have gained a fresh new perspective on life. The world truly is different, for better or for worse, through the eyes of a child.
How can the world not seem new again when a baby can become so preoccupied with her own hand? Every plane that flies by must be pointed out and celebrated in the highest squeal and well, it reminded me that yeah, planes are pretty awesome and perhaps not something I should act so indifferent toward.
But as much as my daughter has brought out the awe in life, she also brought out the shock. When my daughter was first born, dirt, the common cold and every day germs were my enemies and you were either with me or against me in the fight against this axis of evil. Luckily I’ve relaxed a bit. That’s not to say that I welcome people sneezing on my daughter, but I’ve come to realize that I can’t protect her from everything. What I can do; however, is protect her from an overbearing helicopter mom who sees the world as a harboring ground for all bad things that can happen to her daughter. And with one small baby step at a time, I try to do just that.
Lena Hassan lives in Ottawa, Ontario and is a loving mother to one.