Sometimes, I wish there was a way I could permanently bubble-wrap my 9-month-old.

Asher recently learned how to crawl, and now is cruising all over the house. But with that newfound mobility has come the oh-so-familiar dangers I remember from our first son.

The bumps, the bruises, the scrapes. The nine months or so of life where you can almost expect some kind of physical proof — most often on his face — of his ever-expanding achievements in independence.

Just yesterday he took three bad tumbles: once off the bed, once into a kitchen cabinet handle and once in the bathtub.

As parents, we do our best to protect our children from dangers of the world they yearn to explore. We hold their hands, teach them to look both ways and then let go, hoping they’ve learned all we’ve taught them. But it’s still incredibly difficult to step back.

Sometimes I want to ensure he doesn’t fall, holding him up by the waist or the hands to steady him. I want to protect that perfect little head and body — just like I did for the first nine months while he grew in my belly — and make it so he never has to feel pain.

What’s funny is that with nine months of his youth out of the way, we’ve only just begun. He’ll likely experience pain from sports injuries, tough lessons in life and even break-ups as a teen. And there’s nothing I can do to stop that (except to maybe keep him in one of those plastic bubbles, not that I’ve thought about that or anything).

But then I realize if I did that, he’d never make his own mistakes. He’d never learn from them, and without continuous learning, where would we be?

My point, though, is that it’s still tough watching our children fall, from whatever obstacle they may come across. Every time my sons fall, I feel it, too. And I don’t imagine that’ll ever change.


It’s Round II for “My Kid Says the Darndest Things.” Here are a couple of excerpts of conversations my husband and I have had recently with 3-year-old Alex.

• “Mom, come read this book to me please,” he said the other night at bedtime.

“OK, hold on, Alex. I’m finishing something up, and then I’ll be right there,” I replied from across the room.

“Well, let me know when you’re ready,” he said, eyebrows raised and arms crossed — just like the hundreds of times I’ve said the same words to him when he’s been angry and upset in time-out.

• “Dad, am I getting bigger?” Alex asked one night.

“Yes. Both you and Asher are getting bigger every day,” my husband replied.

“I don’t want Asher to get bigger,” Alex said in a whiny voice.

“Why not?” my husband asked.

“Because then he’s going to bother me,” Alex said.

• “Mom, you’re my best friend,” Alex said to me while I was tucking him in for a nap.

“Oh, thanks, Alex. You’re my best boy,” I said, nuzzling into him.

“Mom, you’re my best girl,” he said, melting my heart and putting tears in my eyes.

Meagan Patton-Paulson is Herald Connections Editor. Email her at