I am becoming a little less protective these days, and I am happy it did not take a professional's help.
A couple weeks back, on a Sunday afternoon, Beckett paid his first true visit to Trimper's Rides, and I even let him get on a ride, actually three of them.
This is noteworthy. Remember, I am the guy who two months ago was horrified at the thought of letting my little boy get on a so-called 'kiddie' ride at the Pork in the Park. My wife had her own trepidation over that ride, but I could not even stand the thought of him getting on that ride. She was a little more rational, considering the size and scope of the puny ride. I refused to even watch as other little ones enjoyed themselves.
Identifying my over-protective preoccupation has never been the problem. I knew it was an issue for me as soon as Beckett was born. That's why I handled him with such extreme care, worrying somewhere deep inside me that I was going to break him if I was not overly careful. Getting over it has been another matter. The same pretty much goes for my wife.
As time goes on, I am becoming less of a worrywart, thankfully. Beckett deserves the credit here. It's increasingly difficult to fret over his well being after watching him routinely run head first into furniture around the house, laugh, growl and then do it all over again.
Pam, the wife and mother, has gone a long way with her neuroses as well. As I wrote in the past, the big stuff bothers me, and the little things get to my wife. I have a hard time letting him on amusement rides and playground equipment and even in vehicles not driven by my wife or I. My wife has trouble with certain foods, like a teething biscuit, and letting him walk on his own on sidewalks. We long ago identified the source of our anxiety. We just can't stand the thought of anything ever happening to him. That's natural for any parent, but we admit we tend to over protect and worry.
We have been working on it, and we realize the time does come when you just have to let go a little, for the sake of fun and growth. We usually just need a little coaxing. The good news is we balance each other out as mom and dad. Otherwise, he might be walking around in a helmet to protect from falls and rubber gloves to shield germs. (For the record, just to clarify we are not that bad, neither has ever happened - yet).
While at Trimper's last month, Beckett's crazy parents relaxed just enough for him to try out a few rides.
Of course, we had to take him on the famous Carousel, which I think he enjoyed the most. He and Pam jumped on nearly matching horses, while I stood by to keep a hand on him and take pictures. He loved the breeze blowing through his hair and the fact the horse moved up and down, which captured his attention. In particular, he had a fondness for trying to stick his entire mouth around the brass pole. Although I do not have the heightened level of germ consciousness that my wife has, I was even quick to make it known that was not okay.
He also rode on the mini-fire engines, which he also loved, and the boat ride, which was not as much fun for him. Those familiar with Trimper's know these rides.
With the mini-fire engines, which basically go around in a circle, we had some concerns about whether he would try and stand up while it's moving. Figuring it was a common worry among parents, I asked the attendant if I was okay for me to walk along side him to make sure he stays on his bottom.
Here's a transcript from memory:
Me: Can I jump in there and walk along side to keep him from trying to stand up?
Me: Will you stop it if we need you to?
Attendant: [Head shakes yes]
Thirty seconds later, the attendant started the ride and Beckett just kicked back the entire time. Never once did he try to stand up or reach out for us. He just laid back, again loved the breeze blowing through his hair and didn't once hold on to anything including the steering wheel. Perhaps this demonstrates the severity of the ride or the lack thereof.
Next up was the boat ride, which essentially went around in circles similar to the fire engines. The only difference, it was in a foot of water. On this ride, he could not ride alone, so his 8-year-old cousin jumped in with him. No adults were permitted, of course. Perhaps he was tired, simply uncomfortable or not cool with his cousin holding him. Either way, there was a total meltdown and I pulled him out so the ride could continue without a screaming tomato face ruining it for everyone else.
Beckett then took his afternoon nap while his cousins rode the tidal wave and everyone competed for a stuffed animal in the water gun game. I am ashamed to admit he did not wake up to a new stuffed animal to chew on and later throw out of the stroller once he got bored with it.
Instead, he woke up to a few Thrasher's fries and some tastes of a chocolate-banana malt milk shake from Dumser's. That was not a bad way to spend a cloudy summer afternoon.