crossing_guard.gif“Be careful your scooter wheel doesn’t catch in the bump…”
“Don’t jump on the couch, you might fall and hit your head on the coffee table…”
“Walk if you have a lollipop in your mouth…”
“Slow down…”

There are days when it seems like all that comes out of my mouth is an endless loop of be careful watch out be careful watch out be careful…

When did I turn into that person?

My constant cautionary recital seems particularly peculiar to me because I’m not really a fearful person. I know that bad things happen but whether through sheer ignorance, blind faith (in what I’m not sure), or simple optimism, I rarely that those bad things could happen here. (And yes, I do recognize that I am totally tempting fate with that comment, which, in turn, demonstrates at least some fear on my part. I mean, I’m not crazy–remember when your kids were young and you’d say proudly that your infant had learned to sleep through the night and then you’d be up all night with a screaming banshee from hell?)

So why then my constant admonishments? I mean, despite wanting to wring their scrawny necks on a fairly regular basis, I do in fact recognize that I have basically good kids who won’t dash into the street or run away or use their scooters to play candlepins with the old people waiting for the bus. 

Are my cautions a sop to the fates, a kind of twisted-around prayer that none of the things that I’m describing in my cautions will actually come to pass?

I know that my words alone will not prevent the scooter wheel from catching in a rut and sending the scootee sprawling.  And it’s pretty clear that the phrase “glass coffee table” does not connote the same splintering bloody mess in their minds as it does in mine. But saying these things, reminding myself that these things could happen…maybe it is reminding myself of how thin the line is between “everything’s fine” and “oh shit.”

Of course, I think it’s safe to say that the boys don’t even really hear me, actually, other than as a kind of Charlie-Brown-esque wonkh-wonkh-wonkh-wohnkwohnkwohnk floating through the air.  Hell, sometimes, I don’t even hear myself, that’s how automatic my comments have become. And if I’m boring myself, god knows I have to  be boring them.

I wonder. If we’re all bored by my warnings, what would happen if I tried an entire warning-free day? Seriously.  An entire day without telling anyone to be careful, or watch out, or slow down…what could happen? Would the sky fall? Would they? Would we make it to bedtime unscathed and unscratched?

I’m going to try it.  I’m tempting fate. Tomorrow, caution gets thrown to the proverbial winds.  

And then when one of them falls off the scooter/bike/junglegym/couch/bed–THEN they’ll realize that they should have been listening all along.

Knock wood.