My younger son is a free spirit. And I love it. He has an energy, enthusiasm and zest for life quite unlike anyone else I know and I hope he never loses it.
He bowls out of his room at 100mph with a big grin on his face in the morning and launches himself into me for a cuddle. And from there he doesn’t stop. He runs, he jumps, he dances. And he falls over and crashes into things. The house is too small for energy like his. His free spirit means he is incredibly accident prone.
Barely a day goes past without him screaming in pain for something. It’s remarkable how many different accidents he can have – a little finger in a strange position after wrestling on the trampoline, a badly bruised foot after colliding with a toy box or strangling himself with his own hoody.
He ran away from me at his customary 100mph because I’d asked him to do something he didn’t want to do. Seconds later there was an almighty clatter followed by a scream ‘Mummy! Help!’ His hood was tangled on the door handle – he’d caught it and hadn’t realised and had carried on running. It was at full stretch and it was tight round his neck and he was struggling for breath. Unhooking it wasn’t easy. It left a nasty mark like he’d been properly strangled.
As a free spirit he isn’t contained by ‘normal’ behaviour. He doesn’t think about what is sensible. It’s raining outside and about 7 degrees? Run outside in your Tshirt with your water pistol and fire it at stuff, including yourself. It’s hailing heavily? Run outside in your Tshirt (again), dance round the garden and get drenched.
I’ve given up yelling at him to come in because it does no good. I’ve reached the point where I figure he’ll come in when he’s ready. When he’s too cold or too wet, he will decide it’s time to give up. So I just enjoy his reckless behaviour. If he’s not going to listen to me and be sensible, I might as well just laugh along with him. Because he’s not going to come to any harm, he’s not harming anyone else and he isn’t really doing anything wrong. I like the fact that he does what he wants sometimes, that he has the enthusiasm and energy to do this stuff. Who am I to stop him? Growing up will stop him soon enough, no doubt.
But when he climbed up on a kitchen surface to take the two sharpest knives out of the knife block, then carry them through the house ‘for a joke’, that was a step too far. It made my blood run cold to think of him climbing with those knives or to think what might have happened if he’d tripped. He’s a very clever boy who can work out any sum you throw at him, so why wasn’t he clever enough to see how dangerous this was?
I didn’t tell my husband about that one. He doesn’t share my enthusiasm for my son’s carefree ways. When I told him about the hoody-strangling incident I expected him to react with a mixture of shock and amusement, but he reacted with anger. He’s fed up of my son hurting himself, fed up of him throwing himself round the house. He thinks he needs to calm down.
My husband loves how good my son is at football and rugby. But what does he do with that energy the rest of the week? He has that much energy and enthusiasm, he can’t just turn it off when he’s off the pitch. It’s the energy that causes him to crash into toy boxes and strangle himself with a hoody which also makes him a great football and rugby player.
It is part of what makes my son my son. It’s part of him being a free spirt and it’s a big part of why I love him. I just hope he will make it to his 10th birthday in one piece…