“The eyes in the back of my head are closed.”

January 2, 2013

Notable Stats

Oblivious Run Direction (ORD) – The compass needle direction in which your child is running as it relates to which way they are actually looking.

Spatial Calibration Sense (SCS) – An inherent feel your child has for where he or she is relative to his or her peers or objects. Measured in goosebumps per square inch.

Sure, we want our kids to be safe, but even the best parents on Earth recognize that their child has to have a certain sense for their surroundings. A sense that they can feel contact coming, that they know how to swerve without seeing the actual road.

They get a hall pass in the earliest years even though I watched my first daughter put her hand down when she was going from a standing position to a sitting one by the time she was six-seven months old.  She had a knack for caution, for protecting against the worst, for where she was in her world.

My son's approach to his world, on the other hand, does not change whether he is standing next to a guillotine or a bowl of pillows, and this is why his parents, my wife and I, keep a defibrillator around for our soon to have heart attacks.

It is not because he doesn’t know that a pile of jagged boulders will hurt if you fall on them versus, say, a pool full of cotton candy; it is that he rarely knows when he is near either one, so his default is that he has a magic impenetrable shield just like his copyrighted character, Lava Man.

Only problem is Lava Man does not exist and neither do soft table corners.

I give my son credit because he has this force of nature about him. He tends to command the ability to make major collisions turn into relatively minor results given the number of times we have iced his head after his daily cocktails of non-concussion injuries. But, as a centerfielder, I am thinking he may have to stay in the infield or on the mound because his running full speed in the outfield surrounded by other outfielders and walls may be hazardous to everyone’s health. But he has time for that to change.

Case in point was our stroll in the shopping area of West Hartford, CT the other day. He decides to take off running, playfully trying to get his Mom to chase him. Usually we hold our breath because his default starting position is to run forward and look back at whomever may be chasing him.

On this day, nothing was different. He chose to look at the person chasing him instead of where he was actually going as he ran face first into a hefty gray pillar. There was not an ounce of slowing down, or sensing that contact was coming, or that he “felt” the cornerback about to hit him as he reached for the football. He felt nothing until it was done, and amazingly came out of it without a broken nose. He paid with just a cut lip. As I remarked to my wife about the hugeness of the pillar that he kissed, “our son basically just ran into the Statue of Liberty and didn’t see it coming.”

So, my wife and I will not rest much whenever our son takes off. You have to like his spirit, though, because he keeps getting up; he keeps trying to run before he walks in just about everything he attempts. We will still have our heart palpitations hoping that, one day, it will just click for him, that he knows where he is going and, for heaven’s sake and his own, at the very least, knows what he is about to hit.

- Doug Glanville

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