Bubbles and Bones

In Oerlikon, Zurich, a toddler, anchored absent-mindedly by her grandfather, lay on the broad ledge of a fountain frothing with stark white bubbles. Again and again, she dipped her pudgy hands in and filled her mouth with bubbles and water. She blew on the foam in her palms and ‘disappeared’ her hands in its mass below her.

When the old man discovered what she was doing he chastised her. I wondered, was he angry at her for exploring or himself for neglecting?

Perhaps he was worried but as Dr Spock, that saviour of parents in the sixties, stated, “If a child is so carefully watched that he never has an accident, he is being fussed over too much. Bones may be saved, but his character will be ruined.”

Still, fun as it is to suck up bubbles (especially small ones rising from the bottom of a long-stemmed glass) one can’t help but be a bit concerned about what’s in them and the water.

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6 responses to “Bubbles and Bones

  1. I think there are certain occasions where it’s okay to make a fuss – like putting gross things in their mouth. Other times, like if they fall down and it’s not some extreme accident or something, I find that the children generally weren’t freaking out about it until they saw the parent’s concern over them.

  2. I also watch my daughter like a hawk but over time has learned to loosen a bit. I cannot protect her all the time that there will be moments that she will have to learn a few of life’s lessons the hard way. She fell a couple of times and got scratches and from that learned to be careful. Children should be given some degree of freedom to explore life…

    • Yes, freedom to explore is important. The desire in some parents to overprotect and prevent the kind of minor injuries you mention, as well as disinfect children’s environments (literally as well as figuratively) is a topic that comes up in our media from time to time. Each year there are one or two public talks or workshops on it here.

  3. I can just see the little girl paying with the bubbles. Imagine what fun that would have been, though i prefer them in a glass or a bath now.. Or maybe in a glass whilst IN a bath!! (laughter) c

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