Sunday, February 28, 2010

Being Nemo's Dad...aka Risk Mangement

Eons ago I said I had a blog piece to write on 'being Nemo's dad'.

First some background. Long ago a cop show was on TV called NYPD Blue, hubby and I watched it a lot and really enjoyed it. In one episode a character called Sipowicz and his lfe was pretty traumatic, lots of those close to him were killed, leaving him sole carer of his young son. The tragedies that surrounded him left him over cautious and in one episode we saw his anguish at having to let his son climb and use a high slide at a playground, on his own. It was a defining moment where Andy Sipowicz learned that you have to let go, or people cannot fulfil their potential. And that all hazards can be risk assessed and managed (more of that later).

For hubby and I it was a mixture of the funny and desperately sad. And we vowed to never become so protective of our daughter that she wouldn't be able to have the fun that goes with the odd risk. So during her toddler years we used the phrase "Remember Sipowicz" whenever we felt that we may be in danger of over protection......but wow it is hard! hard to see the small person that you adore doing something 'risky', going on the 'big' swing with no straps for the first time! Riding a bike, climbing a tree, horse riding etc etc (getting sweaty palms here just imagining it...

Fast forward.....................>>>>>>>>&gt

So then when she was 3 we went and saw Finding Nemo. Aside from the fact that the scene in which the mother and all the eggs bar one are killed and eaten by a barracuda, leaving Nemo's Dad alone with one deformed egg, affected my sensitive daughter so much that she screamed and begged to leave the cinema, and is now scarred for life; we enjoyed the film.

And I realised that Marlin (Nemo's father) was a modern day Sipowicz. He too was over protective due to the tragic events that had befallen those he loved. So why was I in danger of being him? I've had a great life where most people I love died of old age (one with a glass of martini in her hand! now THAT is the way to go!) and I have a lovely daughter who is pretty, and maybe that's it! I fall into the 'I'm too lucky, it can't stay this good, I deserve something bad to happen!' How ridiculous! but it's true. So now when my 10 year old starts jumping at her riding lessons, I mutter under my breath "don't be Marlin" because she needs to experience hazards, and if I don't let her I run the risk, like Marlin did, of driving her to bigger hazards than I can control.

Which brings me to Risk assessment. :-) (I can hear you yawning, yes you! you at the back!) any way we had a safety talk at work. We defined the difference between a HAZARD and a RISK.

A Hazard is something that could cause harm, and a risk is how likely that is to happen.

For example a tiger is a hazard, in a room uncaged the risk to you is HUGE but the same tiger, caged is barely a risk at all, the hazard is the same, the risk is managed.

So now I'm a parent that tries to risk manage WITHOUT turning into Sipowicz or Marlin!

Horse riding? learn at a good stable and wear a hat and back protector.

Swimming? Learn at a good swim school, and learn the hazards associated with open and cold water.

Not sure I'm there yet but one day, maybe when she's 35 I'll let her cross the road alone.....


  1. Only 35? that's a bit young isn't it?

  2. Love this post. Sounds like you've got a "waiting for the other shoe to drop" syndrome. I am a well know overprotective parent and in being so have turned my sweet little 6 year old boy into a neurotic hypocondriac....just like his momma. Was it intentional? Absolutely not. Do I wish I would have just stepped the eff off and let him be? Absolutely yes, but it's taught me a lesson that children certainly do learn from watching. It's making me re-evaluate my entire way of verbalizing my every single complaint and physical ailment and mental worry. Hopefully, he will also see this and learn right along side me.

  3. Dating must be set for about 50 then ;)

  4. Oh you do make me laugh, excellent post, I liked the "apart from.... we loved the film" :) And yes, thanks Missus Human Resources for the Little Chat about Risks and Hazards. :P

  5. ha ha yep 50 for dating sounds about right.

    And Ruth you think I'm kidding - she won't allow Nemo's name spoken to this day! Worse than Bambi was for my generation! (Dumbo is the one that gets to me though!)

    So hard not to be an overprotective parent when you love them so much isn't it....

  6. We only have nieces and nephews (18 to be exact) and it sort of worked out as whenever we watched any of them when they were younger it was a constant battle of avoiding heart failure at everything they did. So, I think I would have proved to be the protective sort. Sipowicz was NYPD Blue, btw. Same actor played Buntz on Hill Street Blues though (just in case you are embattled in a great-cop-show trivia contest this weekend).

  7. Oh now I feel silly :-) cop show confusion, ... should I edit the blog post.... or leave as is... decisions