Z: I can’t believe you wouldn’t let Koss walk on the hand railing yesterday. What were you thinking?

She: I was thinking that I didn’t want to see him break his head.

Z: He wouldn’t have broken his head. Maybe an arm or a toe. It wasn’t that high up. If he fell, he probably would have gotten a few scratches.

She: How are a few scratches a good thing? He’s not getting broken on my watch.

Z: But if you don’t let him walk on the hand railing, how is ever going to learn how to walk on a hand railing?

She: And this is important why?

Z: I thought that sounded sort of Confucian.

She: What is the sound of one idiot prattling?

Z: I remember when he and I used to hang out at playgrounds every day.

She: Only because none of the other moms wanted to make play dates with our poor kid with the long-haired, obviously whack-job dad.

Z: We didn’t need ‘em. None of ‘em! Anyhow, when we’d hang out at playgrounds, I always liked to let him explore things right up to the point of serious injury.

She: I’m keeping this column for the custody hearing.

Z: That’s how you learn things. You climb up on something, you lose your balance, you fall, you get a couple scrapes, you learn not to climb up on that thing.

She: Left to your devices we’d be on a first name basis with everyone at the emergency room.

Z: Andrea’s kids seem fine, and they know everyone at the emergency room.

She: Yeah, but she has spares. We’ve only got one, and unlike you, I’d like to keep his boney little bones intact, at least until puberty.

Z: That’s so unfair. He’s almost never been seriously injured on my watch.

She: No thanks to you.

Z: Nah. I keep a close watch to make sure that he isn’t getting to a place where he’d break something. Breaking seems bad. Too much of a learning experience.

She: You think?

Z: I survived a childhood full of rocks, trees, skateboards and bikes — without a helmet, or kneepads, or elbow pads, or a hermetically sealed suit to keep the pollen off me. I fell a few times, scraped my knees, elbows, and chin, but I survived.

She: They have anti-pollen suits? Where can I get one?

Z: You’re missing the point. The only way to learn to fall is to fall.

She: More Confucianism?

Z: Really? Was I profound? Cool.

She: I think it’s OK to learn something from observation, or being told. You don’t have to jump into a volcano to learn that it’ll kill you.

Z: But do you have to check his pulse and remind him of the right way to breathe every time he makes a slight coughing noise?

She: I admit I may be a teensy bit extreme when it comes to protecting the well being of my precious only child.

Z: This from the woman who wanted to send Koss rock climbing in full body armor with a hovering helicopter?

She: Hey, you weren’t there. You would have been just as nervous as I was.

Z: Are you kidding? I would have been climbing on the rocks right away with him.

She: Which is why you need me to be the cautious one, so you can encourage him to be daring, knowing I’ll balance you out.

Z: Yes, dear.

Share your dangerous adventures by emailing leslie@lesliedinaberg.com.