…accidents waiting

The Abuse Noose

In spite of our best attempts as a parents to bridle and reign in chaos, nature tilts the balance against children.  Their heads are too big for their bodies and their bodies to big for their brains, which means children are predisposed to injury, and some kids more than others.

Our accident-prone son walks a careful tightrope--he looks like the victim of abuse most of the time.   But most of the time, the careful walk is to our kid doctor who, over the years, has become willing to produce evidence that we live at a kid construction site and though he's banged up a lot, the bulk of the child’s injuries haven’t even warranted a doctor visit.
Old-fashioned selfie - Aidan's self portrait
Dear Me:
The child is a Laurel and Hardy movie. At three, he walks out an unfinished doorway two stories up and falls headfirst down to a concrete basement. Somehow he misses the ledge by a hair’s width and lands on an aunt who breaks the fall. Angels among us? T.


My initial parenting plan at the onset was to shield my children from all types of injury. There would be no sports; instead they would cleve to academia;[1] and their greatest physical risk would be carpal tunnel. We abandoned our country lives and joined civilization to curtail the risks of farm vehicles and rural implements and to minimize the perils of guns vs. animal.

Dear Me,
He falls in the pool at three and spends the night in the hospital playroom, to assure the doctors that he hasn’t drowned. Then shortly after that, the boy rides down the sidewalk in the wagon and clothes-lines himself with a minivan. Soggily, T.


The detailed parent plan states that we never run without goggles carrying anything sharper than spaghetti and that helmets and full body pads are required to open anything carbonated, and yet still, somehow the youngest ducks under my protective arm and prefers to fly on the wings of his guardian angel.

Dear Me:
No sports—I cringe to think how bad it could be when something as innocuous as the swing at the playground requires the H-thrust
[2] to blow out a gummy bear.

Poison control asks “Has he thrown up yet?” when I call about his gulping a glass of hydrogen peroxide. They reassure me, “Oh, don’t worry, he will.” “For hours,” is what they meant.

The cartwheel down the escalator at the airport gets him a split cranium. Sirens at an airport are never a good thing for the mental well-being of the general flying public.

A week later when he took a header out of the wagon, the sight of blood made his sister yell excitedly, “Run get the camera, he’s hurt again!”       Much too old for this, Tired, T

Yet, it is the summer of our disconcert.[3] We walk into the sports store and somehow it is the littlest one who gets his chubby arm jammed and smashed by the automatic door opening. Later that day he swims in the lake next to a water moccasin and then to top off the evening, he takes a header off the trampoline causing his college-aged caregiver to ask if he normally goes into seizures after head injuries.  "Yes," we assure her, "Yes, yes he does."

He’s going to be a BASE jumper. I should just resign myself to that eventuality right this moment. But until then, I do what I can to provide a childhood that is safe and for the most part, pleasantly memorable. I fear a risk-free childhood could provide a therapeutic future, but I'd like to avoid a future of therapy based on overprotective parents.

Dear me:
Jumping off the bed splits the lip and that requires stitches. Mom didn’t think it needed stitches, so the scar is now permanent. I’m not worried because men like scars and women have this soft spot for the battle-torn.

Racing through the house, he somehow misses the three-foot opening and slams into the doorframe head on. When the cartoons depict the lump raising right before the eyes… it’s not all in jest. I’m considering becoming an EMT for peace of mind.


So I seek to minimize the damage and prepare him for a lifetime of pain. His threshold is already two stories high, so maybe he’ll be a stuntman, or a telemarketer. I shudder.

Reality Bite: The child falls now and immediately yells reassurance. “Don’t worry Mom, I didn’t hurt my head.”

[1] Closely related to macademia. It’s all nuts.

[2] The Heimlich that is no longer allowed to be called Heimlich since some lawyer identified it as a revenue source.

[3] The grammar guru hates this phrasing, but Steinbeck broke the rule first, so it's okay.


QUEEN TEAM D said...
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Lori Cummings said...

3887I LOVE IT Reminds me of my adventures with the first 7.