My kids are my kids, there is no doubt about that. So having landed in the ER last night shouldn’t surprise anyone, least of all me. In fact, I’d been expecting this kind of thing right along. Particularly with the younger one. He’s shown complete disregard for his personal safety since he could crawl, having a tendancy to put his head down and push through barriers, rather than look for a way around. That’s not just a metaphor either. When he learned to crawl, he’d put his head down and push past people, things in his way, walls, and he refused to give up or find another way. Today he’s four and still pushes past people, when there are obvious ways around, and applies brute force to every problem as a first an only solution.
He also really enjoys throwing his body around. Recently I caught him repeatedly riding his scooter from the driveway to the grass and crashing it, dramatically throwing his body from the scooter to the lawn. When I told him to be careful, he told me he was going to do it in slow motion, at which point I was treated to a slow moving recreation of the previous crash.
He runs and slides, runs and jumps, falls down, rolls, jumps off the furniture, tackles people, spins and falls, imitates the gymnastic parts of dance moves we see on TV, tries to do handstands, and headstands, likes to be upside down, throws heavy objects up and waits for them to come down on his head, etc., etc., etc.
SO last night as I’m getting ready to go run, he’s running around our tile floor and he slides on a cardboard puzzle piece. Granted he wasn’t falling on purpose this time, but he was running around. His body slides and falls out of control right into a solid wooden play table. His body twists as he turns his face to avoid taking the impact right on the nose. His face sqeezes as it mashes up against the side of the table because the arm he threw out there to slow the fall found nothing solid to push off. As his forward momentum was stopped by the table, his weight brought him down on his hip, because his legs were all tangled from the contortions he did a split second earlier.
I scooped him up, having been too far away to save him, but close enough to see all the details in slow motion. I noticed there was shock on his face, but no tears. I asked him if anything hurt, he said, no. In fact, after a few seconds we both realized that nothing was wrong with him at all.
So I went out to run. I ran 2 miles, it probably took me 20 minutes. I return home and find my wife holding ice on his face, he’s crying and there is blood everywhere. I immediately thought, I must have missed something. “What happened?”
“He hit his face on the corner of the bookshelf,” she said as she removed the ice and towels to show me the cut. Right above his left eye was a straight split in the skin you usually only see on boxers. It wasn’t long but it was extremely deep. I usually don’t go to the ER for cuts bumps and bruises, but this was deep enough that I knew it wouldn’t close on it’s own and the depth made me worry about infections. So off we went. On the way I realized that the cut was on the wrong side of his face to have been in any way a result of his first fall, they cleaned him up, used some liquid suture and sent us home.
It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last, and like my mother said before me, it will be amazing if I don’t have two dead kids before their grown.