There is nothing worse as a parent than watching your child get hurt. I’m not talking about the hurt that comes from stepping on a Lego or the hurt from bumping in to your sister’s elbow. I’m talking about a hurt so great that for a moment my breath is ripped out of my chest out of sheer fear that something might be tremendously wrong. We’ve been frequenting the public swimming pool quite a bit due to Olivia’s rapid transformation in to a fish and during one of her practice sessions, you and I decided to wait on the bleachers. It’s only a three row bleacher but unfortunately, there is no back to the third row. I was watching you diligently since you are rather accident prone and you were straddling the bottom row, pulling yourself along. I looked over at the pool to see where Olivia was and just at that moment, I heard you behind me say, Mom, I’m gonna sit up here. I turned around just in time to see you sitting off-balance on the third row and a second later, there you were falling backwards on to your head, square on the cement.
I swear to you that everything that had occurred in that quick six seconds, felt like an eternity. Everything was in slow motion. From the second I saw you leaning back over the edge, I knew there was nothing I could do to grab you in time. I watched in horror as you fell on to your head followed by the weight of your body snapping your neck back. I screamed, NO! as if my words could catch you. In that moment I was horrifically terrified. I was certain this would be the accident that finally cracked that tiny skull open. It’s known that if a neck injury is suspected, you leave the person alone. Somehow when it’s your child, those words of common sense escape you because I ran over with the heaviest of legs and I scooped you up and ran over to the grass which was a few short steps away. The moments that follow a horrific fall are just as bad because there you are, waiting for something horrible to happen. Incidents like that, I have to maintain my strength for you. You’re clearly frightened and despite me having an internal breakdown, I have to hide that to provide the strength you need. Thankfully the lifeguard came over, gave you an ice pack and you continued on with that afternoon with no vomiting and no demonic head spinning.
Exactly two days later, we accompany your dad to a 5k race in San Rafael on an early Sunday morning. Your dad insisted we stay home and sleep in but I’m quite proud of your dad’s efforts and wanted us all there to show our support. After the long drive, I wanted you and Olivia to use the bathroom but as expected, all the runners also plan to do their bathroom business right before the start of the race. I made the parental decision to hold off until after we saw dad off. Since the race was only a 5k, I knew we had around twenty minutes to walk back down the block to the bathrooms, do our deeds then head back to cheer on dad as he crossed the finish line. As we’re departing the bathrooms, you decide to do what you do best and that’s have another horrific accident. You run down the hill, lose your footing and decide to catch your fall with your face followed by a full body barrel role off the curb. Naturally you do this right next to where all the vendors are passing out samples to the race patrons so we have an audience which is always amazing for me. I run to you in time to see you stand up with both knees and your nose scratched. You begin screaming bloody murder and wait, speaking of bloody, as I pick you up to comfort you, your nose opens wide and blood begins gushing out–all over you and now on me.
The vendors, feeling sorry for what just happened and wanting to help in some way, rush over and direct me to where the first aid station is which is back another block next to the start line. The vendors don’t have tissue or paper towels which would have been extremely helpful so instead they start shoveling sample size cliff bars in to my hands and hair ties in to Olivia’s hands. I’m frantically looking in my purse for anything that can stop the blood and all I find is a rather old and very used shredded tissue. Despite me trying to hold your head up, you insist on looking down so of course the blood just keeps pouring out. We’re doing our best to make our way towards the first aid station and you insist on crying louder and louder. Meanwhile, must I remind you, your father just took off five minutes ago! The race was also 80’s themed so as we’re slowly leaving a trail of blood behind us, a race employee dressed in a glittery unitard and a giant silver aphro, approaches us to hand me a couple paper towels and reconfirmed that we were in fact headed in the right direction. Never did I think that my angel would be dressed like an 80’s roller skating king but miracles take many different forms. We arrive at the first aid station where they provide you with a bandage and since your body has apparently no extra blood to dispense, you’re good to go. Unfortunately for me, this little disaster has left you grumpy and filled with rage.
You run away from me screaming that you want dad and breakfast. I have neither. Every time I walk in your direction, you take off running and screaming. Again, we’re at the starting line so we have an audience and this time the audience includes police officers who are now taking notice of the little boy with a swollen face and blood down the front of him screaming at the woman pursuing him to “leave him alone.” In my attempt to calm you down, I locate the second set of bathrooms that were sitting just off the starting line–fantastic and I manage to wrangle you in just as dad is hauling his ass across the finish line. Your dad appears to just have had the race of his life and I see him smiling and looking around for us. Of course, we are on the other side of the street where the first aid station is. I can’t quite get to your dad because the bulk of the runners are making their way to the finish line. I’m waving my arm frantically trying to get your dad’s attention as I firmly hold you with the other arm for fear that you will maniacally run in to the race in an attempt to get away from me. Finally we make it across and I gladly push you in to the direction of your father. In a matter of seconds, I watch your father’s face go from elated joy to sheer terror at the sight of you. Yes, dear, this all happened in eighteen minutes.
Given the rash of accidents, I’m determined you either have a death wish or your head is too heavy for your body. How you always find a way to fall on to your head is beyond me but I’m hoping it’s just a phase and hopefully you grow out of it before the permanent damage settles in. This summer has felt exceptionally long as you and Liv continue to learn to coexist. The whining and fighting are off the charts and it takes quite a bit of self-restraint to keep myself from hurling my body off the second story balcony on the house but I find ways to get you two outside and not killing each other. As I mentioned earlier, I have been taking you two to the city pool quite a bit because there is nothing more exhausting than swimming on a hot afternoon. Since you two appear to be on sleep strikes every so often, I’m trying to nip that by ensuring your exhaustion by the day’s end. We’ve been frequenting the pool so often, you now have a nice neopolitan tan line happening on your body–tan legs, white ass and a perfectly pink back. It’s adorable.
You continue to have very little interest in swimming but this particular pool has a huge play structure with a slide that did pique your interest. It is submerged in a one and a half deep pool which doesn’t seem like much but it was enough to stir up some anxiety with you. Olivia and I sat with you as you tried to convince yourself to enter the water for close to thirty minutes. Never mind the toddlers toddling around you or the infant who is sitting upright, happily splashing in the zero-entry portion of the pool. You gave yourself several pep talks and after we inched our way as far as the structure, you were ready to rock and roll. You made your way up the play structure and the fear crippled you once again as you attempted to go down the slide. I’m standing at the bottom, preparing to catch you and meanwhile a line of eager and anxious children are starting to form behind you. The whole experience is chaotic because children are screaming, water is spraying from every which way and your loveable sister is now screaming in your ear to, JUST GO ALREADY! You make it down the slide and to my surprise, you want to do it again. You’re fine as long as Olivia is within arm’s reach otherwise you start screaming hysterically and strange women begin approaching you. Despite the pool not being very deep, I still have to watch you diligently as you make your way down the slide because there have been a couple times where you lose your footing as you come off the slide and you fall face first in to the water. You would think that if you just put your hands out, voila, oxygen would gloriously refill your lungs and you would no longer choke on pool water but perhaps you have experienced too many head injuries because you just lie there with your face in the water and your arms at your side. Dude, look alive.
You’ve been such a trooper when it comes to your sister’s swimming and we continue to bring enough food to the swim meets to satisfy the beast within you. We’re all typically beyond tired by the time we get home that all we do is lay on the couch and watch movies. I have begun taking advantage of these opportunities to show you both what I deem as classic childhood movies. It’s perfect because you’re too tired to fight me about the movie selections but you also don’t want to take a nap so I have TOTAL POWER! We have watched thus far The Princess Bride, Charlotte’s Web and E.T. I was amazed how much you both were captivated with E.T. I remember it being slow in parts and downright frightening at the end but you stuck with it and had so many questions regarding the movie. Seriously, the questions came as we made our way upstairs to bed and continued as I was closing the door and telling you good night. I’m just so impressed that such an old movie can still capture the attention of today’s children. You weren’t as excited about The Princess Bride as I would have hoped but you did enjoy the infamous line from Inigo and I enjoy watching you approach people with the words, you killed my father, prepare to die. Obviously, Inigo Montoya is a mouthful for a three year old so you dropped that portion of the infamous line. Unfortunately, without those specific words, people just think you’re being aggressive. Be prepared if people interpret those words as fighting words and what ever happens, protect your head. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PROTECT YOUR HEAD!
I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it again, parenting is hard and this especially rings true when you have a child who uses their head to break their falls. You’re still extremely tantrum happy but I can usually quickly diffuse it by telling you not to smile. Magic words right there when you’re dealing with a dramatic kid. It’s difficult to find that fine line where as a parent you need to be close enough to prevent your child from danger but just far enough away that they can still explore. It’s especially tough when other people try to parent your own children. We were simply out walking Fritz when you decided to walk slightly further away from me and Olivia. You’re about three houses away but you’re staying on the sidewalk and clearly you know not to run in to traffic. We’re in a quiet residential neighborhood and I don’t for a moment feel like your life is in danger until I watch an SUV approach you slowly and I see a woman sticking her head out of the passenger’s side window, observing you closely. She continues to drive slowly past you and she pulls up to me and with an extremely worried look on her face asks me, is he yours? Excuse me? Is that boy yours? Um, yes. Oh, I was so worried. Ok. See what the Hell I’m dealing with? Apparently it’s a crime to allow your children to walk on a sidewalk in a neighborhood in front of their mother. Clearly, you weren’t throwing a tantrum at that moment because people scram like cockroaches at the sound of that. Poor timing, Miles. Very poor timing.