Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ever notice how in the story of the boy who cried wolf, they never talk about how terrible the mother felt after the wolf came and ate the boy. Parenting can be like that, how to decipher the 'wolf' from the Academy Award worthy wounded cry. A number of my children have a flair for the dramatic, so I am becoming quite skilled in assessing injury based upon the decibel and quality of the scream, and more often than not, the real injuries come with alot less volume. Let's be honest, we have all missed one of those cries, the ones where you think/say, "brush it off, let me give you a kiss, it will be alright", only to find that there really is a wound in need of some tending. A goose egg, or a rather nasty scratch/cut. But again, in my experience, the injuries, the ones that require a trip to the emergency room, not only is it the sound of the cry, but it is gut instinct. Something inside tells you this is not a stubbed toe, or a bad bruise. This is the time to come up with a plan.

Tonight we were having dinner out. Sofie and Jane had been at their friends house for the afternoon and the rest of our family was going to meet up and we would all have dinner together. They had had a great afternoon, lots of fun, no injuries. Sam and I had only arrived 30 minutes earlier when we heard a cry from the back garden, "Mama, I have really hurt myself". A cry that was seriously lacking in dramatics and volume. More like a wounded animal, a deeper, guttural cry. On some level, I knew instantly that this was going to be bad, but I guess in my hope of hopes, I was trying to think it was a hurt, not an injury, trying to think positively.

It seems (though, still rather unclear,) that Jane had either jumped or fallen out of a window, about 2 metres. She landed on her feet and pitched forward onto her right arm. She came running to me, we assessed where she was hurt and then she laid down on a picnic rug with me while my friend grabbed a bag of ice. Jane seemed tired, maybe even hungry. I sat with her and tried to evaluate how bad it was, her arm ached, but she was fine everywhere else. After a short time I checked her arm and by then there was a large lump and swelling. I looked at Sam and said we were going to need to go, he gathered her up, left me and the rest of the children and headed to emergency.

It is now nearly eleven and I am waiting for them to return home. I have news, Jane has fractured her radius and about an hour ago they were waiting for her to have a cast put on. (Ever noticed how many children have casts on in the summer?) You know, we as parents try, we try to protect our children from danger. We stop them as they try to sneak a bottle of dish liquid out to the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath, we teach them to look both ways before crossing the road, but in those instances where we just sit back, enjoy a glass of wine with some friends, these things can happen. We can't protect them all the time, and really, life happens, you just go with it. The important thing is to just be there for them if you can when these things happen. Let them know you love them, let them know things happen, we try to be safe, make safe choices, but we can't prepare for everything.

Jane's arm will heal and we will learn from this. And if there is one thing I have learned for certain, go with your gut, it generally won't steer you wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! That definitely hurt you almost as much as it hurt her, I'm sure!

    I agree that we all try to help keep our kids safe, and for me, that includes letting them take some risks too. Awhile back Charlotte decided that tree climbing was something that she simply had to do. I think lots of kids start wanting to do this around 4 years old, and most parents just tell them not to, please, "it's not safe." Well, I decided to go the other way and get her climbing as many trees as we can find...she is now really quite accomplished, and I can see the confidence it has given her. However, it is also true that by allowing my child to follow her desire and perfect this skill, she has once again become the "ringleader of badness" in the eyes of some of the other parents who are still telling their kids not, please, "it's not safe."