There are many hazards to being a mum. I know girls are probably just as bad, but the old adage of boys not being for the feint hearted is definitely true in this household.
From 10 months old this little s**t has climbed on, run into, jumped off, and banged his head/feet/elbows/shins on every single thing he possibly could. The TV has been saved from an inevitable fate only by putting it onto the wall.
He has no off switch and although he’s only just got over his fear of strangers and large crowds, his own safety is rarely a thought (for him, not for me).
However, not including a few uncontrollable temperatures and viral rashes, we’ve luckily avoided A&E. We’ve even avoided anything that couldn’t be fixed with some water and a plaster or two (because I have the only 4 year old who isn’t obsessed with plasters. Even I’m obsessed with plasters).
That was until January 8th, 2017.
In typical new year style, James used his Christmas money to complete his home gym – all 14 extra boxes of it. Jim, still on the Santa bandwagon, couldn’t wait to open them.
“Can I open them now?”
“When Dad gets in”
Nearly two weeks later, after clearing a space from all the Christmas junk, it was finally time. All he had to do was:
- Stop swinging around a snow globe before he dropped it
- Wait for James to get changed
Did he do either? Actually, yes he did. He stopped swinging the snow globe and went straight for the boxes. I thought if he had properly hurt himself I would know from the cry but it wasn’t anything huge. A tiny bang, a little cry… that carried on and on. This was something he wasn’t going to shake off as his toe slowly became twice the size it started at.
A box had slipped forward, from where it was propped against the wall,on to his big toe. The one containing around 100kg of weights.
So off to A&E we went on a Sunday afternoon, packed up like we were going on holiday with games consoles, crisps and portable DVD player, ready for a long wait.
By the time the triage nurse had dosed him up with Calpol he was running/hobbling around the waiting room and making himself at home.
But after all that adrenaline wears off, the parent guilt sets in.
What if I hadn’t been washing my hands, or washed them faster? What if I’d just let him play with the snow globe? Yeah, he probably would have smashed it but that could be cleared up easily.
You then have to explain it all to the doctors and nurses. They see kids every day with broken arms and legs and toes and fingers and everything in between because kids will be kids. Most of us have been into A&E with a broken bone ourselves at some point or another. But that doesn’t mean that this accident isn’t going to be all my fault.
I’ve had two before the age of 16 – foot and hand – as well as stitches in the centre of my forehead when I was two.
We all know kids are crazy but it doesn’t stop the guilty feeling the second it happens to you, whether it’s a toe or an arm.
But for little ones, it’s just another adventure. He explained the story – ‘I was messing with daddy’s boxes’ – to anyone that would listen (then and since) and decided that he definitely needed a treat after all this drama.
He’s started himself on x-rays, although it might take him a while before he reaches my record. Hopefully a blooming long while.
In the end he had chipped some bone from the end of it. A lovely nurse taped it up and he managed to wangle two days off school because he couldn’t walk. That was fine by me because not walking meant he couldn’t get himself into more trouble.
We’ve now got the all clear and he’s back at school and trampolining and PE but, just like giving birth, this is another milestone that will stay with us mums forever.
When he’s over six-foot tall and his feet are twice the size of mine, I’ll still feel guilty about that tiny piece of bone that was floating around in his tiny toe for a week.
They’ll always be our babies but we can’t always protect them from everything. We’ll keep trying though.