Thursday, July 19, 2007
There's a Moral in Here Somewhere
My family always treats me like I'm some kind of Nervous Nellie when it comes to my kids' safety. They seem to think that I'm the worst kind of worrying, helicopter mother. If you were to ask my husband, he would probably tell you that I am always fixated on being careful of every possible and improbable accident that could happen to the kids. You might get the idea what I spend my evenings paging through the One Step Ahead catalog, inventorying the safety devices we already own and making lists of products we still need to buy in order to prevent any bumps and scrapes that could happen. Germ Guardian Nursery Sanitizer? Check. Tub-Time Bath Bumpers? Oooo, still need to get that one. Can't have Jr. loosing teeth on the side of the bathtub, should he happen to free himself from the Secure Transitions Baby Tub.
The truth is that before I had kids, I spent a lot of time watching other people's children for a living. Part of my job was to maintain a safe play environment. A large part of how you achieve that is to anticipate accidents. Going to our neighborhood playground gives me a tick simply because it is NOT SAFE, especially for small children. At our playground I do, in fact, hover. And when I am watching the kids with someone else, like P, I will often tell him about possible dangers. I'm sure that it comes across as Apocalypse Parenting, but I simply want to make him aware of things like gaps in the railings that our 20 month old could fall through. I know she's not going to be careful. I want to make sure he is. Maybe he thinks I'm being obvious, but I feel like if I don't say anything, and something does happen, I would feel even worse knowing I could have prevented it by simply making P aware.
Anyway, tonight P was playing with A at the playground. He had her holding on to a bar, dangling her feet. She was having a great time and P was, of course, being careful not to let her fall. But as he was helping her down, she got hurt. I could tell that she was hurt and that it wasn't a small owie. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. We started walking back, but when she wouldn't stop crying, I told P to take T and get the car. I would sit under a shady tree on the curb and wait with A.
He came back and got us. We stopped briefly at home, but then we went right to After-Hours care at a clinic in a nearby town. P didn't see much point in all of us going, but I said I needed him there to tell the doctor what happened. After all, I hadn't seen it. The truth of the matter is, I knew that she shouldn't have been hanging from her arms. I knew she was too little and I was mad that P always does things with the kids that they are too little for and now A had gotten HURT. I wanted him to have to be the one to take her to the doctor, explain what he had been doing, and then have the doctor tell him that what he had done was WRONG. So we went.
We told the doctor what happened. He examined A and fixed a dislocated elbow. Then he proceeded to tell ME how the ligaments in small children aren't very strong and that you should always pick them up under the arms and never by the hands or wrists.
That's right. I got The Lecture.
I felt like telling him that perhaps he hadn't gotten the story straight because it was P who was holding her by the wrists and therefore merited The Lecture. I wanted to tell him that I brought P in special just so he could hear The Lecture, just once, and let's not waste this moment. But, no. Perhaps he was trying to be non-confrontational with another Male, maybe I really was To Blame since I was there and as The Mother I should have stopped it. Either way, I let a Safety Infraction slide and someone got hurt. And I got The Blame.
Worry: Damned if I Do, Damned if I Don't.