A friend texted me the other day that he and his boys would be missing lunch with us at a local brewery (what? you don't have a few beers on a Wednesday afternoon?) as his older son was pushed off some sort of playground apparatus and that they were in the ER getting x-rays for what eventually turned out to be a broken wrist. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen my kids take some tumbles and started worrying about broken limbs. So far the boys have earned various merit badges of chipping a tooth, splitting upper and lower lips, a hyper extend knee (had to get X-rays for that), tongue biting and of course bruises from knees to forehead. Thankfully, we have managed to avoid anything very serious. But it hasn't kept me from worrying.
I told my friend that broken bones are a solid 7 out of 10 on my 'shit-my-kids-will-do-to-put-me-in-an-early-grave list'. So I got to thinking, what would that list look like right now (as it will undoubtedly change as the boys get older and
*just a quick explanation, there are a lot of terrible things that can happen to a kid, this list is simply what can happen on a daily basis
And without further ado:
1. Eating Food Off The Ground
I'm all for the three second rule, except when I'm not.
2. Eating Sand
As long as it's not glass or a needle, eating sand remains pretty low on my list.
3. Kneeling Or Not Sitting Properly In Chairs/Standing On Couches/Jumping On The Bed
The Big Guy just reaffirmed my concern for this while we were recently on vacation. Long story short, he was leaning too far over to one side of the chair playing with the Little Man, lost his balance, fell over, hit his face on the restaurant's slate floors and then the chair fell over and cracked him on the cheek. Good times.
4. Running Around The House
I know, I know. I sound like an old so-and-so, but it's true. If you have kids and they run around the house, they take falls. Going bare foot, there is less of an issue but even the "sticky" socks don't solve this. I have seen the Big Guy take some turns on the hardwood floors only to have his feet fly out from under him as I then watch his face bounce off the floor. He has split his upper and lower lips so many times it's mind numbing.
5. Learning To Kneel/Stand/Walk
Bruises. Bruises. And more bruises. I've had more skipped heart beats than I care to count watching the boys go through these stages. What puts this at the middle of the scale is that as a parent you are supposed to let them fall, because if you sit there and catch them every time, they never learn to catch themselves. I have aged at least a month for every fall I have watched, and week for every teeter-totter I have prematurely leapt up from my seat in order to make a diving infant catch.
6. Rolling Off The Changing Table
You can't turn your back or trust your children. You do and when you turn back around they will be in the throws of death. When the Big Guy was not so big, I went to remove the bag from the Diaper Genie while he was on the changing table. I turned my back for three seconds as I tied up the new bag...THUD. The Big Guy decided to roll right off the three foot high table and onto his back. Luckily he managed to make it far enough out to land on the area rug, so there was no other issue than scaring himself as well a me a little more than half to death. One of the worst moments of my fatherhood to date.
Playgrounds are breeding grounds for skipped heart beats, scraped knees, broken bones and other fun stuff. We are encouraged, if not brow beaten, to childproof our homes, then we head out to a playground where ten foot climbing walls, wheeled monkey bars, fireman's poles and steep twisty slides await our little ones misstep or a hard push in a game of tag ends in a kid getting knocked off a five foot tall play structure. The new spongey grounds are better than concrete, but they only do so much. I loved playgrounds as a kid, I hate them as a parent.
8. Public Restrooms
As I don't frequent the ladies room, and as I have two boys, I can't really speak to the cleanliness and sanitary concerns of using women's public bathrooms (though to be honest I have heard some horrific stuff - some of you ladies should be ashamed). As for the men's room...well...they're all fucking nasty. I don't care if it's the Ritz-Carlton or Bub's Bar and Grill...men round the world and of all levels of socio-economic status lack the ability to pee into urinals or toilets. Most men don't believe in flushing either. And worst of all, there are a good number of men who believe that the obligatory "shake" afterwards can happen anywhere between the pisser and the sink. Taking my boys into a public restroom is near pure panic for me, and the boys don't make it any easier as they want to touch everything...and I mean ev-er-y-thing.
I technically have a 9 and 10 on the scale, which are birth at 9 (if you weren't scared out of your mind for your wife, your kid and yourself during those moments before during and after your child entered this world then you're either a liar or James Bond) and at 10 - kidnapping or terminal illness...no explanation necessary. But both of those are things that don't happen on an average day...so I kept them out.
Sure, I'm a little crazy, a little tightly wound and perhaps a smidge overprotective. You may see me in these places where my fears are growing and think "he looks cool, calm and collect - no problem here". I'm not. Inside, I am losing my mind. Luckily, it's only the Mrs that is going gray right now and she's younger than me. Though I suspect I'll just wake up one morning with a full head of white hair. Hopefully the kids will be on their own by then.