Thuds at home worry me. Not the “structural integrity failure of the house” kind of worry. Not the “ax murderer in the basement” kind of worry. Not even the “space aliens landing on the roof” kind of worry, although in our troubled times that’s not only a possibility, it’s sometimes a hope.
It’s the worry I’ll discover what the kids are up to and I won’t like it. Nope, not one bit.
My wife and I heard a thud Friday. It was proceeded by three ominous occurrences:
1. We told the older two to play with the youngest one.
2. The older two listened to us and played with the youngest one.
3. “Playing,” to middle school children, apparently means chasing a preschooler down the hall screaming like victims in a 1980s-slasher film.
Then came the thud, followed by a plaintive wail and tears. Good times.
Let me just say it’s our fault. My wife and I (parental motto: “It’s us against the kids”) should have known better than to ask our children to play together and not expect a trip to the emergency room.
Middle school-aged children are like puppies with big feet. When moving, all their limbs go at once, they don’t realize how big they are and sometimes they drool.
My wife got there first. The Baby (who’s nearly 4 years old and tells us emphatically she is NOT a baby) had a small gash on her head.
First off, scalp wounds, unless that ax murderer is in the house, are rarely as bad as the amount of blood would indicate. Second, I always think it’s as bad as the amount of blood would indicate.
“What happened?” I asked.
The older two stared at the floor. “Nothing.”
“The Baby hit her head,” my wife said.
“I’m not a baby.”
Think, think, think. How would I conduct the NFL’s concussion protocol? “Where?”
“On the bobrano bench,” the Baby said, unfazed and had already moved on.
I’m not sure why, but the Baby puts the prefix “bo” on some, but not all, of her words. Computer becomes “bomputer,” banana is “bobrana” and piano comes out “bobrano.” It’s true, “bo” isn’t a prefix officially recognized by grammarians and lexicographers, but to be fair, they haven’t come to our house.
My wife held back the Baby’s hair to reveal a cut about a quarter-inch long that had already stopped bleeding.
“Emergency room?” she asked.
That’s all my paranoid mind needed. We left immediately.
The worst part of walking into an emergency room with a loved one is believing everyone there thinks it’s your fault. If we visited the ER more often, I’d buy a T-shirt that read, “Our Children Are Monsters.” That should clear up everything.
Taking a child to see a doctor, any kind of doctor, is like playing a board game. Roll the die, move two spaces and land on the “Throw Yourself on the Floor Screaming” space. Roll again and move to the “Full-Body Casts are Cool” space. It’s impossible to tell what the child is going to do at any given moment.
The Baby needed one staple and all she said was “ouch.” She complains more when we brush her hair.
The next morning, she asked to go back to the emergency room. Kids are weird.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.