The worst part of parenthood. No its not the lack of sleep, missing out on after work drinks with friends or hearing a tiny person call “MOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!” a thousand times a day. Its the constant fear and anxiety you carry around everyday.
Being a parent is like being Ben Stiller in the movie Along came Polly. Before any car ride, activity and outing you first slot it into your little risk calculater to see what could be the worst possible outcome. A scraped knee? Cool I’ll risk it. Cracked skull? Nope, nope, nope!
On the 31 December, the very last day of the much hated 2016 Ben had an accident. He was jumping from one chair to the next when he fell. He couldn’t break his fall with his hands and hit the side of the chair chin first, his neck bending back at a weird angle and then he tumbled to the ground. I though he hit his mouth and expected loose teeth and a cut lip but when I got him up off the floor his mouth was fine, there was no blood. I was relieved. Ben was crying hysterically and it was then that I noticed he was holding his chin with both hands. As I pulled them away they were covered in blood. Parental Meltdown.
We immediately rushed to the ER. When we arrived a very nice nurse checked his vitals, cleaned his face, and told us its going to be a bit of a wait for the doctor. Ben seemed to be calming down and doing better. He wanted hugs and cuddles. The next moment it was like someone flipped a switch. His face went white, mouth hanging open and his eyes were glassy. We tried to talk to him but he was being unresponsive. At the time I was still relatively calm and thought it was just shock. The nurse checked his vitals and tried to get a response from him. She tried her best to sound calm as she asked someone to get the doctor but there was a definite hint of tension. A few minutes later she shined the little light in his eyes again. She told us to keep talking to him, to ask him questions . Again she called for the doctor this time sounding even more anxious. I looked at my little boys pale face and thought, is he going to die now, right here, in front of me…
The doctor finally arrived. He checked Ben, cleaned his chin and glued the gash together. He then ordered a MRI scan and wanted Ben booked into the hospital for observation. 40 minutes later Ben was jumping on the hospital bed and making grandma draw dinosaurs on old till slips she found in her handbag. The scans were all fine and we got to go home.
We hear these awful, terrifying stories. The 3 year old boy who drowned in his parents pool a few days after Christmas. The Grade R boy who fell from the jungle gym at school and died. How can we not be paranoid.
But kids will always explore, climb, jump, push boundaries. Its how they learn. There will be falls, there will be ouchies. We cant helicopter parent them every moment and we shouldnt treat them like bubble boy. All we can do is hope and pray. Be present. Be aware. Kiss them a million times everyday even when they don’t want to. Love in abundance. BE THANKFUL. And have faith.