October 1, 2015 by Dadinator
“Schowi schowi schowi” she said with a look in her eyes that would get her off war crimes charges. I sigh and forgive her instantly because her big brown eyes melt me instantly.
“That’s okay baby girl, remember dad has a sore knee right now?”. She kisses it better, and I wince. It’s a bit tender.
It is not her fault, she’s 2 (just) and it isn’t easy to get her to remember things like this. It’s not my fault either, too much keenness in a staff student footy match on the second last day of term, coupled with too much age in my knees, and ouch. Dad’s hobbling.
” grsssthhhfffttt ow!” I exclaim suddenly, and remove her from the same knee.
“Schowi schowi schowi!” Comes the earnest and completely genuine reply. After another 3 rounds I begin to understand just how long a morning it is going to be.
I haven’t explained myself.
It was the second last day of term and a colleague of mine had set up a staff/student football match. I was in the left-wing, charging towards an open ball but it didn’t stay open for long. . I dived (fallen) hard at the ball (over on the slippery grass) and suddenly the game had changed to stacks on. I’m sure it looked fantastic. In amongst that I gave my left knee a hard knock, and I thought I might have heard a “pop” or I might have made that up… I can’t remember. But it hurt a bit.
I played on, and it hurt a bit more. I sat down, and it hurt a bit more. I went to sleep, and it…
Well, by the time I woke up I was having trouble moving it at all. In the process of cooling down my knee had swollen -not hideously, but visibly – and had stiffened up considerably. I had trouble sleeping, trouble moving out of the bed and a lot of trouble walking around. But my dear angelic children didn’t quite understand that.
Which left me where I was in the morning.
“Schowi, Schowi, Schowi”
When injuries strike you as a parent, expect no sympathy. No empathy. No understanding. No common sense. No ability to remember the details of your injury. Expect no ability to remember or regard your limitations while injured. You may as well say “Daddy has a sore knee, so you have to be careful with him at the moment” to the vacuum cleaner, as to a 2 year old.
Expect no let up in the demands they place on you. They’ll still want to be dangled upside down, to jump on you like a trampoline, they expect you to carry them in one arm while the other arm makes breakfast, they expect you to catch them, run after them and bounce on the trampoline with them.
And you have to explain again and again and again that you can’t do it all right now.
Of course it could be worse… The Mamanator broke her little toe the other week. I’m not even kidding, stubbed it on the leg of a bench at an indoor play centre. Sure those places are kid safe, but adult safe? Anyway her injury was several times more severe, and was similarly disregarded by the kids. They were not able to process the thought that mum might not be invulnerable.
That’s the crux of it. When they’re small children expect their parents to be all-powerful, all-knowing, strong, and basically invincible. They can be the most unforgiving little things.
And yet. My boy is almost 4, he wanted to go on the trampoline with me today, it’s about 10 days later and the knee is much better, but still not 100%.
“Dad, is your knee better?” he asked before asking me to join him on the trampoline. I answered him honestly “It’s still not completely better”.
“Can you come on the trampoline with me still?”
“Yes, but I can’t bounce too high”.
It had sunk in, and I was grateful. There is some hope that my girl, at 2, will develop a sense of consideration for others, and an understanding that mum and dad are not always 100%.
Of course should one of my children suffer the horrible injustice of, say, a stone in their shoe. Well. They just cannot go on facing such a painful impediment. The world around them has to stop and they need to be given time to have first aid (a kiss better), recover from the injuries (a second kiss better, or a kiss in the right spot), debrief about the trauma (being told over and over again that there was a stone in their shoe) and celebrate the recovery (All better! times 100).. And All that can take a serious amount of time.
The scales are never evenly weighted, but that’s just the way it is. Suffice to say recovery from any injury can take a little longer when the kids are around. For you because you don’t get a chance to rest. For them because what’s the good of an injury if you don’t milk it for a while?