A Chink In The Armor
Yesterday, my three year old and I watched some music videos on noggin.com. One of the songs featured a child dressed in a robot costume made from a foil covered box.
My girl turned to me, and with stiff arms moving in jerky, up-and-down motions, said in a monotone, "Hello. Robot. Mommy."
I answered her doing my best Mr. Roboto. "Domo. Arigato."
She didn't break character for a second. "My. Name. Is. Baby. Robot. You. Are. Mommy. Robot. I. Need. A. Box. Costume."
Haaaa! Lucky for her, I had a small cardboard box, just perfect for a pint-sized robot. I cut out a hole for her head, and two holes for her shoulders. She beamed at me, and then proceeded to march stiff legged, arms bent at the elbow and occasionally chopping them through the air. "I. Need. A. Juice. Box." she announced. "I. Need. Some. Fuel."
I did my best to stay in character, too. We talked in choppy, Shatner-like cadence for a good half-hour. My oldest daughter got in on the act, and I made her a cardboard costume as well.
My son decided from the moment he came upon us that we were all a bunch of dorks, and he didn't want to join in our game.
This is the boy who laller laller laller lallers and flaps his hands and makes high pitched "meeep!" noises and is generally annoying, just because.
"What. Is. The. Matter. Robot. Boy?" I gave it to him with both barrels. Heh.
He was annoyed. I needled him for a bit longer, but ultimately decided to go make dinner. I told the girls to back off him, but secretly laughed while they continued to speak to him in Robot. Language.
He fled to his room, with the robot sisters in hot pursuit. I still haven't gotten the full story, but what came next was a scream that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, just thinking about it. A high-pitched wail of pain that just went on and on.
I raced back to the bedroom, where my two daughters stood looking concerned, and my son, already on his feet and looking green, had a huge scrape down the length of his jaw. He had fallen forward off his (new) bunkbed ladder and took the full impact with a nearby bookshelf with his jaw.
Mentally, I felt myself slip into an insulated, calm space, and I casually carried him to the couch, got ice, gave tylenol, got my husband's opinion on the situation, checked inside his mouth for any cuts, and finally carried him to the van for the fifteen minute drive to the emergency room.
After the impact, he was dizzy and nauseous, and although his pupils were fine, I was scared. When the first rush of the trauma wore off, he began to cry softly, and kept asking to sleep. Crap, crap, crap.
Still calm, I registered with the ER check-in, and sat down, talking to him about school, asking about toys - he stopped crying. By the time we spoke to the triage nurse, he was answering all the questions and arguing with me. We returned to the waiting room. After a few minutes, he was called back, and examined by a doctor.
She pronounced him a very lucky boy, and warned him about playing on the bunkbed. Aside from two very nasty scrapes and some swelling, he's fine. He's totally fine.
We returned home to my pale and worried husband, and reported the good news. We tucked the kids into bed, and went to sleep ourselves. We got up, got out of the house, I did some shopping, and when I got back in the van to come home, I just lost it. I sat in the Target parking lot and shook like a leaf, crying.
I don't think I realized how scared I was last night, and I never let myself go there. Even after we were all safe in bed, I thought "whew!" and drifted off to sleep. Today, however, the what-ifs are hanging like a cloud over me.
I've dried my tears, and I'm putting one foot in front of the other. It feels like I've been handed a giant warning notice from the parenting gods, and at the same time, a giant get out of jail free card. We are so lucky.
We are so lucky.