My two-year-old absolutely kills me at the moment. The other day, the nursery asked if she has hearing problems that might affect her balance. No, I said – it’s just that she’s a boisterous, fearless child and her confidence far exceeds her ability at the moment.
To be honest, I’m terrified they’re going to contact Child Services because every time I take her in – every time – I have to fill in an injury form to explain why she has a black eye, a split lip, a grazed head, a bloodied nose. If I wasn’t her dad, I’d be suspicious.
I mean, the last week has seen her injure herself every day. On Sunday she threw herself down in a tantrum, misjudged the range and face-planted into the floor, grazing her chin in the process. On Monday she ran outside in her ballet clothes to see her grandmother, tripped over on the pavement, and skinned both her knees and both her palms. On Tuesday at her Grandpa’s, she fell into the corner of the coffee table and gave herself a black eye.
Wednesday she was spinning round and round in the lounge, fell over on her toys and scratched her chest. Thursday she was doing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ with another girl at parents-and-toddlers, yanked the girl too hard, and took a headbutt to the nose that split her nostril. Yesterday, she ran off naked and returned to the room with a big scratch down her thigh (she said it was done by a monster, but we have no idea how she got it). And today, falling off the dining chair, falling flat on her face in the kitchen, and bashing her head on the side of the stairgate didn’t cause any injuries, but she does have a swollen ear from tripping headfirst into her toybox.
And this week was by no means exceptional.
Every thud, every bang, every cry, I go running, terrified she’s broken a bone or worse, and it’s turning me into a nervous wreck. This afternoon, for example – I left her in her playroom a moment to put a hammer back in the utility room when I heard her suddenly scream as though the roof had collapsed on her legs. Dropping the hammer, my heart in my mouth, I raced back to the playroom, dreading what I might find – and she wasn’t there.
In a panic, I screamed for my wife, searched the hall, the kitchen, shouted for my toddler, to no avail. I felt sick with worry.
She was in the lounge. In the ten seconds after I’d left her, she’d found a new toy her mum had bought her, and the blood-curdling scream had been one of joy and excitement, not pain and desperation. She’d then hurried into the lounge to show her mother, just as I rushed back into the playroom.
It scared the life out of me. So I did that usual manly thing of converting fear into anger by telling her off and ordering her never to scream like that again, because ohmygosh, I thought my heart would beat clear through my ribs and out of my chest.
When we first started taking her to nursery, they said that for a toddler to injure herself was normal and they’d be more concerned if she never had any injuries as it’d mean she was being overprotected. I’m pretty sure those words are coming back to bite us all in the ass. I just don’t know how to stop her hurting herself.
There again, with a dyspraxic mother and father who has fallen down more mountainsides than he can remember, perhaps it’s a family trait.