Friday, April 27, 2007

The Dangerous World of Boys

If you’ve recently given birth to your first son, or if you’re already a mom of, say, an infant or toddler boy, this is a cautionary tale, a primer, a “buckle-your-seat-belts-you’re-in-for-a-bumpy-ride” introduction to being a mother (or father) of the young male of the species.

Boys and bumps, bruises, breaks and bloody cuts seem – in my experience – to go hand-in-hand.

Out of my three sons, so far my son Kenny takes the prize in the becoming wounded department. When Kenny was age one, Blake chucked a Matchbox car at him resulting in a butterfly stitch to the forehead. At age four, Kenny broke his tibia, and repeated that break a scant two years later. At seven, Blake accidentally (yeah, right) slammed Kenny’s fingers in a door, resulting in yet another break and half a dozen stitches. At 11, he broke his arm falling off a swing. When he was 15, he sprained that same arm, and at age 19, badly cut one hand after a freak fall on his way back to his apartment after class.

Some boys are more accident prone than others. Blake survived childhood with only a few stitches and bumps, and – considering he has been in combat three times since 2003 – has emerged with only the most minor of injuries. But the first time your child, your son, gets a bad boo-boo it’s almost as painful for you.

The first sign of a break or of blood gives new meaning to the term “adrenaline rush.”

If your son is an athlete, well, try and prepare yourself for the inevitable injury, although admittedly, I’m not entirely sure how one prepares oneself. The least of it may be a bad bruise. But there, lurking in the air on the field of play, may be the breakage of a limb, an errant ball flying into your son’s nether regions, a bloody nose or blackened eye; momentary unconsciousness. Now these are the worst cases and should not in any way, shape or form mean you prohibit sports from your child’s agenda. Because – trust me – even the most seemingly ordinary of moments at home may cause temporarily traumatic injury.

Case in point: On this past Easter Sunday evening, as I was folding laundry and my husband, Jon, was paying bills, a blood-curdling scream emanated from our garage. Janet began yelling for us: “Mom! Dad! Jack’s hurt! Jack’s hurt!” As I ran into the garage, there was Jack holding his left hand, blood spewing from one of his fingers. “I closed it in the door! Omigod! Help!” As he was going out the side door of our garage, he had accidentally slammed the door shut on his fingers, specifically, the middle finger (pretty appropriate for how he felt at that moment). We bundled his hand in a towel and ice and Jon dashed him to Norwalk Hospital. By the grace of God, I decided to immediately begin cleaning up all the blood in the garage and as I did, I looked down and there staring up at me was the top of Jack’s finger! We had no idea that it had been severed. Bottom line is that most of it was stitched back on and I’m sure he’ll be playing baseball in no time. But, mercy me – dashing part of my kid’s finger to the hospital resulted in a billion new grey hairs and a heart that nearly popped right out of me and out of my car and onto Route 123.

Ah, boys. Here’s what you need to do as soon as you birth one: Stock your medicine cabinet with bandages, gauze, Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, a finger splint, an ace bandage, several ice packs and arnica. Stock your liquor cabinet with whiskey or wine, or load up your freezer with pints of your favorite ice cream (pick your poison) for you to ingest after the accident, Keep in mind that you should probably breathe while the initial ouchiness ensues. Don’t let your boy catch you crying, and keep reminding yourself that things will be okay; this too shall pass.

Until the next time.

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