The Boy has a friend, a rather rambunctious friend whose favorite things are not raindrops on roses, but rather wrestlers raining destruction. The Boy has his rambunctious side but can often be cajoled into a quiet way of occupying his time - a movie, a video game, a model car to build or the reading of a book. His friend, however, does not seem to be blessed with the "sit-down gene". It makes me wonder at times if he is physically capable of bending at the waist. I do know he is physically capable of nonstop movement.
Needless to say, the playdates when his friend visits are noisy times of constant warnings from me, the most common refrain being "don't do that, you'll break your neck". Imagine my surprise when the boy came tearfully to me the other evening, one hand to his head, crying "I think I broke my neck".
Ah ha, you say, there she goes off in a panic! But I was amazingly calm, being almost as convinced as The Boy that nothing I worry about ever really happens. I saw The Boy walk into the room, he could breathe and talk; therefore, it was unlikely that his neck was broken.
However, he refused to move further and cried in pain so that I decided I couldn't transport him to hospital myself, but rather called 911 for an ambulance. I knew they would secure his neck to avoid any further injury which they did by strapping him down to a longboard and off we went to the hospital. The paramedics assigned me to the front seat of the ambulance next to the driver. Now, here was something I was free to panic about, and I made the most of it. It's a curiously insecure feeling to be in a vehicle that weaves its way in and out of traffic while emitting a high-pitched scream. I thought screaming was my job.
In the end, the true story came out that (with his friend's encouragement)The Boy decided to jump onto his bed from the bureau and gave himself a nice case of whiplash. After four hours in the emergency room, and the testing of all extremities, it was determined that there was no serious injury but a very strong muscle spasm that caused a good deal of pain.
They gave him a muscle relaxer, some pain reliever and a soft collar to support his neck. Once he had the muscle relaxer, he hardly seemed to need any of their other ministrations. They had released him from the constraints of the longboard many hours before, but The Boy had lain stiff and still, hands at his side for those long hours. Suddenly, he was gesturing with his hands, moving his legs and being animated and happy. Instead of being shocked that they administered such a medication to my small son, I experienced a feeling of gratitude that they gave me a prescription to get four more doses. That meant two more days of this pleasant and delightful child.
It shouldn't come as a shock to me when The Boy does something boyish and suffers the natural consequences. It may not even be his fault or stem from the fact that he's a boy. As a tomboy who was always chasing after my older brother, I spent many hours in the emergency room myself as a child, and caused my mother her share of worry. So perhaps I am only reaping what I have sown.
But the important and most lasting lesson to be learned from all this is that mothers are always right. When we giggled for hours as children, my mother used to say "you'll end up crying" and she was always right (although usually it was because eventually we got a spanking for our loud and annoying behavior). Thankfully, The Boy didn't break his neck but that doesn't mean I was wrong, and maybe in the future, my warnings will carry just a hint more credibility.
Although they still may not listen to "one day your face will freeze like that".