Sunday, October 17, 2010

A few more grey hairs... and just a bit of carnage

I have a two year old boy. I also have a 3 year old girl, but they don't have the sort of reputation that two year old boys have for mischief and mayhem.

Caleb totally fits the stereotype of a busy, active, 'terrible' (usually in a very cute way) two year old. He acts first and thinks later. He is spontaneous and hilarious, but if there is a mess to be made or trouble to get into, he will find it. Even if there are limited opportunities for such things, he will resourcefully create them himself, using whatever he has at his disposal.

Yesterday you met Minty. Today she and Caleb worked together to ensure that I have several more grey hairs, and a stitched up knee.

As I was hanging out the washing this morning, Caleb and Minty were running about on the lawn. At one point, when I was intently focused on something of incredible importance - such as ensuring that each item of clothing was pinned with matching coloured pegs (anyone else do that?) - Caleb mentioned that he was taking Minty for a walk to the cafe. I nodded, or "Mmm-hmmmed" as you do when you are used to toddlers informing you of their pretend games, and carried on finding matching pegs and ensuring that all socks were lined up side-by-side with their buddy. I HATE lost socks!

A few minutes passed, and I heard 'that' silence. You know the one - it makes you suddenly certain, with heart-stopping clarity, that there was mischief and mayhem of a very serious nature happening somewhere. A quick check-in with Soph assured me that a) Caleb was not with her, and that b) she had no idea where he was, but would like to discuss possibilities of where he might be with me at length. As well as many other things. I modeled appalling listening skills, probably damaging her self-esteem irreparably at the same time, and left her talking to herself, as I made a dash for where I knew he had gone. After all, he did tell me!

In the course of this adventure, I did discover a new endurance event that should possibly be considered for the next Olympics (or at least the Commonwealth Games, who seem open to more dubious events **wink-wink**) - I've aptly named it 'The Uphill Gumboot Sprint While Wearing a Dressing Gown'. It's hard work, but the body does amazing things when you know your two year old child is standing somewhere on a busy stretch of State Highway 72.

So anyway, as the road comes into view at the crest of the hill, and the horror of seeing my baby in the centre of a highway with 3 cars approaching at 100kmph, pet lamb trotting after him happily, dawns on me (and this TRULY happened. If you don't believe me, check Geonet) we get another of the pesky aftershocks that we've been plagued with since the 7.1 that rocked our city a month ago. I was thrown onto the road (already sprinting in gumboots and a dressing gown and being incredibly uncoordinated at the best of times, I didn't have much chance, did I?) and managed to get up, and run in front of the oncoming cars, two of which had seen him and were slowing down.

My mind hadn't registered the earthquake, or even my knee with bits of fat hanging out of the open wound (who knew we had fat in our KNEES? I mean, REALLY) I was solely thinking about getting myself in the path of the oncoming ute so that it could hit me and slow down before it struck my son. Got there in time, incidentally, wasn't hit, and the nice Waimakariri District Council man driving the ute gave me only a hint of a lecture before driving us all home (lamb included) and ordering me to make a cup of tea for myself to calm my nerves. I think I needed more than a cup of tea, just quietly!

I went into shock at some point soon after, which I feel a bit silly about, really. Nausea, sweats, fainting, the whole business. Very similar to what happened after Caleb's very fast labour and delivery, actually. What is it about this child and my blood pressure?

It has all served as (yet another) massive reminder of how important safety is around our children. And of course a whole list of those fabulous 'if onlys' that we mothers love to torment ourselves with.
* We could have kept that gate closed, instead of assuming that our relentless lectures about road safety actually had any impact.
* I should have LISTENED when he TOLD me that he was going to take the lamb to the cafe. Honestly, could he have been any more direct?
* I should have kept the fecking lamb in its pen!!!

I am not a 'helicopter parent'. Our philosophy has always been to teach our children how to recognise and respect hazards, not block them off with safety gates and leap at every possible cause for alarm. And as a whole, it has worked (today's incident aside) as our children learned at a very young age how to navigate steps and stairs backward, to avoid hot stuff, and actually how to cross roads, though until today none of them had dared to try it alone!

Lately, the Symes family have been on my mind and in my prayers a great deal, as the 1st anniversary of the tragic death of their angel Aisling came and went. I remember being hugely impacted by this tragedy when it occurred, as I had a two year old (Sophie) at the time and I could so easily relate to how quickly they can move to be out of sight and in serious danger with no warning. Terrible things happen so easily to good people, no matter how fabulous a parent we may be.

So. Boy has been suitably chastised. Knee is now sporting stitches and less fat than previously, as they snipped the excess off before suturing. Should have asked them to do the other knee while they were at it. And bottom. Gate is now closed. And will remain so. Lamb did not get fluffy from cafe as promised by chastised boy.

Go and hug your babies!


  1. aww Mid that's a rough start to the day. I too understand how quickly they can be away and out on the road - I am always hearing "Mum Charlie's on the road" Luckily we live on a very quiet little country street. But man that boy's quick.
    Look after yourself and your knee.

  2. Wow! What a start to your week! Hope you are al okay and that you have managed to start breathing properly again.

    Look after yourself and I will definitely be giving Alex big cuddles this afternoon as I am sure you will be with your kidlets too.

    x Kath.

  3. Bugger about your knee but very pleased that everyone is safe in the end. Maybe a good lesson for me to shut the gate aye, instead of assuming the boys and dog won't go out on the road.

  4. omg! so glad you and Caleb are both ok, and of course Lamby! and that your knee doesnt give you so much grief! and yes that apidose fatty tissue is right thru your body! pretty interesting stuff to look at aye!

  5. this is truly brilliant stuff.
    Are you sure this is actually your real life?!
    I love it.

  6. I'm really glad no-one was irreparably damaged, having a child who used to do runners the shut gate is a must, even if they should know better, I've noticed a distressing tendancy to a lack of thought in boys, though mine tended to be a bit more sneaky about the whole thing.
    Look after yourself, put a drop of something extra in your tea after the kids are in bed and thank whoever you believe in that they were looking out for your wee man today.

  7. Tyreena, my life since children has never had a single dull moment. Seriously. I blame it all on them - I am actually an incredibly boring person, but they bring craziness to my doorstep every day.

    Due to today's incident, the gate now latches on the other side, which means its proximity to the hot wire on the top ensures an electric shock every time you open it. Muhahahaha! Need a rubber spatula to open it myself, but he won't try it again.

    Helicopter parent. Nooooooo...

  8. Holy cow! I'm so glad he's ok, and you're relatively so... go the hot gate!

  9. Hahahaha! Love the electric shock treatment :) But, man,that must've been the most terrifiying thing to experience (for you - I'm sure he was happy as Larry!). Boys, aye?! Never a dull moment, that's for sure. Certainly a lesson for us all!

  10. Ouchies! Super glad that this ended as it did. Pity the boy didn't get a cafe visit though - I wonder whether it allows lambs?

  11. Wow, my heart is pounding just reading about it. Thank goodness it all ended up okay(ish)