Monday, April 20, 2009

Raising Boys: Not for the Faint of Heart

Given the great weather and the tons of fun we had planned, this weekend had the potential to be supremely enjoyable. Unfortunately, I instead got a great lessen in what it truly means to raise a boy in contrast to the world of girls.

I recently took the initiative of completely cleaning out our cluttered, disgusting garage. I bought shelving from the Depot, and swept the floor to discover its true color, and I reorganized EVERYTHING.

I also made it much more kid friendly. I set up an area for their ride-ons, their gardening/sandbox supplies, their sports equipment, and even some bins for games, bubbles, and chalks. I now love it, and we have been enjoying the clean and manageable conveniences of a well-planned garage. Anything that might be considered hazardous was moved to either a higher place or a locked cabinet.

However, my husband took the annual ride to the farming store for fertilizer (only the good stuff for the ruralists) and returned to unload the purchases while the children frolicked in the grass and blew bubbles.

I was in the kitchen cleaning up after their lunch.

My daughter, a virtuoso bubble maker, accidentally spilled the entire bottle of bubble juice on the stairs and so my husband, realizing the hazard, started to head inside to quickly grab (ah, split infinitive!!! and it stays), some paper towels. As he headed through the door, he glanced back to make sure the kids were still safely at play when he saw my son heading for the lawn equipment organizer.

This organizer is plastic, and meant to hold all sorts of lawning equipment, which includes more than a few medieval tilling and hoeing devices that are most notably charaterized by spikes and teeth. You can guess where this is going......

The problem with the organizer is that it was a bit top heavy, a fact that I had considered in the past, but then forgot about soon after deciding to find a better alternative. That was my first mistake.

Just as John was about to shout out his name, Joseph grabbed hold of one of the tool's long handle (no doubt to work like Daddy) and the entire assembly began to tip.

John screamed and ran toward him, slipping on the bubble juice, which caused him to take complete flight from the top platform of the stairs to the hard concrete below....missing the 3-4 steps.

For a second, he blacked out, but awoke to the inevitable crash.

Hearing the crash myself, I flew from the kitchen to the garage only to find the worst image I have ever seen in my entire life: my little baby trapped under a heap of corroded, terrifying tools with arms and legs flailing.

It was my turn to scream.

In seconds, John managed to get to the heap of tools and shelving and lifted it all in one felt swoop while I grabbed Joseph from underneath. He cried immediately (thank God) as I rushed him into the house, not sure what I would find.

A quick body check revealed a nasty puncture wound to the finger, which was already swollen and bruising, as well as an ever expanding knot to the back of his head, surrounded by cuts and red marks around his ear, his shoulders, and his back.

Thankfully, we live next door to volunteer ambulance drivers....did I mention how great my neighbors are?

After many tears (more mine than his), it appeared that we'd gotten off really, really lucky. He would be okay. His parents, who needed a stiff drink and refreshed evaluation of the home, were still reeling

But then comes the next question: What should we do?

Bandage him up and assume he's as fine as he seems? Take him to the doctor who could "fit him in" three hours later? Or, again head to the ER where all our fears would be alleviated and he'd get a definitively good bill of health?

We went to the ER.

Not only that, the same doctor looked over him!!

Part of me felt silly for going, but I know a bigger part of me would have been a ball of nerves if we didn't get him checked out.

And I was glad we did. Though he is completely fine, they did put him on antibiotics for something that never occurred to me. Given the fact that the tool that probably punctured his finger was most likely covered in dirt, fertilizer, or any host of chemicals, there was a good chance an infection would follow.

In the grand scheme of parenting, this was a very minor incident, save for the image I can't get out of my head. But, many lessons were learned: first, the importance of paying attention to that little voice inside your head that tells you something needs to be changed; second, to never get lax with examining your home for potential hazzards; and finally, to never, EVER think a little boy is not going to touch a tool within reach.


Amanda said...

Glad he is okay. I will be re-evaluating our garage now. Thanks.

Amy M. said...

That's exactly why I put in an order for two girls.

Julie Weaver said...

OMG! Sounds faintly familiar from when my oldest son decided to swing from the tv cabinet doors, ripping the door off and pulling the entire thing on top of him with the old 27" 200lb tv, vcr, dvd player, xbox, etc. Somehow I found the strength to put myself between the kid and the equipment to help him escape. We were both bruised and battered, but nothing broken except for the entertainment center. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.

Glad you are all ok. It could have been first I thought this story was a poison control event with the fertilizer and bubbles.