(for you curious sorts, no, that is not the King)
There is a time in every mother’s life when their child experiences that first accident or trauma (the scale ranges from minute to major, but of course for first time mothers a trauma can be a hangnail; yeah, I can admit my neuroses) where one can feel actual years being shaved off one’s life. It is sobering at best, and reminds you that mothering is a job where at any moment the universe will slap you upside the head and exclaim that you are in deep and way above your pay scale. Ah, motherhood isn’t it adorable.
So, the King and I – I can’t help singing every time I write that – were at the playground the other day - as you do. And before I launch into what has made me feel 95 years old over night I must preface by saying that the King is 20 months. He’s certainly taken his fair share of falls, spills, and tumbles off chairs, small ledges, the sofa, the top of the Empire State Building [Just kidding. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention]. In short, I’m used to a bit of rough and tumble behavior; he’s a boy for godsakes.
Anyway, there was a very tall slide and the King decided that he was man enough to climb up the stairs and conquer it. Also competing for this slide were four very eager – and pushy, I have to be honest – little girls who were in no mood to wait for some toddler to work out how to climb up each rung. So after waiting our turn, with my aid, the King managed to get up to the top of the slide and get into sliding position. Meanwhile, I had these same four little girls practically up my backside, blocking my retreat down the ladder. So as I was trying to politely tell them it was either move or be stepped on, so I could move back down the ladder, the King launched forward down the slide.
Now to keep things in perspective, it’s a slide; he’s been down a multitude of slides, a multitude of times. But this one was steep and he was wearing shoes with thick rubber soles (I’m penning a letter to the shoe company as we speak) and he clearly did not realize the full scope of slide riding protocol. Before I could race around to the other side the King’s shoe had caught on the slide, projecting him violently forward, to where his head had now landed in front of his feet. Meanwhile, I could see his little limbs flailing about as I was racing to the front of the slide, and his body looked like it was going to topple off the side onto the cement (can you say heart failure). As I reached the front, the next thing I saw, was the King flying off the end like a cannonball, which had a very steep drop into the sandpit, and landing head first into the sand. When I picked him up in a puddle of absolute horror and tears (MINE not his), his face and mouth were covered in sand and he looked utterly shocked that I would let him end up in such a state.
It was then I realized that motherhood is not only NOT for the weak, but also despite your best efforts (of control and micro-management), you are bound to screw up badly. Of course, just as I was about to wrap the King in cotton, put him inside a bubble and never let him out of my sight again, the King looked at me, got up and went right back to the slide and started climbing the stairs. Those girls were impressed I can tell you that much. I of course have posttraumatic stress and spent the entire last night tossing and turning and having hallucinogenic nightmares about slides, sand, and the King hurtling through the air like some (adorable) muffin shaped cirque du soleil acrobat.
Something tells me I’m going to have develop a lot thicker skin that this if I'm going to make it to his teenage years.