I’ve never had great spatial skills when it comes to personal space. I’ve opened cupboard doors into my forehead – once even gave myself a shiner, jammed my fingers while guiding a sliding pocket door back into the wall (my middle finger usually gets the brunt of that maneuver), and have a permanent bluish ellipse of bruises on my thigh where I continually bumped into tables in my Kindergarten classroom. However, I wasn’t aware of how these dangerous behaviors could be passed on to my children just by proxy.
Last night, we had another “Head ’em out, move ’em up” bedtime dash. I was in deep concentration (actually just pondering the feasibility of fish with parachutes) while listening to my daughter read a rather dramatic interpretation of Dr. Seuss’ McElligot’s Pool. The other was brushing his teeth with the least amount of effort possible. We finished up quickly and I ducked into the next room to sincerely (but in a bit of hurry) discuss how fish really like spinner bait on cold days and Gulp bait on sunny days and blah, blah, blah. (Sorry, Buddy – it was just getting too late.) I rounded out that conversation, did the routine of good nights, and headed to my usual 9:00 pm destination: the laundry room.
Not three minutes later, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. I thought, “What now? Why can’t they just embrace the bed!?” I dropped my basket and headed toward the footsteps – in a little bit of a huff. At the midpoint of the stairs I found my son with an apparent explosion of the Kleenex box held to his face. I calmed down. “What happened?” And this is where I realized that I, alone, have doomed my children to a lifetime of trying to explain to their future friends how in the world they cut their nose with a zipper… or how in the heck did they possibly get such a large paper cut across their forehead.
He went on to explain that while he was trying to pull the charger for his iPod out of the wall by his bed, it somehow slipped out of his hand, and his own fist came back and bopped him square in the nose… so much that he now had a bloody nose. He wasn’t crying (which is a good sign, as this affliction seems to be chronic). He just wanted to tell me that he was surprised how much it smarts when you take a fist to the nose.
We stopped the bleeding and laughed while he reenacted the incident several times for me. I showed him a few of my scars that were totally self-inflicted, and then apologized to him for the bruises, cuts, gashes, and blows he will no doubt experience at his own hands in the future. At least we can suffer together. I put my arm around him, guided him back to bed and couldn’t help but think, actions speak louder than words, it’s true… but actions hurt more, too.