My kids have accidents. Not all kids do. I know two families whose kids have more accidents than mine and plenty of families whose kids don’t have accidents at all. Kids who have accidents are the kids who climb trees, ride bikes, play football in the road and do tricks on the trampoline. For the sake of a couple of days’ pain from a broken arm compared to a lifetime sat around the house colouring or watching television, I will take an adventurous kid any day of the week.
We have spent many a ‘happy’ hour in A&E. You may be surprised to hear that we’ve usually been dealt with pretty quickly. It’s not too bad. There’s even a special children’s waiting room these days, so you don’t have to listen to drunks shouting and cover your kids’ ears to shield them from the language. You can watch the comings and goings of the police through the safety of a glass window. And there’s usually the parent of a bleeding toddler to chat to.
I can’t remember our first trip to A&E. It wasn’t when my eldest son trapped his fingers in the wrong side of a restaurant door. That was probably our second trip. He was only a year old.
The most frequent visitor to A&E is my younger son. He fell down the stairs twice at the age of 2. Once he got concussion and threw noodles up all over his Daddy while the doctor was examining him. The other time he was pursued down the stairs by his heavily pregnant Mummy, desperately trying and failing to grab him, whilst putting the life of his unborn baby sister at risk.
Most of the times my younger son has ended up at A&E, it’s been his big brother’s fault. The first time he was only eight months old. I was loading shopping into the car, with my baby still strapped into the trolley. For some reason my eldest, aged just 3, decided to push the trolley sideways. The trolley fell over and off the kerb and my poor baby’s face hit the pavement, although he remained strapped into his seat.
I have never panicked so much in my life. I appealed to passers-by and pharmacy staff before calling NHS Direct and bundling my two boys into the back of the car. The NHS Direct lady had helpfully suggested I take another adult in the car with me (where was I supposed to get one of those from?!) and if my son stopped breathing, to pull over and call an ambulance. My baby was completely silent on the drive to the hospital and his big brother wasn’t the best at telling me whether or not he was breathing. A very scary drive.
There was also the cut under the eye (still scarred) caused by being swung into the sofa by his brother. Who knew soft furnishings could cause so much damage? We have never got to the bottom of his brother’s involvement in the infamous tooth incident (see The whole tooth). Suffice to say he played a part. Most recently his big brother jumped on his leg during a particularly aggressive game of football on the front garden.
Only once were the tables turned. Two VERY tired boys, aged 9 and 6, were playing cricket with a wooden cricket set bought, ironically, to keep them out of mischief. My younger boy, because he is so good at everything all the time, takes the rare occasions when he loses very badly. So he lashed out at his brother and hit him on the arm with the cricket bat. My eldest was clearly in a lot of pain. I admit there was a feeling of we shouldn’t take him to A&E because it’s about time his brother got his own back. But I caved in before my husband. We knew if my eldest had hit his little brother, we’d have taken my younger son to the hospital. The X-rays were inconclusive, so he was put in plaster to be on the safe side. Luckily at fracture clinic two days later they confirmed it wasn’t broken.
There’s no prizes for guessing who has had the least accidents. Although my daughter holds the prize for having an ambulance come to the house. Just before her 2nd birthday she ran into the bathroom to see her brother, but mis-judged her course slightly and ran full-pelt into the door frame. She hit it so hard she chipped the wood. She had a proper comedy egg bump on her forehead, with a lovely cut down it. The scar is still clearly visible. But, like her brothers before her, she was absolutely fine.
Remarkably, for all their mischief and all their accidents, we’ve only had two breaks. Both my eldest. Look out for a whole blog dedicated to those soon.