Our goal as parents is to protect our children. It’s an inherent trait that appears when the screaming (or not in Jenna’s case) child is plopped in your arms. But let’s face it. We’re human and accidents happen.
This morning I tried my best to convince my four year old, Emma, to wear long sleeves and pants. The temperature took a dive overnight and the rain moving in cooled things off considerably. But Emma’s an obstinate child and not always prone to taking suggestion. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the many years of raising children, it’s to pick your battles. So I told her “Fine. Wear that short sleeved unicorn shirt and the jean shorts, but wear a jacket.”
To which she happily agreed.
I folded laundry– which I got sucked into while trying to sway her outfit decision– when she showed up wearing a too small fleece jacket, hood pulled over her head. She was quite proud of herself, especially with the hood in place, and I told her, “Great job!” Never mind that the jacket didn’t match her clothes nor that the sleeves were 3/4 length on her. I noticed that she was attempting to zip the zipper.
“Here, let me help.” I offered, reaching for it.
She jerked sideways. “No! I’ll do it!”
“Okay.” And I continued to fold leggings, which I suggested she wear under her shorts.
She wanted no part of that outfit disaster. This from the child who wore a pajama top to school just a week ago and who believes leggings go with everything. Even pajama tops.
I shrugged because I’m just so dog gone agreeable. And I was also trying to wrap up the laundry thing so I could get to the grocery store.
“Arg!” Emma shrieked.
I turned to see the bottom of one side of her zipper stuck half-way up the other side.
“Do you want me to help?”
She did so I grabbed the zipper and tugged. The zipper was still lodged. I got a better hold and then gave a good strong jerk. The zipper came loose but the upward momentum continue until it stopped. When it came into contact with Emma’s nose.
Sometimes Emma will shake off an injury. I’ve seen the child take a tumble and skin both knees bloody, get up like nothing happened and go on her way. Today wasn’t one of those days.
“You punched me in the nose!” she cried.
I scooped her into a hug. “I’m so sorry, baby.”
“You hit shouldn’t hit people!”
“It was an accident.” Then I carried her downstairs where I promptly wrote a Facebook update and similar Tweet confessing my child abuse.
She sat on my lap continuing to cry, not from her pain but her outrage.
“I’m going to tell my teachers.”
Who are required by law to report suspicious behavior. Great. Thank goodness it was Monday and she only has preschool on Tuesday and Thursday.
“You shouldn’t punch people in the face!”
I rocked her in my chair. “You’re right. I’m so sorry. I should have been more careful.” I glanced at the clock. I needed to get to the grocery store so I had time to make the potluck item for my fourteen year old daughter’s play dress rehearsal.
“You don’t punch me in the face!”
I couldn’t take her to the grocery store this way. My luck I’d be pushing the cart down the frozen food aisle and Emma would tell the little old lady stocking up on frozen peas, “My mommy punched me in the face.”
So I took a detour instead. We went to the post office because we all know government employees are used to hearing a wide assortment of far-fetched tales.
I’m happy to report that Emma quickly forgot her abuse, bribed by a basket of Tootsie Rolls in a wicker basket on the post office counter, and subsequent promise of Skittles at Hy-Vee.
I’m not too high and mighty to abstain from bribery.
So far, Child Protective Services hasn’t come knocking on my door, but tomorrow’s another day and one more opportunity to commit a physical offense.
Wait until I burn her ear with a curling iron.