There comes a time in the life of every young girl when you realize she probably needs to live inside a ball of bubble wrap. That realization comes in the form of a little orange wristband.
When Annie, now 11, was 4, she was accepted into the Headstart program. It was so fun dressing her up for school and seeing her off on her tiny little pre-school bus!
But I don't remember her lessons or her crafts from that year. You see my daughter is a klutz, just like her mommy. She was always running into stuff or falling down, getting paper cuts, dropping dishes. You name it, she did it. We would hear a thud or a crash or a fwump and then... "Sorry!" or "Can I have a towel?" or some such.
One day my cute little Annie came home with an orange wristband and a letter.
"What a pretty bracelet," I said, lifting her hand to look at it. In big black letters were typed the words "HEAD INJURY". --gasp!--
She handed me the letter, which was just a form with the date and the time and the details. She'd tripped and bumped her head. No big deal. I was relieved to say the least.
By the time she'd come home with a couple, we realized that they were just being extra careful with the little ones... I guess we underestimated the strength of her clumsiness! One day, she came home with a band, a letter, and a headache . I gave her some Tylenol and opened the letter, expecting the usual. What would it be this time? A chair? The wall? The swingset? Another kid?
Two words: "Please call."
What the ....?! Annie was no help. She couldn't figure out why I was supposed to call. I figured it was because of the headache. She said it was a sore bump. Maybe someone had been ON the swingset this time...
So I called. (fast-forward through the niceties)
Teacher: Thanks for calling! I just, I wanted to tell you this one in person. I was worried that you might be upset because Annie seems to get hurt so much here at school.
Me: Well, I guess it does seem like a lot (inwardly I was thinking of all the stuff she ran into at home...she WAS in an awkward stage after all)
Teacher: (she was starting to sound nervous) Well, you see, she had a bit of an accident today...
Me: uh, huh....
Teacher: um, I wasn't sure you'd believe me if I wrote it down.
Me: uh, huh.... (???)
Teacher: well, you see, she has 2 bumps.
Teacher: Um, yes. Two. Um, she was crossing the room, you see, and she wasn't really watching where she was going?
Me: uh, huh...
Teacher: And, a friend called to her, so she ran towards her friend, but...
Me: she was running?
Teacher: (glad to have something positive to say) oh, yes, but we talked about how that was a real bad idea, you see, because of what happened.
Me: and what happened, exactly?
Teacher: oh, um. She ran into the door.
Me: What? That's it?
Teacher: No, well, yes, but, um, the door was open at the time.
Me: Open? But? How did she...?
Teacher: She ran into the narrow side of the door. You know, the skinny edge?
Me: (sounding super intelligent, I'm sure) The skinny edge.
Teacher: Yes. (I think at this point she was just glad to be almost done with the story because she finally sped up.) She was running to her friend, but she hadn't looked up first, so she ran straight into the skinny edge of the door, but because she was running, she hit the door pretty hard, and she hadn't seen it coming, you know, like I said, and so she fell down, too. Backwards. So that's the two bumps. The one on the front from the door, and then there's one on the back from the floor.
(dead silence on both ends. I was processing all the confession. I think she was probably worried I was going to throw a fit.)
Me: um. The skinny edge? The skinny edge. And the floor.
Me: Oh. Ok. Well, I guess that explains the headache. Thanks for telling me. (What a lame answer, right?)
Teacher: You're welcome. Thanks for calling.
I hung up the phone, and tried to picture it in my head --the skinny side?-- and suddenly, I realized I was a bad parent. A bad, bad, baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad parent.
Because I giggled. It was like a bad slapstick routine, and despite my best efforts, I giggled! No way could she have run into the edge of the door. How could she do that? It must have just looked that way. No one runs into the skinny edge of a door... not for real.
So I went to hug my little Annie, and check on her. She was fine, playing and laughing. I looked at her forehead to see if she would have a bruise, and then I turned into an even worse parent.
I laughed. So help me I laughed right out loud. I shook and rocked back and forth. Because, there, smack in the middle of her noggin, were two parallel bruises about an inch and a half apart.
Go ahead, I dare you. Go measure the skinny edge of your door.