I’m sure this will come as a complete shock to anyone who’s been reading here for longer than a day or two, but Monkey has a small group of friends with whom he gathers every few weeks to play Dungeons & Dragons. This band of merry nerdlings is made up of the nicest kids imaginable with even kinder parents, and we especially appreciate having this group now that some of us are no longer at Hippie School. With Monkey truly homeschooling most of the time this year, every get-out-and-be-social opportunity is even more important for him more than ever before. And he just really loves D&D and these other boys with his whole nerdy heart.
So yesterday was a D&D day, and we dropped an excited, bouncy Monkey off at the hosting friend’s house, and then as I was back here at home riding herd on a certain other child who had a crap-ton of indecipherable homework, I thought, “Well, this is unpleasant. I’m glad this is the worst thing that’s going to happen today.” (When will I learn, Internet? WHEN? I should just go get on LinkedIn right now and change my job title to “Tempting Fate.”)
The phone rang a good hour before scheduled pick-up, and it was the mom over at the D&D house, with just the slightest undertone of panic in her voice.
“Mir? Monkey’s okay. He’s okay.” Uhhhh… never a good way to start a phone call, right? “He’s fine, he didn’t even want me to call you, but… he fell down the stairs.”
My mind raced through the possibilities. If he was fine and didn’t want me called, he probably just tripped on a few steps, right? Nope, he took a header down the whole staircase. An entire uncarpeted flight! He committed to the role, if you will. But he was FINE, I’M FINE because, you see, they hadn’t yet completed their mission. We moms struck a deal: He could stay and finish up, as long as he took some Advil. “He’s gonna be pretty sore tomorrow,” the voice on the other end of the phone confided. “He’s got a couple of ice packs and quite a few bruises.”
The thing with Monkey, of course, is that pain is an all-or-nothing affair with him. I trust the other parents, anyway, so I knew that if he had a a serious injury they would’ve figured that out and handled it as needed, but if he wasn’t screaming that he was dying I knew that in all likelihood, he was okay. The other mom sounded wrecked, though. So we talked about Monkey and finally I said, “Hey, are YOU okay?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” she said. “It was just… you know, there’s that unmistakeable sound of someone tumbling and the adrenaline rush and… yeah, I’m okay.” I felt worse for her than for Monkey. There’s nothing more heart-stopping than watching someone else’s kid get hurt in your care, even when the kids involved are gangly man-children.
We had plans last night, so Otto, Chickadee, and I piled into the car to go pick Monkey up at the appointed time, and on the way I warned Chickie to be kind to her brother because he’d had a spill, and her eyes widened and she asked if he was okay, then immediately corrected herself that he would’ve demanded we get him immediately if he hadn’t been. “I wonder how it happened, though,” she mused. “Sounds painful.”
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll hear AAAAAAALL about it,” said Otto. “He’ll get in the car and we’ll be treated to an extended tale of how it wasn’t his fault, their floor was too slippery, they were trying to kill him, someone pushed him, he hit every stair on the way down WITH HIS HEAD, the whole thing took half an hour because their house is 80 stories tall and there were 103 steps, he bled everywhere, probably every bone in his body is broken… you know, the usual.”
We all giggled. Monkey can be a little melodramatic when it comes to injury.
When we arrived, though, Monkey was all smiles and bravado. “I told her I was fine,” he said, chest puffing up just a little. “I SAID she didn’t need to call you. I’m just a little banged up. I can handle it, I’m pretty tough.” The other mom and I exchanged a meaningful glance. My, what a long, long way we’ve come from the little guy who would roll around on the floor writhing if another child dared to bump into him. He showed me the inside of one elbow, where a long scrape ended in an explosion of deep purple bruising, and shrugged and insisted it wasn’t so bad.
He gathered up his stuff, and we said our thank-yous, and then we got into the car and headed out.
As we pulled back out onto the highway, I turned around to face my son. “So Monkey,” I said, trying to keep my voice neutral. “What exactly HAPPENED?”
We three non-stair-tumblers braced for the Tale Of The Century. Surely now that he didn’t have to save face in front of his buddies, we would be treated to the Extended Tragedy Remix version of The Worst Injury Ever.
Instead, he just shrugged. “I was just in my socks and I slipped,” he said. “Just one of those things, I guess.” He looked out the window, seemingly deep in contemplation. “While I was falling it was kind of weird,” he added. I waited for him to say that his life flashed before his eyes, or everything went into slow motion. “I’m pretty sure I heard someone yell the S-word,” he concluded, his tone suggesting that even an unplanned trip down the stairs did not excuse such coarse language.
“I think that when you hear someone falling down your stairs, that’s an appropriate reaction,” I told him, trying not to laugh.
So he’s fine, if a little judgy about those of us with pottymouth.