Here, have all the Band-Aids

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.


  1. Kate in MI

    OMG that poor woman. I mean, Monkey gets a dramatic bruise and a good story. She gets a few years shaved off of her life.

    Here’s hoping he feels ok tomorrow, when all the ouches set in.

  2. Little Bird

    Jeez, my cousin did the same thing at about the same age and we were subjected to lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth. And his mom (bless her heart) insisted in waking him every hour or so that night to make sure he didn’t have a concussion. Hypochondria runs in the family. I come by it honestly.

  3. Kate

    Wow! Monkey is REALLY maturing! Good for him. Well done, family!

  4. RuthWells

    I have a feeling I may have, once or twice over the years, rather obnoxiously assured you that a lot of the Aspie-related over reaction stuff gets better with time. Rather than say “I told you so,” I’m going to pour you a virtual glass of wine and tell you how prett your hair looks today.

  5. Brigitte

    I love Otto’s prediction!

  6. Wendy E

    Wow, that poor mother. I’m sure Monkey will be hurting today, but that poor mother will relive that for weeks. It’s bad enough when something like that happens to our own kid, but if something happens to someone else’s kid in your care. YIKES. I know it is horrible, but there have been times when I have been in charge of a ton of girls for Scouts and all I can think of is that if someone gets hurt, I hope it is mine.

  7. Brigitte

    BTW, I was thinking of Monkey the other day, when we were watching a movie about a 13-year-old named Jeremy Fink (who apparently had some issues about when he left the house), and his mom’s nickname for him was “Monkey.” ;-)

  8. Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks}

    What a great story. I mean, I’m very sorry for all involved, but isn’t it amazing that his ability to handle such a fall is even MORE dramatic than the fall itself. HUGE!

  9. Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks}

    Related (although not nearly as funny): a few weeks ago we were visiting cousins in LA. We (the grownups) were having that horrible “What do you want to do?” conversation with a bunch of bored kids, ages 10-15. There was much eye rolling and vetoing. (“Bowling? No. Hike? No.” etc.)

    Suddenly my son pops up and says, “Well, I’m happy doing whatever the group wants. I’m flexible.” This has never happened in the History of Ever. He has ALWAYS been the one insisting on controlling the outcome (even if it meant “we will all do nothing”). It was such a monumental moment my husband and I just sat there staring.

    Then I said, “Oh, that’s right! Flexibility is your middle name!” and I hugged him and we all had a good laugh. You take your milestones where you can get ’em.

    • Mir

      Amen, sister. ;)

  10. Jen

    LOVE hearing how Monkey is maturing, you have no idea.

  11. Connor

    Speaking of D&D, have you, by chance, heard of the play She Kills Monsters? I took my 11 year old nerdling to see it last night and she LOVED it. Here’s the synopsis:

    SHE KILLS MONSTERS by Qui Nguyen.
    A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, SHE KILLS MONSTERS tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

    There is some pottymouth going on in the script, which Monkey might have a problem with, but it is funny and charming.

  12. Brenda

    Woah, I think Monkey handled that waaaaay better than I would have! He has indeed come a long way!

  13. Jeanie

    Very glad he’s okay. I kept waiting for the travesty of it all by the end of your post. You know, scraped off lips, broken shoulder and hand. Whew!

  14. Lauren

    I love hearing about the dude (and, undoubtedly, the dungeon master) that Monkey’s growing into.

  15. Faith

    The part in this story that struck me the most was the fact that, in the midst of worrying about your Monkey, you still took the time out to check on the other mom :) It’s not surprising, given what we readers know about you through your blog, but that was such a kind gesture.

  16. Brigid

    My kid has gone head over heal down our basement stairs (full flight) TWICE. Both times about killed ME. He was fine. But I’m not exactly excited to hear those days are not necessarily behind us.

  17. Jim

    OMG !!!!! “He committed to the role”….That line made coffee shoot out of my nose.

  18. Rachel

    I fell down a flight of stairs, head first on my back, AT WORK this spring. Entire flight. Concrete steps with very little rubber padding on them. Dropped several pieces of mail. My first thought was, “I didn’t hit my head” and my immediate thought after that was “Did anyone see me? No, whew.” When I told my husband he asked if it would be on camera (I work at a bank but I don’t think there are cameras in that stairwell.) Was bruised up for a week or so, but otherwise ok. So it can happen, even in your 40s. =(

  19. Andrea

    I am so, so hopeful that one of these days my guy will make these strides. Rock on, Monkey!

  20. not supergirl

    Hooray for growth! I’m proud of him, and I don’t even know the kid outside of this blog.

    I also have to note that I just love your empathy for other mom. I’ve been accused of being unconcerned about the nominally injured party for having a similar reaction in a similar situation (my kid injured at another family’s home), and I still think my instinct was the right one. I was sure the kid was OK.

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