As we come out of school, the wheel of DS1’s scooter gets caught in a drain and he hits the ground with a thump. Before I can check if he is alright he is up and swinging a roundhouse punch at me, which luckily I manage to deflect.
“Hey, what was that for?” I ask.
“Serves you right.”
“So it was my fault that your scooter got stuck in a drain and you fell off?”
It’s not the first time I’ve been blamed for an accident where he has hurt himself. I’ve been at fault when he has banged into his desk when I wasn’t even in his room. Come to think of it I wasn’t even on the same floor of the house.
Once I escaped the blame, however, when he somehow managed to trip over his chest of drawers. “This needs to go to the recycling,” he screamed. “It hit me on purpose.”
Anyway, I digress, back to his scooter crash… he got back on and sped off. As I followed, I noticed he’d stopped to pull his trouser leg up to inspect the damage. As I caught up with him, he showed me his hand, which had a slight bruise showing.
“Dad, it’s weird, my hand looks worse than my knee.”
“I expect your hand took the weight of your fall,” I explained.
“But my leg really hurts,” he complained, proceeding to whimper (rather falsely) in pain.
“Ow, ow,” he exclaimed every time he pushed off on his scooter, as if to prove the point. He couldn’t sustain this charade the whole way home though.
Once home, it soon became clear that, while not necessarily in real physical pain, the shock of his fall had had an affect. I allowed him some TV time and offered to get him a snack. Unfortunately, he was unable to tell me what he wanted. Every suggestion was greeted with a shoulder shrug.
“I tell you what, you have a think and when you know what you want let me know,” I said, and turned to go.
“OI! Come back. Where’s my snack.”
“Every suggestion I’ve made you’ve said, ‘I dunno’.”
“No I haven’t.”
“OK, so you shrugged your shoulders, which is the same thing.”
Yes, I could just go and get him something and be done with it. But we’ve had this before and he’s got hysterical about me getting the wrong thing and that I know what he really wants. So now I don’t.
We continued this back and forth until I’d had enough and I left the room. Miraculously, his near-broken leg had recovered enough to tear after me and chastise me for not getting his snack.
After a few choice words, we started negotiations again and this time managed to agree on a foodstuff. He returned to the sofa with his ‘injuries’ while I fetched his snack.
“Dad, I know another programme they’ve used in Horrible Histories,” he informed me as I put his plate down. It’s A Place in the Sun, and they’ve called it ‘A Historical Place in the Sun’.”
It was as if nothing had happened.
Oh, I’ve fallen… again
I returned to my study and got on with some work. Some 15 minutes later he appeared behind me, hunched over, clutching his knee and his back. Try doing that yourself – it’s quite a feat of contortionism.
“Ow, my back,” he whimpered.
“What have you done? Have you fallen off the sofa?”
“What’s wrong then?”
“But I thought you said your back hurt.”
“No I didn’t.”
And as quickly as he had arrived he was off.
I then found him lying on the dining room floor. “My head hurts, I’ve got a headache,” he moaned.
“Do you want some Calpol?” I asked.
Calpol is the miracle medicine that cures all kids’ ailments. I’m sure it’s just a placebo. But, hey, it does the job.
Calpol administered, he was immediately better. I wish I’d thought of that sooner. Or better still, he’d asked me for some at the outset.
This wasn’t DS1’s first fall of the week – I’m thinking about getting him one of those panic buttons that old people have in their retirement flats.
While he was at Nana and Grandpa’s, Nana told me she’d heard an almighty thump from upstairs and had rushed up to find DS1 on the floor of the study, Grandpa’s tall stool on the floor next to him. There was a large hole in the knee of his trousers.
“What happened?” Nana asked him.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
By the time I came to pick him up, he had drawn fake blood on his knee to, erm, draw attention to his injury.
“So what happened?” I asked him on the way home.
“Why don’t you ask Nana? She’s very chatty and descriptive.”
There’s no denying that.
“But she wasn’t in the room when it happened was she? So I’m asking you.”
“I don’t know what happened,” he repeated.
Now, I’m no detective, but I’d put my money on this being a faked fall. The hole in his trousers looked suspiciously like it had been cut out. There was no way it was just a rip – there was a whole patch of material missing.
What the purpose was I don’t know. Attention seeking? Trying to communicate that something was wrong and he didn’t know what or how to explain it? I’ll probably never know.
There was some good news from Nana’s, though. A tooth that had been wobbly for some time had finally fallen out. The bad news was that, somehow, in between my parents’ house and ours he had lost it.
He was distraught, how would the Tooth Fairy be able to leave him some money now?
The wife hatched a cunning plan. “If you write a note for the Tooth Fairy explaining what happened and where she might be able to find it,” she told him. “Then, providing she is able to find it, she’ll leave you some money.”
“Well, magic tells her that your tooth has fallen out, so magic will help her find it.”
This was gleefully accepted.
“So, shall we write a letter to the Tooth Fairy then?” I asked him at bedtime.
He fetched a scrap of paper and began writing: “Dear T. Fairy…”
This reminds me of a story a mate told me about his son and his first encounter with the Tooth Fairy. “So let me get this straight,” his son said. “A stranger breaks into our house, comes into my room, takes my tooth and leaves me some money… and you’re OK with that are you?”
It’s amazing what kids believe isn’t it. I’m convinced DS1 knows the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, but the thought of not believing and missing out on some cash helps keep the magic alive.
After all, he is forthright in his views on God: “How can you pray to something that doesn’t exist!” he railed when we were talking about different religions one day.
But Santa Claus is a different matter entirely. After a sketch about child chimney sweeps in Horrible Histories, he turned to me and announced: “I don’t know why child chimney sweeps get stuck up the chimney. Santa doesn’t, and he’s old and fat.