Go ahead and laugh at me now: somehow I imagined I might have a fairly quiet evening… then Emily came home from tae kwon do complaining that her wrist hurt. She routinely has complaints, often at high volume, coincidentally appearing in close proximity to undone chores or uneaten dinner. But this one was persistent and – like her “kind of upsetting” interaction last month – she was quiet about it. Cue Mom-dar.
She had full mobility and it wasn’t swollen, so I was fairly certain it wasn’t broken… but this is a child who fractured an elbow and slept on it before we got it checked out, and another time before that she snapped her collarbone in two just by falling out of bed onto a carpeted floor, and Willem was about to tuck her back in because she wasn’t really crying (which makes him sound like an ass, and I don’t mean it that way; like any rational human, he never considered that she could have seriously harmed herself with a fall so unremarkable that I didn’t even feel it through the floorboards… I just caught something not-quite-right in her tone of voice and insisted on turning her light on to check her out before stumbling back to bed).
Anyway, for all of her dramatic ways and high-intensity interactions, Emily somehow has learned one important-to-Mom lesson: when it comes to matters of health and physical integrity, don’t overdo it. Be as accurate and honest as you can, because when you’re calm and matter-of-fact, Mom will listen with infinitely more care and attention than she does to the Academy-Award-nominated performance following a hangnail.
Off we went, for a delightful evening of sitting in uncomfortable plastic chairs watching “Tangled” in Spanish with a dozen strangers… you would think I’d have noticed that on my agenda for the evening, but apparently it completely slipped by me until it was happening.
The thing is, it actually was a delightful evening, in a twisted and next-time-let’s-skip-the-copay sort of way. She’s fine, just a sprain, which means it’s about the perfect level of adventure for her, exciting enough to be worth recounting but lame enough to keep any real stress or worry at bay. She talked me into buying her a package of Sharpies, so that her friends can sign her Ace bandage. Yes, really. And she is already working on her punchline: “I went to tae kwon do class, and I got my butt – er, I mean, wrist – kicked (well, actually, it was punched) by an eight-year-old.”
…and sometimes I wonder just how much of an impact I’ve had on my children’s personalities.