July Fourth: In Which Junior Discovers His Limits, and We Discover How Tough He Is.

Junior has been pushing his physical limits lately, testing to see what his body can do. He’s four and a half, and since spring finally hit Chicago he’s been accumulating new bruises far faster than the old ones can heal. When he gets undressed, he appears from his thighs to his ankles to be more bruise than boy. Unfocused Girl went through this a couple of times, and Junior went through a similar phase the summer after he turned two, but since he’s bigger and older now he can do more interesting things and do even more damage.

Example: a week or two ago, while Unfocused Girl was at a class at the Y, the Mrs. took Junior to the playground. When she told him it was time to go pick up UG, he begged to be pushed on the swings before they left. The Mrs. relented, and agreed to push him four times on the swing. He climbed onto the swing — the big kid swing, not the baby swing — and with each push, they counted together: “One!” “Two!” “Three!”

On “Four!” he waited until he got to the highest point of the arc and let go, spreading his arms wide. If you had seen him at that moment, Mrs. Unfocused said, you’d think the kid could fly. Until he belly-flopped onto the rubber tile.

He was lucky, and got up laughing.

We hosted an Independence Day barbecue yesterday, not huge, just family. At one point, Junior was lying on his belly on one of the swings on our backyard playset, when he tipped over and landed on his face. He didn’t have anything worse than a scraped nose, but it shook him up and he cried for a while before we could get him calmed down.

He cried less than that an hour later when he broke his arm.

He was on the playset, at the top of the slide. He was Spider-Man, and he said that I should be the Joker, and come up the slide, so I did. He pushed me down, and I slid down the slide. As I reached the bottom, he started down the slide after me — on foot, not on his bottom.

If that sounds unstable, well, duh. Still, even though I was standing a few feet away and saw it happen, I don’t have any idea how or why he went over the side, but he did. He landed on his front, then rolled over and started yelling; it took me less than a second to start yelling too, because his right arm was bent at a 60-degree angle about two inches up from his wrist. We put a dishtowel over his arm because the sight of his arm bent that way really bothered him, and it bothered me, too.

I’ll spare you the details from the rest of the evening, except to say that (1) he stopped crying before we got to the car, and did not cry again for the rest of the night except when the nurse stuck the IV into his left hand to give him morphine, a drug I associate with addicts in Agatha Christie novels, not pediatric medicine, and (2) Children’s Memorial Hospital is, as you might imagine, the place to go with a child injured for any reason, but certainly it’s the place to bring a child with a broken bone on a major national holiday. We checked in at 6:50pm, and walked out at 10:30, with Junior — awake and yammering away, just like normal — wearing a plaster cast from his elbow to his thumb.

Today was a little rough. Junior watched a lot of TV, and had good moments and bad. One of the bad moments came around four o’clock, when he told us that his arm was straight and didn’t hurt anymore, so it was time to take the cast off, and we had to explain what “4 to 6 weeks” means. He cried then, and asked about our trip to the beach later in the summer; we told him we didn’t know, but we thought there was a cover we could put over his cast to let him go to the beach.

There were good parts, though. After some coaxing, he agreed to walk around the corner to Starbucks at around 5:30, but only if I carried him down the stairs from our front porch (a compromise from his original negotiating position that I should carry him all the way to Starbucks and back), and he really enjoyed the distraction. We spent an hour or so outside after that, chatting with neighbors and using up the noisemakers and poppers we didn’t get to use last night.

Now he’s finally asleep, and I’m falling asleep at the computer. The Mrs. says I was more restless last night than I’ve ever been. I’ll post some more about it, and an update, tomorrow.


3 responses to “July Fourth: In Which Junior Discovers His Limits, and We Discover How Tough He Is.

  1. Sorry to hear about your son’s arm. I’m sure it’s hard for him to be a little less active. Sounds like he’s being a trooper about it though. I hope the 4 to 6 weeks go by quickly for him.

  2. Oh, no! Last year at the start of kindergarten, there were three girls in AJ’s class in slings — AJ called them “The Broken Arm Girls” for the rest of the school year, long after the casts were off. All three broke their arms going down (or off) slides in some way or another. It seems to be par for the course for some kids. Let’s hope it’s more like 4 than 6 weeks. So far video games seem to be the only thing we’ve found to keep AJ truly still. Not my favorite method, though. Have you tried duct tape and a chair? No, I didn’t think so. But there have been one or two moments where it’s seemed like a viable option for AJ. I hope he and the rest of you are feeling better soon.

  3. Yikes! Poor Junior (and poor you and Mrs. UF). I keep waiting for something similar to happen to Red. She’s a daredevil and loves to jump off things and one day her luck is going to run out.

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