Sunday, January 1, 2012

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Life Imitates Art

Yesterday Little Brother was poring over a playmobil catalog and commented "Look, Mom, this boy fell off his bike and broke his arm."  I was mildly concerned that he was so traumatized as to be projecting his own life onto an advertisement, until I looked closer and saw that our life is now indeed mirroring a playmobil scenario.

Last week, the Eldest and the Ninja managed to, with a bike, a scooter, and a tow rope, give the Ninja a compound supracondylar fracture of the humerus.  The Ninja stayed incredibly collected and calm through the whole ordeal, while the Eldest, who had cajoled his brother into this adventure (complete with a guarantee of payment if he got hurt) and who felt responsible for disregarding Dad's express orders against tying ropes to bikes, was near hysterical with grief.  Which all makes the Eldest sound worse than he deserves.  He has a soft heart and a strong conscience to balance out his harebrained ideas.  Privately Dad and I call him the Instigator... and he's also the one all the little kids flock to, because he is the most exciting playmate.

The Ninja is the contemplative, deliberate one in the family, the one who often lives in his own mind in a world governed by logic.  The risks he takes are, if misinformed, at least calculated (hence the request for a guarantee).  Once, when he was 3, and not believing me when I told him that he couldn't tell by looking at it whether the stove was hot, he watched for me to turn off the stove, and then, when I was busy with his brother, went to deliberately test it.  I had no idea until he didn't come when called to do his chores, and going to look for him I found him running his fingers under cold water in the upstairs bathroom, tears streaming down his face and crying defiantly, "I don't want to tell you what I was doing," which turned soon enough into "Mommy, why was it still hot after you turned it off?"  And so I found myself, while assuaging his wounded pride and bandaging his blistered fingers, trying to explain thermal conductivity to a 3-year-old. 

With such different personalities in the house, coexistence is not always a peaceful thing, and so often I am called in to arbitrate irreconcilable disputes.  Which may explain why I could be calm at the scene of the accident and through the ambulance ride, in the ER, and at Radiology, but narrowly escaped bursting into tears when the Ninja asked to talk to the Eldest on the phone through a pain- and narcotic-clouded haze, and said, "I forgive you.  I forgive you.  I'm all right.  No, it doesn't hurt too much."

We are home now, held together with a few pins, plaster splint, and the closeness of a shared trial.  A little frailer, a little more aware of our fragility, but oh, so much stronger for it all.

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