Monday, February 24, 2020

A little more tripping

I have spent the past 2+ years protecting my baby from the world. And by "the world," what I mean is...his older siblings (specifically Zoë and Benjamin). They are just...not careful...with him.

I'm a lot less nervous about them hurting him now than I was when he was a tiny, helpless baby and they were doing things like tipping over the pack'n'play to roll him out so they could play with him and things like that. Now that he's bigger he's able to fend for himself a little better (and Benjamin and Zoë deserve everything he does to fight them off) and is better able to communicate his desires with cries of, "Go away! Leave me alone! Don't touch me! I want Mom!" instead of just suffering in sweet baby silence.

Still, they're just not gentle with him and he's still so much littler than everyone that I worry.

Yesterday the three little kids went outside together and I was fretting about what to do because I don't like the baby to go outside without a more responsible person with him and I had a couple of things inside that I needed to attend to. Instead I was watching out the window while the children played.

"He'll be fine," Andrew said, coming upon me at the window. "You're all about free-range parenting."

"Not with my two-year-old!" I said.

"Let him explore."

"They're not careful!"

"They're somewhat responsible."

"They're not remotely responsible. I mean, I guess they'd tell me if he got hurt but that's the problem:  he's going to get hurt."

"Kids get hurt all the time. He'll be fine."

"I'm going to get one of the girls to watch him for a minute..."

"Oh, but they're playing so nicely and he's just right in the backyard he'll be..."

Our conversation was interrupted by a piercing scream.


"You see?" I said, wheeling back to the window. "He's hurt already!"

"But look. They're helping him up to the house."

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a bit of a worry wart (which is why free-range parenting is so awesome for me, right?) but I don't mind a bloodied knee or a little bonk on the noggin. I can pull out splinters and make cold compresses. Having to pull out the first aid kit doesn't really bother me; kids will get into scrapes.

I worry about debilitating accidents. And this screaming was pretty serious.

"What happened?" I asked, though I didn't really get the answer until about fifteen minutes later when I finally managed to distract and calm down Alexander who, for the record, still hasn't put any weight on his left leg.

Benjamin was lifting Alexander up...and then stumbled and dropped him...and then tripped and fell on top of him.

They were on the trampoline but they weren't jumping because Benjamin knows he's been banned from jumping on the trampoline with Alexander (for reasons). The last time I had looked out the window, Alexander was running around on the trampoline (which I wasn't entirely happy about either since it meant Zoë and Benjamin had hauled him up there and I don't like them on the trampoline with him at all).

Grandpa is chuckling to himself in an I-told-you-so manner right now, I'm sure.

But I still don't blame the trampoline. I mostly blame myself for not intervening earlier but also I'm upset that Alexander's immediately older siblings can't treat him like the baby he is. I mean, I guess they kind of do...but they treat him more like he's a mix between a rag doll and a professional wrestler.

And I'm just so sad that he's refusing to walk again. And I'm not sure how serious it is because he hasn't been fussing about it hurting (aside from refusing to put weight on it). And I feel embarrassed to take him in again for being hurt like this because last time it turned out to be nothing but what if this time it's something. And I hate the society that we live in that makes me feel scared to go into the doctor—scared about how much it will cost and scared about what presumptions the clinic will make about the safety of our home.

In other news, we've been doing a science experiment involving eggs the last few days. We soaked one egg in a mouthwash containing fluoride overnight and another egg in water. And then we moved the eggs into vinegar. The egg that had been in water immediately began to break down but the egg that had been soaking in fluoride managed to hold off the vinegar for quite a long time (the plain egg started bubbling immediately and began floating within 3 minutes; the fluoride egg didn't bubble for several minutes and didn't start floating until about 45 minutes had passed).

After leaving them in vinegar for 48 hours both shells dissolved anyway (so fluoride needs to be reapplied, which is why we brush our teeth and things like that).

Today we were stepping back into our cell unit (that we just finished) to talk a bit more about osmosis. We were going to put one of our "rubber eggs" into salt water and one into tap water to see what would happen to the eggs, so I charged the children with ever so carefully and gently wiping off the remaining shell from our eggs (it's more just a film than a shell at this point).

"This membrane is so delicate," I said. "So just gently, gently rub it with the tips of your fingers. Don't squish it, Ben. Don't poke it. Son. Gentle. Careful. Just...Ben...I know it feels like rubber but it's not rubber. It's just that thin little membrane you see when you peel a hard boiled egg, you know. It's so delicate. Just...you're being too rough. Ben. Ben. Ben. BEN. Stop. Benjamin, be gentle."

Want to guess what happened to Benjamin's egg?

Yeah. It popped.

So now our experiment will take twice as long. The egg is in a salt water solution now and tomorrow we'll move it to plain water. And eventually this child will learn how to follow instructions and be a little more gentle, right?

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