My son's head, that is. This post was just going to be about Ethan's growing affinity for all things guitar-related (thus, how he is a "rock" star), but instead I have to tell you about how his hard-as-diamond noggin all but knocked a little girl unconscious at My Gym the other day. (I'll get to the rockstar stuff this weekend)
A month or so ago, my dad, here visiting for Channukah, accompanied Ethan and me to our weekly class at My Gym. It consists of your basic circle time hand-clapping and puppet shows, plenty of running around after giant exercise balls, climbing ladders and swinging from monkey bars. My father, who spent 40+ years of his life in hospital administration--you know when you go into an elevator and it says the the most recent inspection certificate can be procured at the office of the safety chairman? That's my dad. He's the safety man--was more than a bit hesitant about this place.
As Ethan scaled the ladders to lofty heights where only my hand on his butt kept him from plummeting to....the thickly padded floor below, my dad clucked and paced, surely questioning my competence as a mother. While Ethan charged up carpeted ramps to the "tree house" and then wanted to slide down into the ballpit, already swarming with the arms and legs of his partially immersed playmates, I saw my father's eyes sizing up the variety of ways in which a toddler might kill and/or maim himself or others, and I could see him running through the figures in his head. He never said anything, but I could see him thinking, Oh, the liability!
As we left that day, after an exhaustive hour of chasing Ethan from one death-defying stunt to the other, my dad, who looked himself to perhaps need a bit of a nap, said, "I wouldn't insure that place." And I laughed at him because that is my dad to a "t". Always outwardly encouraging and supportive, but always inwardly worrying about worst-case scenario. As we drove through the canyon, oooh'ing and ahhhh'ing at the ginormous villa-esque estates, massive homes teetering at the edges of cliffs, some of them literally propped up on stilts, my father's only comment was a repeated, "I wouldn't insure that house."
And you know what? Dad's usually right. I chuckled and shook my head as we drove away from My Gym that morning, loving Dad's caution and concern, but not really taking it to heart because, really, there's so much padding in that place, a kid would be hard-pressed to find a sharp edge or hard surface on which to inflict any damage.
Unless they are using their own body, or more specifically, their own head, as the weapon. Um. Oh yeah.
This Wednesday, at the "free play" hour at the gym, Ethan ventured where he rarely goes--the trampoline. He's not the world's greatest jumper, and he's easily intimidated by the bigger kids, so he generally stays away from the bouncing stretch of plastic and works more on the climbing and running options. But he was feeling adventurous on Wednesday and there was only one other little kid on the trampoline, a little girl with adorable blonde pony-tails in perfect little ringlets, sparkling blue eyes and a beautiful smile. Little did I know that Ethan was only moments away from turning her into a screaming, red-faced, black and blued shadow of her former self.
She was on her side of the trampoline, Ethan was on his. Happy happy bouncing. Giggling. I was holding Ethan's hand as he perfected his leaping skills. Pretty little girl laughing and jumping. All is great with the world. Then, big leaps. The world goes to slo-mo. Ethan's in the air, his hand slips out of mine. Little girl loses balance and falls to the trampoline, on her back. Ethan descends from great heights, and, like a WWE wrestler diving from the edge of the ring, lands on little girl, the back of his head, making contact with her forehead and eye-socket with a sickening "thud". And then the screaming.
Oh, the screaming. After the nauseating "thud", there was so much screaming. I'm only thankful he didn't land on her nose, because then there would have been "thud", screaming and blood. Two out of three is bad enough in this case.
Fortunately the My Gym staff is equipped for such a "thud" and came running with ice packs for the injured. The screaming lasted for. e. ver. Ethan cried for a bit, I think mostly out of fear, because the little girl was wailing to such a degree and Ethan just knew he'd had something to do with it.
When we left (the incident happened only five minutes before the end of "free time"), the little girl was still huddled up against her nanny on the floor, a giant red bump forming on her forehead and her hand still over her eye. Ethan has apologized to her in his scared little voice no less than a dozen times and I was all but tearing my clothes in atonement. The nanny assured me she was fine and the My Gym people said there was nothing we could have done, it was an accident, but JEEZ!!! It's like Ethan threw a boulder at this girl's forehead. Poor thing.
After the fact, as we drove away, Ethan found it quite thrilling and told me over and over again as the day went on, "I fell and hit her forehead. It was an accident, right? But it hurt. I didn't mean to hurt, but it hurt. I hurt her forehead." Yes, dear. You did. Let's just be glad Grampy wasn't here to see it.