Yesterday afternoon I was downstairs going through baby clothes while the kids played out back. I wasn’t far from the patio door, so I could hear them playing. Suddenly I stopped, all action arrested by the sound of screaming. I could tell in a moment it wasn’t Princess, and a moment later that it was Rascal, and for him to be crying so badly must mean trouble. By this time I was wrenching the patio door open and meeting him as he came up the sloped backyard holding his head. I marveled at my calm philosophic manner as I examined him for the gaping wound that, I was sure, would need stitches. Blood? Concussion? Broken Bones? Fortunately, Rascal had no visible injury whatsoever.
“So what happened?” I asked, after his screaming subsided into a shrieking sob.
Princess, who had tagged along after Rascal to witness any action forthcoming, piped up with an explanation. “Rascal bonchked his head.” The funny thing is, that’s her generic term for most injuries, and not always the most enlightening.
Rascal’s explanation was even more vague. “I DON’T LIKE THIS HOUSE!!! I DON’T LIKE THIS HILL!!!”
This hill? I looked down the backyard, and saw his bike standing completely upright but parked a little too forcefully into our chain link fence. Eventually it came out that he had tried to ride it down the sloping part of our backyard and jumped clear when he found himself going too fast. “Well, honey,” I said as I hugged him, “I don’t think you’re ready for mountain biking yet. Stick to riding on flat surfaces, ok? No more bikes in the backyard. We’ll take it to the soccer field this weekend and you can ride the trail around it.”
I know I can’t stop him from mountain biking altogether–not here, at any rate. Besides, I think I heard a story once about Haus Meister and his brother going biking three days before our wedding and ending the ride by launching themselves off a boat ramp into a river, or something like that. Great–it’s in the genes. All I could think as I helped Rascal return his bike to its proper parking place was a joking, “Oh my, I think I’m glad I’m having another girl.”
Fast forward to the evening, when it came time to get the kids ready for bed and I wanted to braid Princess’ hair to lessen those pesky tangles and snarls when she wakes up in the morning. Then came screaming of an entirely different kind.
“DON’T TOUCH THE PRINCESS’ HAIR!”
Yes, she’s at that loud assertive age, and will scream and wail about something at the drop of a hat. Ten times a day. Sometimes it depends on how tired she is, but I have felt a wave of embarrassment come over me on occasion in public when I gently take her arm to guide her in a direction (like in a grocery store when she’s too busy looking at the balloons in the floral department to realize someone is about to barrel down on her with their oncoming cart) and all I get for my pains is an undeserved “OW! Don’t TOUCH the PRINCESS!”
Oh my, I am having another girl….