10 Real Physical Dangers of Raising Toddlers
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Everyone knows that the biggest danger of parenting any child is a broken heart. Like smashed into smithereens broken heart. And for lots of things. Seeing your child in pain, listening to them cry it out, hearing them whisper "I love you" as their heavy sleepy eyes close. Oh my, there's just so much that breaks and tears and shreds and stabs a parent's heart.
But not many people talk about the other kinds of pain that come with parenting kids, mainly toddlers. These little beings that spend their day blurring the line between the distinction of human child and animal. They have little control over their limbs, almost no depth perception, but somehow can orchestrate a mess that even if you were trying your very best, you as a grown adult with knowledge of trajectory and science, could not replicate to be as catastrophic.
So here's my top 10 of the physical pains we've endured as raising our toddlers. The nose bleeds, the fat lips, and the bruises in the shape of a tiny mandible all included below.
It starts out in infancy out of sweet, precious curiosity. It continues from there but with less wonder and more out of sheer disregard for anyone else's body. I've had hair pulled by hands, teeth, and stepped on by feet. And this is not just localized to head hair. We have our arm hair pulled both by accident and on purpose. My husband has also suffered through leg and chest hair pulling as well.
We've both been bit by accident when putting food into our little one's mouths, as they didn't realize (or care) if our fingers were out of the way before they chomped down. Then as our daughter grew, we discovered she was a 'biter,' and would target shoulders when she didn't get her way. Our poor son was once bit so hard on the stomach (after a disagreement with his little sis) that it immediately bruised a deep color of purple. Thankfully she's seemed to grow out of it and now only grinds her teeth like an angry lioness at the first sign of conflict as a reminder to us all of the danger we could be in.
3. Stomach pummeling
This is Hollywood's go-to move for child on parent abuse. You know the image; parents peacefully asleep while children sneak in and go full WWE on their parent's unprotected midsections. It looks so idyllic, doesn't it? This sort of stomach pummeling doesn't only happen in the morning before waking - it also happens anytime you find yourself in the horizontal position. They'll sneak up on your unsuspecting relaxed pose, stand on the couch armrest, and take a flying leap directly landing on your gut (or worse - see #10).
4. Book corners to the face
This is a phenomenon that I can't explain. The accuracy in which picture book corners with hard covers have barreled into my face is mind-blowing. I am thrilled my children love listening to stories, but in the sheer delight of hearing another story, these books are strongly suggested with a shove in our direction with horrifying speed. Somehow after a book corner makes contact with my face, I'm ashamed to say, my character voices just aren't up to par.
5. Head butts to the lip
In their defense, this is almost always by accident, but goodness does it hurt. The forcefully thrown back head usually occurs from a child's extreme happiness or excitement, in which they throw their head back with joyful giggling only to make a direct contact with your unsuspecting face. The vast array of strange unfunny things that cause a child to do this is wide and diverse - which gives it the constant element of surprise.
Our flu season lasts from October to April in our house. We spend these months with tissues and hankies within constant reach. If one of us catches something, the rest are sitting ducks. We like to try to timeline our sicknesses; like Mum is 4 days in while our youngest is a day behind, our son just got it, and well, sorry Dad, you're the next in line.'
7. Shoulder dislocation (or at least soreness)
There is a scientific equation that I've discovered since becoming parent. It's goes something along the lines of: item that child is holding in backseat will always be dropped thus being the catalyst to insistent whining until said item is retrieved. This requires a parenting move where the parent (driving a moving vehicle!) then rotates their shoulder to an unpleasant position to flail about aimlessly on the backseat floor to attempt to retrieve the fallen item.
8. Assault by feet
First, there's the kicking; during the diaper change, or when trying to remove themselves from a hug they've deemed too long, and the ever popular no warning direct kick to the shin in a drive-by sprint around the room. There's also the stomping on various body parts by accident or entirely on purpose depending on their mood.
9. Lower back pain
It's the up-down-up-down-up-down-hold you motion throughout the day. It's the two kids on your lap while reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the fourth time in a row. It's the sitting next to the toddler bed for 45 minutes rubbing their back when they're sick. The kneeling and reaching at the edge of the bath tub. It's the always needing more yoga and more time at the chiropractor.
10. Crotch shots
The problem with an adult crotch is that it is almost exactly eye level to a growing toddler. It's like an impossibly easy target for punching from a child's point of view. It also always warrants a dramatic response which makes it even more hilarious. There's the standing assault, but also the flying from across the bed/room/couch to land with dangerous accuracy directly in the nether-regions. It's like a pain magnet; look no farther than every.single.episode of America's Funniest Videos; without fail there are videos of children punching their Dads in the crotch.
Somehow though, as is the great paradox of parenthood, none of this pain or suffering ever amounts to much of anything. It is all swept under the rug with the bat of an impossibly long eyelash or the surprise kiss of a tiny, sweet face. Like all parents, I'd choose the beatings every time over the alternative of not living with these wild, maniacal, perfect, toddler ninjas.