Friday night, in an act of exuberance that only a spazzed-out 5-year old can display right before bedtime, Zoey punched me in the eye. Yup. Somehow, when I went in for a hug, she flailed her arms and her nails got under my eyelid. Oh the agony. I sucked it up, went and took my contacts out and finished the bedtime routine without yelling the string of expletives I really wanted to use. Five days later and it finally stopped hurting but it’s still really red and gross.
It’s not the first time in my short life as a mom that I’ve been “injured” by my child. When she was around 2 ½ and she wacked me in the eye with a wooden spoon. I totally deserved that one though. I mean, what kind of idiot gets her face that close to a
terrorist toddler while she has a weapon spoon in her hands?
It got me thinking though, as parents, we are constantly putting our bodies in the line of fire. We hear all the time about the toll child bearing has on our bodies, but what about in the years that follow? I have been covered with bruises and scrapes since the day she came home from the hospital. At first, the knocks were the result of walking around like a zombie due to infant-induced sleep deprivation. (Who put that coffee table there?) Then, as she got more mobile, I became the best kind of jungle gym to be constantly climbed on, bounced on and jumped off of. Have you ever been head-butted by a wiggly toddler in the middle of a temper tantrum? I have. Multiple times. Lately, one of her favorite games seems to be “Does this hurt? How ’bout this?” while pinching or poking me. I’m not sure why this is fun, but she thinks it’s hysterical.
My husband isn’t safe from the injuries either. Many times he has asked “Why do little knees always find the softest spots?” He’s considered wearing a cup just for sitting on the couch. Some days, parenting is just that physical. It’s a true contact sport. But given the alternative, I wouldn’t trade a single bruise or broken blood vessel. It’s all part of the joys of being a mom. I love that my daughter feels her emotions so strongly that she can’t contain herself, no matter if it’s an angry outburst of flailing arms or an excited jumping up and down-on my foot. The plus side to parenting injuries are the boo-boo kisses and hugs I get in the aftermath. I just need to learn to duck and cover. And maybe wear a helmet and goggles.