Thursday, 25 February 2016

Thumbs down parenting

You know when your child falls over, and you're not totally sympathetic about it?

Well that was me on Saturday. Littleboy 1 fell off his scooter in the park and hurt his thumb - and all I could do was yell at him.

First, let me explain the background. I am not always such a blatantly cruel and unfeeling mother. But, it was the same thumb that, late last year, he ended up having three stitches in at our local hospital, the result of an art room accident at school.

Bear with me. Now, this previous accident was (as far as I know) not his fault; it was just unfortunate. But it was very bad timing; a week before his latest piano exam, for which he'd been practising for for almost a year, and for which he was geared up, motivated and absolutely ready to take.

With his thumb in bandages, there was no way he could take the exam that week -- I tried to rearrange the date with ABRSM (the Associated Board, which oversees these things) but they were singularly unhelpful. So after a rather stressful couple of days we decided that we'd just have to accept it and postpone it until the next examination period - ie. March.

It was extremely difficult to keep up the momentum of dedicated practice, but over half term I'd persuaded him to work away at it until I felt he was definitely ready to take it again.

On Friday, he and his brother had been messing around on their scooters and I'd even warned him not to injure himself, with his exam coming up (not to mention a school trip and a ski trip at Easter). But of course it went in one ear and out the other -- as these things always do, with boys.

When he first fell over, he was wailing about his knee, so I wasn't overly worried -- I just thought it was him being dramatic, something to which he is rather prone. But then he mentioned his thumb and I am afraid I almost exploded. I simply could not believe that after all his hard work (and my hard work encouraging him) we were once again going to have to delay the exam. Or else - and this still might happen - he might take it and do badly - and not do himself justice. I know I should have given him a hug, but I am afraid I berated him for being so foolish and was singularly unsympathetic.

His thumb then swelled up like a balloon, and by Sunday morning his father was taking him off once again to A&E (or the ER, for American readers). By this point, my anxiety (and fury) levels were beginning to rocket. I kept trying to tell myself that in the grand scheme of things, it didn't matter (and yes, I am well aware that a missed piano exam is a really middle class first-world problem). But it just seemed so egregious that I had even warned him about this happening - and it still happened.

Thankfully the X-Ray revealed no breakage, but his thumb is still today black and blue and he's unable to play. The exam is in less than 2 weeks, so we're hoping it will be better by then, but he's lost valuable practice time.

I still can't quite believe it's the same hand - and who would have predicted that falling from a scooter would have resulted in a hand injury at all?

There have, since the weekend, been lots of hugs, and I'm lucky that he still seems to adore me and says I'm the best mother in the world - even though I'm not sure I deserve that accolade after the way I behaved.

Oh the things we go through as parents. Littleboy 1, if you read this when you're grown up, please forgive me, but know that it is only because I love you so much.


Circles said...

I would have reacted exactly the same A! I hope it's better in time xx I'll never forget when my brother had his braces off and then, very shortly after, knocked his front teeth out in a ski-ing accident. After all those trips to the orthodontist ... Boys!

Iota said...

I think you're ok. Sounds like a complete accumulation of things, one on top of the other.

I'm also very impressed with your use of the word "egregious". I always have to look that one up. Weirdly, the dictionary says that it means very bad, but an archaic meaning is very good. How odd.

Expat mum said...

I don't blame you really! My son fell down our icy front door steps yesterday and because I was still in my dressing gown (he walks to school) I just stood half hiding behind the door until he managed to get himself up.He was a bit shaken and came back in for a cuddle but I felt a bit mean not running down to him.

Mwa said...

There's no such thing as perfect parenting. We can only do our best. I think children understand that more than anyone. Be kind to yourself. x

ADDY said...

I can well understand your frustration. A cancelled piano exam once is a misfortune: twice is annoying. Hope he passes!!

Anonymous said...

Boys! Accident prone boys! Looks like you have one! In the larger scheme of things this is not a big deal. Unfortunate timing for accidents. Yes! One could look at this and say it is preparing "you" for the future. Breathe. Just breathe!

nappy valley girl said...

Circles - the comment about your brother made me feel better - that is worse than a bruised thumb for sure!

Iota - I didn't realise it had another meaning. Funnily enough it's not a word I usually use but it just came to me.

Expat Mum - sounds like familiar behaviour! Sometimes you just can't run to them because you're too damn tired.

Mwa - I know. Thankfully.

Addy - straight out of Oscar Wilde, indeed. Yes, I hope he passes and does himself justice.

Susan - He is indeed. This is his fifth time at A&E. I don't think I ever went as a child.

MsCaroline said...

I don't think anyone who's a mum hasn't been there at some point in time. Don't be too hard on yourself - parenting is the only job in the world where you're expected to be 100% emotionally engaged on every level and at the same time behave with perfectly objective wisdom and judgement in every single situation!! Sounds like there was absolutely no harm done - and I bet he'll not only recover in time to take his test, but also will rise brilliantly to the occasion. x

Muddling Along said...

It's easy enough to do (one day I'll share about Bigger and my initial reaction when she fell over and broke and misplaced her arm...)

Get him some arnica and massage it in - the massage will help disperse the bruising (if it hasn't stopped swelling ice pack to get everything clotted first)

DD's Diary said...

I know just how you feel ... Child Two shut her fingers in a door just before her violin exam .... there's so much work involved in getting them to practice, isn't there? I must say now that's she's 18 she seems to have survived pretty well without grade 2 violin ... but I still think it's a shame. Muddling Along's arnica idea is excellent xx