Yesterday I dared to take a longer-than-usual look in the mirror at my six-week post-baby self. As I suspected, the belly looks as jelly-like as it feels. I’m clinging on to the hope that breastfeeding will shrink it some more before I actually have to try and cram the ‘E’ word into a day that already feels like there are never enough seconds. But the other thing I noticed was a collection of bruises on the backs of my thighs, just about the height of our stair gates. War wounds of parenthood. It got me thinking about the countless other baby or toddler-inflicted injuries we parents endure while trying to go about our day-to-day business!
The stair gate stub
As well as my black and blue thighs, gained from my wobbly bits knocking against the sticky-out bit at the top as I dash past, the stair gate can be the culprit of a whole host of injuries, the toe stub probably being the most painful one. We have a gate separating our living room from the kitchen and this one is the prime location for this kind of accident and the husband is usually the unfortunate victim.
Attack of the bouncy chair
It looks oh so harmless. Our Woodsy and Friends bouncy chair, with its wide-eyed, cute, dangly owl character – Woodsy I presume – peering up at you. Both our babies have loved it. But it lurks. It lurks in the background, just waiting for that sweet moment when you’re in a hurry or too tired to think straight. Then out it pops and that evil metal bit at the bottom trips you up and it feels like you’ve almost certainly broken a toe. And every time it happens you think you can’t possibly be so stupid as to do it again.
The slippery book strain
That protective plastic cover they put on library books. It gives well-thumbed toddler tomes a fighting chance against the dirt and grime. But it turns a harmless item into yet another parent trap. Step on one of these beauties when you’re in your socks and dashing for the door and you’ll find yourself launched across the carpet making all sorts of badly executed gymnastic shapes and, unless you really are as flexible as a gymnast, a nasty case of groin strain.
Lego. Say no more
Or Duplo in our case as we’ve yet to graduate to the smaller bricks. It needs little explanation. It gets everywhere. Step on it and it can hurt. Kneel on it and you’ll really want to scream all those ‘naughty’ words your darling little ones are not meant to hear. And, I find, having to internalise the swearing makes the pain so much worse!
These are just the injuries caused by the child-related paraphernalia, toys and equipment, and only a choice selection at that. Our lovely little offspring can themselves inflict a fair amount of damage without the need for any additional implements at all.
Where did I put those scratch mits?
Even our tiny newborn can overnight suddenly seem to develop little daggers for finger nails, which he’ll unwittingly scrape down my chest – incidentally he also has a tendency to pound at my chest with his little fists if he’s feeling especially ravenous. It’s quite cute. For now while he’s small. Anyway, back to the nails. It’s not just me he claws at. He’s currently sporting a nice little scratch across his nose, conveniently self-inflicted just in time for his six-week check today! Thanks Little Mister, make Mummy look bad!
The prime location for this is on the changing mat but it can extend to dressing, teeth cleaning, meal times and the scene of any other toddler tantrum. Daddy’s recently received several well-placed kicks in the unmentionables from his darling little princess.
Wet, wet ,wet… the human sprinkler
Not an injury I know but still a major inconvenience. Changing a baby boy is a whole new ball game compared to a girl. We call it ‘baby change lotto’. You never know what you’re going to get, where it might go or what might be soaked. Little Mister has a knack for timing his mid-change wees for maximum disruption, such as just before you really need to leave the house or in the middle of the night when you can barely keep your eyes open.
Yep, being a parent is often a battle of wits and at times it can be downright dangerous – just ask my husband when he went flying across the living room after tripping over that hapless Woodsy bouncer, which then catapulted into the air before landing next to him (no baby in it at time, don’t worry!).
And these are just some of the hazards that lay in our paths. There are also the aches and pains that come from carrying our offspring around. The energy-sapping tiredness. The headaches brought on by nights of broken sleep or a day with a willful toddler. And it’s all accompanied by those bugs brought home from nursery or baby group.
We spend most of our waking hours trying to keep them safe and look what we get in return!
So what’s been your worst baby-related injury?