Regardless of whether you daycare your children like my wife and I do or not, all parents understand the dramatic minutes from 6:30 – 7:30 in the morning on workdays (adjust accordingly to your schedule). Bags need packed. Diapers need changed. Bodies need bathed. Shoes need eaten. Food needs put on feet. Or whatever. In our family, that morning rush goes by in a flash and often ends with angry glances between mommy and daddy as mommy pulls out of the driveway. It’s a rigorous struggle each morning and something I would love to wish on all my kid-less enemies.
At 2 years old, my daughter is just now earning some trust from her father to the point where I occasionally will leave her in a room by herself while I get dressed (GASP!). I know, I know, quite a step onto the ol’ limb to allow the kiddo 90 seconds of alone time 12 feet away (let’s just say her mother isn’t to this trust level yet). With my wife putting on face gunk, last week I left Eliza with her scrambled eggs in the kitchen (open kitchen/living room floor plan). My wife walked into the living room just in time to see STUMBLE! TRIP! I heard two screams and come running out to find both my girls in tears.
My wife, bless her heart, is openly sobbing while holding a bloody Kleenex to my daughter’s forehead on the kitchen counter. I did not know who needed my help more, my poor daughter with a ¼ inch gash down her forehead, or my wife, who was now making inconsolable sobs of “The Table”, “Emergency Room”, “My Poor Baby…” Being the terrible husband and father that I am, I nearly cracked a smile interrupting their sob session but quickly came to action once I saw the blood. I pried open my wife’s hands just long enough to see how deep the gash was, and immediately opted for a fun morning trip to the ER!
The Emergency Room visit was actually quick and efficient (not what I remembered from previous trips). My little girl was quite traumatized and shaking nervously throughout, but my daughter was strong and managed quite well (jk wifey!). In order to settle our daughter down at the emergency room, we gave her frozen blueberries we had grabbed on the way out. This is one of her favorite treats and she nearly consumed an entire bag while waiting. The blueberries started melting and Eliza was making quite a mess; her hands and face were covered in a dark blue hue that gave the impression that not only was her head split but she was also heavily bruised across the face and hands. Both the nurse and doctor were initially horrified when seeing her, but we quickly explained she loves fruit and we do our best not to beat our children before taking them to the ER. They understood, I think.
Unfortunately, not every entity involved views this story so lightly. My wife returned home with a vengeance; something had hurt our first-born treasure and it was time for retribution. Our poor innocent coffee table, with its padded corners, book shelf underneath, ample table space for quick dinners or board games, was facing execution. If it were possible for an inanimate object to feel shame and physically tuck a tail between its legs…this table would have done so. My wife was in a fitful rage with steam blowing out her ears and the cold haze of disdain in her eyes. “That coffee table needs trashed immediately, it’s unsafe,” she commanded at me through clenched teeth.
“Huh? What’d the coffee table do? It was a freak accident and her forehead hit one of the legs on the side”
“That coffee table needs to go, it’s dangerous.”
“We’re not spending money on a new coffee table when this one is perfectly fine just because you’re freaking out about some little cut on Eliza.”
***The rest of this conversation is not fit to be published publically as tensions escalated quite quickly. Arguments heat up quite quickly when my wife thinks her daughter is in danger…and also when I think we might have to spend $20 on something for no reason.***
The argument is over. The coffee table is now disassembled and cowering in some remote corner of the basement. My wife did not quite achieve total destruction for the table, but she seems mostly content having exiled the table to the dungeon. Unlike most arguments, I somewhat got my way as well. We now have no coffee table in the living room, so I did not have to pay any money to replace the rogue unit. That, my friends, is called a compromise. And every time my wife and I compromise…I still feel like I lost. Oh well. The table has been punished and a threat to my daughter’s safety has been eliminated. It always feel like a burdensome and impossible task to protect one’s kids, especially when they are young. Perhaps chopping down the table gave my wife some relief; there’s no way to protect kids from everything, but I suppose it’s always reassuring to protect them from something. I still do not feel my coffee table receive due process.