A gutless ruckus over us luckless klutzes
My sons are smarter than me, better looking than me and know more than me. (Ed’s note: not true, though they do have more hair!)
I’m still puzzled as to what I actually contributed in the baby-making process, considering my wife is slightly smarter and slightly funnier than me. I’m not arguing on the looks. She is the female Benjamin Button.
But there’s one thing I can lay claim to (if you don’t count the dimples) and that’s my irrepressible clumsy gene. The boys never stood a chance.
There are entire days where they brain themselves on objects and bend their bodies into shapes which would make them contenders for a revamped series of Human Tetris.
When the eight-year-old gets sick, he puts on a Royal Command Performance which tricks every alarm and concerned look from nurses and staff alike in any medical centre. He jumps queues with his ability to capture attention.
I am concerned, of course, but when the medical centre is a stone’s throw from your house and your child is on the backseat coming out with lines like: “Get me there quick, I’m dying. I’m not going to make it!” - It’s important to stay calm.
My wife is clumsy too. Only when she stubs her toe, her entire foot goes black for a week. She gets bruises and has no idea where they came from. The boys never stood a chance.
When I get up in the morning, if I bang my head on the cupboard door in the kitchen, I turn around and immediately go back to bed. Otherwise, it would be all downhill from there.
Thankfully, my boys haven’t seen a lot of emergency rooms (touch non-splintered wood), but I’m dreading the day when that clumsy gene takes hold and really shakes them up a bit.
I don’t want them to get despondent, nor do I want them living in fear that one day their parents may be ushered away for questioning while a panel of doctors interrogates them.
I want them to be kids - to experience every bump and bruise I did without fear; to learn from their mistakes and build up enough common sense to ultimately work on a cure for the clumsy gene and eradicate its existence.
So it pains me to hear of a new report from the Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies advising child protection workers to classify children who repeatedly hurt themselves as “high risk of neglect’’ even if the injuries are minor.
There are simply not enough oxygen tanks to accommodate the Bubble Boy lifestyle. The price of cotton wool will only rise following the Cubbie sale.
What am I to do as a clumsy parent with clumsy kids? In the old days, we’d just tell them to get back on the horse. Now, I’m going to have to take the horse out into the paddock and shoot it.
Parents cannot be everywhere watching their kids. And to be honest, the stuff that they’re into, I’d rather not have to watch them bash their way through thirty levels of Super Smash Bros.
We have kids on such a tight leash these days, they’re starting to get neck welts.
Having rules in place which say if Timmy has five hospital or medical centre visits in a year, for example, he needs to be in foster care is ludicrous (unless, of course, those five visits turn out to be dodgily explained away),
Child protection workers need to listen to the community, make informed decisions and monitor situations based on as much feedback as possible.
Child abuse is a very real and worrying part of society. More needs to be done to protect Australia’s kids.
Often there is enough evidence from reports by concerned relatives and friends to make quick decisions to step in and protect kids. Sadly, sometimes not enough is done before it is too late.
Alarm bells should be ringing if a child becomes a regular at any hospital. But the situation needs to be handled with care and investigated delicately to avoid any unnecessary trauma for the children and parents.
Let kids be kids. Let them live their stories and tell them in their own words. Let them build histories. Let them trade scars in the playground and tell their children about the time they fell on a rusty steel bar and had to take six weeks off school.
Don’t take that away from them. And don’t take away our kids due to their clumsiness.
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