My son is training for a long, profitable career as a stunt man. Pretty typical kid stuff, I think, but for a newbie mom like me, it can be scary: He loves to jump off the fourth step; throw himself on the tile floor in the kitchen and pretend he's swimming; see how much air he can grab while jumping on our bed like it's a freakin' Moon Bounce. Lately he likes to bounce his little body off of anything he can and ricochet as far as possible, until he bounces into something else...and something else...until he falls down giggling...or crying. Picture a 4-foot, 55-pound pinball with limbs, and you'll get the drift.
In his latest pinball impression this morning, Sweet Boy leaped off my bed, bounced himself off my backside, then into the side of the bed. Only he misjudged where the side of the bed was, and he instead landed on his butt...and his elbow...and his head. On the hardwood floor.
First, I'm embarrassed to admit, I yelled at him (I'm a yeller, as maybe you've gathered) because he almost knocked me over with the velocity of his initial jump-and-bounce. Then I heard the thud and realized he had not landed on a squishy spot. When I turned and asked "What happened?!" the giant tears and ear-splitting wailing commenced. He wasn't that badly hurt, probably crying more because he was shocked and because I yelled. I scooped him up and we laid on the bed while I rubbed his boo-boo head, kissed his elbow and knee. Once he calmed down enough to hear me, I apologized for yelling, explaining that I yelled not because I was angry, but because I was upset that was careless and that he hurt himself.
"You've got to be careful with your body, Sweetie, especially with your head," I explained. "You're the only Hayden I've got -- the only one in the whole world! And it really makes me upset when you hurt yourself."
"I'm the only one?" he said.
"Yup, the only Hayden ever. And you're precious and unique, and you mean the world to Mommy and Daddy. So please be more careful."
"But don't worry, Mommy. You have another baby coming soon. It's ok if I bash up a little," he responded, in all his frank, 4-year-old literal-mindedness.
Oh my. Once again, Mommy's heart breaks. Wide. Open.
Perhaps I'll need to reiterate this point a few more times in the coming months, that there's only one Hayden in all the world and that's all there every will be. Just so he knows for sure that Baby is not a replacement.