The other day I found myself lying on the floor of a soft play centre, in pain and explaining to my daughters I needed a rest. This was the result of the latest play-related injury I had sustained.
As I slowly recovered, it occurred to me I often see blog posts detailing the injuries mothers face, like this one on the Motherhood Real Deal blog. I thought it would be interesting to address the balance and write something about the injuries I have sustained as a father. Mothers and fathers do, after all, have a different physiology and so the injuries we sustain must differ a little.
Or at least that’s my theory. Have a read and see if you agree.
Superior strength = a more cavalier approach to looking after your back
I’m not for one moment suggesting only men get bad backs as a result of doing childcare. I’m sure many a mother has ruined their back picking up little ones.
There is, however, one difference. Men are physically stronger and therefore more cavalier. Speaking for myself, I naturally have more muscle than my wife. I will play horses and roam around the house on all fours with one or even two children on my back. I have given piggy backs and carried kids on my shoulders. My wife is simply not capable of doing such things.
The result has been the occasional, thus far, mild back injury. As my kids get older and heavier, these mild injuries are becoming more common and more painful. Ultimately this is self-inflicted. I simply have to stop doing this stuff with the kids. My eldest, after all, weighs more than a bag of cement. That’s a lot of weight to put on your shoulders.
Testicles are not for target practice
As a guy, I will never experience the joys of an episiotomy or ventouse delivery. I get that.
Even so, rare is the father not bought to the ground by a direct blow to the genitals, the result of playing with his kids. I always found myself at greatest risk when my eldest child was in her beginner’s swimming class.
She would, without warning, do a push and glide or launch herself into a dive using my legs as a springboard. In doing so, I would often take a blow precisely where a gentleman does not wish to be kicked.
Not, however, that the swimming pool is the only place such things can happen. When I found myself lying on the floor of soft play the other day, it was the result of me jumping out from a hiding place to catch my youngest. Somehow I got the jump wrong, very wrong indeed, and I was left feeling very…tender. I spent the next two days shuffling round like Ozzy Osbourne.
Jump up…and break my jaw
Okay, I exaggerate, my children have never broken my jaw. My eldest, however, has attempted it on numerous occasions during swimming lessons.
You know those dives and push and glides I mentioned above? Well, if Helen was particularly excited (and she often is when in a swimming pool) she would launch herself directly into the air instead of forwards.
In the beginner’s classes, the parent always had to stay with the child and so I was usually stood directly behind her. As she launched into the air, the top of her head would frequently connect with my jaw, delivering quite a significant blow. Just imagine an object heavier and harder than a bag of cement leaping up and hitting your jaw.
Thankfully, Helen moved on to the advanced swimming class some time ago. Such injuries are a distant, but painful, memory and little sister isn’t quite so wild when it comes to leaping around in the water.
The DIY-related finger slice
Not an injury that I have suffered, but one I inflicted on my step-father. I must have been 11 or 12 and was helping him with a DIY project.
For some reason, he put me in charge of a set of large bolt cutters and asked me to cut some wire. He held the wire out, and asked me to cut it at a certain point. Only thing is, I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing and his hand was still in the way. I was responsible for putting a large, deep, cut in his index finger. I can still see that wound now and it wasn’t pretty.
The famous ‘shin blow’
I guess this could happen to a mum as much as a dad, but as I do most of the childcare I find my shins are a target if my kids are using wheeled toys. Be it a bicycle, scooter or roller skates, at some point I will take a whack.
I say shins. Truth is, it can be feet or ankles. In fact, anywhere below the knee is in danger if my children are bombing about on wheels. My youngest, Izzy, has a particular talent for using me as a target when she is on her scooter.
To my amazement, I have never been floored by the children in this fashion. As the kids get bigger and the toys also grow in size, it can only be a matter of time.
What parental-related injuries have you suffered? Whether a mum or dad, I’d love to know. I’m sure some of you have experienced some very creative injuries in the past. Leave a comment below and let’s see who can come up with the best example.
Pic credits; Man with broken arm; Cameron Perkins. Bolt cutter image, Daniel R. Blume. Both reproduced under Creative Commons agreement and image edited by John Adams.