The Hazards of Parenting

February 6, 2006

Ever since my son was born two years ago, I consistently have had purple marks on my arms and legs. Like the rings around my eyes and the drooping pouch I now call my abs, I attributed them to carelessness and my olive skin, which bruises easily.

However, this column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review got me thinking. Maybe they aren’t always my fault. No one warned me of the parenting “hazards” involved nor the lack of worker’s comp for injuries such as stepping on my son’s legos barefoot — dammit! — receiving one of his tear-inducing head butts — sniffle — or bumping myself against the Burley. (I have no storage outside, so, yes, that massive thing sits in my already crowded living room.) Writer Beth Ann Fanning alerted me to future hazards:

If a parent manages to survive baby equipment, he or she will eventually be introduced to the wild world of sports — playing sports with the kids, that is.

I have winced in sympathy as my husband took a direct hit to the groin with a plastic baseball bat. I once caught a Wiffle ball with my right eye and spent the rest of the day with a nifty imprint of the pattern of the ball on my cheek. Add to that, back and knee injuries I sustained after finally giving in to my son’s repeated requests of “Dive for it, Mom!” while we were playing with Frisbees.

Parental trauma is not a new phenomenon. We believe my father’s recurring back problems were caused, at least in part, to riding his four children (and then eight grandchildren) around the house on his back like a pony. I remember my mother attending her 25-year high school class reunion with a nasty cut on the bridge of her nose inflicted by my stick-wielding 5-year-old sister.

As my son would say, “Owie!”