“Sweater, n. A garment worn by a child when its mother is feeling chilly.” ― Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Once Mothers day and Fathers Day have been celebrated, the question that always arises from the assembled wee people is, “How come there’s no Kids Day?” And the answer from the assembled elderly is always, “Every day is Kids Day!” This rarely satisfies the kinder but because of their high energy levels and nanosecond attention spans they usually bound off to more pleasing pursuits like spraining a thumb on a video game or fracturing an ulna on a skateboard. At certain stages of development (this means you, dorky adolescent boys) they will simply sprint directly into a nearby wall.

I don’t mean to imply that reports of childhood injuries should be shrugged off, but parenthood requires a certain medical intuition. The average kid will make such a howling drama over a skinned knee that distinguishing that from a broken leg requires some diagnostic know-how. This is why 90% of Emergency Room admissions at Childrens Hospital are probably “only” children. If your birth order is second or third, the ‘rents are going to triage the heck out of your boo-boos. If you’re fourth or fifth, you’re probably going to have to poke Dad awake with a severed limb. Even then the first thing he’ll say is, “Run some cold water on it – be good as new.” We know one accident-prone son of a large family whose left hand resembles the Pleasant Hills  Rt. 51 cloverleaf. Every time he broke a finger, his father insisted that it wasn’t broken unless the nail immediately turned black. He was never going to play the piano anyway.


The Idler is reluctant to offer advice to new parents about medical issues, based on his own experience as a parent. This is because he delegated all family health care authority to his spouse. As part of their initiation mothers are given a bag sufficiently roomy to hold diapers, changing pads, a complete first aid kit and a portable MRI machine. There’s probably room left over for a socket wrench set and a couple sandwiches. But if I were to hazard some general pointers from a Dad’s point of view, they might include the observation that babies sleep for, like, 18 hours a day. You will look back fondly on this period of your child’s development so don’t ruin it by waking the poor thing up. He’s fine. Then later, when he begins to walk you’ll realize you’re dealing with a miniature drunk, what with all the falling down and vomiting and other unhygienic behaviors. Finally, you’ll have to stop drinking for at least ten years because you will need to be capable of driving the inevitable emergency Childrens Hospital run. Because eventually they all do something sufficiently horrifying, injury-wise, that you can’t just hose them off and slap a butterfly bandage on it. You may ignore the piercing screams, but once Dr. Mom comes out of the operating room and gives you that look, you better be ready to fire up the SUV. But first you might want to wait and see if the nail turns black.

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com

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