Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Injury. Interesting times.

In our house, while everything is crazy, it all falls into a kind of routine-crazy.  We do our schoolwork in the morning after we watch some Magic School Bus or Monster Math Squad, once that's done we'll watch a couple videos while we eat lunch, then go out to play (or stay in to play depending on the weather). We come in a bit ahead of dinnertime to cook and calm, and then we have dinner, relax (for variable definitions of the word), and then bedtime.  In that time, there's a lot of running, a lot of jumping, a lot of excited playing.

This week, after our schoolwork on Saturday, we went out to the store on foot.  I pulled Mad Natter in the wagon, and we went down the block.  When we came home, we planted potatoes, and I weeded the garden.  That's when I noticed, my back was really sore.  I attributed it to all the bending for gardening, and to pulling a fifty pound child in a wagon up a hill.  It was uncomfortable, but I deal with discomfort all the time anyway.  It didn't go away.

I woke up Sunday feeling like death warmed over.  My back was sore, a radiating pain across the entirety of my lower back.  Couldn't stand up properly, could bend at the waist, nothing.  It was all kind of bad, and it didn't get better.  Monday was worse.  Today, it is still ongoing.  

We don't know what's wrong with me, but it's at times like this that my family really shines.  Skeeve has picked up the slack for all the things I can't do, and Mad Natter has made a point of checking on me to make sure my hot packs are appropriately placed.  We've been cobbling daily living together, and if it continues, we're looking at possibly having school days starting on the couch, so that there's as little jostling as can be had.  But, we still make it work.  Mad Natter is understanding that sometimes his mama's body believes it is its own enemy, and when that happens, his mama needs some extra help. He's learning how to work together as a family to get done the things we need to get done even with one of us on the fritz.  

It isn't a standard homeschool lesson, no.  But, it is a very important lesson all the same - working together, taking care of the people who matter to you, and how to keep things working, even when things don't go to plan.  I'll take it.  Every time.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Parenting the Gifted: No limits on trouble.

An acquaintance told me earlier this week that with gifted kids, it seems there is no minimum age, nor maximum age, for any kind of trouble. I found that out myself, the hard way, last week. And, since this blog hop happens at the perfect time to share, I felt that you know, our story? Maybe it'll help others. Either for safety, or to feel less crappy about themselves. Either way, it's something I felt I needed to share.

Ages ago - just ages ago - I read a blog post about a little girl. She was three years old, and was crushed and killed under her little dresser. I have a climber of a child, and the first thing I did when I read this story was to check all my bookshelves. We have six different bookshelves in the house, and I had bolted them all to the walls before my son started walking. They were in tight, everything was okay.

Now at the time, I didn't think anything more of it. I didn't for years. Not until earlier this week. You see, I have a giant dresser in my bedroom. It, alone, weighs 140 pounds. It has a television on top of it, bumping that up to a good 200 (it's an old tube television!). Then, all the clothes in it. I didn't think much about it, after all, that's a HUGE dresser, and I can't move it by myself, how could a child? And even more, what nearly six year old child - especially one who loves logic as much as Mad Natter does - is climbing a dresser anyway?

That night, there was a bang. A HUGE bang, that sounded like someone had fallen down the stairs, even through headphones. Turns out, Mad Natter, while he was supposed to be using his hour in bed before lights out to read and play quietly, decided to try to climb up that dresser. It tipped. He fell, it fell on top of him, and the television hit his head on the way down.

Mercifully, the physics of the situation were in his favor. He fell next to the bed, and the dresser fell across the bed to the floor. He was pinned, yes, but by drawers alone, and not the full crushing weight of the dresser. The television knocked him on the head, giving him a goose egg and a scrape... then rolled off to the side. Skeeve lifted the dresser off our precious son, while I dragged him out from underneath. He was conscious, but obviously very shaken up. I checked him over for injury. He seemed fine, but very sedate. I called my mother - does he need to see someone NOW, or will the morning be early enough? We took him in to emerg, just to be safe.

Mercifully, he has come out of this with two scrapes, one scratch, and a few bruises. No broken bones, no concussion.

This is all I needed. This is the "huge" investment of time and money we needed to make this dresser safe. It cost me $7.30 after tax, and thinking we were safe and not spending that $7? It nearly cost my son his life. I thought we were safe. I thought there was no way he could ever knock over that dresser. It was well over 200 pounds! He's not even 6 yet, and barely over 45 pounds soaking wet! It didn't matter.

We're all readers here - and likely parents. Please. Take my experience to heart, I beg you. For under $10 and 15 minutes per, you can anchor your bookcases - and dressers -  to the wall. You can keep your most precious creations from tragic ends - no matter how old they are. Anchor the bookcases. Anchor your dresser. That piece of furniture in that room your kids never go in? Anchor that too. Please. Let my experience be the closest you ever come to this kind of disaster. Raise your precocious, and keep them safe.  Remember, with children like this?  There is no minimum age for disaster... but there isn't a maximum, either.

This post has been a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum's July Blog Hop: Gifted Parenting.  To read more viewpoints on the topic, check the sidebar, or click here!

Edited, July 22, 2015.

Almost precisely one year after posting this, IKEA has issued a recall on their MALM dressers - the "adult" version being pictured above. They are sending out anchoring kits for said dressers, both adult and child versions, after several children were killed in exactly this scenario. However, the recall will not be effective without the original message: Please, please, please, anchor your furniture securely. Others have not been, and still others will not be, as fortunate as we were. Please, anchor your furniture - don't find out you should have after it crushes your child, your heart, your family.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Video Games and Yellow Blankets

I have memories, beautiful memories, of a big yellow fleece-ish picnic blanket, it had satiny-lined edges with zig-zag stitching, and I'd go out in the summer, put out that big yellow blanket on the dark green grass, and park myself there all day.  I'd have a drink, and a book or four, and that was the place to find me.  I miss it.  Even thinking of it is peaceful, and I am suddenly left with the desire to share that experience with Mad Natter.  Except... the big yellow blanket is twenty years gone, and my child would sooner nail his foot to the pavement than hold still long enough to read a book.

No, this year... Summer reading for me is an air conditioned bedroom long after bedtime, reading an old favorite or possibly an ARC for a beloved author....  And for Mad Natter, it's both 'work' and play.  We run school year round over here.  We take our breaks when we want them, for as long as we need them, but we do have school days in July and August as well as most of the rest of the months of the year.  So, yes, some summer reading will be assigned, but...

Summertime is perfect for stealth reading. We go out for walks, and Mad Natter reads the signs to me.  We go for hikes, and he has to read the trail markers.  His free time spent playing video games?  All involve reading - at least the menus, and usually the dialog as well.  Now that he's gotten truly into Minecraft, he's found the Minecraft Manuals.  He got the Creations Manual not long ago, and pores over it daily.  He still enjoys his TAG, which reads books to him, but he's starting to enjoy reading stories to me, as well.  And so, while it's not the reading of my own childhood, I'm going to say it's still a wonderful thing. 

We have a trip coming up - in the next few days, actually.  As we travel, there will be road signs, storefronts, highway notifications, and a car full of books.  I have hope that maybe some of these will buy me a few moments' peace, though I kind of doubt it.  But hey, at least he's reading - and all reading is good reading, especially for a five year old boy.

This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on Summer Reading.  To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_summer_reading.htm