We were on a streak I tell you. It had been weeks, perhaps even a month since Olivia had last been sick. But, as Murphy's Law states, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me." Wait, that was 'Robocop.' Is it, "I, I, I, I want the knife?" No, that was Eddie Murphy in 'The Golden Child.' Maybe it's something about being a virgin who can't drive? Now I'm thinking of 'Clueless.' Regardless of how long it took, or how many movie references it takes for me to get to the point of this post, fate finally caught up with us. Although this time it came from a completely unexpected direction.
Olivia has taken a fall or two in her time, but nothing too exciting. I mean, there was that time she base jumped from the top of the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, but that was just for shits and giggles (and she was wearing a parachute). She laughs at bruises, thinks nothing of a bump, but will absolutely shank you with a multicolored children's spoon filed down to a point if you come near a scraped knee. She walks around with the spoon stuck in her hair like a tiny Adebisi just waiting for someone to start trouble. And don't even think about asking how she gets contraband animal crackers into gen pop.
I picked her up from daycare recently and noticed she had a pretty decent scrape on one of her knees. One of the ladies who works there confirmed she had taken a bit of a spill, and Olivia also recounted the tale to me: "I fall down ova dere." She seemed relatively fine, even walked home and played as she usually does, but I noticed she started favoring that leg as the night progressed. According to Olivia's version of this story, Jodi and I cruelly and maliciously applied hydrochloric acid and barbed wire (aka ointment and a bandage) to said knee and put her down for the night against her will. But if you ask us, it was just business as usual around here. If you want more information, you'll need to speak to our lawyer.
The next morning she woke up and right away you could tell something was off. She was holding her leg weird when we picked her up out of bed, wouldn't put any weight on it when we set her down and pretty much wanted to be carried everywhere. Jodi and I discussed the situation and decided that it would be best to keep her home for the day if she wasn't going to be able to walk. I have to admit, it was frustrating to think that I'd need to miss work because my daughter had a skinned knee. But I had to suck it up because this is just another part of being a parent. You have to be there for your child no matter what, because they rely on you for comfort and to take care of them. At the very least, I'd need to make up a cool story to explain why I had to stay home to take care of her. I came up with two scenarios: 1) she got caught up in a gang fight between the Sharks and the Jets; or 2) she needed to take some trash out at the roadhouse where she works as a bouncer. I was pretty sure that option 2 was the most believable.
When Olivia found out that Jodi was leaving to go to work she went into complete nuclear meltdown mode. She did not want to be trapped in the house without her mama, and she let me know this for quite some time. She threw fits, cried, wailed and did her best to not let me come anywhere near her. At one point she started doing this high pitched shriek that had me convinced that she was in fact not our child, but rather a mermaid stuck on land trying to tell me her name in her native tongue. After making sure she had broken every window and glass object in the neighborhood, I tried to calm her down and asked if she wanted to read a book, watch some TV, go to a firing range or do anything to take her mind off the pain. She decided that she wanted to play with a stack of cardboard coasters that Jodi had recently acquired, and I figured they'd help distract her for about all of 2 minutes, so I gave them to her. Within a minute she tried to tear them, pick them apart and do whatever she could to transfer the pain she was feeling to something else. I told her to stop, which pissed her off, and I eventually had to take them away which led us back to the mermaid screams. It was going to be a long day if this kept up.
After this wave of anger subsided I asked if she'd like to share a bowl of cereal with me. This is one of my favorite things to do with her, mostly because it's one of the few times she enjoys being near me. Sure it's bribery, but it's laced with apples, cinnamon and good intentions, which is fine by me. I prepped a bowl, sat down next to her and brought a spoonful over to her mouth. She immediately threw herself onto the couch and refused to eat any. I asked if she wanted the cereal, she said yes, but the same thing happened all over again. So I said, "I guess we're all done," moved to get up and she quickly threw another tantrum and yelled that she wanted cereal. So we did this dance all over again, multiple times, until she finally decided that she wanted to be the one to hold the spoon and feed herself. Knowing fully well that either the couch or myself would get painted in cereal if I trusted both her current temperament and fine motor skills, I refused, which of course led to another meltdown.
I abandoned the cereal idea and just left her alone for a bit to try and check my work email, hoping that she would calm down and see that I was there to help rather than piss her off. Every time I'd look over to check on her she'd just stare at me with these plotting, calculating eyes. It was as if she was trying to hold my attention while some of her daycare friends, whom she had secretly let into our apartment when I went to get the cereal, could position themselves to effectively take me out with the least amount of struggle. Clever girl, indeed. Thankfully I wasn't eviscerated physically, however I didn't feel that great emotionally. I wanted to comfort her and make her feel better, but all she wanted was to be as far away from me as possible. Something needed to change, or else we were both going to be miserable for the entire day.
As luck would have it, something did change. She mellowed out some, ate a little cereal and eventually took a very healthy dump which, as legend has it, may have been what helped turn the tide that day. Okay, maybe it wasn't just that. Maybe it was the fact that Olivia decided she had spent enough time cooped up in the apartment with just me and started putting weight on her knee to try and walk. She was bound and determined to break free from her captor and return to the sanctity of daycare, no matter the cost. I decided to help facilitate this by getting her to walk more. I asked her to bring me one of her toys, then another and another. Eventually this turned into a fun game for her, one which I must sadly admit was the equivalent of me having her play fetch like a dog, yet it got her past the pain and made her trust that she could use the knee without worry. I praised her for a job well done, gave her a few snausages and prepared to head over to daycare.
She walked the whole way with no problems, and as soon as she hit the door her face lit up with delight and excitement over the fun she was about to have. I explained the issues we had with her knee, but it seemed like she was already past them and wanted nothing more than to get right in the mix with the other kids. Since that day she's skinned her knees a few more times. She still hates us getting near them, and goes ballistic when we want to take care of them. Since she's not a fan, we now have a small surplus of themed bandages to go through. So now on top of all this I have to deal with going out in public rocking a pink Hello Kitty bandage the next time I cut myself. Just another one of the many joys that comes with having a daughter.