I have a friend whose daughter is very thick skinned. If she falls down, she’ll get right up again to play, despite her skinned knee, bruised elbow, even dislocated arm. She’s the kind of girl who’s destined to grow up and go through labor without the help of an epidural. My daughter however, is destined to grow up and need one the minute she conceives.
Granted, she’s only nine, but whenever she falls down, her world comes to an end. She inspects herself for injury like CSI at a crime scene. And God help me if there’s actually any bloodshed for she’ll scream hysterically for hours, making Leona Helmsley look like Carol Brady.
Maybe it’s because my patience had run thin, but I’m looking for someone to blame. And for that, I need look no further than all the new safety regulations. When I was young, there were no such things as child proofing or bike helmets. Play structures were built on concrete and you weren’t cool unless you needed stitches after using the jungle gym. I’d constantly burn my hand on my insect making hot-plate toy, and risk chards of glass flying into my eyes whenever I played with Clackers.
But now that such things are regulated, there are no sharp edges in life, play structure are built over marshmallow cream, and toys are so dull that kids prefer to play with the boxes that they came in. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that over the years, these safety regulations have saved countless children from harm, and for that, I am truly grateful. But after twenty minutes of drying my kid’s tears after a tumble because, as she puts it, her skin is out, I need to vent. Yes, I know falling hurts, but if kids never fall, they’ll never learn to get back up, a lesson that comes in handy years after outgrowing the playground. So here’s too thicker skin, a scrape and a bruise once in awhile, and for learning how to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and get right back in the game.