I used to worry the doctor would call Child Protective Services on me. I’d bring my toddler girl — my first kid — to the pediatrician for her well child check-ups, and I’d look at the bruises on her shins and the inevitable goose egg on her forehead, terrified the doctor would be on the phone to social services before I could explain I seriously — like, for reals, Doc! — didn’t beat her.
I imagined the social worker showing up. I imagined taking the lie detector test because my imagination houses a very technologically advanced social services interrogation room. I imagined sweating and worrying and blowing that test all to pieces. I imaged sitting in prison with my head in my hands as a single lightbulb hung by a thin cord overhead and flickered. I imagined it all. The whole nine yards.
Inevitably, I’d open those early doctor visits by stammering out some sort of explanation at the doctor, “she’s running… there was a coffee table…,” and he’d tsk tsk and shake his head and issue his proclamation. “Looks like you…” he’d say, and pause dramatically, “… are letting her learn to run. You probably even take her outside to play.” And then he’d look at me accusingly for a split second before he’d wink and tell me she looked like every other toddler he sees. The punk. All that good panicking for nothing. Geez.
Well, we’re five kids in, now, and we’ve had All the Injuries over the last 16 years, so whatever. Just whatever. I shrug my shoulders, I toss up a few Hail Mary Full of Grace’s, and I look forward to the plaque they’ll someday put in our local hospital to honor our endowment of the emergency services wing.
And I still consider the fact that Child Protective Services could show up, but I no longer sweat it. Like, AT ALL.
Like this weekend, when Greg gave our 15-year-old son a real shiner.
Turns out, two man-sized people barging through one opaque door in opposite directions is a bad combo, man; a bad, CRASH BANG BOOM shiner-inducing combo.
So I sent my kid back to school this morning saying he ran into a door, which, coincidentally, is what people who are beaten say. “I ran into a door.” It’s not even BELIEVABLE, people! Plus, this is my kid with expressive language disorder, and so far, all he’s managed to say by way of explanation is, “Dad hit me with a door.” Which is technically true, so technically worse.
Nevertheless, I’m prepared.
Honest to God, when that child welfare worker walks through the door, I’m going to offer him a 7-night stay in my home – FREE OF CHARGE; FOOD, LODGING and BARKY DOG INCLUDED – and see if he can pull off a lower injury rate than we do. I’ll be waiting it out at a resort in Tahiti.
At the end, I expect they’ll fly in the President of the United States to honor us for valiant services above and beyond the call of duty. We will, of course, accept graciously.
P.S. Far more torturous to this child than being hit with a door and having his eye turned into mush was taking selfies with his mama. Someone should arrest me for trying to make my kid smile. I’m a horrible, horrible person.
P.P.S. Tell the truth – have you ever worried someone will call CPS on you??