Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Skateboarding through life's challenges

 This article originally appeared on

Monkey Bars, Mud Pies, & Movement
by: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

My children were born with practically no fear for their personal safety.  When my daughter was born the hospital gifted her with those plastic ankle and wrist name tags.  She quickly found a way to get her mother into trouble by houdini-ing her way out of those suckers.  The nurse said, "Ms. Rodriguez she has to keep those on."  No shit.  I don't know how she managed to sneak out of those things, but she did.  Safety.  She had no concern for it from day one.  Her brothers followed suit and showed similar lack of concern for all things programmed to send shock waves of worry through their mother. 

It doesn't matter how many times I remind them or encourage them to consider the consequences of their actions.  Truth be told, we are fortunate that our trips to the Emergency Room have been minimal when I review the schematics of their motor planning fiascos.  We have had accidental corneal abrasions due to sibling rough housing...right before school one morning.  There have been monkey bar mishaps that resulted in x-rays, slings, and soft casts. Let's not forget the run ins with wall corners and curbs that have left long lasting souvenirs on foreheads; also some so close to the corners of tiny eyes that you cringe at the memory.  Yup.  That's my bunch.  

I have to admit that my children don't exactly have it easy with me as their mother.  I like to give explanations regarding why something shouldn't be attempted or why certain protocols must be employed based on a specific situation.  It's summer time, so let's take the pool as one example.  I do not want them jumping near the edges or the steps.  Why?  Because I visualize head injuries, concussions, and a life time of dealing with short term memory loss.  Don't even get me started on the potential for spinal cord injuries and near drownings. 

When you have worked with children and adults who have experienced these types of tragedies, it does something to your attention to detail.  Your concerns are heightened and those concerns naturally get filtered down to your own family.  Sorry kids, but mommy's worked with individuals who have survived some horrific situations.  Deal with that, my darlings, and hopefully you will be more aware even when I am no longer there to remind you.  (Also, alcohol and water should never be mixed.  Being alert while swimming or near others who are swimming is one of those room for mistakes on this one.)

It's a constant struggle for me to allow activities that have some risk attached.  I have allowed them to go zip lining.  They are excellent swimmers and know my safety rules for the pool. We all had a blast riding go carts in Mexico.  My children all know how to ride a bicycle and roller skate. (Not at the same time. Thankfully they haven't suggested that yet.)  We have gone on long road trips together and gotten so lost in the state of Texas that I was relieved when a trooper pulled me over.  He took pity on me and helped me find my way back to a main highway.  (Hey...don't laugh unless you've tried to drive through those country roads that go on F-O-R-E-V-E-R) So we are no strangers to adventure.  

So this past weekend when my 8 year old son asked me to take him to a skate park, I totally believe he felt capable of handling that challenge.  We had tried the skate park a few months ago, and it resulted in a sprained ankle.  At this point I'm an expert at wrapping sprains, having experienced quite a few of my own.  But I did not want to take any chances.  My son had dismantled his bike helmet and deconstructed the elbow and knee pads a while back, and I was in no position to repurchase those items fearing they would encounter the same demise.  So we agreed on a park where the sidewalks were fairly smooth and a decent sized basketball court would provide a level space for him to practice his tricks.  That was my compromise.  

I had nightmares about the time he first tried to skateboard 2 years ago.  He fell and bumped his mouth.  A bloody mouth and two loose front teeth (way too soon...not even close to Christmas time)  sent us to the ER close to our home.  Keep in mind that he did not injure his head and only had minor scrapes on his knees.  The first thing every medical person said was, "Was he wearing a helmet?"  Um...helmets are good and I do agree they offer protection.  In this case, it made no difference.  The helmet did not protect the mouth.  In my son's case, the helmet actually inhibited his field of vision and interfered with how his body felt on the skateboard. 

As much as we want to protect our children from serious injuries, at some point they are going to experience what it's like to get hurt.  So we instruct, encourage, and remind to the best of our abilities.  And if, heaven forbid, that day comes when they get hurt, we need to be strong enough to help them through that as well.  I jokingly have told my children we need to invent a bubble wrap suit.  But the reality is we cannot avoid all the variables that factor into our day.  So be careful, but have fun too.  Hopefully you'll skateboard through life's challenges with minimal damage.  

By the way, we made it through the weekend sans injuries!  We had perfect weather for the park and even picked up a few items for an impromptu picnic.  As I watched my children zipping down the sidewalk on their skateboards, I was reminded of my own attempts to ride my brother's skateboard down the driveway when I was a kid.  Skinned knees and elbows healed.  My sense of needing adventure....still there.  I wish the same for my children...a never ending desire for adventures. (Not the skinned knees and elbows.)

Hope your week is filled with manageable challenges!

Copyright 2022 M.B.Varville-Rodriguez