Yesterday, the 2-year-old I take care of fell off a spinny swing at the park. His 4-year-old sister spun him fast. I watched him fall. It wasn’t really a fall, more like a slightly failed attempt at getting off the contraption. He landed pretty lightly on the squishy playground floor. But then he started screaming, “Noooooo, nooooooo!” shouts I’ve only ever heard when I refuse him a second helping of Pirate’s Booty. I was instantly terrified, adrenaline rushed through my body as I ran over to him, picturing the broken bones, the call I’d have to make to 9-1-1, to his mother, the disaster of keeping two toddlers calm in an ambulance. That scream was just so unlike any I had heard from him after a fall.
I picked him up and he clung to me tightly. I checked his body for injuries and found nothing. I comforted him and then tried to put him back down but he wouldn’t let go of me. He looked around, focusing and refocusing his eyes.
He was dizzy.
Maybe for the first time ever. Or maybe he just really hated the sensation. (I get it, little dude, that’s how I felt the first time I got high, just simultaneously wanting to scream and be hugged…)
What a crazy thing, to be two, to only have 700-some days of life experiences under your belt, much of those days spent as a tiny, immobile little chicken.
How awesome to feel no shame quite yet. To feel fear and discomfort, express it, seek solace, and then run away to go down the slide.