Do Moms Get Worker's Comp?
I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep. I look over at the digital clock on our cable box…. 11:34. Ugh. My husband is snoring away, and I can’t get comfortable. I have a stiff neck, so I look like I’m wearing an invisible neck brace when I turn my head to the right. My left arm has a walnut sized bruise on it, my foot is throbbing with what may be a possible sprain, and there is a stabbing pain in my right boob.
Have I been in a street fight, you ask?
No. I just have a very independent 1-year-old.
Now that she’s learned to walk, she’s had a little taste of freedom and is fully exercising her right to fight to paaaaaartay….. and I’m suffering from her bite-size beat downs. If you try to stop her from doing what she wants to do, you will probably get hurt in the scuffle.
She prefers to walk herself, thank you very much, and cannot be bothered with being carried or pushed in a stroller for very long. She doesn’t want to be picked up unless she can somehow use your lift to get from point A to point B. She will twist and squirm and flail her appendages with no regard for you whatsoever. And when she starts swinging those arms she’s like a tiny De La Hoya at the sound of the first round bell.
A Battle Scene
Diaper changing time has become a battle scene in our house. Seriously, my husband and I actually plan our tactics ahead of time. We’ll be hanging out in the living room having a wonderful family time when one of us smells the threat of war.
*Sniff, sniff* “Oh man…. I think we need a diaper change,” my husband will say.
“Are you sure?” I start rubbing my arm unconsciously, the pain of a past diaper battle wound springs back to life like a hot fire in the muscle of my bicep.
“Yea, I’m sure. And I think,” *sniff sniff* “Yea, it’s definitely a stinky,” he replies heavily.
We’re on red alert now. A typical diaper change is tough enough, but a stinky? Man your battleships! There will be yelling, there will be swinging, and you can bet your pampers there WILL be TWISTING! We’ll need to have the wipes ready before we end up with a pooptastrophe on our hands. Literally.
I’m always surprised at how prepared she is. As I lay her down on the changing table she already has her left foot pointed down and under so that she can quickly twist into position on her stomach to deflect any efforts on my part to remove the diaper and clean the area in question. Once on her stomach, she pushes up on her knees, turns to face me, head down, and claws her way up my arms into standing position. I attempt to place her back again, and as she writhes in my arms, she sends the first blow my way — a swift uppercut to the boob.
“UUUGGGGHHH…” I cry out as I put my hand up to block the area from more pummeling.
I wish I could explain to her in a way that she could understand that if she just chills out and stops fighting me I can have her hiney back in those little Levi’s in no time! But she is only 12 months old and she only understands that she does not want to be here right now, she wants to be playing and running and free from this oppression!
Then There Was the Foot Injury…
A few weeks ago I couldn’t bear the pain in my foot any longer and it was starting to swell at the end of each day, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. I absolutely love my new doctor — she’s young, probably right around my age, and she’s so easy to talk to. But she doesn’t have any kids, so I felt a little silly as I explained the issue with my foot.
I wasn’t sure how it happened exactly, but I think when I was putting Anna down for a nap one afternoon, her eyes suddenly flew open and, realizing that she did not in fact want to go to sleep, she launched into a physical assault against me. I was already bending over to lower her into the crib, so as she violently flipped around in my arms, I stumbled. And that is how I think I hurt my foot.…..
My doctor looked from me…. to the sweet little toddler quietly chomping away on a cracker in her stroller…. then back to me again. I think she did believe I hurt my foot, but she may have been surprised at how passionately I was telling the story. I must have sounded like a whiney 3rd grader tattling to the teacher about the big kid who won’t let me play 4-square. She told me to take some Motrin and ice my foot. I felt like a fool as I hobbled out of the office, pushing my little terrorist ahead of me.
It’s tough to explain my aches and pains to someone who doesn’t have a toddler beating them up at home. However, I am finding comfort in other moms who can relate. My sister explained that she now makes a mental note whenever she is injured “on the job.” She nods sympathetically when I show her my bruises. My friend recounted how her son pulled her hair so hard it actually brought tears to her eyes. Another friend stuck her arm out and showed me bite marks from her 18-month-old.
Although the most traumatizing story I've heard so far is that of my sister and my nephew — he was 2 at the time, and she was playfully tickling him when he smacked her boob so hard (why are they always hitting the boobs??) that she was bruised. Later, the bruise turned into an infected blood clot and she needed minor surgery to have it repaired! (As an aside, that same sister suffered a scratched cornea when she was clipping his toenails and a nail shot up in the air and landed in her eye! I know that wasn’t a direct hit initiated by the kid, but it’s a pretty funny example of collateral damage.)
I finally did fall asleep last night sometime after 1am. When I woke up this morning, I settled down on the living room floor while Anna danced around me to her favorite TV show theme song. She looked so sweet and innocent with her bed head and binky. Maybe I’m putting too much of the blame on her… Maybe I’m not doing enough on my end… Maybe I should be proactive about the situation.
As I ponder the thought, Anna plops down on the floor in front of me and rests her head on my belly…. Maybe I should take a yoga class or something so that I will be more limber and less susceptible to pulled muscles and strained ligaments caused by a wiley 1-year-old.
All at once, Anna flips around and reaches for the first object she can, my right boob, and uses it to pull her self up off the ground. Still clenching the, er, very front part of my boob in her tiny fist, she gives me a head butt, turns and walks triumphantly away, snatches her sippy cup off the floor and takes a swig.
No amount of yoga could have prepared me for that.
Jeanne McCullough is a Montgomery County, PA mom. This post was adapted from her blog Mom Hearts Pinot.