About six weeks ago, my younger son broke his thumb and it’s been quite an experience. It happened at a friend’s house while my two boys were playing a board game with their kids. You would think a board game wouldn’t be a dangerous activity but my sons started fighting over some cards and then there were tears. I checked his hand and I didn’t think it was anything serious so we carried on with dinner and playing. The next day at school he went to the nurse since there was a lot more pain so I took him to the ER. That’s when we realized from the x-ray that it was broken. He was bandaged up, arm in a sling, and referred to a hand specialist. The specialist put him in a huge splint and banned him from sports and activities for at least 6 weeks. My little guy was being quite brave through all of it and enjoyed telling everyone that his brother pounded his thumb. This of course put me in an awkward position because I was getting calls from the nurse asking how this happened thanks to the dramatic story that they heard. I became paranoid that we were going to get reported to social services for basic rough-housing gone wrong!
Well things were going smoothly for about a month. I helped him write his homework and get dressed but he was managing with most things. At school he couldn’t go to recess so friends would take turns sitting out with him at the nurse’s office so he had company. But then after 6 weeks, things changed. The hand specialist told us to avoid activities for another couple of weeks because of the lingering pain. We weren’t expecting that. Suddenly my son’s attitude changed and frustration set in. He started crying over little things and expressing how hard this injury has been on him. He had an emotional outpouring about all the things he is left out of and how upset he’s been. Since that day he has been hypersensitive about everything and though I understand it, it has been exhausting for me and my husband.
I suppose we got very lucky that he had such a good attitude about it all for many weeks. However, I think we got used to that and took it for granted. We should have realized that a little kid will not be okay with not playing or doing things with his friends. Maybe as parents we should have compensated for his loss by giving him special attention for a while. My mom guilt makes me feel bad about that now but a friend reminded me that this is a lesson for him that sometimes in life we have to deal with difficulties and people won’t coddle us. It is a fine line between making sure you toughen up your baby and not wanting them to ever experience any pain! I hope I’ve handled it well enough and hope we have no more big injuries to deal with.