Notes from a therapy session
Therapist: Hmmm, I don’t think so. There was the episode where she locked you and your brother in a running car while you were sleeping…
Tristan: Right, and then less than two weeks later, she yanked me off some playground equipment and I dropped like a stone from eight feet in the air.
Therapist: Surely she didn’t mean to…
Tristan: It was one of those things where you dangle off a handle and zoom across a beam from one platform to another. She called it a zip line, but I insisted on calling it a zip code, which was pretty funny because we don’t even have zip codes in Canada. Anyway, I had just barely mastered holding my own body weight up but I loved that zip code. We went to a new park one evening on our bikes, and I was so proud to be able to actually reach the zip code from the raised platform, and all I did all night long was zip back and forth.
Therapist: And what did your mother do?
Tristan: Well, she was watching and cheering for me at first, but then she said it would be easier if I used my feet to push off the platform at the far end. The big kids could hurl themselves across really fast and bounce half way back on one push, but I kind of had to wiggle and squirm to make it all the way across and back. Remember, I was a big kid for my age, but I was only four years old.
Therapist: Mmmm hmmm…
Tristan: And so my mother said, ‘Here, let me show you. Just use your feet to push off the platform…’ and she grabbed me by the ankles to demonstrate, but she pulled me off balance and I lost my grip on the handle. I fell face first in the sand, and because she was still holding my ankles I landed with my whole body perfectly horizontal, basically doing a giant belly flop into the sand.
Therapist (cringes): Ouch! That must have hurt!
Tristan: Yah, it knocked the wind right out of me. There was a long minute where I just lay on the sand and tried to figure out if I was still alive or not, and my mother later said the entire city of Ottawa fell silent and every pair of eyes at that very busy playground turned to me to see what would happen next.
Therapist: Were you okay?
Tristan: After I cried for a couple of minutes and got over being pissed off about all the sand in my mouth I was okay. My mother said she had nightmares for days about how close my head came to hitting the platform on the way down. I mean, I got over it pretty quickly and once my mom finished wiping the tears off my face and the sand out of my mouth with the corner of her t-shirt, I went right back to playing on the zip code for the rest of the evening. Funny, though - when we got home my mother had a whole bunch of new grey hairs I had never noticed before…
We were playing in the driveway last night, and there's a little plastic toy that was supposed to have gone in the garbage. I'm not sure how it migrated back out into the driveway, but I ended up running over it when I backed the car out of the driveway to give the kids more room to play.
Tristan picked it up and ran over to me excitedly. "Look mummy! You sure broke the hell out of this thing, didn't you?"