When I picked Babyface up from gymnastics the other day, she was missing. Kids ran out giving their parents hugs and kisses as I slowly seeped into a moment of panic. When I pick her up from anywhere, there’s about a 30-second grace period before I have a full-on freak out, if she’s not within eyeshot.
Her friend came out and announced that Babyface had fallen and was crying. Kids don’t give details like, “this happened earlier today.” They don’t comprehend tense. They make it sound like it happened right at that moment and it always sounds catastrophic.
I ran into the no-parents-allowed section, with my shoes on, defying the rules to get to her. I always feel like I’m in a disaster movie and some kind of hero, when I do this, but it’s usually two hours after the panic dissipates. It’s a practice run for the real thing.
She was smiling, while the teacher was helping her put her shoes on. Huh? Didn’t she fall? Why wasn’t she crying? And, why didn’t she hurry her a$$ up to keep me from panicking?
And, of course, I asked the dumb questions, “Did you fall, honey? Are you ok?” I should have just walked back to the waiting area, even tiptoed so she wouldn’t see me or just kept my damn mouth shut. Her smile quickly went to the I’m-about-to-cry-but-I-need-to-hold-my-breath-first look. She ran to me and let out a gasp that opened the floodgates.
In-between breaths, wiping her snot and then touching me, she repeated, “I fell on my butt, Mommy.” I consoled her and pointed to various parts to find the source of the pain. I moved from the tailbone to the bottom of her butt and onto her hip even. “Where does it hurt, honey?”
“It hurts on my butt,” she replied and pointed to the front. Ruh roh, this wasn’t a butt accident. Her private parts were in pain. “Honey, does it hurt on your butt or your pee pee. I mean, vagina. I mean, um, vulva?”
“It hurts on my butt,” she repeated and pointed to the place-with-many-names. I found the teacher and asked her what happened. She explained that she was crawling on the balance beam and fell on her “private”.
My first thought was, “Why didn’t you call me, b#^&*?” My second thought was, “We should go ice this and never come back. Thank God she’s not a boy.” My third thought was, “we have to have the vulva talk, AGAIN?”
Later, after we returned home, I grabbed the ice and set her next to me for a little one-on-one. I explained all of the different body parts: pee pee, vulva and butt. She repeated them and said she understood. It was very sweet. We even shared a hug at the end. I felt very accomplished.
The next morning, when I was getting her breakfast ready, she said, “Mommy, my butt doesn’t hurt anymore.” Geez, did I have to have this talk AGAIN? “Honey, you mean your vulva, right?”
“Oh, yeah, Mommy, my vulva. I like me vulva. I like my vulva. I like my vulva…” This had turned into a song and continued for 5 minutes. I tried to deflect her by asking if she wanted yogurt and she said, “Mommy, can I have a TV in my room? I want to watch TV in my room.”
Where the heck had she heard about any three-year-old having a TV in their room? “Don’t you want to sing about your vulva?” I asked.