The vanity of a 5-year-old boy

It’s been a tough week. We got 4 inches of snow Sunday night and Monday morning, which is a lot here in the South, so they called off school, and by Wednesday, Things 1 and 2 were getting a little stir crazy. They’d gone sledding, and we’d all gone out to eat and gone to Target, but still.

So, Wednesday night, Thing 2 decides to spin around and around in the living room as fast as possible. Sweetie and I turned our backs for a moment and heard a “thunk” and then a wail.

(Before I get into the gory details, let me say Thing 2, who just turned 5, is fine, really.)

So, we heard this “thunk,” and then a wail, and Thing 1, (the 10-year-old) said her brother had made himself dizzy and fallen over and bonked his head on the entertainment center.

I go over, and I’m checking him over, and I’m feeling for a bump on his head, and his hair’s wet. I look, and there’s blood.

I mouth the word “blood” to Sweetie, so she won’t freak out when she sees it, and I carry Thing 2 upstairs to the bathroom to get a better look.

He’s got a small cut, maybe half an inch. It isn’t gushing, but it’s bleeding a little, so I hold a wet towel against it while Sweetie checks the first-aid books. It doesn’t sound like we need to rush him to the ER, but I wanted a second opinion, so I asked Sweetie to take a look.

Thing 2 screams, “Noooooo! I don’t want anybody to see it!”

So, I doctor the wound as best I can, and I say, “Well, at least you’ve got a good story to tell ’em at school tomorrow.”

“NO!” he said. “Don’t tell anybody!”

“You embarrassed that you spun around so fast that you fell over and bonked your head?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“I don’t blame you,” I said.

Last night, I gave him his bath and rinsed his hair without shampoo and combed it. He thought I was combing his hair just to comb it, but, of course, I was parting it around the boo-boo so I could get a better look.

“Oh, that’s nothing,” I said, even though it was something. “You want to see it?”

He ran over to the mirror and checked it out — and then used his fingers to comb over it.

“Can you see it?” he said.

“Nah,” I said.

“I don’t want anybody to see it,” he said.

“OK,” I said, and I instantly pictured him when he’s older, much older, and begins to worry about losing his hair.

26 thoughts on “The vanity of a 5-year-old boy

    1. Thanks, Michelle! He really is fine. Thing 2 didn’t want us to tell his teacher, but Sweetie whispered something to her about it, anyway, just in case. When I picked him up yesterday, he and his best buddy said goodbye by giving each other noogies, so it can’t hurt that much!

    1. Great point! He’s still a little monkey most of the time. I think he understood as soon as it happened that he hadn’t made a very good decision about spinning around and around so fast you make yourself dizzy and fall over. You know, it sounds like it would be fun until you actually do it!

    1. Normally, I’m not one to interfere in the parenting decisions of others, but maybe you shouldn’t play Grateful Dead when Thing 2 is around. Just a thought. Wheeeeee!

  1. Poor guy! Maybe it will help in the decision making area of his life as a teenager. Remembering that something that sounds like fun doesn’t always end well.

  2. I guess a blog picture was out of the question :-D….Just yesterday my son put on his new Lucky jeans and said, “Man my butt looks awesome in these.” He was sweet and easily embarrassed once upon a long long time ago.

    Sending the head good well wishes.

  3. Glad Thing 2 is okay…Hope managed to flip herself out of the recliner on to the floor yesterday…landed on her head because she was upside down! Did I mention that she’s 12? No blood and no bump…Advil and a bag of frozen peas put an end to the whimpering…


  4. Poor baby. It’s always amazing what kids come up with, usually in the category of “Don’t try this at Home.” My 18 month old grandson started spinning over Christmas and did the same thing–fell down and bonked his head. Luckily, his center of gravity is so low, it was a non-event.

  5. Poor Thing! That he hurt himself and that he’s so embarrassed … not sure that it’ll stop him doing similar things again in the future, though. Boys … I have two of them!

  6. Todd, you’re lucky this only bruised his pride. When my son was little, he was playing fireman on the couch and toppled off into the edge of the coffee table. Head wounds bleed profusely, so I hauled him to the emergency room; long story short, he’ll have that scar from the stitches for the rest of his life. And I’ll always kick myself for not being fast enough to grab him and prevent it!

    1. I know what you mean about head wounds. My mom emailed me a little ago to tell me about the time I was a toddler and bonked me head on the corner of the coffee table or something. Blood everywhere. They rushed me to the ER, and when the nurse removed the towel, there was a teeny tiny scratch. I told Thing 2 he’d probably have a scar and that years from now, when he’s an old man, his grandkids would ask what happened, and that he probably wouldn’t remember exactly but the kids would think it would look cool.

  7. I find it interesting how children so young can experience shame. Child psychologists would tell you your reaction to it determines whether or not he will develop a shame-based nature, like laughing at him or forcing him to show people. Since you did neither, he should recover emotionally 🙂
    Great writing, and I hope your son’s head heals up.

    1. I figured out long ago that our reaction to a boo-boo goes a long way to determining how they react. If I’d freaked out about the blood, he would have freaked out about it. Since I acted like it was no big deal, he calmed down pretty quickly. He’s fine, now, by the way. 🙂

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