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A Splash Free Summer:: When Your Kid Breaks a Bone (or Burns a Foot)

Ahh summertime! All the kids are out of school. Long days spent bouncing back and forth between the pool and beach. Late evenings drinking adult beverages while the neighborhood kids run around causing trouble and climbing trees. Day trips to the springs. From May – September my family spends the majority of our time cooling off under water. If there is any question how much I love this season I give you my first born’s name . . . Summer. 

It was the first week of May and the feelings of summer were in the air. My kids were outside playing with their neighborhood friends when their dad pulled up on his motorcycle. A few moments later my daughter ran up and went to jump on his motorcycle so she could look/feel cool for her friends. She stepped her bare little foot onto the pipes to lift herself onto the bike and immediately started screaming. Those familiar with motorcycles are likely cringing, and for those who aren’t familiar – the pipes on a bike get hot as all heck and you should never, ever, touch them after the motorcycle has been running. A trip to the ER that night and a visit to the burn center later that week and she’s got a severe 2nd-degree burn covering half of the sole of her foot. 

We’re on week four of her not being able to walk on her foot, much less swim. It’s been brutal with no definitive end in sight. There is never a good time for a broken bone or a bad burn, but starting off summer this way especially sucks. Today was hard as the stir crazy and self-pity took over. So I’m putting together some tips for myself and other moms who find themselves in similar shoes. If you have anything to add – seriously – please share!

Embrace Screen time

Seriously no idea how parents before us survived injuries before screens. TV, tablet, computer, play-station – we’ve had a general free for all the past few weeks. Sure screens can be a problem in everyday life. However, they are a problem we amplify by slathering ourselves in guilt and ‘shoulds’ regarding screen-time. So while you’re out of commission – let go of that guilt and be grateful that we have more than a radio to listen to all day. Embrace it and enjoy the downtime it allows and the lessons it has during this season. You can limit your screen time when life returns to normal.

Puzzles

I don’t usually buy puzzles because the pieces get lost after one use and I get annoyed at the waste of resources and money. But I bought a cheap 500 piece under the sea puzzle for a couple bucks and the two of us spent an afternoon putting it together. It was actually really nice spending the day with her getting lost in the puzzle and it gave us a nice break from the screens and a good massage for our minds. Depending on the age of your kid, puzzle books like sudoku or word searches are also a good tool to pass the time while they heal (they are also good for you to unwind with while you are stuck in the house with your kids).

Art Supplies/ Crafts

We went out and got a giant pack of printer paper, new markers, colored pencils, and play-dough. Pinterest is full of craft ideas but I would be lying if I said I took advantage of them. I’m more the ‘give them a pile of art supplies and let them go to town’ type; but I know I have Pinterest at my fingertips if my kids need a kick-start to their creativity. 

Storytelling

My daughter can’t read or write independently yet or those would be two avenues we could take advantage of. So for us, storytelling means kicking it old-school sleepover style. Telling spooky (or silly) made up stories and making shadow puppets under blanket forts. 

I am a firm believer that boredom is good for kids. I, however, am also a firm hypocrite in that I have lost the art of being bored as an adult. While some parents may genuinely enjoy floor time and imaginary play with their kids I believe they are a small minority. Playing dolls is b-o-r-i-n-g. My being uncomfortably bored for the sake of my kids while my daughter heals has been a good, humbling thing for me. 

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