I recently told my dearest friend that she was one of the weirdest people I knew (which probably says a lot more about me than I want it to.) Point being that weirdness qua weirdness is not necessarily weird. It can be someone's normal.
All kids are weirdly normal in that sense. In my case, I used to shamelessly brag about my impressive collection of falls, fractures, and fevers.
The memory of a hot summer afternoon in Jaipur is etched clearly in my mind. Restless as usual, my 4-year-old self trotted up to our terrace and started swapping tales with the boy on the other terrace (which was linked to ours by – of all things – an 8-inch-wide cement plank) One thing led to another and as we bonded over sand and water on our respective terraces, he shared his dream of building a sand-castle, if only he had enough sand. He did have water on the terrace, but no sand. I had some in the corner of our terrace and decided to contribute to this noble vision by ferrying some across.
The only trouble was that we were both on terraces of first floor apartments, which meant running up and down several flights of stairs with a handful of sand. I figured that the smarter thing to do would be to take a shortcut and use the cement plank to cross.
Did I mention that it was a two-storey drop to the ground below the cement plank? No? Ah well.
So me being the sucker I always was, (You have the sand, you bring it across. I can’t carry water.) I carried sand in one hand and slid my bum across the plank with the other. And then slid back for the next handful. Except that I got cocky and impatient after just a single round of this. I ventured out with a double handful of sand – which of course, meant that I didn’t have a hand free to hold on to the aforesaid plank with – and promptly took a tumble to the ground.
It was probably thanks to the diligent fauji fellows who had watered the ground that day, that I still have a brain (of sorts). That, and the fortuitous miss – there was a massive stone about half a foot from where I landed. Of course I yelled my head off. What four-year-old wouldn’t?
However, I had calmed down enough by the time we were on our way back from the doctor’s, to sagely inform my worried mother, “Don’t worry. Bachchey toh girtey rahtein hain (Kids are always falling down)” After which I acquired bragging rights based on a black tooth.
Then there was the time I was showing off my general fearlessness of water to a younger kid and jumped into the shallow end of the pool, twisting and cracking my foot. This one did damage my street cred "HOW did you manage to get a fracture in the pool?" Like I was trying for one or something...
Or the two times when I forgot myself in a daydream and found my foot squished within the spokes of the rear bicycle wheel.
Or the one on the badminton court or the one on the basketball court or... (yes there are more...)
So why is it that when K has a fall, I am alarmed out of all reasonable proportion? Yes, she is is still an infant. But that doesn't explain why the sight of even a little blood anywhere near that tiny terror stops my breath. How did my parents keep calm when I cycled back home (twice) with what turned out to be a fractured foot? How did they not go completely bananas when I fell from the terrace? Or ran a fever of over 106? Or came down with asthma attacks so severe that I was in the ICU for days together? Or any of those things that seemed to happen to me with alarming regularity?
When she tumbled from the bed while playing recently, I was outwardly calm but completely panicked on the inside when PP pointed out the nosebleed. She settled soon enough while PP and I checked for concussion, vomiting, responsiveness and the usual hysterical drill that we go through every time she has a fall and hits her head. She was fine and we harvested the bloody booger a couple of days later (yeah, I know, gross! But why are you reading this if you're not up for a little baby poo and mousies (our word for boogers).
Keep calm and parent on. And admire your parents anew every day. And thank them for not raising you to be paranoid.