Full Metal Slide

     The children have a right to question things I tell them to do or things I warn them about. It’s healthy to keep the lines of communication open and leave things up for discussion. I can try to end a line of questioning with, “Because I said so,” (after the umpteenth question I feel within my rights to say so—after all, the kiddos should trust my judgment and take my word as bond) but that is not the world we live in. When you’re a Supernanny you live in Kiddoworld. “Because I said so”? I don’t think so. Kiddos need concrete answers, and at times hard truths.

     Case in point, a recent trip to the park with Doc and Rebel, when Doc wanted to go up the slide, rather than taking the steps up. As he started his climb, I warned him not to do it. He paused, “Why not?” Welp, there’s a story there, and a warning to remember.

When I was in fifth grade, I was playing on the playground after school, waiting for my mama to finish up her day—she taught at my school—with my BBF(Best Bud Forever) Jackie and a few other pals. It had rained that day and the playground, and all its equipment was wet. Looking up at the wide metal slide, covered in rain droplets I was deciding whether or not to climb up it—the ladder was all the way on the other side of the jungle gym after all and I was a busy woman—when one of my pals dared someone to climb up the slide, throwing a bag of Goldfish crackers in to the wager. Now as a gal who had scarfed down her snack what seemed like hours ago, I was game. I got a small running start then began my ascent up the wide expanse of metal and water. I got two steps before my sneakers slid on the water, my legs shot behind me, and—as my arms were at my sides—I hit the hard surface face first. My mouth felt as if it had exploded. I had just been gifted with braces and I felt them stabbing into my teeth and gums. I stood up, blood gushing out of my face, drenching my shirt, and flowing without stopping. As the other kids bolted, avoiding trouble (and any leftover teachers), Jackie helped me back to my mama’s classroom. Upon not finding her there we wandered the halls for what seemed like forever until she turned a corner, ran up, cupped her hand under my chin, thanked Jackie, and carried me to the car. We rushed to my orthodontist’s office—as bad luck would have it, the doctor was at the other clinic, and there were only a few newbie techs to attend to a rather advanced teeth emergency! All were lovely, young, and dressed in varying pastel scrubs that usually cheered me. They did their best to make me feel comfortable, one with a blonde ponytail almost fainted at the sight of all the blood. Having not seen myself since the accident I saw the damage reflected on her pretty but shocked face and could feel a nervous breakdown coming on. Were my teeth gone? Was I disfigured? Would I ever have a burger again? Visions of life through a straw, or disguised under an iron mask spun through my mind. In the end, the braces—which had been embedded in my gums upon impact—were pried off, and my gums were given time to recover before a new set could be put on. (Had I not had the braces, my teeth would have been smashed out. Thanks mama and daddy, and again, sorry!) I show signs of the “slide incident” today, as my gums are not quite as full over my front teeth as God had originally intended.

     While wrapping up this story I always smile, and show the kiddos the little bit of missing gum from my teeth—proof of my story and of my infallibility when it comes to warnings. They always gasp, usually putting a hand to their mouths or running their tongues over their teeth while looking at the previously harmless-seeming slide. Then they usually lend some words of sympathy for my injury, agree it’s not a good idea, and opt for the stairs. Injury averted, and all it took was a little time, and a heckuva warning!

One Comment on “Full Metal Slide”

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