As the day wore on today, I became aware that it wasn’t Captain Adventure’s wrist that was bothering him. It was his whole arm. He either held it immobile across his tummy or let it dangle at his side all day – but he didn’t use it, not once.
And it’s his dominant arm.
And yes, I promptly freaked out.
Well, it turns out that this isn’t all that uncommon. You’re walking with your toddler, hand in hand. He starts to fall (or try to run away). Instinct makes you jerk your arm up, yanking on the little hand in an attempt to keep him from falling down (or running into traffic).
If you hit it just wrong, if there’s a bit of twist or force, what can happen is kind of freaky: a tendon in the elbow can basically pop from its place and ride the joint, or even get caught between the moving parts of the joint.
It doesn't take nearly as much force as you'd imagine, and by the way? It hurts a lot.
He wasn’t grabbing at his wrist, he was trying to immobilize his arm. Poor baby.
So I took my crippled son to the pediatrician, sat around forever waiting, and then she came in, examined him, tucked his arm this certain way while massaging the tendon. It was one of those things that was extremely simple looking, but don’t ask me how she did it.
He shrieked, screamed, cried, and carried on – but she nodded calmly and said, “Oh yeah. I felt the pop.”
A few seconds later, he lifted up his right hand, casual as you please, as if that same arm hadn’t been dangling uselessly by his side all day long, and wiped his own nose with it.
He’s already much better. Still a little grouchy, still not very happy with mommy (because I am, obviously, responsible for anything and everything that happens in his little world), still a bit sore – but using his arm again and yawning impressively.
So, the moral of the story is, parents: If they’re about to fall on their little butts, let ‘em. Nature put padding there for that purpose. And also, what, about 80% of the time, they’re falling a few inches onto carpet?!
But don’t, repeat, do not use their arms as levers to bounce them back to their little feet. The elbow is not a fall-prevention device, and should not be used as one.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to drink heavily.
(By the way, not really – I talk a good story, but frankly? I’m a serious lightweight. One [half] serving of alcohol and I’m snoring on the table…)
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