Thursday, November 1, 2007

Scary Halloween

The kiddos and I were at the Homestead yesterday. It was just us as the lead staff member was out ill and the other volunteer was away on vacation. All was going well... Sweetie was practicing spelling words as I spun each of them around. As they awaited their turn, they were standing on a table - the right height to give them a hug and spin. We'd done this a few times and stopped briefly as a visitor asked a question. I was standing right next to them and in my peripheral vision, I see Buddy step next to Sweetie in an attempt to hug her or tickle her as they had been doing previously. Everything happened so quickly but the next thing I know, Sweetie falls head over heels to the ground, landing on her shoulder.

She cried for a couple of minutes and I believed all was well again until I went to lift her onto the bed. In doing so, I unknowingly put pressure on her forearm and moved her shoulder up...which caused her to scream in pain. We packed up and headed home.

I tried to get in to see our pediatrician yesterday but there were no openings so we waited until this morning. During the evening, she kept it held closely to her body and didn't want to change her clothes as it would require moving her arm. When she thought about it or if her shoulder was touched, she would cry. Otherwise, if distracted and involved in something (AquaDots, playing with a girlfriend at the Halloween party across the street, etc.) she was fine. I even caught her using her arm on occasions.

This morning, she showed me how she could lift her arms above her head and outstretch them in front of her. "I can go to Karate!" she exclaimed with excitement. She seemed to be fine - just a little tender to the touch. There isn't even any bruising visible.

The doctor confirmed my suspicion and said to continue administering ibuprofen, occasional ice packs, and lots of love. She should be fine by Monday. She felt that the injury was mostly to her collar bone, and if in fact broken, there was nothing they could do anyway. It would heal naturally on its own. If she doesn't feel better by Monday, then we are to give her a call and we may do x-rays then. Watching Sweetie, though, she's been improving little by little already. I am confidant she be fine.

When I returned from the clinic, I received an email in which the Living History director has asked that we pull out of the program. I want to state that I completely understand where he is coming from. However, I have been volunteering at the museum for nearly 4 years. I would have much preferred to receive this information in person. An email is impersonal.

I am disappointed. He should have asked to speak with us in person. The kids don't understand why they can't continue to volunteer. Sweetie said, "I could have fallen at home, too." It just doesn't seem fair. My mom thought perhaps there have been concerns expressed by other volunteers or staff of which I am unaware.

We enjoy the experience so much. When I was teaching, I put so much of myself into my career... into the classroom. When Sweetie was born, it was very difficult for me to transition into a stay-at-home mom. I felt as though I lost apart of who I was as a person.

When I started volunteering (initially at South Slough Estuarine Reserve before we moved and most recently at the museum), I reclaimed that part of me. I became rejuvenated. The fact that I have been able to do it with the kids has made it even more special, more memorable.

It is very important to me that the children grow to appreciate the sacrifices that our ancestors made. That they grow up with an understanding of how our country has been built by strong men and women who have fought for their beliefs... who set out to create a better life for themselves and their children.

In today's society, children frequently lack exposure to the outdoors, to a more sustainable way of life. Parents are not comfortable giving their children the freedom to walk a few miles away from home to buy penny candy at the local Mom & Pop or ride their bikes across town to a friend's house. There are just too many dangers these days. Children seldom get the opportunity to explore the neighborhood woods, undertaking spur of the moment scientific inquiry. Questioning. Exploring. Learning.

This is one of the biggest reasons I chose to home-school. I want to provide that for my children. I am just so sad to lose this learning opportunity. I'll just need to remember that when a door opens, another is frequently opened. When the time is right, if we are ready and open to change, new opportunities will become available.

** Edited 8th November 2007.


  1. Yeah I totally understand where you're coming from. I would be upset also. It seems so cold and sterile. Maybe he's afraid of confrontation?!?

  2. Hey-don't let it get you down. Things happen and you need to make the best of them which you are doing - your biggest fan.

  3. You're right that is an unbelievably impersonal gesture.

    I know how much that means to you because you have written about it so often. If it helps.. I think its their loss.

  4. Wow, that's cold. I have a theory - I think the guy has lost touch with kids. Some adults seem to get cranky about young kids as they get older - they have this "revisionist history" idea of how their own kids behaved so perfectly, and what great and in control parents they were. Yeah, right. Or, even worse, he never had kids. Regardless, he just aced all kids out of the program. Too bad for them - he just took the program down a notch.

  5. When I read these posts I feel inspired by you to be a better mom. Thank you! And I hope everything works out for you. It will!

  6. My daughter broke her collar bone when she was 3. We took her to the ER, they took x-rays, and put on a splint. I will never forget how she screamed when they put that splint on her. It didn't hurt when they did it; she just didn't want to wear it. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought she was possessed.

    Hope your daughter is on the mend.

    Wow, by email! There is no excuse for that. You have volunteered there for so long that you DESERVED the courtesy of a face to face meeting or a phone call in the least. An email is SO impersonal.

  7. First, I'm glad Sweetie is doing OK.

    And second, I am saddened for you that they have asked you to leave the homestead. I know how much you all enjoyed it. And I can honestly say I enjoyed reading about your escapades. I have to agree with your mom - something's up. I don't think this incident would have spurred the email.

    Keep your head up. You'll find another opportunity for you and the kids!


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