Sunday, 8 August 2010

Rough and tumble

I was looking at an email or two earlier, when my attention was distracted by some piercing screaming in the street outside: it sounded like someone was being murdered! I got up to take a look out of the window, and saw that the toddler across the street must've fallen off his bike and hurt himself. His mother came out and correctly worked out that the screaming was almost certainly in inverse proportion to the actual physical damage and calmed him down a bit before scooping up him and the bike.

A bit later on, I took the dog out to do as nature required, and he spotted us and waved. As we waved back I didn't notice a plaster or anything: he got back on his bike and rode up and down the drive once more, apparently none the worse for the experience. I daresay it'll become part of dozens of uneventful everyday childhood mishaps that he won't even remember in years to come.

I doubtless had many of the same experiences at his age. When I was leafing through some old photo albums at my sister's at Christmas, I came across a snapshot of me on a bike (or a trike, in fact) - I don't remember having it, riding it or falling off it - yet I obviously did the first two, and probably all three. If I had an accident, my mother would apply whatever was necessary - be a it a kiss, a wipe over, or a plaster - and it was soon forgotten. However traumatic I probably made it sound when it happened, the natural resilience of a young child heals all sorts of wounds without in most cases leaving so much as a trace to remember them by.

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