One of Hannah’s most prized possessions is her Globber scooter. She has been smitten with it ever since the day it was sent for review last year.
We have put many, many kilometres on the scooter. Most of those were in the seated position. Hannah always wears her helmet (despite some desperate pleas from time to time), but we had so far managed to avoid any serious accidents… until now.
Learning to Scoot
Recently we made the transition from the seated to the standing position. While Hannah loved the seated position, she was beginning to show signs of wanting to be more actively involved in the scooting process. We decided it was time to teach her how to properly scoot.
Yesterday, we headed to Carss Bush Park. It has a wonderful bike track that is the perfect place to begin learning how to scoot in earnest. The main idea of the day was to teach Hannah how to push herself along with her foot. After a little while, we had great success. Hannah practiced the motion of pushing along with her foot, while I slowly pulled the scooter. She had a great day!
We decided to back up that success with a trip to the Botany Bay foreshore today. Once again, Hannah rode her scooter with increasing confidence and with the understanding that she is supposed to use her foot to push along. Again, I helped her by gently pulling the scooter along.
After a while, Hannah was looking pretty good! She seemed to be well in control, so it was time to loosen the reins and let her scoot along independently. All she needed was a little push every now and then to keep her going.
Independence and Danger Go Hand in Hand
Of course, increased independence means increased danger. With no parental hand in control, accidents will happen, sooner or later. For Hannah today, it was sooner.
Just minutes in to her newfound scooting independence, Hannah came unstuck in the most spectacular of ways – face-first over the handlebars. She had been leaning too far forward, and as she hit a crack in the pavement, the scooter stopped and over she went.
Emma and I rushed to pick Hannah up. She screamed, and rightfully so. She had used her chin to break the fall and the result was a large graze and a cut tongue. Blood wept from the wound, it was a disturbing sight for a parent who is not used to seeing his child in pain.
Emma scooped Hannah up and she balled even more. She seemed, almost immediately, to become even more distressed. Emma and I looked at each other. Perhaps Hannah was seriously hurt. Perhaps she had hurt her head in the fall as well as her chin, despite the protection offered by the helmet. The seconds ticked by and we didn’t know what to do. Hannah grew more and more inconsolable and she became very squirmy in Emma’s arms.
Back on the Horse
Eventually we understood what was going on. Hannah wasn’t inconsolable because of the fall. She was upset because her scooting adventure had been cut short. Despite the blood gushing from her face, all she wanted was to climb back aboard and carry on her adventure. The physical pain from the fall had been intense, but it had also been momentary. Hannah had felt the impact, but then she had moved on.
Once back on her ride, all was good again in Hannah’s world (albeit with slightly less freedom than before). She was a happy little toddler as she rode most of the way back to the car.
I have no idea what people walking the other way must have thought. They would have seen a toddler in a blood-soaked t-shirt, with even more blood dripping from her chin, riding along on her scooter with a big grin on her face.
It was not a pretty sight, but it was the best way to deal with the situation. We couldn’t clean Hannah up properly until we reached the car, and for Hannah, getting back on the scooter straight after a fall was a pretty brave move. There was no way that I was going to stop her from doing that.
All is Well That Ends Well
We returned to the car and cleaned Hannah up. By that time she was asking for a banana, so we found a quiet place to sit and eat a snack. Hannah happily sat and munched her banana, then a rice cracker. She was in good spirits and totally unaware of how busted up her face looked.
I tried to get Hannah to show me the inside of her mouth. Through the cracker crumbs and bits of banana I could see that any bleeding inside her mouth had stopped, so that was a relief (also, sometimes being a parent is really, really gross).
Accidents are an inevitable part of childhood. They come with the natural inclination of kids to push limits and experience the world around them. Through such accidents, children learn lessons, and adults do too. Today Hannah learnt more about scooting, and she will be better at it because of it. Today I learnt more about the resilience of a remarkable little girl. I am a better father because of it.