Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Shallow Well of Sympathy

E. scraped his ankle on some cinder-blocks the other day. I think it might have been the worst injury he's had to date, besides the giant nosebleed that happened yesterday, but that's a different story. Let's just say it involved two beds and E. trying to superman between them.

Anyway, the ankle scrape wasn't that bad, but you'd have thought the world was ending. He cried and just wanted to be held, which wasn't always possible since kid #2 was climbing on the same cinder-blocks and he doesn't quite have the whole balance thing mastered yet. I kept thinking that the crying and whining would stop. But it went on for a long long time: during our entire trek across a soccer field to get to the car and continued throughout the duration of our drive home.

"You're okay, Buddy," I told him.
"Oh, but," (his two new favorite words) "I don't want a boo boo."
I thought about saying "too bad" or "it's a little too late for that" or the ever-enduring "if you don't stop crying, I'm going to give you something to cry about," but in a more generous moment, opted for: "You already have it. Now you'll have to wait for it to get better."
"Oh, but it hurts. I want you to pick me up."

At this point, I was reminded of just how little compassion I have. I think I might be missing the empathy gene. My husband can attest to this character flaw of mine. Just ask him about the time he cut his finger with a hand saw and had to get stitches. He had to yell and fall to the ground just to get me to stop what I was doing and come over. Then I had to endure 2 weeks of looking at the wound, talking about the wound, bandaging the wound, and putting plastic bags on the wound so it didn't get wet. To be brutally honest, most of all, I resented having to do all the dishes myself. It was the longest two weeks of my life. . . I mean. . . I was very supportive and really felt for the guy.

Where was I? Oh yeah. No compassion.

I think E. inherited Dave's tolerance for pain. When we got home, he limped around, saying he couldn't run fast, only slow and need to walk on tiptoe. I might have rolled my eyes here. I'm not sure.

After about an hour, or maybe twenty minutes, I couldn't take it anymore. My shallow well of sympathy had run dry, so I told E.: "I think you need to toughen up."
"Oh, but I don't know how."
"You just look at your boo boo and say I'm okay and then you keep playing."

After he slept on it for a night, he decided to take my advice.

1 comment:

  1. You just made me laugh really hard. I, too, have zero sympathy toward the hubby when he encounters snot, blood loss and mayhem. However, he is the one who left the thermostat timer set to 60 freezing degrees right after I had the baby, thus requiring me to get up off the couch (ouch) every two hours to set it to a reasonable 70.