When I was younger I was fairly accident free, and therefore trusted to play out in the street without my parents fearing that I might come back missing a limb. As I have got older my spatial awareness has diminished, and I now walk into things and bruise like a peach at the merest of brushes.
My sister, on the other hand has been accident prone since she learnt to walk, and it’s got no better as she has aged. At the start of the year she went to stay with our family in California. On her second or third morning my auntie said to her that she was going out and if she needed anything to pop next door. Half an hour later, while slicing a bagel, my darling sister managed to slice through her hand and had to go next door covered in blood to get the neighbours to help her out. Great introduction.
She has always been this way though, so at least she is consistent. Through my childhood I used to either love her or resent her depending on the outcome of the injury. For example, the time when she waved at me from the top of the swing, fell backwards and winded herself, I resented her with dramatic aplomb as not only did we have to leave the other kids at the park early to take her home, I then had to spend the evening with my great-grandmother while my mum took her to casualty. Not the biggest idea of fun for a child on their summer holidays! But the time when she got her thumb stuck in the loo door at school and practically severed it off, I loved her as I got to play at a friend’s house far later than I normally would. There was also the time when she skated down the hill on her forehead; I loved her then too as my mum child-minded a six month old baby, and I was NEVER allowed to push the buggy home from school. Apart from this one time, when my sister was hemorrhaging from the forehead and my mum didn’t have enough hands.
At one point, I seem to remember my mum being asked some serious questions by child protection, such were my sister’s frequent visits to the A&E department at our local hospital. She scraped all the skin off her arm on the Astroturf and had to have x-rays and a sling, she fell into a rose bush and got covered in thorns, and a few weeks later while in my charge she fell out of a low tree and into a patch of stinging nettles; I got into trouble for that one.
But the most significant ones happened within a week of each other, in our old house. On the first occasion she was doing me a favour; I was trying to study on the computer and there was a tarantula above the door frame, very close to where I was sitting. My knight(ess) in shining armour got up on a chair to remove the beast, and smacked her head on the door frame, causing her to get a migraine and a bad back for a while. Not helped by the occurrences of the following week.
My mum had a biscuit tin. My sister liked biscuits. My mum felt that my sister should not just eat biscuits as her staple diet, so put the tin on top of the cupboards out of reach and went out. She would be back in a few hours, and I was to watch my sister, while trying to study. I sat at the computer, and suddenly heard a bang and a scream. My sister, wanting biscuits, had climbed onto the work surface, slipped in some water spilt by the kettle and fallen off, hitting her head on the granite tiled flooring. I was furious. I sat her on the sofa to watch TV and she kept calling that she was tired, I would scream back “DON’T YOU DARE GO TO SLEEP TILL MUM GETS HOME OR I’LL KILL YOU!”
Mum got home, took her to the casualty department, where she was treated for concussion. Turns out me threatening to kill her potentially saved her life. Who’d have thought it?