With an impending District writing test, I was trying to give my kids some last minute practice on Response to Literature. I came across this poem:
YESEES AND NOEES
The Yesees said yes to anything
That anyone suggested.
The Noees said no to everything
Unless it was proven and tested.
So the Yesees all died of much too much
And the Noees all died of fright,
But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees
All came out all right.
— Shel Silverstein
I am a Noee.
Before I could call myself one, I discovered that fact a year ago yesterday when I watched my little girl break her leg on a slightly hidden tree root in our backyard.
It was an innocent enough event. Our young Boston Terrier (and this blog’s inspiration), Dory, had been cooped-up inside for most of the day, and I felt that running the pup a bit before dinner made perfect sense. After picking Kate up from preschool, we headed home to go play with the dog. Needing to first clean up the backyard a bit, I allowed Katelyn to amuse Dory while I grabbed the scooper. Turning my back for just a minute was all it took. Our rambunctious terrier, excited by the attention she now had, raced maniacally about the backyard and then had dropped her head and launched herself like a missile at Kate. Kate, in trying to get out of the way, spun away and because our backyard is slightly graded, fell down and landed on her tibia directly onto the hidden tree root. The crying eventually proved itself to be far more than the simple embarrassment of falling down. She couldn’t walk on her leg. I first took it as her typical position as Drama Queen but when the evening went on, and she couldn’t (and wouldn’t) put weight upon her leg, and then was unable to stand up in the bathtub, my internet search provided all I needed to know.
Off to the ER we went…
In the end, Katelyn dealt with the inconvenience of the resultant cast far better than I did. She had to miss preschool, despite a wheelchair we got for her (–and eventually a walking boot but that’s a whole other story…) and got through the 6 weeks of recuperation none the worse for wear, even looking forward to the trip to her orthopedist in Newport Beach because of the feral bunnies that seemed to magically appear out of the bushes surrounding the Doctor’s office to “greet” Katelyn on her visits.
Also, her 4th birthday, 2 weeks after her accident, was marked by her presence in her kid-sized wheelchair, including a personal visit from Rapunzel at our house for her birthday, and then an extended audience with Rapunzel at Disneyland’s “Tangled: Meet and Greet”, thanks to her wheelchair drawing so much positive attention. It grew infectious. While I wouldn’t recommend having a child break a limb to have a wonderful day at Disneyland, it’s definitely worth it should it happen, given how much they dote upon the child as a result.
Still, that was the extent of it. Katelyn is so over her fall and subsequent break. I, for my part, am not.
On this Mother’s Day, it seems somewhat ironic to point out that my own mother’s pronounced weakness and caution made her a firm “Noee”. Frustratingly, this was an attribute passed on to me. It was bad enough when I became the type who hated getting dirty outside from playing to then have to deal with a daughter who liked dirt. Even more so, Katelyn likes to tumble wherever she could, and climb on what she can, thusly making every trip to the park playground, every turn on her bike, every step upon her gym class’ balance beam, a reason to close my eyes and grit my teeth until, not surprisingly, she emerges unscathed. Still, I am destined to die of fright from this.
I have become a walking chronicle of the “Worst Case Scenario” handbook, trying to decide what, in the way of disaster, could befall the kid before she engages in something even the least bit dangerous. After all, her broken leg was not the result of risk-taking behavior–the child was playing with a puppy, for crying out loud!–and, of course, I’m expecting a broken bone or concussion to lurk behind every facet of her waking activities.
Ironically, like the dog, Dory, who spends a chunk of her free time in the past, in her case smelling the premises for past clues on a regular basis, I, too, have spent way more time than I should, regretting the actions of what should have been a routine Thursday afternoon, punctuated, of course, by the slight crack of a 3-year-old’s lower leg bone breaking. I admire our neighbor’s backyard, which lack the shade trees which give a cool respite even on a hot day, because their manicured lawn is absent the tree roots in our backyard. I think to myself that Katelyn would never have fallen in their backyard.
Finally, to put my own fears to rest by confronting them, Amber and I decide to accept an old playground set from close friends. Yesterday, my dad and I get around to assemble it, with the slide depositing its rider near the spot where Kate landed on the tree root a year ago. After cleaning it up and drying it off, Katelyn has named her new haunt “Manny” (go figure) and has set up shop. She’s eagerly playing outside, and I’m just willingly watching carefully and allowing my girl to be herself.
I still like to consider myself a Noee, just for principle’s sake. But at least in this instance, I “thoughtformyself”. It should come out all right.