Monday, October 8, 2012

Parenting Fail - Broken Connor

I am, for all intents and purposes, a free-range parent. I let my children roam pretty freely, and follow the "if you can do it, you can do it". For the most part, it's worked out incredibly well. We have few injuries in this house, and both Connor and Helen tend to back off when something seems like a bad idea.

This afternoon, my neighbors set up a zip line in their backyard. It extended from their tree house to the top beam of their swing set. It's a good height off the ground for their oldest child, but it's too high up for Connor.

But a zip line is pretty irresistible - and I was happy for Connor to take part in the play. He wanted to do it and I figured he'd be fine.

Mounting the zip line was extremely precarious. The kids had to climb onto the ledge of the tree house (up high!) and then grab the zip line. On Connor's second try, he fell. I was across the yard, ready to take a picture and then catch him at the end. I ran to him, my neighbor was right there and started tending to him. Ed came running from our yard.

Ed took Connor inside and I stayed outside for a couple of moments. The neighbors felt absolutely awful. I didn't realize how bad it was, until I went inside to check on Connor and he was still crying.

Connor does not cry for drama, and for him to be crying for several minutes meant something was definitely wrong. It took no convincing Ed when I suggested going to the ER. Ed stayed back with Helen and Connor and I drove up the street to the hospital. There was little wait, and it was clear as Connor yelped in pain that something was terribly wrong.

X-rays showed a broken humerus - a couple of inches down from the shoulder. A cast is unlikely to do the trick. We have a consult with a pediatric orthopedist tomorrow, who will tell us what the options are. From the attending physician in the ER, it sounds like there will be surgery.

Of course, if I could go back in time, I would tell him it didn't seem safe. Connor would've understood in a minute. Unlike many children, he wouldn't have given me grief about waiting until the line had been made more safe. I know this. But I think he trusted that with three adults right there, he would be fine. He should've been fine.

Huge parenting fail on my part. I only hope it heals fast, though I'm expecting soccer season is over for him, and who knows if he'll be able to continue in the Lego magic after-school activity he's signed up for? He's deduced that he's done biking for a while, and he was extremely upset that the near-nightly games of baseball with Ed are likely over. Of course, with Fall here, we didn't have many nights with enough light anyway, but getting cheated out of the last of the daylight is just awful.

Fortuitously, my parents arrive on Thursday. I'm guessing they'll be bringing a lot of relief with them. start figuring out how to make the best of the next few weeks - or however long Connor has to deal with this mess.



  1. OH NO!!!
    Poor Connor. I hope he heels fast and the pain goes away quickly. Good luck to all of you.

  2. Oh, I'm sorry. Sending healing thoughts your way. I think it is worse for the parents... or at least kids bounce back a lot quicker than parents.

  3. I hope you're not beating yourself up Elaine. You're approach has worked so well with Connor and Helen. This is just a really crappy accident. I hope you get a good word from the doctor today and that his recovery path is as fast as possible.

  4. I have to say I hate the term 'parenting fail' and cringe when I hear very good mothers use it. Heal fast little guy.

  5. How's connor doing? Updates please! Will he need a lot of physical therapy?

  6. It's hard to hear you describe this as a parenting fail, even though I totally understand how/why you feel that way.

    It was an accident, just a terrible accident.

  7. FWIW? I think the fail is keeping your kids under wraps and not letting them try anything. For all the pain and suffering this is causing the little guy, I just think accidents happen. Good on you for seeing he was tended to quickly.