I have been accused of having proportionally inverse reactions to pain. And it may be true. When I am minorly bonked in an upsetting and inconvenient way, I howl as though I were just dealt a mortal blow and all is lost. On the other hand, when I am actually seriously wounded I tend to shrug it off and try not to let anyone know that I really ought to be in the emergency room. Why this happens, I cannot tell you, other than to say that I have never been able to figure out my brain and good luck to you if you feel like diving in.
Well anyway, it seems as though this is a trait I have passed on to my daughter, because she is always howling about everything. Every time her brother so much as bats an eyelash at her, she will raise such a shriek that an untrained ear might think she has just been violently assaulted. And I just figured she was sensitive and over-reacted to everything all the time. Not so, apparently.
We were carving our jack-o-lantern’s on Sunday afternoon, a scant 24 hours before Halloween, when she announced that she had cut herself. Ruby is nine, so we let her use the knife without too much hovering. She calmly mentioned that it might have been pretty deep. Yeah, that’s one way to put it. We rushed upstairs to try to clean her off, but that blood was just everywhere, and it wasn’t stopping. It was very seasonally appropriate, actually. And so I quickly discussed with my wife whether or not we were taking her to the E.R. During all of this, Ruby sat quietly at the top of the stairs, not crying, not making a sound. She never cried, in fact. She looked worried, sure, but from all those times that her brother had smacked her arm, I would have figured she would be bellowing in pain at this. Nope. She’s like me.
She came home with three stitches, also seasonally fashionable, and an excited tidbit. “Daddy, can you believe it, they said I was the first pumpkin carving injury of the whole season, and Halloween is in two days!” Yes, we had the honor of being first, and possibly last. That was until ten minutes later, when her brother cut his hand as well. Luckily that one just needed a Band-Aid. And next year? Well, we’ll probably let them carve again. They’ll be a year older. What could happen?