Why the least childproofed thing in your house might be you

“Mom, let’s play leapfrog.”

An innocent request from the 3-year-old. Unfortunately, she wasn’t talking about any of the technological doodads we have of the same name. Nope. She was talking old-fashioned, jump over each other kind of leapfrog, though I have my suspicions she didn’t really know what she was asking.

We’d just read a book about a frog that plays leapfrog with another frog. Isabelle put “play” and “leapfrog” together and must have thought, “That sounds fun.”

Initially, I resisted. Our house isn’t exactly set up for leapfrog type space. And I was trying to imagine how she would jump over me. I resisted; she persisted. So, I said, “OK,” thinking, what could happen?

Famous. Last. Words.

Isabelle hopped and then crouched down on the ground. I took that as my cue to jump over her. I assumed the leapfrog position with a hand on her back and my legs ready to propel myself up and over. I jumped, and as I did, Isabelle stood up, just as I was descending. The collision forced her face to the floor with a thud I won’t soon forget.

My husband and I quickly checked for blood as Isabelle screamed and cried. We found none. I held her and rocked her, tears streaming down my face as I berated myself for making such a boneheaded decision.

I kept checking her nose, sure it was going to swell to Marcia Brady-broken-nose-by-football proportions. I imagined myself embarrassedly confessing to the doctor that I had broken my daughter’s nose because she wanted to play leapfrog and I was too much of a wimp to say, “No.”

More tears, from both of us. We put a Hello Kitty cold pack on her nose and started playing peek-a-boo with it, laughing and crying at the same time. “I guess we can’t play leapfrog anymore,” Isabelle whimpered through her tears, which for some reason made me laugh and cry all the more.

Meanwhile, our 15-month-old had made a deposit in his diaper that I hadn’t yet taken care of. My husband asked him to go get a diaper and wipes. He obeyed, by wheeling the entire diaper cart to the living room.

Maybe it was the tension of the situation or maybe we’re warped, but suddenly, my husband and I were rolling with laughter at the absurdity of it all.

Isabelle’s nose did NOT turn purple, just a nice shade of I’ve-smacked-my-face-on-the-floor red. (Probably won’t see that in a Crayola box anytime soon.)

Life went on as usual. No harm done.

I’ve heard that the best childproofing is a vigilant parent.

Guess I just proved that I need to find a way to childproof myself.


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