A mama’s dilemma

Doesn't little Mack's face just melt your heart?

Doesn’t this little face just melt your heart?  In the background, you see the evidence of a day’s worth of set-painting.

Here’s my little Mack.  Many of you know him well.  He’s smart, and funny, and creative, and intense.  And he thinks he is big enough to own sharp knives.

This is how his birthday list reads:  “Pocket knife, bb gun, paint set, fishing tackle, and a set of x-acto knives like Mom’s.”

He discovered my handy little set of super-sharp x-acto knives in my art desk drawer yesterday.  Now he wants his own set more than anything.  In his imagination, he sees himself, pocket full of knives, able to do any manly task that involves cutting. In my mind’s eye, I can see sharp gashes on his fingers or his little hand, a trail of blood, wailing and stricken faces, and a trip to the emergency room.  I’ve been down this road before, being mama of four boys that anybody would define as being “All-Boy.” 

To wit:  We gave Matthew (our oldest) a new pocket knife (he also intensely wanted one) and a pair of jeans for his birthday (I think maybe his 8th) and he promptly put on his new jeans, went outside and cut a gash in the jeans and in his thigh with his new knife.

Perhaps you’ve read about Andrew (our second-oldest) and his inventive and prone-to-being-rushed-to-the-emergency-room-with-a-head-wound-nature on this blog, in fact right here.  We had to take him to get stitches so many times that the emergency room staff had started to question us . . . “Were there any witnesses to this event . . . ?” (As if I would intentionally harm a single hair of any of my children’s heads . . . pshaw!)

Not to be outdone, third son Timothy (the one with a penchant for climbing anything that’s high enough to ensure a nosebleed if you get to the top, and there are some dandy photos of him doing just this right here) has had his share of scrapes and stitches, including many levels of stitches in one of his fingers, through many layers of his precious self:  a result of a careless moment with a hand saw.  And he is not a careless boy.  Accidents happen all the time.

“These things happen,” I say to my little Mack, “even if you’re careful,” but he is persistent and continues to ask for sharp and dangerous things.  The day he asked me if he could have his own set of x-acto knives, his brother Timothy sat down with him and showed him how to use them, and then watched him pain-stakingly cut out cartoons from the newspaper with my super-sharp x-acto knives.  That satisifed my little boy for that day, and no blood or gashes or ER resulted.

But what’s a mama to do?  I’d like to just wrap this precious youngest child of mine in bubble wrap and not see him ever get hurt or sick or disappointed or sad.  But life is just not that easy, and it wouldn’t be good for him, anyway.  He’ll probably receive something sharp for his birthday, and it will make him very happy and there is bound to be blood because of it, but I’ll be there to kiss it and wrap it up and he’ll learn to be more careful from the experience.  It’ll be okay.  He’ll be okay.

I’m just not sure if I’ll be okay.  I’m still wishing I just had a little more bubble wrap.



25 thoughts on “A mama’s dilemma

  1. Chef William

    I like the word pshaw, we raised 8 of our own, there are those pshaw moments when you feel like whacking them up side the head..the spare the rod and spoil the child kind of think, but you know there is a policeman peeking in your window so you restrain yourself.
    About the x-acto tools, please thing about it long and hard. One of my hobbies is wood carving, Those knives cut faster and deeper that anything out there. I worked over 40 years as a chef, have had a few cuts that required stitches but my x-acto knives are sharper that any chefs knives. All little boys want knives and there will be time, when he is older, that this will be a great gift, but for now perhaps a swiss-army knife with all its screwdrives and things might do the trick. He will still get cut but not so deep.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Chef, I do like the idea of the Swiss army knife. I think he’d be tickled with one, and it wouldn’t be half as dangerous. And thanks for your words of caution about the x-acto knives. They go back into my drawer!

  2. Geniece Brown

    Hi Amy,

    I love, love your blog and the pictures you’ve shared. Aren’t boys just fun?! I have just one boy who’s 13 and a daughter who’s 7, and they definitely keep me busy. The thing is that my 7 year old little girl many times tries to follow in the footsteps of her brother by riding on his bike that’s too big for her, climbing on things throughout the house and leaping from them, and telling him what to do! So far, I’ve had only one stitches incident with my son when he was in pre-school and the corner of his head right above his right eye (eye brow area) met the teeth of another preschool boy when they collided on the playground. That’s the gushing red part of the story!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Ouch!! I must say, Geniece, from my own experience, I had the worst accidents (involving red gushing, too) when I was trying to keep up with my older brother. Ouch! Thanks so much for your sweet words.

  3. Shawn

    The saying in our house was it was not summer until the first er run. The staff started to know us as well and it most always was one certain child that we where there because of. He is now a grown man of 22 and still as accident prone now as he was as a child. But hospital visits don’t happen just cuts and bruises so there is hope.

  4. Scott

    We’ve made only one Saturday trip to the doctor with our son. He fell out of his swing and skidded across the porch. But the fearless little guy loves fishing and daddy’s tools, so I am grateful it’s only been one trip so far.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      We all tend to watch him a little too closely, I guess, but hopefully he won’t get hurt. Thanks for your comment, Sophie!

  5. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    I’m glad my one son only got me to the emergency room once from his own doing (fell out of a tree and broke his arm). Sounds like you have some good guidance here – especially like Chef William’s idea of the Swiss Army knife. I don’t think I would have been cut out (no pun intended!) for raising four boys!

  6. Anita-Clare Field

    Hmmmm well, as a kid I spent more time in the emergency room than the average bear and I’ve never owned a knife in my life. So long as he understands the whole picture I can’t see why not? Boys will be boys 🙂

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