There is no sound as wonderful as that of a giggling child. Unless it’s a child in our house. We shut that shit down immediately.
Laughter always leads to disaster. When I hear my kids laughing hysterically, I know that crying will be following fast on its heels. Hearing my kids cackle produces the same reaction in me that must have been felt by the World War II soldiers when the air raid sirens blared. When I see my little gremlins howling with joy in the backyard, it’s as if I’m watching the water recede on the beach before a Tsunami hits.
Giggling was the sound my wife heard just before my older son face-planted on the pavement and knocked out his two front, so-called-permanent, teeth.
Giggling was the sound I heard immediately before my younger child face-planted into the wall at the ice-skating rink and earned eight stitches on his eyebrow.
And it was giggling I heard coming from the living room when my older son was playing, by himself, on the couch. A child’s laughter, while playing with a sibling or a best friend, is bad enough. But you can bet dollars to doughnuts that if you hear your little urchin whooping it up by himself, an E.R. visit is in your not-so-distant future.
I was in the kitchen, feeding the cats. My 7-month-old, Xander, was crawling around just outside the doggie-gate at the kitchen door. We didn’t have a dog. The doggie gate was to keep Xander out of the Fancy Feast. Asher, our 4-year-old, was in hysterics in the living room.
“Asher, stop jumping on the couch or you’ll fall off and crack your head open!”
Could I have been any clearer?
It wasn’t more than five seconds later that I heard the laughter abruptly stop, and then a sound similar to Mike Trout hitting a 452-foot homerun over the center field wall at Fenway Park. Either the plasma television just fell off the wall or Asher landed on the coffee table.
I knew it was bad right away. Because of the silence. After a serious spill, I like to hear the crying. As a matter of fact, sometimes the crying is easier on my nerves than the hysterical laughter. It’s a sign the kids aren’t dead yet. Not on my watch.
I pushed the doggie gate over and rushed into the living room to find Asher staring up at the ceiling. Wide-eyed. In shock. And blood GUSHING from his forehead. There was a shiny white spot above his eyebrow, which, upon further inspection, I realized was the bone of his skull.
Now… I write horror movies for a living. Kill scenes are my specialty. Give me any random household item and I’ll come up with an absolutely disgusting way to use it to kill somebody. I believe Piranha 3D still holds the record for the most fake blood used in the filming of a motion picture.
Real blood makes me want to throw up. When my wife was giving birth, and it looked like a scene out of Apocalypse Now between her legs, the nurses needed to leave her side to attend to me. I’m that guy.
I fought through my sudden nausea (I’m actually getting a little light in the head writing about the event even now), and carried Asher into the kitchen to call 911. They answer. I start screaming, “Please, help me, my boy fell and he’s bleeding. Please come help me.” The 911 operator responded, “Ma’am, you need to calm down.” Yup, Ma’am. While cradling Asher and trying to avoid looking at the blood, I glanced around, realizing that I had totally lost track of my 7-month-old. I found him behind me, at my feet, happily gobbling up the wet cat food in the corner. He smiled up at me, showing off all four of his teeth and licked some liver paté off his lips. The best day of his life.
A neighbor happened to be walking by as the ambulance pulled up to our house. He offered to take care of Xander while I rode with Asher to the E.R. Knowing how squeamish I was, he also cleaned up the living room, which he said looked like a crime scene in a Tarantino movie.
So, yeah, I get a little anxious when I hear my kids busting a gut. Whoever said “laughter is the best medicine” didn’t have children.