But when I dipped into my baby book to see how old I was when I hit a baby milestone recently, I noticed that I had a lot of coordination trouble. Here are the top 5 greatest hits, so to speak (with approximate age):
5. (5 months) Hit head against fireplace bricks at grandparents' house. Result: "Small bruise on forehead -- fine afterward."
4. (1 year) Fell down in back yard and split open my top lip. Result: "Swelling went down after a couple of hours."
3. (13 months) Stepped on a sewing needed; it almost went completely through my foot. My mom has told me about this one. apparently, the head of the needle was poking up, tentpole-style, in the skin on the top of my foot. Result: "It hardly bled at all. Jeff didn't cry much at all. Fine a few minutes later."
2. (16 months) Fell on the floor while sucking on a bottle. Cut lip on outside. Result: "Cut bled pretty good. Jeff was fine as soon as he was given an ice cube to suck on." One of the big memories of my childhood is the taste of an ice cube wrapped in a paper towel. This happened so often, I thought it was one of the major food groups.
1. This is the first one I actually remember, as I had just turned 4. I was at preschool on the swing set. Always the social butterly, I was swinging on a two-person swing. I think it was one of the ones that looked like a seesaw.
It was almost time to go back inside, and while my classmates weren't having any trouble with this, I was. Being short, my feet couldn't quite reach the ground, and since I was riding solo, I had no one to help me.
Well, I didn't want to be late, so I thought if I grabbed part of the main frame, that would slow me down enough, and I could hop off. Note that waiting for a minute or two while I slowed down naturally didn't actually occur to me.
I grabbed the bar as I was swinging back, and I guess I miscalculated. I heard a giant gong, and it felt like the back of my head was on fire.
Yep, I practically brained myself because I didn't want to be late for making macaroni arts and crafts.
The result: "Bled for a while, but was fine afterward. No swelling."
This filled up the Accidents page in my baby book before I even made it to school, where I was the Gerald Ford of Portola Elementary School.
I'm not exaggerating. I was on a first-name basis with Lindy, the secretary, and every time I came into the office, she'd turn to the mini-fridge next to her and reach for an icepack for me.
I would trip constantly, slide occasionally -- one time requiring a quick trip home to change clothes, as I'd slid all the way up my left side in mud during soccer at recess -- and I ran into stuff a lot.
You'd think a giant storage locker bigger than a Dumpster would be a pretty easy thing to work around, right?
During a game of Soak 'Em (or Bombardment, depending on where you went to school), I saw a random ball bounce near me. I ran for it at top speed to get it before one of the bigger kids did, and somehow neglected to factor in that giant storage locker, which I plowed into with the top right side of my head.
No blood, but a ginormous goose egg was sprouting on my head, which meant that my record, if not my skull, was broken, and it was off for another icepack from Lindy.
To add insult to injury, I had to do a speech in front of the class that day, which I did, holding the ice on my dome.
And no, it wasn't on playground safety.