The boy is currently conforming to all the typical gender stereotypes. He has an inexplicable love of balls, he heads straight for the hockey sticks at playgroup and he has had more cuts and scrapes in his sixteen months then the girl has had in her three and a half years.
Some of the recent incidents are due to his desire to run fast, climb high and do everything his sister does, but that still doesn't account for those early accidents. Like the time I was walking down the hall towards the kitchen with him in the sling and I turned to talk to the husband behind me and smacked his head on the door handle of the fridge. He was four weeks old and I went into a panic that I had permanently damaged him. Or the time the husband was changing his diaper on the floor and his sister stopped her dancing long enough to fall on this head. He was six weeks old. Luckily he was fine but I had flashbacks for days every time I closed my eyes.
No, he isn't entirely responsible for his many cuts, bruises and bloody noses. But I foresee many more falls on plastic saws, tumbles off of chairs and bumps on walls in his future. In fact, I think he is starting to see this all as a challenge. Like, why have only one bloody nose when you can fall down on the hardwood floor and get two bloody noses and a swollen lip.
As I sat holding him in my lap this past Saturday trying to stop the blood from gushing out both nostrils I wondered if this was a boy thing or a my boy thing. Given my immediate state of panic whenever I or my kids hurt themselves, I worried I would be unable to cope if the boy decided he wanted to continue on this rough and tumble lifestyle he seems to be living and become a football player. If that is the case I plan to blame my dad and mother-in-law for giving him a brown newborn rugby outfit as he is pummelled by eleven teenage boys on the field.
Then tonight I had an epiphany. Cuts and scrapes may be a boy thing, but it is also a my boy thing. Or to be more specific a my boy thing that he inherited from my other boy. The one that used to walk into scaffolding poles while on dates with me. Could trip on the sidewalk. Manged to lose his contact lens in the middle of a Belfast Street.
Somehow I find this comforting. As if in falling, bruising, cutting, scraping and stumbling through life the boy is simply caring on a family tradition.