Fall has arrived, even though it will be 75 degrees in St. Louis today. Soon winter will be upon us (chance of snow tomorrow), and the boys will be bouncing off the walls with pent up energy that they were able to expel outside in the nice weather. No one wants to play outside when it’s cold out, unless there is a foot of snow on the ground.
In my male-dominated household (MDH), winter isn’t the only name by which we call this season. It is also known as the Season of Chase. When it's too cold to play outside, the boy energy that pours out in the warmer months through activities such as swimming, biking, hiking, playing ball and running through the streets naked boils up looking for any means of escape. If we don’t burn some of that energy, it forces its way up and blows my children’s heads off. Not really, but it does escape in less than desirable ways, like yelling, whining, and punching.
So, we play chase. Lots and lots of chase. Our Season of Chase began the other night – the first day and night it had really been too miserable to play outside. I wasn’t feeling all that chasey, but completely excluding myself from the game is not an option. If I am not a chaser or chasee, I have to be home base. The boys took it very easy on me when trying to avoid capture by their daddy the monster and dove onto me as gently as possible.
Our rule is that the game cannot begin until the room is made safe. We use the word "safe" loosely. How can you make an area safe for playing chase that is a natural bodily-injury hazard?
We have sharp, hard corners perfect for impaling.
We have a lower wall made of exposed brick topped with a concrete chair rail. We bought bumper pads to help protect heads from the concrete, but they don’t work well from the floor.
We have a tiny passage between the wall and the couch that is usually negotiated at 100 miles per hour by one kid hot on the tail of the other. Or, it is the bone-crushing meeting point of two kids running at top speed while heading in opposite directions. We call this passage “Head Bonk Way” and “Collision Alley.”
We have toys strewn about the room that are major trip hazards and if not pushed into corners put away threaten to turn the game of chase into an unsuccessful hurdle event.
We have steep stairs that end in the same brick wall and concrete chair rail at the perfect height to crack a forehead. Jack has intimate knowledge of that chair rail. Thankfully, the worst part about his fall was the sound it made and a goose egg on his forehead that lasted a couple of days.
And we have a deaf dog that decides to rest in the middle of the floor and invariably causes an avoidance injury every single time.
Our first injury in the Season of Chase kick-off came relatively early in the game. Luke was on his belly propping himself up with his hands. I grabbed one hand to pull him onto base and John grabbed the other to capture him. Of course, without his hands to hold him up, his face smashed onto the floor. It was a minor injury that involved about 30 seconds of crying before he was back for more.
Oh, for that to be the worst and only injury we suffer during the Season of Chase. But I know better. The Season of Chase can also be known by another name – A Time of Bandages.