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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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An injury

Uploaded: Mar 4, 2015
Last week our 12-year-old daughter broke her ankle playing basketball. It is just short of miraculous that we have five kids and have had only one other bone broken. That bone was less than an inch long (a pinkie finger), so only a minor convenience.

I would have preferred this ankle injury had happened to anyone in the family other than our youngest. The rest of us would welcome the opportunity to relax, catch up on some reading, and enjoy a few movies, but for her the inactivity is very distressing. For the first 24 hours after the injury, when she wasn't asleep, she was crying. Not from pain, but because she was inconsolable at missing so much in the next month, including but not limited to: the rest of basketball season, a dance performance, two swim meets, a water polo tournament, an ice skating party, and a ski trip.

I cried for the first day, too, from the knowledge that I am completely inadequate to the task of keeping our now couch-bound Energizer Bunny happy without her usual physical activity. She is a perpetual motion machine and enjoys exerting herself during most of her waking hours.

I was also dreading negotiating the school traffic mornings and afternoons. We live where we do because our children have, for the entirety of their PAUSD education, transported themselves by foot or bike to and from school. Even when I relent and drive the kids in the pouring rain, I avoid driving closer than three blocks to any school. With her using crutches, I will actually be driving into the parking lot during the school rush.

I am confident that she will make a full recover from her injury. I hope I will, too!
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Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Been there and can fully identify with everything you say, particularly driving into the school parking lot - it takes a long time.

Once she gets over the initial shock, try to channel her normal energy into a new activity which she would normally have no time for. She could spend this time learning to play guitar, or a craft such as knit, crochet, cross stitch, learn to bake (real baking not mixes), and to blog her time. This could be a great time of mother/daughter bonding as you can learn too! A challenge might be the beginning of a great future hobby for you both.

Hope it goes well and in a year's time it will be almost forgotten, unless of course a new passion is born. Good luck.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Mother of 4, for the encouragement and sharing ideas for some new hobbies. Once the shock wears off, hopefully we will find a way to take advantage of the extra time to explore other interests.

Posted by Erin, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Mar 5, 2015 at 7:10 am

I'm so sorry for her! I hope she heals quickly.

I broke my hip in middle school and was out of sports or anything active for two years while it healed, so I understand her frustration. The emotional trauma and loss is not insignificant. Make sure she continues to be involved as much as she can, even if she doesn't want to. And get her some kind of official "pass" to be late to class. Trying to get across campus on crutches is tough!

On the driving issue, consider yourself very lucky. I have driven my girls past a leased out elementary school on our way to Hays every single morning for 5 years.

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Mar 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Sounds like an opportunity and a challenge of the sort we avoid when we have a choice. Adventures ahead for the whole family!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Erin, for reading and commenting. Two years of inactivity during middle school. What a challenge that must have been for you and your family.
Her teachers have fortunately been understanding about her limited mobility and lateness.
I am extraordinarily spoiled with the kids' independence getting to school and back. When our fourth child started kindergarten she headed out the door on her first day alone, having for years watched her older siblings get themselves to school, she assumed she would, too. I had to explain to her that while I knew she was probably totally capable of walking to school safely on her own (with the help of the conscientious crossing guard), the other kindergarten parents would be very concerned if we allowed a five year old to walk alone on the first day of school. She was bitterly disappointed!

Thanks, LJ, yes, not what we would have chosen but there is sure to be something we all learn from it.

Posted by CherylBac, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Mar 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

CherylBac is a registered user.

Wishing both of you a full and speedy recovery

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Cheryl!

Posted by scoop4, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Mar 9, 2015 at 11:43 am

I broke my ankle as a "senior" citizen, and the best thing I did for myself is to "rent" a scooter. Crutches were beyond me anyway, I probably would have broken a leg. Perhaps if she could get around on a knee scooter, especially since she is a motivated active girl, she would be less frustrated.

My other suggestion is to get a handicapped sticker, short term but oh so helpful. You will be able to go out together and not struggle?. Good luck!!!!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, scoop4, great suggestions!

Posted by Karen, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Mar 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

I wish I could add some comfort, but it's hard to miss activities that are seasonal and then gone. One idea is to "pool run" with a flotation vest. Not nearly as much fun as running or swimming, but it's another way to get out to do something, particularly as our weather has been so nice.

Good luck!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 10, 2015 at 11:46 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Karen. Being sidelined for the basketball season is disappointing, but the good news is that she can now remove the walking boot to "pull" laps in the pool with her legs immobilized with a float. She is happy to be exercising again!

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