Thursday, April 21, 2011

Parenting Under the Influence

Thursday is the beginning of the weekend here, and is the New Friday for us Western expats.  As I've become fond of saying, "TAIT!"

With Nick approaching teenage-hood (teenage-dom?), he’s pretty eager to get out there with his friends sans chaperone.  So, the few times that he’s asked to go with his friends to the mall, we thought we’d let out a few notches on his leash and give him a bit of freedom.  Last Thursday night, he made arrangements to go to the mall right after school to have dinner, see a movie, and maybe go to the amusement park.  After we confirmed with two other moms that driving arrangements were in place, Dan and I were off the hook to let loose like the crazy party-animals we’re known for…which meant staying in and watching a movie with Ben and Jacob.

Just to set the stage, the mall that Nick was at is not in our neighbourhood; in fact, it is clear across the city, the same mall that the kids play hockey at.  In the back of my mind, there was that niggling, paranoid parent voice saying, “It’s a little far…what if something happened?”

Anyway, it being Thursday and all, Dan and I started in on the cocktails when he got home from work.  Nothing major:  a glass of wine when he got home, and beer with dinner.  With the blood alcohol limit for driving being 0.0%, this pretty much sealed the deal as far as staying home for the evening went.  I made chicken wings and the four us settled in to watch “Get Smart”.  That’s when our phone rang.

No one ever calls on our home phone.

“Hi, this is Nick’s friend.  Nick fell on the escalator and cut his leg really badly.  We think he needs stitches.  Can you come and get him?”

Damn.  I spoke to Nick and he was calm, and not lying in a pool of his own blood at the bottom of the escalator as I'd envisioned.  Now Dan and I had to settle two burning questions:  which one of us will go, and how will he get there?  Dan Rock-Paper-Scissored his way out of staying home, and I set about trying to get a taxi.  This is no small feat on a Thursday evening.  Finally, we tracked down a driver that I had used previously, and he managed to get Dan there, but it took just over an hour.

Meanwhile, Nick’s fantastic group of friends had already sprung into action.  As soon as he got hurt, they tried to find a security guard to help them.  Failing to locate one, they took matters into their own hands.  The kids went to the food court and got some napkins to stem the bleeding, while two of them ran down to the pharmacy and got alcohol, gauze and medical tape.  The Boy Scout in the group bandaged up Nick’s leg.  Had I not intervened to tell them that Dan was on his way, they were prepared to CARRY him over to the sports hospital next door!

After Dan picked Nick up, he brought him to a hospital in a different part of the city and kept his driver on retainer for the return trip home.  Two inches of stitches to a cut near his ankle, bandages to his banged up knee, and a tetanus shot later, Nick hobbled in at about 11:00 pm.

I'm sure there's a lesson in all of this, but I'm having a hard time pinning down just one.  Bubble wrap your kids until they're 40?  Don't run up escalators unless you're bubble-wrapped?  Or, while we're living here at least, make sure one parent remains stone-cold sober at all times?  Maybe a combination of these.  But it's Thursday today...I'll have to think about it over a cold beer.


  1. Hope Nick is feeling better. Sounds like he has a great bunch of friends. Hope your nerves weren't too stretched.

  2. Oh no! Go figure on a night when you both had a relaxing TGIT drink. Hope he is on the mend and feeling good again! Great post!

  3. The lesson is always have the taxi driver's number handy... nothing is worth giving up your TGIT drink. :o)