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Falling Child

Just got back from taking Hazel to the park. There is a  little retaining wall she walks along the top of to get in past the fence. The wall goes along the edge of the stone steps, it stays level while they go down. At the bottom there is about a 4.5 foot drop. I can stand on the stairs and rest my chin on the wall-- and I am 5'4.

Little children like to walk along the wall too-- and jump down at the bottom. (When there are kids on the wall Hazel waits.)

Today there was a woman coming down the steps with a stroller, and a little girl of about 3 on the wall. They are part of the family that runs the bodega across the street. They are from Yemen. I know the men to speak to, but the women don't have much English. This was a young mother I know only to smile at. She had a baby in the stroller, and the little girl. I hesitated at the bottom of the steps because I have the feeling the mom is a little scared of Hazel. (Hazel has to be stopped from kissing stroller babies. I think they smell like food.)

So the little girl was walking along the wall. There is a fence to hold onto, and she was doing fine for a while, but suddenly she missed her footing and fell. She struck her head on the stones which were maybe four feet below. And she just lay there-- silent, unmoving. Did not cry. Her hands were limp.

There were two men standing on the other side of the steps. They went over, and leaned over, not touching, but asking, 'Are you ok?' I did not hustle forward because of Hazel. The mom was only steps away, anyway. She parked the stroller, and picked the child up, brushed her off, gave her a big kiss. The girls eyes were open, she seemed a little stunned, but she moved away well enough. She could walk.

I said 'She looks a little stunned.' The men said 'Yeah, that was a terrible drop.' I said to the mom, 'She is a brave little girl.' (I think what I really meant was I am worried, she ought to be shrieking.)

After they left the young men (Hipster Williamsburg types,) said that they felt they could not pick up and comfort a small hurt child. They were afraid of being misunderstood. Maybe the black robe and hijab adds another layer of distance.

I did not think to put Hazel in sit-stay, and go lift the little girl. And anyway, the mom was right there.

I know that one time a Hasidic boy about 11 or 12 took a terrible fall off his bike in the park. He was lying there stunned and bleeding. I went over and asked 'are you ok?' and he shouted 'don't touch me!' Not like I'm hurt don't touch me, but hostile. I backed off, men came and helped him, so he was ok.

I think as I get older I notice young kids and families more and more. Children seem familiar. I have spent so much time in their company. I like them, usually.  But I hope I am not a busybody.

I think I got about 5 years as a hot young thing-- and then at about 25 I became Molly Weasley. I have been Molly Weasley ever since, and that is just fine.

But should I, could I have been more help in this instance?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
empresspatti
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
I'm Molly Weasley too
Although sometimes I see a pix of myself when I was a hot young thing and wonder how I survived!

I think you did exactly right - touching the kid unless you were specifically asked for help could have been misconstrued. Can you stop by the bedega and ask how the little girl is doing?
eglantine_br
Aug. 15th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
Re: I'm Molly Weasley too
I will do that. I will ask tomorrow.
soon_lee
Aug. 15th, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
Should get them checked for concussion - can have serious consequences.
eglantine_br
Aug. 15th, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
Yes that is what I thought.
lemurling
Aug. 15th, 2013 01:54 am (UTC)
I think you reacted appropriately, and the thought to go and see how she is doing is a good one, if you feel so moved.

If the mom weren't close by, it would be different, but she was right there, and not worried, and moms do know their kids. If her child would normally have started crying, and didn't this time, the mom would be worried. The fact that the mom was unconcerned should be taken as a good sign. Some kids just aren't criers, and this one might have been too stunned to remember to. My own gal rarely cries, especially from things like falls, though I think she would have from that big of a drop, especially after hitting her head.

It sounds like it would have been scary to see, and head injuries are always concerning, and you're good hearted to worry. :x
provencepuss
Aug. 15th, 2013 06:33 am (UTC)
difficult situation not made easier by 3 cultural angsts : the young men afraid of being accused of 'abuse';the mother's enforced isolation from contact with others (robe and hajib neither of which are in keeping with the Quaran) and the young Hasid who will not allow a woman to touch him.

But this child could have been concussed and the mother's reaction would have had my antennae on high alert - was she more afraid of what the reaction at home would be to her 'allowing" the accident to happen? or of what an examination might reveal? After all there is no real cultural reason why the woman shouldn't have allowed you to help her - unless she has been brainwashed by the most extreme variation of her religion to believe that all 'infidel' are to be avoided which I doubt because she was walking in a public park.

It's true some kids don't cry straight away but my experience when working in a 'difficult' neighborhood 35 years ago is that the children victim of violence (or witness to violence)may stay silent even though badly hurt in fear of getting themselves (or mom) into 'trouble.

If you can drop by someplace to see if the child is OK do it. And if they are regulars in the park keep an eye out for them to see how they both seem. The full cover hides a great deal from the outside world!
anteros_lmc
Aug. 15th, 2013 09:05 am (UTC)
Given that the child's mother was there, and you also had Hazel to think of, I'm sure you did exactly the right thing. Like empresspatti said, you could always drop by to ask if the little girl is okay.

FWIW, I think I would probably have reacted the same way as the mother if this had been my child. She was probably shocked herself. Toots hasn't done anything quite this dramatic, but I'm sure my first reaction would have been to make sure there was no obvious damage, scoop her up, get her home as quickly as possible, assess the situation and then seek medical attention if necessary.

I'm kinda hoping I might eventually turn into Molly Weasley but I suspect I tend more towards Bellatrix Lestrange in my less patient moments :}
serge_lj
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
You did the right thing.
lunasariel
Aug. 16th, 2013 05:41 am (UTC)
I'm probably the wrong person to weigh in on this, since I'm not exactly the motherly type (I can understand Molly's "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH," but not much of the rest of it), but it really does sound like you did the right thing - showing concern/support, plus a willigness to help, but not pushing their boundaries.

What kind of dog is Hazel, btw? I have an ancient Norwich terrier who we adopted with the name Moocher.
lady_latimer
Aug. 17th, 2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
It's always a tricky situation where other kids are involved, isn't it? It shouldn't be, but it is. We *should* be able to go to help someone without worrying about being judged or misconstrued, but the world isn't the place it should be at times :(

Given the situation it sounds like you did what you could in that moment; with the mum being right there and you having your dog with you there wasn't a lot else you could do and she knew you were supportive if she needed further help. Don't beat yourself up about it, and going to check she is ok sounds like a great idea.

From the other side, as a mum, I'd always be grateful that someone took the time to help or ask if things were ok if one of my kids had hurt themselves; a few months ago my youngest fell and smacked his head really hard - his nose started gushing blood and he was screaming his head off, and several people walked past and totally ignored us. We were in a department store and I also had my elder daughter with me and I had to shout for someone to go and fetch the first aiders before anyone would do more than glance at us. It felt horrible, and it makes me sad that people don't feel able/inclined to help, especially where a child is involved.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )