Your love for your child is unconditional. That goes without saying doesn't it? You'd do anything to stop them from hurting. How many times have they been ill and you've wished that you could be ill for them instead? How many times have you sobbed into your third glass of wine that you'd take a bullet for them? Countless times, I'd imagine, and you really really mean it too. So did I. Until today. Now I'm having a re-think.
We went to the local farm this morning and did the usual sitting on tractors, goat poking etc etc. Then we went into the huge outdoor play area (which, incidentally, you have to pay £2.50 for, which is daylight robbery). I was already not looking too hot as a parent due to a) viciously bollocking Rory for running into the path of a go-cart, b) ignoring him while I had a go on the zip-wire and c) allowing him to go on the slides unprotected ("Those slides get very hot in the sun. You'd better tuck his t-shirt in so he doesn't burn his poor little back." Thanks smug mummy, now I look like a borderline child abuser).
The slides in question are particularly vicious, although this has nothing to do with how hot they get in the sun. They're set into little hill, very steep and fast and have half metre drops at the end, so kids go flying off them at speed, whizz through the air and land on their bottoms until they're old enough to work out how to move their bodies to land on their feet. This makes it necessary for a parent to catch them at the bottom when they're very small to avoid injury and crying fits. Now, I don't know what sort of dodgy plastic they're made from, but catching a small sliding toddler at the bottom of one always results in a static electric shock for the parent, and not just the usual millisecond of buzzing that you'd usually get from static. No. They hurt like a bastard, forcing you to immediately let go of your child, and you get little aftershocks afterwards. Oh how glad I was when Rory got big enough not to need catching at the bottom any more.
But today, for reasons only known to himself, my idiotic son decided to go down the biggest slide head first on his back. There was no way he'd have been able to save himself at the bottom due to his arms being in the wrong position, and as I turned around to the sight of him pushing himself off the top, I knew we were looking at a serious head injury at the very least. He was going to land right on his head and at high speed.
I'd like to say that I leapt into action without thinking about it, but even as I shouted "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" and automatically threw my body onto the ground to break his fall, I was internally wincing and thinking "this is really really really going to hurt."
WHOOOMPH. 2.5 stone of toddler made contact with my body as did the strongest static charge I have ever felt.
BZZZZ "YOU BASTA...."
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ "STONE THE CRO...ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH"
I lay there convulsing on the ground, my body spasming with every shock, trying very hard to stop shouting mid-swear so as not to offend anyone even further. Meanwhile, Rory lay on top of me, convinced I was doing this for his entertainment and laughing his head off.
BZZZZZZZZZZZ *convulsion* "SWEET BABY J....STOP LAUGHING"
"PACK IT IN MUMMY! YOU'LL MAKE MY WEE COME OUT."
I managed to get control of both the situation and my poor battered body. Nothing sobers up a situation like the threat of being soaked in urine (and being told to pack it in by a pre-schooler).
Unsteadily, I got to my feet, helped Rory up and staggered off to get an ice-cream with as much dignity as I could muster, then walked home feeling exactly like someone who'd had their head plugged into a Slendertone belt.
So, I saved my child from a serious head injury or perhaps even death. I should be congratulating myself on my excellent motherly reflexes, but what I'm actually doing is plotting another trip to the farm - one way in the future when he is bigger and stronger than me and I am old and frail and hopefully a little bit incontinent. I'm going to go down that slide dressed entirely in man made fibres with a metal prong in each hand and land on him at the bottom. See how he likes it. And I'm having a serious think about that bullet.