My Head Banging Daughter


Bang! Shudder. Bang! Shudder. Bang! Shudder.

“Hey! Stop doing that!” I called out.

I was lying about in the lounge room and had just worked out that the rhythmic banging noise and corresponding shuddering of the house was probably a bad thing.

Bang! Shudder!

“Stop it!”

Bang! Shudder.

“I said STOP!”

Bang! Shudder.

Clearly, I was going to have to get up. It amazes me kids can hear the zzzzssssss of a softdrink bottle through a couple of walls and over the sound of the telly, but nothing which comes out of my mouth unless I have eye contact. I’d worked out what it was now – someone was kicking a ball against the side of our house.

Unfortunately, I made my move off the couch a few seconds too late.

Bang! Shudder.


At this point I must confess a fairly unsympathetic eye roll as I walked outside. I wasn’t too worried about the scream of pain – it’s silence which worries me more than anything.

“Aaaaaagh!” It was Miss3.

“I didn’t kick her on purpose. I was kicking it at the wall!” Master8 yelled an explanation at me. Apparently he thinks yelling makes it more believable. 

“Then why is she hurt?” I asked him.


“Because she walked in front of me.”

“Well you can stop kicking the ball so hard on the balcony,” I told him. “You’ll hurt someone.” I looked at Miss3 and realized it was a little late for this part of my warning. “Again. You’ll hurt someone again. Or worse, break my house.”

I picked up Miss3 and gave her a kiss and she wriggled down and away to play with her dolls.

“And you!” I said to the ball as I picked it up and placed it on the foosball table. “You are in time out, mister.”

And then, just as the sun was going down I heard that all too familiar sound again. Bang! Shudder. I was down the back yard battling weeds at the time so there was no point in yelling. 

Bang! Shudder. Bang! Shudder.

Then nothing.

I panicked just a little at the silence and Master8’s next word didn’t reassure me.


I started walking towards the house, my imagination already unwinding the crime scene tape.

“What’s happened?” I called out.

“Dad, I’m really sorry,” Master8 yelled down at me and I relaxed a little. He sounded worried but not panicked. He appeared at the balcony railing, looking down at me with Miss3 beside him, who was oddly patting her own head like she was a good dog. “I broke glass.”

The crime scene tape was out again, only this time I was calculating whether there was enough distance between myself and my son for me to calm down enough by the time I got to him for the boy to live, or if I’d have to go the long way around the house. Fortunately he went on to explain it was only a fluoro from the overhead light and my first thoughts of having to replace a glass panel in the door or window were quickly dispelled.

“Don’t worry. It’s only a tube, mate,” I said, happily calculating the money saved replacing a fluoro instead of calling in a glazier on a Sunday. “No one got hurt this time.”

“…umm…” He looked sheepish.


“The ball hit the light and knocked the tube out…” he began, but didn’t seem capable of going on.

“…and it broke on my head,” his sister grinned and finished for him.

Yep, my poor Miss3 was underneath it when it fell and she copped another crack to the head. She’s going to have some serious ball heading skills by the time she gets to join her brother on weekends playing soccer.

Or a neck brace to show off at daycare. This could go either way.

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Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his Big Family Little Income Facebook Page

 ”Raising a family on little more than laughs.”

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