I’d heard stories about being a mother of a boy and to be prepared for a childhood filled with skinned knees and broken bones. This morning, I got initiated into the club as my sweet petite, at 19 months and 2 days old, got his first stitches.
It’s hard as a parent not to beat yourself up over injuries because they can always be prevented. And as the person who spends 99.9% of her waking (and sleeping) hours with him, chances are, anything that happens is going to happen on my watch. But still. I feel awful.
Baby man and I were tidying up the house this morning, still in our pj’s, when for the first time ever, I let him accompany me into the hallway to drop off the recycling. As the trash room is right across the hall, he normally stays inside and plays with his furbrother while I run across and back in 10 seconds flat. But today, our dog wasn’t home and my little helper looked so sad to be left behind on our morning chores, so I let him come out with me. He was so good too – he listened when I asked him to stay right in front of the door (rather than run wildly down the hall as he typically does for our dog to chase him), and when it was time to go inside, he marched right in. And that’s when it happened. I was standing right there holding the door open when in a millisecond, he hit the ground. I didn’t realize until I picked him up that there was blood. There have been many falls, but blood was a first. He was crying, but not much and no tears. When I picked him up, drips of blood stained down his face, on his shirt and my shirt, and onto the floor. By the time we reached the bathroom to dab his forehead with a paper towel, he’d stopped crying. My brave little dragon.
I am super against kids in taxis without child seats to the point where we’ve walked in rain and snow storms to get to his classes. But today, my instinct told me to get him to the hospital quickly, so I decided to take a taxi as even an ambulance would take too long in this city. So I put him in his carrier – something I hadn’t done in a while and was surprised that he was still so light and easy to wear – and kissed him a dozen times on his cheeks. He kissed me back on my cheek and I nearly burst into tears right then. He was still his sweet, loving self.
We jumped in the taxi, strapped our shared seatbelt tightly around us, and prayed the whole way there. We got to the hospital very quickly and safely, thank god. The check-in took a few minutes as we were second in line behind an older man with chest pains. They sent us to the pediatric ER, which is surprisingly adorable, and he wasn’t at all fazed by the nurse checking him out. When she put a heart rate monitor on his thumb that glowed red, she called it an “Elmo light,” which my son acknowledged by joyfully singing “La la la la,” the Elmo Song. He still had his sense of humor.
Before moving us to the exam room, she gave him a goodie bag with a rubber duckie. He immediately plucked the duck out of the bag and made his “What does a duck say?” sound, “Kh Kh kh!” He was still super charming and smart.
Long story short, the only part that made him cry was when they washed the wound with water that ran into his eyes. And a little at being held down, which he hates (see nightly teeth brushing drama). When it was all over, with me fighting back tears and his father cringing at every needle and stitch (3 in all), his only requests were for milk and to take the drawings we’d made together on the paper table sheet.
It was a nice day and he was mellow, so we walked the 23 blocks home, pointing out all the dogs “Arf!” and the trees “Chees!” we saw. Then we had all the milk and popcorn “Pop!” he could eat, snuggled in bed, and watched his favorite show, Classical Baby. And when he started trying to do somersaults in bed (give momma a heart attack, why don’t ya!), we went for a stroller walk. He was fast asleep within 2 blocks. He’s still sleeping, looking as sweet and cute as ever, with a big ol’ band-aid on his tiny little forehead.
Little dragon, momma is so sorry and so proud of your bravery. Now I’m off to go prototype the bubble wrap helmet I’m going to make you wear until you’re 30.