I originally began this post in March 2013, shortly before the photo above was taken.
I must have been in some delusional state when I thought, with four children, that I’d be spared the emergency trips to the hospital for assorted bumps, lumps, bruises and breaks. I must also have been delusional to think I’d be the picture of calm and poise in the face of a crisis. You know, to be the first to jump into action? The one to rise to the occasion and know instinctively how to deal with a tense situation?
It would appear, in fact, that I should never be your first response, emergency contact, go-to gal if you’re in a situation of questionable health. Because clearly I either panic or I’m all, “Dude, it’s nothing an ice pack and a band-aid won’t fix”.
Case in point:
Panic: When my now-7-yr-old son was two-ish, we thought he had ingested of an adult cold medication. First I called poison control (I believe I may have appeared calm and collected but inwardly I was spazzing). And then I sent my husband to the hospital with the boy. He was fine.
Panic: When my now-5-yr-old son was also about two, he split open his forehead and needed stitches. Sent my husband. Ugh, the blood. Stupid head wounds.
Panic: When my now-5-yr-old daughter was a baby of about six months, her laboured breathing scared the shit out of us. And it takes a lot to scare my husband. So, logically, I sent my him to the hospital. It was croup. Another coughing scare two summers ago: it was so severe I thought she would choke to death. That time I hauled ass to the ER. No messing around. Pneumonia. Or something like it.
And don’t even get me started on the 7-yr old’s two choking incidents (I’ve since brushed up on my CPR training). Thank goodness for my husband’s quick reflexes. Dumb grapes.
Only my eldest daughter seems to have escaped serious injury; instead, it’s my generally mild-mannered youngest daughter that should be collecting frequent flyer miles for trips to the ER.
Except now she’s graduated to broken bones. A fractured wrist, to be precise. Not once, but twice. In the span of nine months. It’s not exactly the kind of thing you want to brag about in the annual Christmas newsletter, because as far as parenting moments, these rank up there with “extreme loser” and “epic fail”.
March 2013. A snow-covered back yard and my two little kids were playing while I watched from the kitchen. Climbing where she shouldn’t have been climbing, I called out to my daughter to get down and, in her attempt to scramble off, she lost her footing. It was one of those moments you watch unfold before your eyes in slow motion, powerless to stop it, jabbing the air at an imaginary ‘pause’ button on some invisible remote control. But when I heard the shriek, I knew it was bad; if only because I’d heard that same shriek once before, and seen the same arm-clutch.
In June 2012.
At the twins’ birthday party, no less. With a backyard full of guests, once again, the little miss was climbing where she shouldn’t have been climbing. I was busy snapping photos and so I didn’t have my eye on her, despite her being only about three feet away from me. The scream was piercing but after calming the cries, drying the tears and icing the wrist, she seemed ok.
This event would lead to my induction into the Fracture Clinic Hall of Shame.
Because in a purely #MOMFAIL moment, I waited two days before having my daughter’s wrist x-rayed, brushing it off as a sprain. (A momentary lapse in judgement that is apparently not uncommon among the parental set, as I later discovered. So there’s that.) It turned out she had a buckle fracture, not a break, per se, in both instances. This type of fracture would still require a cast. Thankfully they now make these ‘fun’ fiberglass casts that are cheery and not heavy as lead. Because when you’re four years old, a big old cast can be a big old pain. Also, if you’re a returning customer, like my daughter, it’s fun to pick out a new colour each time.
So the moral of the story here is: kids will be kids and parents will lose all ability to form coherent thought processes. Children will get into trouble whether you are watching or not. And, yes, this sometimes will mean a head wound or broken bones. And you might freak out, freeze up or bust a move to the ER. More importantly to remember is that, as parents, we are not infallible. As long as we learn from our mistakes, misgivings and missteps, we should come out relatively unscathed at the other end. Even if our kids end up in a cast.
And for those moments, and even the ones in between, there is always wine.