I’m talking about myself here, of course. Toddlers are incredibly resilient and my son doesn’t quite seem to have reached the same level of neurosis as his old mom, which is a good thing.
Last Friday we experienced our first big physical injury and I think I’m scarred for life. I know it’s fairly amazing that my son’s first big owie did not occur until now, when he’s almost 4, but I had sincerely planned for it to never happen EVER. My perfectly laid plans of nabbing a Guinness World Record for the only child to survive toddler-hood without ever needing a band-aid, stitches or an emergency dental trip have totally gone to shit and I’m not real thrilled about it either.
On Friday morning, we took Brody to school just like we always do, and decided to hang out in the little “Observation Room” for a few minutes before we left to run errands. I was chatting with another mom when I heard my husband Zach yell “Oh my GOD!” and run out of the room. I wasn’t sure what had happened but followed my husband into our son’s classroom, where I was met by my child who is screaming and sobbing and gushing blood so badly that his happy little classroom now looked like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre backdrop. This is the part of my tale where I would love to tell you that I switched into Supermom mode and stayed cool and calm for my little guy’s sake, but I totally didn’t. I stood there panicking like a complete idiot and half contemplating running away because the whole thing was just too awful. Finally I managed to utter “Should we go to the ER?” despite the fact that I knew we most definitely were in need of ER services.
There’s a big gym mat that resides in the middle of my son’s classroom, right underneath where his teachers sometimes hang up a sensory swing. I guess my poor little dude was running along and caught his shoe on the edge of that mat and introduced his teeth to the concrete floor. His teeth….oh lord, his teeth. By the time the triage nurse in the ER had whisked us into a room, Brody’s lip had stopped bleeding and I was feeling really much better about this whole ordeal. Until I noticed that he using his tongue to bend both of his front teeth back flat against the roof of his mouth. Upon alerting the ER doctor of this, we were informed that we needed to see a dentist ASAP. Imagine my delight upon learning that not only was our 3 hour ER trip a complete waste of time, but that my autistic child who doesn’t like to be touched by strangers would be going to the dentist for the first time. YAY!
The woman who runs Brody’s school was absolutely wonderful throughout this whole traumatic event and procured a dentist appointment for us while we were still waiting in the ER. We had to wait around at school for a few hours until our appointment, so we picked up a carton of Nada Moo ice cream for our poor kiddo who now resembled a Jack-O-Lantern, and let him eat most of it while watching Elmo DVDs on the school laptop. (Important note: This ice cream indulgence was so not worth the diarrhea that followed. Do not make this choice again, no matter what body part or limb the boy loses. Repeat-NOT WORTH IT.)
Finally it was time to see the dentist, and we lucked out in the fact that he was a sweet old guy and obviously very good at what he does. He managed to take x-rays of Brody’s teeth before Brody even knew what was going on and informed us that the teeth were super fractured and broken, but that if they fell out that it wouldn’t hurt anything. Worst case scenario is that he might be walking around looking like Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel for a few years until his permanents come in, but no further harm apparently. I was partially relieved to hear this but also wanted to punch the dentist for acting like the whole ordeal was comical when I had spent the morning watching blood pour out of my child’s face. We paid (this part hurt equally as bad as the prior events), left, and spent the rest of the afternoon at Barnes & Noble where we bought Brody any book that he acted even remotely interested in.
So many moms have probably experienced very similar events with their kids and I know I should be thankful that things weren’t much worse. Brody could have easily broken his jaw or his nose or a multitude of other things. But you have to understand…I am by nature an overprotective, worrisome, fretful parent. It’s just how I roll. And now I’m having a really hard time thinking about letting my injured little bear cub go back out into the wilderness.
I have concocted multiple scenarios to remedy this fear of mine, all of which have unfortunately been rejected by my husband. These include wrapping the boy in bubble wrap (too expensive apparently), never letting him leave the house again (this supposedly leads to some sort of psychosis?) and constructing him an entire town made out of hamster wheels and tunnels where he could roll around, maybe even have his own little car or sailboat, just like those fucking Zhu Zhu pets. People love those things.
Hopefully you’re laughing by now reading this, but if you know me well you’ll contemplate if any of those above ideas were jokes or meant in all seriousness. The bottom line is that seeing your baby get hurt for the first time majorly sucks. And knowing that it can (and will) happen again, and there’s not a thing you can do about it, sucks even more. We’re going back to school tomorrow and I guess I’m just going to have to suck up my fears about Brody returning to his regular toddler activities post-injury. I’m sure he’ll be excited to get back into his classroom and smash his face into some brand new hazard and I’ll be the one left standing there, wondering if it’s dangerous or illegal to superglue my hand to his.