Ronnie’s post last week about accidents sure brought back memories!
We’ve all been where she was (or we will be)–speechless with terror that, because we weren’t watching for that half a second, or that we didn’t react quickly enough, our child was hurt. But, believe me, the child will recover a lot faster than we will as we struggle to forgive ourselves.
My first son somehow got to the deodorant pellet in the lid of the diaper pail, which held his soiled cloth diapers (yes, yes, we had Pampers in those days but I was ahead of–or behind–the times), and ate it. I didn’t drive then, so I frantically called a friend who pulled her naked kid into the car, raced over, and took me, the baby, and my 2 ½-year-old to the Emergency Room. The doctors made him vomit and then told me to take him home; he was fine and would not vomit again.
He vomited on the way to the car, in the car, as I carried him into the house. On himself, on me, on his sister. I was a shaky little mess about the whole thing.
My other son, about 1 1/2 at the time, was playing near the stairs and, as I reached out to move him, he shifted the other way and I watched him as in a cartoon. I swear he went head down, feet up, feet down, head up, like a pinwheel, all the way down the uncarpeted basement steps. I was screaming and crying. I scooped him up, did a quick medical check-up. He could move all his pieces and parts and there was no blood. Truly, it was a miracle. He was fine and quickly stopped crying–I think because he was shocked into silence by his mother. I had totally lost it and could not stop bawling.
In another Septimus Horror Story, my daughter was jumping on my bed with her 2-year-old brother, son #2. I heard two shrieks, followed by screaming and crying. I rushed in and found my toddler with a hole in his head, right between his eyebrows. Off we went to the ER. By the time my husband got to the hospital a few hours later, we still had not seen the doctor and my son, hole in head, barefoot and in pajamas, was chatting up the others in the room. Finally the surgeon came. They put my little boy in a straight jacket and we stood beside him as the doctor started to sew the cut which, he helpfully informed me, had gone down to the bone. I looked over at my husband whose face was a sickly greenish-white color. I said, “Sit down! Sit down!” He left my side and, when I looked over, he was slumped in a chair in a faint.
Son #1 broke his arm on the climbing gym in our backyard right before he started kindergarten and broke the other arm eight years later playing basketball. If he had three arms, I’m sure he would have broken the third one, too.
One night after supper and bath, I was putting on #2 son’s diaper and pajamas. He seemed to have snot in his nose which I could not remove. I looked very closely and, somewhat skeptically, came to the conclusion that he had spaghetti up his nose. Yes, spaghetti. What he had for supper. I called to my daughter to get pepper to try to make him sneeze. Didn’t work. I started to laugh maniacally (from genuine amusement as well as nerves) and called the pediatrician. I was laughing so hard that I could barely choke out what had happened. I wanted to know if it was OK to put him to sleep with a nose full of spaghetti. Dr. B., who knew me very well by this time, chuckled too, and told me to put him in the crib and to see an ENT doc in the morning. Next morning, bright and early, the ENT used a tiny vacuum to remove the offending bit of pasta.
We didn’t need a vacuum the time son #1 came in to me to tell me he had “a snap” up his nose. “What?” I asked. “A snap, a snap!” he repeated. I looked in his nose. There was, indeed, a snap–the kind you sew on clothes. I acted out blowing my nose. “Blow! Blow!” I urged. The snap sailed out. “Why did you put a snap in your nose?” I asked my 4-year-old. He answered reasonably, “I wanted to smell it.”
Then there was the time son #2 went skateboarding right before his bar mitzvah and came home with no front teeth and a mouth full of blood. I think it was the first time I ever cursed in front of my kids and I hollered, “Oh shit, oh shit!” We looked for, but couldn’t find, his teeth. We raced to the dentist who removed my son’s braces, put on temporary caps and took impressions for the new (man-made) teeth. The whole thing took about five hours.
We got home well after dark and as I was making myself an “alcoholic beverage,” my husband came through the front door, calling cheerfully, “Hi! I’m home! How was your day?”