You have to check your mezuzahs!” Yossi’s mother implored while we were waiting at the hospital for our kids to come out of surgery.
I am normally not a superstitious person, but three weeks before this injury, Zachary knocked out a couple of teeth and the baby dislocated her elbow.
The idea that a damaged mezuzah scroll had landed my kid in the hospital (again) was quite appealing. At least it was a brief reprieve from the last 12 hours I’d spent telling myself (and Yossi’s parents who I met at the hospital) what an awful, irresponsible mother I was. And it made more sense than blaming TV.
“Can we please make the turkey hand cookies?” Zachary asked probably ten thousand times after he’d first seen them demonstrated on Nick Jr. I’m even less crafty than I am superstitious, so I was reluctant to agree to such an involved project.
The recipe called for four kinds of food coloring. Four! But Zachary’s persistence was cute, and he was missing his dad, who’d been away all week for work. Besides, baking is one of the few activities Benjamin, my autistic 7-year-old, enjoys, so it wasn’t the worst way to kill the three long hours between school and dinner. At least we wouldn’t be watching Nick Jr.
Due to the gory details and my crushing guilt, I can’t go into exactly what happened. I will say, though, that it started with a pair of scissors no 4-year-old should be allowed within 100 feet of, and ended in the hospital.
“Why are we in bed number seven?” Zachary asked when we arrived in the emergency room. He seemed more distressed by this than by the wound on his right ring finger.“Last time we were here because I drank the pink medicine I was in bed number four! And I’m four! Isn’t that funny?”
Yossi, a 12-year-old with a fractured arm, was in bed number eight. “I’m braver than you,” Zachary told his new friend the next morning while they were being prepped for surgery. Yossi played along.
“You’re right! You’re so brave they’re going to put posters saying how brave you are all around New York City!”
Yes, it was scary watching him freak out while coming off of the general anesthesia. But after that he spent the rest of his hospital stay playing with the adjustable bed and saying “rock on!” while waving his shoulder-length cast in the air.