It's a good thing he likes firefighters
I was what could accurately be described as an accident prone kid. I broke my arm not once, but twice in second grade (effing Steal the Bacon). I required stitches in my chin and my head. I sliced through a vein on my wrist (I was not precociously suicidal; we just had some really weak-ass windows in our house). I rode in my first ambulance in kindergarten after cutting my arm down to the bone after a poorly calculated fence climbing attempt.
You'd think seeing so much of my own blood and guts (fat tissue, by the way is bright yellow, like a sunflower) I'd be pretty ho-hum when it comes to trauma. But, alas, I am weak sauce. It's not the blood that bothers me, it's the fear. I can't stand the idea that one moment you are going along all la ti da and the next moment you are wondering if you are going to die. Just the thought of that bewildering terror makes my stomach churn. I've known for a very long time that the worst possible job for me would be paramedic. And so far I've been pretty adept at avoiding that particular career.
That's me in the middle, pre stitches (yes, hippie parents)
But now I'm a mom. And since becoming a mom I've spent a lot of my down time wondering how I will behave when injury befalls my own kids. My own mom was calm and efficient: she'd wrap my bleeding part in an old towel, put me in the back of Datsun B210, and whisk me off to the ER, all the while distracting me with talk of the blow-softener to come. Sometimes the blow-softener was something like an ice cream sundae, but most often it was a trip to the toy store meant to add a little sunshine to an otherwise shitty experience (the all-time worst blow-softener ever was the baton I chose after breaking my arm—duh).
Today I had the chance to test the mettle we've already established is so sorely lacking in me. While I was watering and Maggie was herding chickens, Oliver did a spectacular somersault off the hammock and landed on his head on the gravel spattered cement patio. The blood was instant and copious—a fountain of red to make a vampire ache. I mean, it was shocking.
I picked up my already scared and screaming son, screeched at Maggie to put down the chicken she was cuddling and come with me right this instant. On the way up the stairs to the house I literally ran out of my shoes (ok, they were slippers), but I did have the wherewithal to grab a clean rag and press it to the blood spigot located somewhere above Ollie's eyes.
I then began my weird, panicky mantra: ohmygod—ok—ohmygod—ok—ohmygodok. I dialed 911 because I couldn't figure out how to get both kids to the ER in car seats while maintaining pressure on the wound and also because I had this weird idea that that is what a good mother would do.
This whole time I am also totally stressing about the chickens, loose alone in the yard. I am just completely stymied by the logistics of everything. I hang up on 911, realizing almost instantly that it is an insane overreaction. Then I forget the Mister's cell number even though I dial it a bajillion times a week. I proceed to misdial the numbers of three other friends who are great at dinner parties but couldn't possibly do anything in this particular situation.
At this point, Maggie, realizing she is getting the short end of my attention, begins fake falling and then whimpering up at me as if she's been injured. Ollie is screaming his head off. 911 calls back but I can't hear anything over the screaming so I just shout "We're fine" into the phone and hope that, despite all evidence to the contrary, they are convinced.
Maggie is still doing her lame fake falling, so I say, "Look, I know you want some attention but right now I just have to figure out how to get Ollie to the doctor. He had an accident." Ollie, who looks a little like Carrie after prom at this point, starts screaming "I don't want a shot! I don't want a shot!" while Maggie whines "I want 'tention," over and over again, still with the completely unconvincing pratfalls (does she think I'm stupid?).
I calm down enough to remember how to call my husband, who is kind enough to cross worrying about the chickens right off my plate. He is so calm, in fact, that I am able to remove the rag and look at the wound. It's a little, pebble-shaped hole in the middle of Oliver's forehead, and you know what? It's not really bleeding that much anymore. The fountains have slowed to an ooze. Ollie is still shaking and carrying on like he's lost an arm, but I am considerably soothed by the sight of his cut. My hands are sticky with blood and the wall is smeared with gore, but I am starting to suspect we don't have to go the hospital at all. In fact, I am starting to suspect a little hydrogen peroxide and a Nemo Band-Aid might do the trick.
Twenty minutes later, the three of us are sitting on the couch munching crackers and reading Skippyjon Jones. Oliver has a blue fish bandage on his head and his hair is all scabby. But otherwise we could totally pass for normal people.
Which we are not. Because earlier today, as we were getting ready to leave the playground, I accidentally locked my children and my keys in the car. In the sun. It took six firefighters to unlock the minivan and get them out.
And I totally forgot the blow-softener.