#160 In which our hero cleans up blood.
The shoulder of my favorite jacket is soaked with blood. My 2-year-old daughter’s blood.
Last night the whole family was taking a walk around the block, as we are wont to do. Since Lily is a big fan of both the computer and the TV, we try to get her out into the fresh air as much as we can. And with winter coming, the days of easy walks around the neighborhood are almost over for the season.
These walks are rather ponderous affairs, since Macey is at the point where she can walk on her own, and usually wants to walk on her own, but she doesn’t do it very quickly. We generally drag the stroller along and she splits her time between riding and walking. And naturally, when Macey gets out, Lily wants to get in. Neither of the girls enjoy riding on my shoulders for more than a couple minutes, so that leaves us with a long, delay-ridden walk. Which is fine, it’s not like we’re in a rush to get home so The Scientist and I can go clubbing.
So last night, at about the 60% mark of the walk, both girls were out of the stroller. Lily was lagging behind picking up rocks and what-not, Macey was with her mama, pushing the empty stroller. Lily had her hands in the pockets of pants, and said to me, “Daddy, can you put your hands in your pockets?” Of course I did. And it was just about then that Lily tripped on the sidewalk and did a serious face-plant on the pavement. Since her hands were in her pockets she couldn’t catch herself, and my hands were in my pockets, too, so I couldn’t have caught her even if I was quick enough.
I saw the whole thing. I’m not sure if it was the sound of face hitting concrete or seeing the fall, but I knew it was a bad thing. I immediately picked her up, and after a moment of shock, she started to cry. I was holding her on my shoulder, and was a little afraid to look at the damage. The Scientist was right there, and clearly was thinking the same thing as me when she said, “She’s not okay.”
We lifted her head and her mouth was covered in blood. She had rested her chin on her hand, and it was covered in blood, too. The Scientist gingerly opened her mouth and poked at her teeth which, miraculously, were all still seated in her gums. One was a little loose, but given that sickening fall, I was happy that we didn’t have to pick them up off the sidewalk.
And while we were assaying her mouth, that’s when Macey decided to wonder into the street.
We’re horrible parents in that while fretting over our 2-year-old, we completely forgot about our 1-year-old. The Scientist suddenly realized that she was gone, and grabbed her while she was about two feet off the curb. And, of course, a car was coming down the street.
We hustled everyone home, taking a shortcut through our backdoor neighbor’s yard. Lily was a real champ. She was crying, of course, but not the hysterical sobbing that would have been completely warranted.
So I guess this is the really hard part of being a parent. When your little girl is crying and saying “It hurts! It hurts!” and there’s nothing you can do about it. It was terrible.
We cleaned her up and dosed her with Children’s Tylenol. She stretched out on the couch with her mother, and we put ice on her lip, which has already swollen up as big as my thumb. She got lots of kisses, got to watch whatever movie she wanted (Wallace and Gromit, an excellent choice) and had her daddy feed her ice cream.
That night was tough. Her lip was too swollen to let her suck her pacifier, but she seemed to manage. She whimpered and cried softly, which just broke my heart. I went in and got into bed with her, which helped a lot.
I hadn’t planned on sending the night in my daughter’s bed, but it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as you might think. It’s only a single mattresses, but Lily doesn’t take up much room. Every so often she’s reach out with her foot, as if to assure herself that I was still there. She seemed to sleep really well, all things considered.
Right now she’s at home with her mama. The Scientist took the day off from work. When I called a half hour ago they were sitting in bed watching cartoons. I suspect it will be a day of snuggling and soft foods. Ice cream may come into the picture more than once. Which is as it should be.
I feel guilty, even though I know it was just a dumb accident. I feel like I should have said, “Lily, don’t walk with your hands in your pockets!” That if I had, we could have avoided all this. But she looked so cute with her hands jammed into her little jeans, like a happy teenager in miniature. And while we try hard not to hover, and to let our kids experience the world on their own… it seems like I should have been there to catch her. But I wasn’t.
And I know I won’t be there to catch her in the future, either. I want to protect her from all her falls, and I know the physical scrapes and cuts will be nothing compared to the emotional ones. There will come the time that I won’t be able to scoop her up in my arms and make it all better, and the knowing is like an awful weight.
But both her blood and her tears have already dried, I know she’ll be okay. I just hope it’s a long, long time until I see my little girl bleed again.
UPDATE: The damage as of 10 this morning:
The Scientist just emailed me this photo to show me how much more Lily's lip has swollen. You have to click on the photo to get the full size to really appreciate how bad it is. Ugh, it's just terrible.
I completely forgot that last night, while my child was bravely facing what had to be considerable mouth pain, I took that opportunity to blatantly lie to her face. The Scientist and I were trying to decide if this warranted medical intervention, and I casually asked, “Do you think we need to take her in to the doctor?”
Lily immediately latched onto that, saying “Yes! I need to go to the doctor!” Lately she has wanted to go to the doctor quite a bit, or else she becomes the doctor herself and makes me go to see her. I’m sure even her 2-year-old brain got the “doctor makes the pain go away” message, and she was all for it. But we weren’t going to go right at the moment, so I told Lily, “Honey, I’ll call the doctor and see what he says.” So I play-acted getting out my cell and made some noises with the buttons and walked away like I was talking on the phone. Then I came back and give her the doctor’s “advice,” which was to keep ice on it, take some more Children’s Tylenol and see how it looked in the morning. Lily seemed satisfied with this, but I felt a little bit like a dick for deceiving my child in her time of pain.
I guess I hope that’s the biggest lie I ever tell her. But I’m pretty sure it won’t be.