Monday, February 23, 2009

The first of many...

Bumps and bruises, that is.

Last night I felt like the worst mother in the world. N. was playing in the living room, as he usually does in the evening, in what I thought was the 'safe' side of the room. I had gates completely separating all the shelves/cords/tv/computer/etc. from the rest of the room, and his play area is nearly completely covered in gym mats to pad any tumbles. The entrance is also gated off, so he can't get out into the hallway to play with shoes/coats/bags.

But, he found the danger spots nonetheless.

Our building is old, and all the wood mouldings are covered in at least 20 layers of paint. There isn't a sharp edge anywhere. The problem is that our livingroom originally had a door, and there are hinges. I don't often notice them because they're also coated in many many layers of paint and are completely rounded off.

The problem is that they're still hard as steel. And he managed to fall into one.

I scooped him up right away, and noted in my logical brain that he cried immediately (ie no loss of consciousness), and seemed comforted by being held. Then I saw the mark on his forehead and I dissolved into hysterics.

The mark ended up swelling to a bump with an ugly bruise in the middle, and his personality was just fine (no sleepiness, no vomiting, responsive pupils, etc etc), but all I could think was, "Oh my God, I broke his skull, oh my God oh my God oh my God!"

After I calmed down, I called the nurse for some reassurance, and she was wonderful. Everytime I've called, it's been with a "first-time mom" question, but they never make me feel stupid or like I'm overreacting. She went through the standard protocol for head injuries, proclaimed it a soft tissue injury, and then chatted with me for another 6 or 7 minutes. I asked if I should wake him up overnight to check, and her response was, "I can tell you no, but you'll do it anyway ;-)"... so I just checked him whenever I woke up to turn over, and he seems to have recovered quite well.

He's in bed now for the night, having had a really good day. I look back on last night, and I know it's normal for a toddler to get bumps and bruises, but it's tough to get used to. The problem is, N. has the personality of his uncle J., who as a kid had stitches more times than anyone else I know, and had a penchant for finding trouble. I know the day will likely come when a call to the nurse won't be enough, and we'll be waiting in triage for a cast, or stitches, but I also know I can't wrap him in cotton wool and protect him forever like a china figurine.

Being a parent is so much more than I ever thought it would be. And I wouldn't trade a second of it.

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