10/24/10

Babies and Beer Bottles Don’t Mix

If you’re squeamish about blood, stop reading now. But if you’re a mom, you’ve probably encountered more blood than Freddy Krueger. And if you haven’t yet, you will.

I hate to break it to you, but kids get hurt. If they’re anything like my boys, they get hurt A LOT.

The other day we were playing in our yard enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Riley, 20 mos., aka “Dr. Destructo,” went up on the porch to grab his toy lawnmower. Only he got distracted – by a broken beer bottle in the recycling bin which he promptly put in his mouth and took a swig from. Blood, hysterics, and panic ensued.

In case you’re thinking, “What kind of a dumb-a** leaves broken bottles around?” let me just say we had recently moved the recycling bin outside thinking it was safer there than in the kitchen. The porch isn’t a place where the boys play. Or so I thought.

And anyway, my sons have injured themselves on steps, doors, bookcases, bathtubs, and plenty of other nonthreatening household objects. So unless I want to outfit them with bubble-wrap coveralls and football helmets for the rest of their childhoods, they’re gonna get hurt.

ALL kids get hurt. It’s a fact of life. You can babyproof your house up to the rafters and your child will probably still manage to injure himself. (Remind me to tell you about the time Miles got his head stuck in a kitchen chair.) You can’t protect kids from every possible danger. (But you should totally try. Maybe if you start early enough, babies get used to wearing helmets and bubble-wrap.)

Believe it or not, I used to be so uncomfortable with blood, needles, and all things ER-related that I would pass out at the mere thought of it. I’m not kidding. I actually wrote an article about my condition, which is called “vasovagal syncope” and is more common than you’d think.

Needless to say, post-kids I’ve gotten used to the sight of blood. When your child’s bleeding from the mouth, you don’t have the luxury of fainting. You spring into action with washcloths, Popsicles, and calls to the pediatrician.

The first time my older son cut himself (on a doorframe), I rushed him to the ER, called my husband to leave work, and endured hours of X-rays and doctors. He was fine. Now that I’m on Kid #2, I’m no longer so quick to panic.

I know now, for example, that mouth injuries often look worse than they are because the blood mixes with saliva. I know that a split lip doesn’t necessarily need stitches unless the cut crosses the lip line or doesn’t stop bleeding after 30 min. I know that you have 5 hours to decide whether to get stitches or not. (After that, it’s too late.) And I know that Popsicles are a godsend for kids who scream at the sight of an icepack. (Although when blood mixes with a green Incredible Hulk Popsicle, it’s not pretty.)

It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s upsetting when your baby hurts himself. You feel like the worst mother ever. But it’ll be OK. Like they say, kids are resilient. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And anything else people say in these situations that sounds wise.

All I know is, I should buy stock in Batman band-aids and Flavor-Ice. And at least I don’t have to worry about fainting at the doctor's anymore.

FLICK O' THE WEEK: I finally saw "Babies," the documentary about the first year of life for 4 babies around the world. Adorable and awe-inspiring. And I guess I can't get too worked about a beer bottle if moms in Africa are shaving their infants' heads with giant buck knives.

3 comments:

Loukia said...

Oh so sad! It is just awful seeing them get hurt and the sight of blood near their mouth/face is sooo scary for me!
My 2 year old fell down the stairs yesterday at bedtime. He hurt his tummy/chest. Could have been much worse, but I kept him up another hour to 'observe'... as if I'm some doctor! He's okay now though!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

Oh. Wow. I had no idea about all of those emergency facts. Glad I know now! Five hours to decide on stitches?!? Like I said, no idea.

I guess I've been lucky so far. The biggest injuries I've seen are a couple bloody lips and some scraped knees. I got really worried that I was endangering my son's fingers when I gave him an apple and a peeler today! I'm a wee bit protective, I suppose...

I'm so glad you mentioned "Babies!" Been meaning to put that on my Netflix queue but keep forgetting! Going to do it right now.

Jack said...

Head and mouth wounds can make you crazy with all the bleeding. But you are right, can't have kids and be squeamish.

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