Not What it’s All Cracked Up to Be (Or, I’ll Take My Eggs Scrambled, with a Side of Stitches)

Liam (5yo), in good spirits, waiting for the doctors to stitch him up.

Liam (5yo), in good spirits, waiting for the doctors to stitch him up.

My week started out sunny-side up… I got the kids to school on time. They were in clean clothes. I put together the week’s meal plan and the attendant grocery list for that morning’s visit to the store. I even drank my coffee and ate my toast at home, rather than rushed in the car, for the first time since Daylight Savings Time scrambled up my morning schedule.

I was feeling good! That was probably my first mistake…

Yeah, so… I returned from the grocery store with the week’s worth of groceries; that’s a lot of bags, right? So, I decided to bring the 20mo inside with the first load, rather than leave him strapped in his car seat while I finished moving the rest of the bags inside…

BAD IDEA. BAD.

When I returned with the second round of groceries (I swear, it only took 30 seconds!!!), I found the little monster already on top of the kitchen table (of course!), having a very merry time SMASHING an ENTIRE CARTON’S WORTH OF EGGS, one by one, onto the floor (six eggs). Or the table (four eggs). Or in the other grocery bags (two eggs). Organic eggs. Not one egg survived.

Broder (20mo), helping unload groceries.

Broder (20mo), helping unload groceries. You can't see them in this picture, but there are six cracked eggs on the floor. And the four on the table? They're cracked, too. As are the two eggs he split between the two bags.

The best part? When he saw me come back in, he started to put the broken eggs back into the egg carton (!!). Honestly, I couldn’t tell if he was being cunning (“She’ll never notice the mess if I’m fast enough!”) or helpful (“Mama’s back; I guess it’s time to put the toys away!”).

Well, I suppose it could’ve been worse, I reminded myself; I could’ve brought the wine bottles in first…

Thinking that just might be the low-point of the week (bahahaha!), Tuesday arrived, and I figured, “Hey! It’s early enough in the week to start afresh.” I did the dishes, cleaned the house… Okay, so the baby refused to take a nap – no big deal. I used the extra time to run an errand. Picked the kids up on time; had their favorite snack ready. Headed home to start preparing dinner, and our dear family friend, Jeanette, came over to visit.

The kids LOVE Jeanette. And, of course, so do I! Having her over for dinner was like icing on the cake – or if you will, (keeping with the egg-theme), like caramel on the flan…

Literally bouncing up and down in excitement (honestly, I could’ve named all my children Tigger, and it would’ve been totally appropriate for each one), the kids quickly hustled Jeanette to the play room for fun and games while I returned to the kitchen to save the onions from burning in the pan. Just as I finished putting the veggies in for the stew that would eventually become dinner (but not for several more hours, mind you, but I’m getting to that…), I heard a loud CRASH coming from the playroom, quickly followed by a scream – no, a WAIL – of pain. The kind of scream you know is FOR REAL. This was no “I’m so insanely angry you took my toy that I haven’t played with in six months, I’m going to scream like a banshee since I have no idea what words to use that would make you properly suffer for this outrage, you dirty cur!” kind of scream. This was the kind of scream that made me sprint down the hall…

To find my 5yo son howling from his spot on the floor, the back of his shirt absolutely COVERED in BLOOD. Kicking toy garbage trucks and balls aside to get to him, I brushed his small little hand away – the one that was tentatively trying to feel the extent of damage – and put my own hand to the gnarly 3-4” GASH on the back of his head. As I started to apply pressure to the cut, I literally felt SPURTS of hot blood against my palm, matching his little heartbeat.

At which point I FREAKED OUT. As calmly as I could, of course.

Picking him up, I frantically rushed to the linen closet to grab a towel to cradle my (in my mind: tiny, little, helpless) son’s head, all the while watching in horror as drops of blood splattered the floor as I looked for the “fucking telephone to call 911” (yes, I’m sorry to admit, I dropped the f-bomb in front of all three kids and my guest; I’m hoping they either didn’t hear me or will forgive my deplorable lack of manners – I usually reserve my sailor-mouthed ways for the minute right after tucking all kids safely into bed), and thought of every grisly scene of every scary movie I’ve ever seen where a severed artery spews blood across walls and the faces of innocent bystanders, the life force of the victim quickly ebbing away in an Oscar-worthy death scene (and, why yes, I am indeed thinking specifically of the over-the-top bloodshed of King Arthur hacking off the limbs of the very resilient Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” – that’s just where my brain goes, okay?!).

Within minutes the fire truck was in front of the house (so fast!), and four (very nice) EMTs came to my rescue. Turns out the bleeding had stopped, and all my melodramatic, hyper-imaginative fears of imminent death were for naught. They did, however, agree that the cut was bad enough that I didn’t overreact by calling 911, and recommended an ambulance ride to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Seeing the look of panic in my son’s eyes (he doesn’t remember his first ambulance ride, when he was only 10mo – a story for a future blog post – so didn’t realize that it’s not such a scary proposition), I asked if I could drive him to the ER instead. They thought that was fine, and outfitted him with a gauze pad held to his head with a white wrap, reminiscent of every movie-set soldier in every movie-set hospital I’ve ever seen (perhaps I should watch fewer movies??).

Liam, looking like he just returned home from 'Nam.

Liam, looking like he just returned home with a head wound from 'Nam. I stopped using black and white for awhile after this!

Carrying Liam to the door, feeling very grateful that Jeanette would stay with the 9yo and the baby (can you imagine trying to keep a toddler out of trouble in an ER?!) until my husband got home from work, I was surprised that Paisley had other plans: she was coming with us. Ignoring my protests, she stomped her foot (really – she did!), declaring, “I’m going to take care of my little brother and you can’t stop me!” Well, how do you argue with that?

It took 30 minutes to get to the hospital in 5 o’clock traffic. Several times, waiting through a stop light for the third time, and listening to my wounded child bellow in pain, I thought that I should’ve insisted on that ambulance ride. But then Paisley came to the rescue, starting to tell Liam every factoid about “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” she could remember learning from the playground. As Bill and I adamantly refuse to let the kids watch anything other than the original three “Star Wars” movies (on the grounds that the “new” three are complete rubbish), Liam was completely mesmerized, and we made it to the ER with no need to call 911 on the way. Paisley is the BEST big sister, EVER.

Her performance was well compensated, however… While waiting for the numbing ointment the doctors put on Liam’s cut to work, the nurses gave the kids goldfish crackers and apple juice (their favorites) and turned on a cartoon that used the words “stupid,” “dumb,” or “idiot” in every other sentence – the kind of cartoon I’d never, never ever, let them watch at home. They were SO content.

Paisley (9yo) & Liam watching cartoons.

Liam and his Best Big Sis (waiting for the numbing gel to kick in) totally fixated by a cartoon that I'd never, not ever, let them watch at home!

Well, at least Liam was, up until the “stitching” started. Or rather, the “hair twisting” started… Turns out that, instead of stitches or staples, the doctors twisted little bits of hair on each side of the cut to create a sort of string (kind of like working with wool, the doctor described), then twist the two strands together a few times, laying the ends against the head and gluing everything down into what I call a “Hair Band-Aid.” I’m not sure Liam thought it was as cool as I did, but he was a trooper, watching snippets of forbidden cartoons through the doctor’s arm, only crying at the very end that he “wanted to go home!”

The good doctors using Liam's own hair to tie together the gash.

The good doctors using Liam's own hair to tie together the gash. The glue they use will dissolve in 5-8 days, and his hair will be fine.

After three hours (I know, right??), we finally did make it home. Where I immediately poured myself a glass of wine (my theory is that I deserve at least one glass of wine per hour spent in the emergency room) and went to the playroom to see what on EARTH was in there that could actually slice open one of my children’s heads?? The kids joined me and animatedly acted out the disaster. Seems that Liam was sitting on something that wasn’t a chair (the little piece of wood that locks down in order to keep the art easel open, if that makes any sense), and tumbled backward into the Fisher-Price Little People Farm that resides under the art easel. I still have no idea what sharp something-or-other he caught on his way down, but basically…?

Yeah, basically it turns out my son pulled a Humpty-Dumpty.

Fortunately, the good doctors at Children’s managed to put his sweet, little egghead back together again (which is more than I can say for the dozen eggs that Broder humpty-dumpty’ed on the dining room floor).

Liam, put back together and ready to go home!

Liam, put back together and ready to go home!

So, though the first two days of the week weren’t all they were cracked up to be, today is looking up: the sun is actually shining, the baby took a nap, I got the blood out of Liam’s shirt (and though I haven’t started on the playroom rug or my jeans, I’m optimistic), and just to prove there’s no egg on my face…

I actually found another carton of eggs in the refrigerator. Know what that means? I’m serving FRITTATA for dinner tonight, baby! And it’s gonna be DELICIOUS.