It’s been a rough week at the McMullin household.
On Sunday, while Drew and I were upstairs cleaning the stupid bathroom, Sammy fell in his playpen and fractured his wrist. The screaming was unimaginable. He is not a screamer AT ALL, so we knew that something was up. Drew picked him up and we noticed that his right hand was just sort of hanging there, limp. I touched it gently – more screaming.
Thankfully, our pediatrician has a weekend clinic, so we rushed Sam there. After a quick X-Ray we got some reassuring news: nothing’s wrong. By then Sam calmed down and he didn’t seem to be in pain, so we were relieved. Then 15 minutes later my phone rang again. It was the doctor: his wrist was fractured after all. (Make up your mind, people!) So we rushed back to the office, where he got a splint on his hand. We spent the rest of the day cuddling him and dosing baby Tylenol as needed. On Monday I had to take him to an orthopedic doctor, who said that he should be good as new in 4 weeks and that this happens all the time. No big deal.
Ok, so I realize that in the big scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal. He’s a boy and I am sure that bigger injuries and illnesses are still in store for us. This fall could have happened anywhere, even if I were standing right next to him he could have fallen during one of his cruising sessions around the playpen. But the whole incident made me realize one thing: holy shit, I can’t protect my kid. I can’t put him in a bubble and pad his room. I can’t shield him from bumping his head, scraping his knee, or worse. I can’t shield him from a broken wrist, a broken ankle, or a broken heart. Sure, I plugged all the electrical outlets and we are going to replace our sharp-edged coffee table with an ottoman, but really, for the rest of his life he is out there, on his own. And I have to hope that he will learn when to duck and how to protect his body and his soul. I can teach him how to take care of himself, but I really can’t do it for him.
This is pretty much the crappiest feeling in the world.
So, on Tuesday, he went back to daycare. Everything was fine. But yesterday when I picked him up he was wailing (again, he is not a wailer!) and in his cubbie was an incident report: he fell and had a bloody nose that morning. I totally lost it. I am not proud of it, but I could barely make it out of there before bursting into tears. Poor baby. Again, I know that this could have happened to him at home (see wrist incident above), but the thought of the poor guy being in pain and alone was too much. (OK, he wasn’t alone. He was in the care of a very sweet French lady. And he probably wasn’t in pain.) But I wasn’t there.
But I can’t be there all the time. And even when I am around, shit happens. He is so curious and eager to move about that he is hitting and banging everything in reach. Now that he has a splint, he keeps hitting himself on the head with it as he is flailing about. Can I tie his arm to his body for the next few weeks? Probably not.
So here we are. It’s Thursday. I am at home with him and I watched him repeatedly pull himself up in his playpen with one hand and walk around, then plop down on his butt. Hard. He is using the splint as a crutch when he crawls. The kid can’t be stopped. How about sitting down and playing with a soft teddy bear, buddy? Huh? Or even better, how about you just read a book?