Monday, June 20, 2011

The first rule of Toddler fight club…..

When I was pregnant with Shea and before I knew whether I was having a boy or a girl, my former boss at Plush Puppy Pet Grooming and I were talking about having kids in general. She said, “I hope you have a girl. Girls are so easy. With boys you have to worry about them killing themselves.” At the time I thought, What a weird thing for her to say. Are all boys suicidal? I must have missed something in health class about that…. It wasn’t until I had Shea and he got a little older that I realized she didn’t mean suicide, she meant the dangerous and klutzy things that all boys do on a daily basis.
From the moment Shea took his first steps I knew we were in trouble. This kid literally cannot go a day without hurting himself. Our record for emergency room visits is twice in two weeks, both for open bleeding head wounds. I’m honestly shocked that we’ve gone almost three years now without stitches – he always manages to shred himself in places that they can’t stitch.
New List: Shea’s Injuries –or- Evidence for when Child Protective Services is called
1. Dent – forehead, tripped on carpet and hit outward corner of wall
2. Gash – nose, walking holding a sharp stick, tripped on own feet
3. Gash – nose, pulled flower pot off bookshelf, hit self in face
4. Dent – eyebrow, tripped on daddy’s big feet and hit end table
5. Open Head Wound – scalp, spinning around, fell and hit head on broken off knob to drawer
6. Open Head Wound – forehead, upset by being disciplined, literally threw self off of bed and hit nightstand
7. Bruise – toe, being chased by dad, kicked wall, may lose toenail
8. Gash – finger, dad closed hand in back door
9. Dent – Forehead, tripped on own feet, hit head on doorstep of grandparents house
10. Gash – Forehead, tripped on crack in concrete, bounced head off of said concrete (this one actually almost made me puke because when his head hit the concrete it sounded like someone smashing a pumpkin or watermelon… surprisingly did not bleed that badly…)

Add to this list countless other bruises, dents, gashes and ouchies……

As a mother and as a first-time mother at that, the first couple of times this happened I bawled my eyes out, but now when I hear the tell-tale “thunk” followed by the “Ahhhhhhh!!!!!” I sigh and roll my eyes, casually stroll over to assess the damage, ask him if he wants to go the hospital, which is almost always a “No…” and then follow up with a pat on the head and a kiss on the ouchie. I’m trying to raise men here, not cry-babies…
That is not to say I am not embarrassed when I take my children out in public and they look like they’ve just escaped the Lost Ark. We go to the park sometimes and see these little girls, wearing their glittery pinks and purples complete with Hannah Montana purses and Posh Spice pedicures and here comes my kid, his glasses are crooked from smashing his face into the ground, shirt is stretched out, pants barely fit and he looks like he just got done with toddler fight club – dripping blood from a recent spill and covered in bruises in myriad stages of healing, a rainbow of browns, greens and purples…. I am just waiting for that one time that the doctor, or checkout girl at the grocery store calls CPS and I am put under suspicion of child abuse. Let me state for the record – I DO NOT beat my kid. He does that well enough himself! And most parents would understand that boys are boys, and they rarely present unblemished, however my son likes to embellish the truth….
After one of the listed incidents, let’s see…. Ah yes, number 6, we went to the ER, certain that this would go down in history as Shea’s first stitches. However, due to the triangular shape of the wound, they suggested we let it heal naturally and sent us on our way, with a 950.00 hospital bill for some soap and a band aid… The next day I had an OB appointment and my doctor looked at Shea and said, “Oh honey, what happened to your head?” and Shea looked up at her with big blue watery eyes and said, “Daddy spanked me….” Silence…. Matt and I quickly looked at each other, both with the same stunned, “What the f…..” expression and quickly babbled random sentence fragments to try to save some face and keep ourselves out of jail. What had actually happened was Shea had done something, I can’t remember what, probably hit one of us or did something naughty, so Matt set him on our bed to try to talk to him about what he had done and Shea, in his glorious rage, threw himself off the bed and hit his forehead on the corner of the nightstand leaving quite a nice hole in his head.
Let me sidetrack a moment and relay the story of what happened in the ER that night…. Shea was close to two and a half, it was around Christmas time because I remember there being reindeer stickers on the windows in the ER. Matt brought Shea into the living room and Shea was crying, Matt was rolling his eyes and saying, “He hit his again throwing a fit….” “MATT!!” I yelled. “What?” he said, puzzled. Matt was holding Shea outward and wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. He saw a toddler throwing a fit, I saw the toddler throwing a fit with a waterfall of blood gushing out of his forehead. Matt turned Shea around and said, “Oh shit!” and we ran to the kitchen. I pressed a towel to his head and tried to kiss some tears away. I lifted the towel to see if the bleeding had slowed down and to assess the damage and almost vomited on Shea – There was a deep hole in his head and I swear I saw skull…. I yelled, “Matt get the car, we’re going to the hospital.” Matt scoffed at me, sauntered over and said, “Nicole, you’re overreacting, there’s no way you can see skull.” He looked at the hole for what seemed like several minutes, quietly grabbed the keys and went to get the car.
I sat in the back seat holding Shea on my lap and telling him we were going to go see the doctor. “NO! I’m ok, I feel better…” Shea said. Shea happens to be terrified of doctors, band aids and hospitals…. “Honey, you have ketchup on your head and we need the doctor to clean it up ok?” (At this point, blood was ketchup in the Piper house….) “NOOOOOOO!!!!” And as he screamed the blood started pouring again from his head. “Shea, they are just going to look at it and then they’ll give you a sticker, ok?” I’m listening, his face seemed to say.  “And you’ll get a sucker and mommy will buy you a present, ok?” He agreed to my terms just as we pulled into the hospital parking lot. Of course everyone and their cousin was in the Hillsdale Hospital ER that night and we were last in line behind everyone with a scratchy throat and a paper cut. You’d think that a toddler gushing blood from his head would take priority, but you’d be wrong… My grievances with Hillsdale Hospital is another story I will not get into now…. Anyway, the registration nurse came over and asked what was wrong. Hmmm… I’m holding a bloody towel to my kids head, he has a tummy ache. “He has a hole in his head,” I said nonchalantly. To which the nurse’s eyes got really wide and my kid started freaking out…. In retrospect I should have worded that differently… oh well. The nurse asked me to move the towel so she could see it and Shea started screaming, “NOOOOOO!!!! There’s no ketchup! There’s no ketchup!” Everyone in the ER started cracking up, Shea was so nervous his eyes were the size of dinner plates and he was vibrating. The nurse was really good with him though and gave him some stickers and eventually won his trust. When we finally went into the treatment room there wasn’t much to be done. The bleeding had stopped so they cleaned it really well and showed us that because of the odd shape they couldn’t stitch it, in fact there wasn’t any skin to stitch, the nightstand had actually gouged out the skin in a deep upside down pyramid shape. So they put a band aid on his head and sent us home…. Long story to get back to where we started…. Fast forward to the OB office….
Matt and I are babbling about the nightstand and the fit throwing and thank God my doctor had had two boys and she was very understanding. But what the hell? My kid just told my doctor that we hit him and that’s how he got his head wound!? Not cool.  And that wouldn’t be the first or last time my kid threw me under the bus. One night while spending the night with my parents, he told them “Mommy hurts me.” My dad said, “Oh yeah?” and Shea said, “Yep. She slaps my legs like this…” and started hitting himself in the thighs. My parents asked me about it and I was stunned. It was funny and SO not funny at the same time. Why would he say those things???
Long story short, boys are so clumsy and as a parent and a mother of boys you have to have a strong stomach, keep a well stocked first aid kit and know the shortest route to the hospital.

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