Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

Monday was a holiday. In America, it was President's Day. In Alberta, we adopted President's Day because we wanted a day off in February but since we don't have presidents we called it Family Day and it's just a day when everyone does stuff with their family—lots of places offer good deals on family pricing that day (pools and such). I'm just happy for a day off at all. 

Andrew slept in the longest and Rachel finally went in to wake him up. She bounced on him a bit and then started to get really silly jumping on the bed. Andrew was still more than half asleep—he's impossible to wake up. Then there was a crash and a scream and Rachel ran out of the bedroom and into my arms, still screaming.

She put her hand up to her head, screaming/explaining that she'd fallen off the bed and had hit her head on the dresser. Suddenly she pulled her hand away and stared at it, shaking.

"THERE'S BLOOD!" she screamed.

"Where did you hit your head?" I asked, combing through her hair.

"On the corner! On the corner!" she screamed.

"Not 'Where did you hit your head on the dresser?'—Where did you hit your head on your head?"

"Oh," she sniffed, and showed me.

Sure enough, there was blood pouring out of her head. We got a wet paper towel and some ice and a cloth and held it on her head for a long time until the bleeding had just about stopped—I just sat and held her in my lap on the big, soft chair in the living room. Eventually she decided that she felt well enough to get down and play. That's when I looked at her face.

In addition to splitting her head open she'd bruised her forehead and her nose was swollen and scratched. 

Fortunately it was just a little cut on her head, which we decided didn't need stitches. But boy do head wounds bleed a lot! We've been cleansing it with hydrogen peroxide throughout the day and before I sent her to school this morning I put some more on it. 

Rachel went to school all by herself today.

I ate a pizza pocket for lunch yesterday and started feeling sick soon after. I was up all night with the toilet. Andrew, the dear, informed me at 7:00 PM that he thought that pizza pocket was about two years old. Why he didn't tell me this when he saw me popping it into the microwave I will never know.

I woke up this morning feeling awful. 

So I called the neighbours to see if Rachel could tramp through their backyard to get to the backyard of another neighbour so that she could walk to school with their son. Walking around the block takes about 15 minutes with Rachel, plus 5 minutes to get home by myself. Sending her through the backyards? Takes less than two minutes. It's a much easier way to get to school. 

Her friend met her in the backyard. I watched her to make sure she made it and then returned inside to Miriam. 

"Don't be mad, Mommy!" she chirped when I opened the door. She flashed a big, sweet smile at me. "I just got myself some candy!"

She had a huge pile of conversation hearts in front of her. I let her eat a couple and we put the rest back. 

Then I popped on a DVD of Dora and fell asleep. Karen came and took Miriam at some point and I slept until it was time to get Rachel. Then I got Rachel (the long way) and then promptly fell asleep again until 3:00. Karen fed the girls lunch, put Miriam down for a nap, and put a video on for Rachel. When I woke up I felt immensely better—so Andrew still holds that it was food poisoning; a quick 24 period of yuckiness and suddenly I felt all better. It was a long 24 hours though.

After the movie was over I read the girls library books until it was time to make dinner: soup (the first food of the day that I kept down).

Rachel got up when she was "finished," still chewing on a cracker, and put her dishes in the sink. Then she started twirling in the kitchen. 

"So, good news!" she announced. "I can spin and chew at the same time!"

"Yeah...please don't do that," I said, stopping her fun. "It's not safe."

"Alright," Rachel sighed. "But can I chew first and then spin?"

"How about you just don't spin around too much at least until your head finishes healing? Find something else to do," I suggested.

"Okay," Rachel said and wandered off into the living room.

I had loaded one plate, one knife, and one spoon into the dishwasher when...WHAM! 

Crazed screaming, running child, blood...everywhere—it was pouring out of her mouth.

I did my own share of yelling and screaming and running. 

"JUST SIT DOWN!" I commanded while I ran off to get a cloth wet. 

"SUCK ON THIS!" I instructed, handing it to her while I ran off to get some ice. 

"I TOLD YOU TO SETTLE DOWN! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LISTEN?" I yelled, feeling exasperated, while I wrapped the ice in the cloth and held it on her face.

I took a few deep breaths because obviously I needed to calm down. Sometimes remaining calm isn't something I do well and apparently when blood is gushing out of my child's mouth it's one of those times. I was angry at her for hurting herself again right after I reminded her to be careful of her head (which she had split open yesterday, in case you forgot) and then I was angry with myself for being angry with her because she was clearly hurt. 

I held her long enough for us to both calm down and for the bleeding to slow down. Then Rachel skipped off to show Grandma her owie while I cleaned up a few inanimate objects before joining her downstairs.

Grandma helped calm us down some more and we determined that Rachel had, indeed, banged her lip a good one but that none of her teeth were loose, thank goodness.

Rachel and I went back upstairs. I looked up how to treat mouth injuries and decided she should rinse her mouth out—we opted for salt water instead of diluted hydrogen peroxide just in case she swallowed any—and then we got some fresh ice and grabbed Harry Potter. I read to her while we iced her mouth. Miriam hung out with Grandma downstairs. When all the ice had melted I announced that it was time to get into pyjamas. Rachel obediently went to change but soon came back out to find me.

"Mom, there is a hole on the roof of my mouth," she said.

"Open up, let me see." I looked at the roof of her mouth. It was in pristine condition. "There is no hole in the roof of your mouth."

Rachel stamped her foot and whined, "Why won't you believe me?! There is a hole in the roof of my mouth! I can feel it with my tongue. It hurts all the way up to the top of my mouth—it stings and it burns and THERE IS A HOLE!"

I looked again. There was no hole. I told her so. She whined at me. I told her to see if Grandma could see anything I couldn't. Grandma found the hole, but it wasn't on the roof of Rachel's mouth. Rachel tore her labial frenulum—the little part of your lip that connects your lip to your gums—and there was a lovely little hole at the top of her mouth where the labial frenulum should have been. 

Suddenly the massive amounts of blood were explained. I mean, she had banged up her bottom lip rather extensively but there was also a hole in her mouth! We discovered the hole minutes before Andrew got home—he had been at a meeting at school with one of his groups. As luck would have it, this particular group is doing a project for a dentist who runs a charity in South America. The dentist happens to be the father of a girl in the group. The girl happens to be a dental hygienist who lives with her pediatric nurse of a husband (who is studying to be a nurse practitioner) very close to her dentist-father. 

After we showed Andrew Rachel's mouth, he texted that girl to say that we were going to email her some pictures of Rachel's mouth. 

At first she thought stitches might be a good idea but then decided that it might just heal on her own. Her dad was in a meeting until 10:00 (in addition to being a dentist and running his own non-profit he also is in a stake presidency and is going through chemo therapy—he's a busy guy) but she was going to show him the pictures when he got home. We'll see what his opinion is—his daughter said that if Rachel ended up needing stitches that waiting until tomorrow wouldn't cause any problems because mouth wounds are different from external wounds—the skin doesn't dry up or anything, I guess, so the same time constraints aren't in place.

Apparently there's a surgery to remove the labial frenulum because sometimes the frenulum is too long and pulls on the gums and separates the two front teeth. It's called a labial frenectomy. So the good news is that if Rachel was ever a candidate for this surgery we just got it done for free!

We had a couple of funny responses on facebook from friends regarding Rachel's self-surgery:
L: oh my goodness. sounds like something one of my kids would do, although I'm probably not lucky enough...both of them WILL need a labial frenectomy...they both have huge gaps in their front teeth thanks to [their father's] side of the family. Maybe I could send them over for a while...have Rachel show them some tricks.
M: How'd she do that? The dentist says our son needs one. :) J/K 
Me: Dude—send your son over. We'll get that taken care of in a jiffy. There's a lot of blood involved (mouthfuls, in fact) and on average the child will scream for a good hour. But it's free. :)
M: K and I were just talking about how we've got a piano bench that's just the right height. We were thinking that we should play tag in the dark with tripping hazards tomorrow as a family. Sounds like we should buy a bag of ice and have some towels on hand! ;)
We had a couple of friends and family members admit to having had their labial frenulum removed, either on accident or by scheduled surgery, and they all assured us that they're just fine.

We also had one friend jokingly accuse us of child abuse. That's exactly his sense of humour.
Josh: I'm not buying all this "accident" stuff. Poor Rache is getting beat by here (sic) parents! I've got money on Dad. ;)
Me: Andrew has an alibi—he was at school. I got to deal with all the massive amounts of blood by myself.
Josh: But I've seen Andrew kick-throw shoes at his children and knock them over. (I totally forgot about that but Carolee just reminded me). **editor's disclaimer: This happened in Egypt and hitting her with the shoe was purely accidental.
Me: It's all fun and games until someone loses their labial frenulum.
We may have been joking about it, but the truth is that we were fretting about Rachel's poor little mouth the whole time. We finally got the whole story about what happened.

Miriam had run downstairs to Grandma around the same time Rachel came screaming into me. Miriam kept complaining to Grandma how "Rachie broked my roof!" Grandma didn't know what Miriam was talking about so she just distracted her with something else, which she thought was the best course of action considering all the frantic screaming that was coming from upstairs.

Rachel was in no condition to be soliloquizing about her trauma so I had wrongly assumed that she had ignored my warning and went into the living room to spin in circles. As it turns out, she hadn't.

Recently the girls have been building forts in the living room with the couch cushions—fairy houses, to be precise. Last week they got in a physical altercation regarding fair use of couch cushions and Miriam ended up slashing Rachel's face with her razor sharp baby claws because instead of dealing with the problem rationally, Rachel pounced on Miriam and started beating her up. I've been telling Rachel for years that one day her baby sister was going to fight back. Well, she finally did...and she drew blood.

Anyway, their houses had most recently been reconstructed today. Miriam's house happens to be between the couch and the organ—she rests a cushion between the arm of the couch and the organ bench to make a little roof and then (if she's feeling brave) she'll drape a blanket or prop up a second pillow as a door (but usually she's not feeling brave and she leaves her house doorless).

We've caught Miriam attempting to climb onto the roof of her house before and always point out what a terrible idea that is. Rachel has even been in the room when we've gotten after Miriam for looking like she's ready to climb onto her roof, but for some reason the message of "DANGER" did not make it into Rachel's head because when she went into the living room to play the very first thing she did was climb onto the roof of Miriam's house.

The roof caved in (duh) and Rachel crashed face first into the organ bench.

I have a feeling that adventure will not be repeated in the near future.

While we were writing to the dentist-family the girls went into their bedroom to play and I begged them to do a quiet activity that didn't involve climbing on things or jumping on things or falling off things or cutting things open or breaking things...or fighting...or...

They chose blocks. And they built some nice towers.

Miriam built this tower all by herself. A good developmental mile-marker for two-year-olds is stacking 3-4 blocks. Uhhh...check.

Sad-faced Rachel built a really tall tower but it fell over before we took a picture. This tower ended up being about half as tall as her first tower before it got knocked over (half a second after this picture was taken). A four-year-old should be able to build a block tower 10 blocks high. So...also check.

The kids are now in bed and we've finally heard back from our friend, the dentist.

S: I just got the expert opinion
Andrew: And...
S: He says that your daughter gave herself a very nice frenectomy and that she saved you 180 bucks at a dental office. She will be fine.
Andrew: Sweet! Do we need to worry about infections or anything?
S: Nope. Just keep it cleanish. The mouth has very extremely powerful antibacterials in it. It is super hard to get an infection in your mouth. Just don't feed her poo or anything.
Andrew: We'll hold off on that for a week or so.
S: Great. Glad to hear it!

Now we can officially stop worrying, right?

Tomorrow I think I will suggest to Rachel that she give up head injuries for lent. 


  1. Awww man. Rachel sure has had it rough. Poor girl. She'll probably think twice about climbing up on couch cushion roofs. We know all about those types of houses/apartments/skyscrapers/barns/stores/schools...

    I hope her mouth and head and lip heal quickly. Heads definitely bleed a ton and it can be very scary. We have a 40-year old friend who was playing tag in the dark with his four sons and ducked to run underneath a plastic slide and scalped himself. He ended up having to get 19 staples in his head. Lovely. He said it bled so much that he thought for sure he was going to need a blood transfusion.

    We've also had our fair share of open head wounds, blood, ice, screaming and yelling (the latter on my part) about being careful. Gotta love it when they don't listen. :P

    Good luck with Rachel's healing. She'll be in our prayers.

  2. So sorry to hear about Rachel's rough life... I hope that you'll have more peaceful moments during the weeks (months?) to come!

    By the way... I checked... I no longer have my labial frenulum!!! (Thanx for the information!)

    Congratulations for the tower building skills!
    Your girls are amazing!