Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In your face

My biggest birthday wish was that my kids would be cheerful and happy helpers today and while it took a while to get them motivated they eventually pitched in and we got our house mostly put back together. Sheet changing and laundry and unpacking and laundry and tidying and laundry and then some more laundry.

When we'd finished our work we settled down for some quiet time (that involved a nap for me and Zoë and a show for the older kids) and then the girls made some (interesting but not terribly intoxicating 2-ingredient banana/oatmeal cookies) and we had some lunch. Our plan was to walk to the pool after lunch (Daddy had the van today) so that we could do something fun together for my birthday...not just work the whole day.

So after lunch we started getting ready to head to the pool—the kids changed into swimming suits and started lathering each other with sunscreen on the front porch while I was gathering up things in the house (freshly laundered beach towels, for example). When they were mostly finished with their sunscreening and had started playing in the yard I brought Zoë out to them so that I could lug the stroller out of the house without her toddling right behind me.

I put her down in the grass, Rachel came over to pick her up, I went inside the house, picked up the stroller and...CHAOS erupted. All of my children were screaming at once. I dropped the stroller and ran to the door in time to meet Rachel, who handed me a screaming, bleeding Zoë.

"Benjamin hit her with a water gun!" she blurted out.

"Excuse me," I said, pushing past her through the door in time to see Benjamin duck down to hide behind the electrical box. "Yeah, you'd better hide!" I hollered and then turned around to go back inside.

"Aren't you going to punish him?" Rachel asked.

"Yes," I said. "But right now I need to focus on Zoë."

"Should I bring him to you so you can stick him in time out?" she asked.

"Naw," I said. "Let him live in fear for a little while."

I was a little concerned about Zoë's face. I always wonder if lacerations like this should be stitched up (or glued up). It took a while to get things under control. She was rubbing tears and blood and snot all over her face so it was hard to tell exactly how much blood there was. Every time I thought I had her cleaned off she'd reach up to wipe her eyes and smear blood all over her face again.

When we had things at a manageable level I nursed her and she let me hold a tissue to her face. The pressure seemed to help a lot but any time she changed facial expressions her cut would pop open and start oozing again. I called our doctor's office who said they wouldn't see us and to call urgent care who said that they don't do anything on the face of babies this young because they don't cooperate so we'd have to go to the ER where they could put her to sleep before trying anything.

I was like, "That all seems rather unnecessary for a small cut..."

So for now we will keep wrangling her down to change her bandaid (she's been though several but the bleeding does seem to be slowing down (and they're tiny bandaids)). It takes at least two of us to hold her still long enough to do that so I understand completely why they wouldn't want to give her stitches while conscious.

Still, I don't really like having an open gash on her face. I spoon-fed her her dinner tonight so we wouldn't risk smearing stuff all over her face and ruining her bandaid or getting food in her cut. She was one happy girl by dinnertime, though, so I think she'll be just fine.

She closes her eyes on demand now, by the way, which is hilarious. Who knew closing your eyes took so much concentration?

When Benjamin eventually, timidly made his way back inside (before dinner, obviously) I asked him what happened. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I dunno..." so I sent him to stick his nose in the corner until he had an answer for me. The first answer he came up with was a tall tale for sure, so back into the corner he went. His second answer was a little closer to the truth but not quite the whole story, so back into the corner he went. Eventually he managed to tell me that he picked up the "squirter" (it's not a gun, really) and then started swinging it at his sisters, and that Rachel put out her foot to keep him away from Zoë so he swung at her really hard and hit Zoë instead.

All in the thirty seconds I'd left them alone!

"But why?" I asked. "You know we don't swing things at people. Why were you doing that?"

"I didn't think I would do that," he said. "I don't know why I did. I just didn't know when I picked it up that I was going to do that!"

If I manage to help this little boy learn to think through things before acting it will be my life's greatest work. For the record...remember when we switched the kids' rooms around so that Zoë and Benjamin were no longer sharing a bedroom? This is why. 

Those two can't be left alone for two seconds!

PS. We never made it to the pool, so all we did for my birthday was clean the house and take care of sad babies, which is fine, though we were all kind of bummed that we didn't get to go swimming.


  1. Aw, bummer! Hope Zoë's cut is better today.

  2. Little boys! Aaron is very much in the "I don't know why I did that" stage. He just doesn't seem to have any self control! And it's driving me crazy!