I have 2 little boys, two and a half years old and 6 months old. Injuries happen. Unfortunately for them, they are absolutely my kids, meaning they lack grace and hurt themselves often doing silly or clumsy things. Connor runs all over the house, but tends to be more interested in looking at his feet than where he’s going. I’ve lost count of how many times he’s run into something this week because he just wasn’t looking where he was going.
How does a casual mom handle these sorts of injuries, you might ask? I don’t move. Connor runs face first into the corner of the wall and I freeze. The wait and see method, if you will. If he reacts, I’ll react, but (more often than not) he just gets back up and goes back to running while looking at his feet.
In the event of an actual injury, my response hinges on how upset he is. Sometimes a simple “are you OK?” will give him a chance to process and realize he really is OK. Sometimes he needs a kiss or to brush it off before he’s good to go. Sometimes it’s a seriously bloody injury.
Last year, Connor managed to fall face first into the window sill and nearly bit through his bottom lip. There was SO MUCH BLOOD and he was screaming and inconsolable for a good 30 minutes. That was my first serious injury with him, and I was home alone with him. I surprised myself with how calm I remained while handling it. He fell and the first thing I did (as per usual) was to ask “are you OK?” and that’s when the screaming started. I was working on my computer and didn’t see exactly what happened, so I naturally assumed nothing was seriously wrong. I thought he was just upset because he fell. I went to pick him up and dust him off and that’s when I saw the blood. “Oh, OK. I see that” and with that we moved into the kitchen to wash his mouth and try to assess just how bad it was. As you might expect, that didn’t go well, but I eventually got him to calm down enough to let me clean it off and get a good look at it.
A year later, Connor has a scar on the outside of his mouth, right along the line of his bottom lip, clearly made by 4 little teeth and I have confidence that we can handle bloody injuries pretty calmly.
For the record, when my husband came home and I relayed this story to him, I cried and got nauseous remembering all the blood, but in the moment I was as cool as a damn cucumber.
I look back on that day and it gives me comfort. I have little boys. They will have innumerable injuries throughout their lives and I like to think that this experience was a good litmus test for how I will handle serious injuries in the future. I realize that seeing a bone sticking out of my baby will be jarring, and hopefully we’ll never have to worry about that, but I think I’ll handle it calmly, based on how I handled my 18 month old covered in his own blood.
Also, I found a great detergent for getting blood stains out of clothes. I now keep a stockpile of it in my laundry room, just in case. Great for cloth diapers and blood. #winning