The Bandaid

Bedtime Saturday. All the little kids except the baby were off brushing their teeth, and big kids were milling around in the living room getting hugs from mom and dad. 14 yo son wanted to know if he was taller than 15 yo daughter. Much laughter and stretching was involved in the measuring process. I momentarily forgot the proclivity of the one year old to get into everything.

Until I heard the distinctive rattle of the wood-stove door-handle.

I whipped around, just in time to see the baby lose her balance, falling against the front of the stove, and slamming her head on the metal lip of the stove just in front of the blazing hot glass-fronted door. As fast as I could move, I was still too late to do anything but watch it happen.

Instantly she was howling. I pulled her off the hearth, and bent over her cradling her close. She was hurting way to much to be comforted. Blood was running out of a gaping split on her forehead. It was short but it looked deep to me. I could see white at the center of it.

I was instantly mad at everyone in the room, but mostly at myself. I couldn’t believe we’d let this happen to this adorable precious child. For awhile when she was first walking we’d blockaded the stove with laid-down barstools. But for weeks she had seemed so uninterested in the stove that we had gotten out of the blockade habit.

Rewind. Rewind, I kept thinking. I couldn’t believe we had all been RIGHT THERE in the room, and still it had happened. So shocking to go in 5 seconds from laughter and bedtime silliness to planning who was going to watch the kids while we went to the ER.

Hubby grabbed a baggie of ice, which would have been a good idea if she’d put up with it. I walking around the room with her. Hubby warmed her a bottle, which she refused as vehemently as she had the ice. And still she howled.

We checked her hands for burns– maybe she touched the hot front window of the stove on her way down. But except for her forehead, there wasn’t a mark on her, praise God. And gradually, over 5 minutes time, the bleeding slowed, then stopped.

We’d had another child who’d needed stitches — we’d been on vacation in another state. He’d fallen on a trailer hitch in a camp ground. Before we even got to the fun of the papoose board and the lidocaine shots and the stitches, we’d had to find a hospital we’d never visited in a strange city. It was horrid.

Our son’s head wound had bled copiously and steadily all on the frenzied 15 minute drive to the hospital, the 10 minutes being ignored in the ER by the triage nurse, and the 10 minutes filling out mandatory forms before we could be brought back.

At one point I was so infuriated by the miserable, turtle-like beaurocracy of it all that I removed the blood-soaked towel that I’d been holding against my son’s head the whole time, letting the blood flow down his face, so I could point out to the ward clerk that we could see my son’s SKULL in that hole. She paled and hurried a tiny bit faster.

Remembering that awful experience, we realized that the baby’s gash was not that bad. Hubby got a bandaid, and pulled the edges of the gash together. Then we waited to see how long it would take for the bandaid to be soaked.

It didn’t get soaked. Hubby tried to check the pupils of her eyes for signs of brain injury. But this child, bless her heart, has such purely black eyes you cannot see the pupils except in very bright light. We gave her Advil, and after 10 minutes or so of sobbing, she fell asleep, still sucking in deep ragged breaths now and then.

She did wake in the night, crying and needing more Advil. But the bleeding had truly stopped and the next day she was totally normal. I’m hoping that by the time her head heals, I will be done kicking myself for letting it happen. And yes, the barstool barrier is back around the stove.


  1. So sad… Being a mom is so hard because no matter how careful you are there will always be those times you want to rewind. I wish I could start over from when I had Baby A and not get frusterated and talk to her in a harsh tone or wish I hadn't had her or cry big, fat, selfish tears all over her. I wish I could rewind to when she was first born only with the knowledge that everything would be okay, that I could handle this mother thing.

  2. awwwwwwww you poor mommy! 🙁 Hugs!

  3. I hate those "rewind" moments!! We had a bad one ourselves with our little girl once several months ago, it was awful and I was the only one home (husband was at work), but she was okay, thank goodness.

    Those times always serve to remind me that no matter how hard we try, there will always be the potential for an accident, and also that God is in control of their little life. It also always reminds me of how truly fragile they are and how attentive I have to be.

    Anyway, I am so, so glad your little one is okay!!! Don't kick yourself too much; it happens to every one!

  4. (((hugs))) It has happened to almost every mom – and to those that it hasn't happened to – add the word 'yet'. I get so frustrated with the whole ER thing – we've been the only ones in there and STILL had to wait far too long. (I know I watched the clock.*wink*) We've been to the ER on vacations out of state, at home on a national holiday, and right smack in the middle of moving day. It sounds like making excuses – but we really do have one child in particular that always seems to get hurt. Said child has pretty much no fear…

  5. Sorry that happened to your baby. Don't be too hard on yourself– stuff like that just happens sometimes. Glad she is OK.