Saturday, December 04, 2010

An explanation of what happened to Caroline.

A lot of you saw this pathetically sad and ridiculously cute picture of Caroline on Facebook last night. You know, the one where she has a big white gauze pad loosely taped across her face that is, incidentally, covered in dried blood and boogers. The one with her standing in an exam room with a purple hospital gown?

Yeah, this one.

Look, I went for a lot of years with kids that never needed much more than a kiss and a Band-Aid to cure their little mishaps, but these little girls? What's up with all the stitches? I blame Joe. No, no; I know these things happen and you're shaking your head and saying, "But Cate, that's not fair! Kids have accidents!"

Hear me out.

Besides my two c-sections, I have never needed stitches in my life. As a kid I climbed trees. I played in an old dairy barn with lots of glass and nails and other laceration inducing devices lying about. And believe me, I fell. I cut myself. But I never had a cut deep enough or wide enough to require stitches. Joe, however, has needed stitches one hundred fifty kajillion times. At least. So, clearly, Elisabeth and Caroline have their dad's propensity to break their skin open. The evidence seems pretty conclusive, no?

Please continue to dwell on Joe's thin skin for a moment, will you? That will help you ignore my culpability in last night's ER visit. Thanks.

So, last night I was grabbing one quick thing from our attic. One quick thing! Yes, I knew I was taking a gamble. Yes, I knew Caroline was upstairs with me as I pulled down the attic stairs. I glanced at her, absorbed in one of the bedrooms with a stack of toys, and thought, wrongly, I could make it up and down before she noticed the attic ladder was down. I did not know Ellie was coming upstairs. Those attic stairs are a magnet for Ellie; upon arriving upstairs she immediately started climbing them. Caroline saw her sister and followed. She never made it past the third or fourth stair; I heard the girls and started back down. Too late; Ellie started climbing down and pushed past stepped over Caroline. Caroline fell. I saw it all happen as if it were in slow motion, trapped on the attic stairs, just a few feet away from my little baby.

I still don't know what she hit. She fell a couple of feet, maximum, onto carpet. I still don't think she scraped her head on the stairs. There was nothing on the floor.

Yet still, fall she did, and the total damage? A lot of tears, a fair amount of blood, two internal stitches and seven-- yes, seven!-- regular stitches.

She stopped crying just a few minutes after the injury. She was smiling, babbling and laughing for the entire twenty minute drive to Children's Hospital. She was entertained with all attention she received while waiting for her mending. She screamed bloody murder, however, during the stitching despite the topical application of some sort of numbing agent and a mild sedative. After she was happy and silly once again.

Still, though, I feel wretched. I know it was an accident but still. . . something about seeing the blood, the tears, the needle. . . I won't soon forgive myself. On the good side though, I won't dash up into the attic when the stairs are down anymore either. I accept a few days of guilt; I deserve it and it will make it easier on me to let it go when I forgive myself, which I know I will.

How much you want to bet that Caroline forever grumbles about the inevitable scar that she will work at covering for the rest of her life? *sigh*


Elephantschild said...

"Yeah, I'm like this cuz Mom dropped me on my head when I was a toddler."

(I'm kidding! I'm sure she won't even remember it!)

Cate said...

LOLOL! Well, at least she'll have an excuse to glom onto now, should she want one. ROFL.

dad said...

It is all Joe's fault. If he did not have this propensity to bleed, Caroline would not have climbed the stairs. It is her inherited instinct to discover occasions when she can inflict harm upon her skin. Sleep well tonight. Joe, on the other hand ...

Cate said...


Joe says you can watch the football game in the garage. Diana is welcome inside.

nina said...

She will remember, in the same way that MY Caroline remembers the day we left her with THAT AWFUL babysitter to go out and have a good time and THAT AWFUL babysitter opened a cabinet door and slashed Caroline right above the eye. There was blood. We came home quickly and took Caroline to the ER and the nice BUT VERY YOUNG doctor treated her and now she has a bruise above her eye, which is only slightly less visible than the bruise on her chin when a year ago she and mommy went biking on her new bike, bought by her mommy's traveling companion and she fell on gravel. It was another trip to the ER room only this time she did not mind the YOUNG ER doctor because she was 24 and sort of mildly infatuated with him.

So maybe it's not Joe. maybe it's that she's a... Caroline.

sixty-five said...

Joe's to blame for sure. My sisters (that would include your Mom) and I never had stitches. Neither did any of my daughters. Nor (so far) any of my grandchildren.

Poor baby! And how frustrating and awful it must have been for you to have been watching it all from above.

Bob said...

Accidents do happen...Fortunately everything is OK....Looking forward to hearing opposing arguments.

Superdad said...

Nina, I always knew you were a highly intelligent person.

As for my wife's attempt to shift the blame for her obviously negligent behavior, what kind of husband would I be if I derailed her attempts to cope with her failures.

Erin said...

Where have I been? Stitches? Poor baby.