Black and Blue
My boy fell the other night. He fell hard, really hard.
The garlic bread had about two minutes to go in the oven when I heard a thud followed by the familiar scream. I took off like Jesse Owens, if he was fat and slow, into the playroom approximately ten feet away and noticed the deep, deep, deep bruise on the little guy’s cheek. Regrettably, I interrogated my daughter immediately while scooping up the wounded tot.
“He fell, Daddy, and hit the toy-box.”
Her tone of voice revealed that she hadn’t caused the situation at hand so I gave her a somewhat reassuring look before I pried the clinging boy far enough away from me to get a good look at the damage and to check for bleeding or swelling. His eyes pleaded for me to help him as I surveyed the damage which appeared to be only the very dark purple mark on his face.
This is when all the parenting questions raced through my mind: does he need to go to the hospital; is there something wrong inside his mouth; is the garlic bread burning? You know, the usual.
As for the garlic bread, it was actually Texas Toast, which is truly delicious and easy to make… when you don’t have a screaming bruised-face toddler in your arms. The timer buzzed to tell me that it was done, but I couldn’t exactly lean into the hot oven with said boy in my arms without risking further harm to him or me. I thought about setting him down for a second because I really like my garlic bread crispy, not blackened, but that was out of the question because his claws were dug into me so deep that I felt like I would lose a lot of skin in the attempt.
A child screaming can break my heart or annoy me; this one did the former so I just hugged the little guy a little tighter when an angel from above saved the garlic bread. It was actually my wife, who happened to be upstairs while this dramatic episode unfolded. She had heard the thud, too and came down as quickly as possible.
Being a parent that actually knows what to do, she immediately got an icepack out of the freezer and took him out of my arms. The sight of his mother was the necessary remedy to detach him from me without leaving a mark. This gave me the much needed moment to unload the not burning yet garlic bread out of the oven.
My wife and I worked as a team applying the ice whether the boy wanted it or not. That’s teamwork according to my daughter (see Is That Teamwork? for more on that). Like good parents we discussed what we needed to do. The hospital wouldn’t be necessary, but could he eat the delicious meal I had just prepared? The second part was my concern because I was really hungry.
He must have inherited my toughness, because the boy had stopped crying in less than five minutes. If he could speak full sentences we’d know if he was even more like me if he complained over and over that his face hurt, but luckily he isn’t there vocally, yet.
Amazingly, the kids and I sat down at the dinner table sans my wife while the food was still hot. The lady of the house had a date with a few of her XX chromosome buddies that night so she reluctantly left when she felt that our youngest was okay.
It’s been a few days since the incident, so now the bruise is that nasty yellowish with black around the edges. It looks like there’s something smudged on his face, like marker or a bumblebee.
A few things came about from this almost catastrophic event. Hopefully, I’ve learned not to jump to conclusions that the other child is responsible for his or her sibling’s tears… every time. I also relearned that kids are resilient little creatures that can take a beating (figuratively) and keep on ticking. Most importantly, I’ve learned that the children must remain in a stationary position while I cook garlic bread.