Last week I got to play "stay at home parent" while my husband went into the office for two days. Day One I was on the mark. I got up early, got dressed before my daughter woke up, made us both breakfast, and watched Sesame Street. We then took a trip to the store for a suprise dinner for Daddy. It was the most pleasant trip I've ever had with her. She babbled the entire time while I sped up and down the aisles of Stop n Shop. There was one point of crankyness quickly stifled by Cheez-its I then had to purchase. A moment reminiscent of the times I yelled at my mother as a kid for "stealing food" when she did the same thing.
Around lunchtime I forced her into the stroller to run another errand. While she napped I was able to clean the apartment, do work online and tried out my new Zumba tapes. I even got a few minutes of sleep after a shower and lunch. Day One ended with a very happy daughter, happy husband, and a mother feeling like she was on top of things for once.
Day Two as expected, went to hell. It was raining and I was a bit more tired than usual. My daughter's nap was short yet I still felt victorious after another completed Zumba workout , the bathroom clean, and laundry in the machine in time for both of us to eat lunch. I thought I could power through until 6pm but my body started to feel heavy as I zoned out to The Wizards of Waverly Place.
Determined to push through I initiated a tickle fight. I moved an inch over and in a flash, my daughter falls off the couch. I scooped her up and held her tight, rubbing her head while looking into her stunned little face. Her soft spot is no longer soft right? What do I do? Does this equal a trip to the emergency room? Words like "concusion" and "brain damage" flooded my head so I did what I figured any medical professional would do. I started quizzing her.
"What does a puppy say?" This is easy, she will know this.
"Pup!" Oh God, repitition with a head injury is bad right? Try again!
"No what does a puppy SAY?"
"Meow" Oh God, I knocked the logic out of her! Deep breathe. Try again.
"No what does a PUPPY say?"
"Ruff ." That's more high pitched than normal, still sounds like meow. Try something else!!
"Okay, what does a cat say?"
"Meow" Ok good, now if she gets the next one I know she'll be fine.
"What does a piggy say?"
"Oink" Whew! Okay you're brains aren't scrambled, we're good.
I basked in relief for the next few minutes and rewarded her with an episode of The Fresh Beat Band while the guilt poured over me. I kept thinking how much worse it could've been and how soon my husband would leave me and demand full custody. I decided I'd break the news after dinner, once I'm confident she can still stack blocks.
A little later we get ready to pick up Daddy from the train. Getting her into her car seat I lift her up too quickly, knocking her head on the inside roof of the car. From the sound of it I knew I wasn't getting off as easy as before. The pout to end all pouts turns her smile unrecognizable. She touches her head as tears well in her eyes. "Oh God!" are the only words I can say to sum up "How could I possibily do this again?!"
"I'm sorry, Mommy's sorry, you're ok" was the mantra for the next few minutes as I kept kissing her head and hands. She tried to hold back her tears, swallowed hard and rubbed her eyes. Impressed by her effort to calm herself, I momentarily think she will end up being a very strong woman. She then reaches up and gives me a kiss, as if to say, "Its okay Mommy, I forgive you. I know you're just a hot mess today. Don't worry, I'll still be able to do math."
Once my husband was finally home I felt a bit safer. I had survived two potentially harmful head injuries in and dinner was still hot on the table. The day was almost salvaged until about an hour before bedtime when my neighbor came over.
As she and my husband talked, I see my daughter trying to sit with her feet first on her chair. Time slows down and there is an invisible pool of jello between her and I preventing me from getting to her before her head smacks against the floor. Hysterical screams ensue and I'm both shocked and angry that this happend yet a third time today. My husband grabs her while I shake off my disbeliefe and run for her Cookie Monster ice pack. We show her how Cookie will give her boo boo kisses and she lets us rub her head.
I know if I WebMD "three blows to the head in one day" many scary things will come up so I just stand there trying to breathe and not think about the combination of events. I wait while my husband soothes her, hoping she will turn and want Mommy at some point. My arms are always eager to heal and with my new growing insecurity, I feel I need some soothing myself.
Finally her tear stained face looks for me. I snuggle her into my chest and she lets out a sigh. We are both exhuasted from today's unplanned lessons on Murphy's Law. I kiss her cool head and hold her tightly, surprised at how eager I feel to return to work tomorrow. I'm certain she is feeling the same.
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