Last night Elizabeth had earned a behavior reward, which she used to stay up late. That is what she almost always spends her rewards on, which is so pleasingly baffling to me (in the "children are so DIFFERENT---from us and from each other!" sense) because one of her other options is to have a dessert or treat, and she TURNS THAT DOWN in order to stay up an extra hour and a half. Whuh? My 5-year-old self would NEVER have passed by a treat! NEVER!
Anyway, so she was staying up late. And Paul was making salsa, and she likes to sous-chef, so she was cutting a green pepper. She's recently been allowed to start using sharp knives. Do you see where I'm going with this? She got her first cut.
Paul is...*scrunches forehead in pursuit of delicate word-choice*...a fainter. And so the first I heard of this event was a strange tone to Elizabeth's voice and then Paul was airlifting her to the bathroom, saying to me "Elizabethgotcut" as he streaked right back away from the scene. She was holding her finger in her other hand and starting to up the tone from "strange" to "screamy." She didn't want me to look at it, so I looked briefly and then asked Paul if he thought he could bring me a clean dry washcloth, which he did, backing into the bathroom holding the washcloth out blindly.
There are two things I know to do for cuts: one is to apply pressure, and the other is to elevate. But I held her finger firmly in a washcloth for the next hour and a half, and it didn't stop bleeding. I would hold it up high for awhile until my arms got sore, and then just hold it at her shoulder-height for awhile. I'd peek at it and...nope, no way are we done with the pressure and elevation. I started to wonder---do we go to the ER now? What's the ER moment for something like this? I don't want them to be like, "Oh, did she get a boo-boo? Here's a $50 bandaid, you rookie."
Paul looked it up online and in our parenting manual, and all of the answers involved closer looks at the situation than even I could tolerate taking, even if I could see past the bleeding, even if Elizabeth would have permitted such examinations without being strapped down and sedated. Finally it was OUR bedtime, so we bandaged her finger with a large piece of folded gauze and three very firm bandaids, and I guess it did stop bleeding in the night but there is no way I'm taking that bandage off for awhile.
What I kept thinking that whole time was that I STILL don't know what to do. I STILL don't know when to call the doctor about croup, and when to just use steam and cold air. I STILL don't know when it's an ear infection; I STILL can't tell the difference between a virus and bronchitis; I STILL don't know the difference between a normal skin rash and one that needs treatment. I STILL don't know when to take a child to the ER for a couple of stitches, and when to rig a bandage ten times the size of the finger tip. It's frustrating to do this job for so long and still feel like I'm in training. I mean, I realize that's normal: it's not like I think other parents have magically figured out every single thing and never have moments of uncertainty. But it's still frustrating to be sitting there at 10:00 at night, dithering about it---and to still be dithering about it the next day.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...