This past weekend, I kept Holden and Milo up late. Their typical bedtime is between 7pm and 7:30. On very rare occasions, they have seen 8pm. But fireworks start at 9:30 so I knew I had to bend the rules a little this time.
We spent the day at a family-friendly party down near the Berkeley Marina, where the city display would be shown. The party was at an amazing warehouse space complete with bouncy house and an enclosed second floor to view the fireworks (at enough of a distance for the safety and sensitivity of preschoolers). Do you see Spiderman looming over my head? Fun times!
The plan seemed perfect. Seemed.
Around 9:15, Milo was in his jammies and sitting in his daddy’s lap with a paci and his favorite lovey. I thought that he might just sleep through the whole event. Whatever. Holden had his second wind and was running around the ping pong table.
Minutes later, he was carried to me crying and bleeding from the head from catching the wrong edge of a ping pong paddle in the eyebrow. And. Heads. Bleed. A. Lot. I knew this already so I was surprisingly calm.
Other parents were nearby to offer help, bandaids, ice, clean towels, etc. There was even a pediatrician on-hand to give his opinion. We were pretty darn lucky. Considering.
After the bleeding stopped, I hoped we could get away with some Neosporin and a band-aid and then move on with our lives but the dr. said that he should really get a stitch or two (then of course, I had the requisite mommy guilt of having thought he’d just be ok).
So, there we were at a warehouse party full of friends and strangers, down enmeshed in the traffic circus of the fireworks display right before they started, with no transportation other than our bikes and trailer already two hours past bedtime. We had to press on.
We allowed Holden watch the first ten minutes of the fireworks show before my friend, Alissa drove us home. Her daughter, Molly, is in Holden’s preschool class and he had a fantastic time in the car looking for fireworks between buildings on the drive home while playing in Molly’s seat with her stuffed toys. He even said, “mommy, I like this adventure.”
We headed off for Children’s Hospital in Oakland and arrived around 10pm. The place did not seem crowded and I was grateful. We snuggled in and read some books while waiting for our turns at triage (they gave him some numbing gel in a bandage), intake (I forgot my wallet!), and a doctor’s visit.
By the time, we were admitted into a room, it was about 11:30. The doctor was extremely nice, and Holden was a model four year old: articulate, curious, and polite. He explained his accident in great detail and with appropriate pride. He asked questions about his treatment and was generally awesome.
I read him some stories and he fell asleep in my lap. Out cold. I took this picture to confirm my suspicion that he had fallen asleep.
He laid there on my lap and shoulders for another hour before the doctor and tech returned. With them was the evil papoose. I had earlier described it to him (optimistically) as a “big kid swaddle” but it was more of a velcro straightjacket of evil with a plasticky neck collar, a true device of restraint.
And this is where my 12:30 am lapse of reason came into play. I thought that maybe he’d sleep through the whole thing. I thought he might be sleepy enough and his eyebrow already numb enough that he would miss all the action.
Boy was I wrong.
Holden woke up as they were restraining his body into the massive velcro strappy contraption. He woke up groggy and confused and forgetting all that we had already discussed with an urgent WTF?! feeling and no way to communicate other than his screams. He tried to thrash but the restraints made it impossible.
After Dr. Nice Guy injected him with some Litocaine stuff, Holden’s face was covered with what looked like a light paper napkin… so, now, not only could he not move, he could not see either. The screams and howls continued.
I tried my best to reach his body, give him a gentle touch of reassurance and narrate some of the things going on… but, but, it was really no use.
After about five minutes, the whole procedure was over and he was set free. Set free and all he wanted to do was hit me. His fists of fury plunged into me and he could not release all his pent-up anger. The Dr. offered him a popsicle and he threw it to the floor. Then he through his beloved lovey (who had also been strapped inside the damn papoose as well) to the floor of the ER. He didn’t want to see any of us ever again.
Holden’s screams continued as he started running. He ran out of the hospital room and did some laps around the ER area before I could catch him. All the parents and ER staff eyed me with suspicion; why was this child so afraid of this woman? Everyone except Dr. Nice Guy. Oh well.
He did calm down and I managed to give him a popsicle (at 1:15am!!) and get him into his jammies before carrying him home. So I could cry a little too.