A milestone: A toddler’s first face plantJessie Knadler
I’m kind of surprised it took this long since I know a lot of toddlers who have been to the ER by now, strapped down to the gurney, screaming at their parents for more morphine.
But June is like me. She’s careful and conscientious. She moves through space with the agility of a swan. This is in sharp contrast to her father, who I believe had a hammer or two stuck in his head by this age. The only physical tragedy that’s ever befallen me — aside from two root canals and an inability to belch — was the time I got two front teeth lodged in the back of my head, courtesy of some dumb ass who walked behind me while I was swinging in the third grade (I’ll save that story for another time).
Anyway, we were at a party over the weekend. June and I were sitting outside on the front steps, enjoying a lovely view. She stood up to retrieve a morsel of something that had dropped on the step below. I watched her bend over to pick up the morsel and at a certain point I saw the weight transfer from her lower body to her upper body causing her to tip over and crash face first on the concrete.
Her face was the first thing to make contact with the sidewalk. How do I know this? Because I was sitting right there, watching the whole thing unfold. It happened so fast, yet as she tumbled, she moved in slow mo. By the time my reflexes kicked in, she was already face first on the concrete nearing the zenith of a powerful inhale, the precursor to a blood curdling scream.
By the time that scream came she was already in my arms blowing out my ear drums. The sobs came in convulsions. She couldn’t breathe she was crying so hard. You know the type of crying I’m talking about? When you’re so upset, you’re actually hyperventilating and your head bobs like a Pez dispenser stuck on repeat? It was like that.
I rushed her inside to the hosts’ bathroom and started pilfering through their medicine cabinet and drawers, looking for some kind of first aid and maybe some Valtrex or other embarrassing meds I could file away and use against my hosts at a later date. Sadly, there was neither. My host Becky and my other friend Mary came in to the bathroom to join in the rescue. June loves Becky and Mary I think more than she loves me. They sing to her on demand. They get down on bended knee and make up funny stories and cute gestures and generally make me look grim and wooden by comparison. (They don’t have kids yet so they have merriment in spades.)
Becky, who is a nurse, had an alcohol swipe for children tucked away somewhere but I think it must have been formulated in Victorian times because the alcohol stung June like crazy making her cry harder. We eventually covered the scrapes with cortizone and after many songs and other diversionary tactics, June finally was able to get it under control.
It’s been two days since the accident and she’s still super sensitive about it. If anyone looks at her bruises and comments, she’s gets really tight lipped and grim and her eyes well up with tears. But she’s also been fairly sophisticated about using the injury as leverage for treats — more Goldfish, another cookie, an excuse to sleep in mommy’s bed; a valuable skill that will serve her well in life, especially marriage.