Is it me, or is this turning into a depressing blog?

            One of the drawbacks of living in temporary housing is not really knowing where the Emergency Room is.  We had driven past a nearby hospital frequently, but I had not really registered exactly where it was.  And this is precisely the reason I found myself snapping at the toddler that I could not hug him right now, reminding the pre-schooler to hold the towel to his head, and frantically calling their father to help me find the closest ER.  And of course he was not picking up his phone.  Then I was telling the toddler he had to stop crying immediately, shouting to the preschooler in the bathroom that we would be leaving for the hospital in a few minutes, and Googling Emergency Rooms in Santa Monica. 

            Turns out there was one three blocks away.  That’s the funny thing about temporary housing; you just don’t notice your surroundings because you will be moving soon.

            It all started because Zachary does not listen to his mother.  I TOLD him that he was likely to hurt himself or break a toy if he insisted upon balancing upon the tiny bunk beds from his fire station.  But, due to the fact that I am his mother, he completely ignored me.

            “Sometimes I wish she would break things, just to show her I am right,” my best friend said on the other end of the line, all the way across the country in Boston.  “But she doesn’t seem to care when she does.”

            “And he never hurts himself, either,” I added, as Zach giggled and balanced and then fell over.  He started screaming.  Of course, he always starts screaming.  “Zachary, did you hurt yourself?” I asked as I walked over.  “And what were you doing when you did?”

            And then, my friend in Boston heard the following from afar, as I had placed the phone down on the coffee table that had assaulted Zach’s head.  “Oh, my God!  I’ll talk to you later.”  And the line went dead.

            Benjamin woke up from his nap when I was still trying to stop the bleeding.  There was no question of leaving him with a neighbor because we have no neighbors.  We are in temporary housing, an apartment in a building of anonymous people.  And our car is parked in a garage about 1/8 of a mile from the apartment, so I put Ben in the stroller to get to the car while Zach walked, still holding a towel to his head.

            By the time we got to the ER, the bleeding had stopped, and Benjamin was wailing because he had not had so much as a diaper change since getting up from his nap.  I looked at the volunteer: “Actually, it’s the other one who’s hurt.”

            And, although I had failed to remain calm and reassuring at home, although I had snapped at Ben in frustration because his father was not picking up the damned phone or complying with the email that instructed “call NOW,” I know that I am not a total wash as a mother in emergency situations.  I know this because I had the presence of mind to pack pretzels in the diaper bag before we left.  Which explains why both children were chipper by the time we had gotten through registration.

            In fact, no one had any issues until half an hour later, when the “Fast Track” nurse came in and ebulliently told Zachary, “I have a Band Aid here for you.”  Now, if you have been reading here from the start, you will remember that Zachary rates Band Aids as second only to spaghetti sauce on his list of Dreaded Adult Torture Devices.  When I tried to tell her to ditch the Band Aid, she told me it had a numbing medication on it.

            And this is why I held Zach on my lap for twenty minutes, holding the damned cotton ball with the medication onto his little cut, while his brother moved furniture around the waiting room.

            Later, after we had pinned Zach down so the doctor could glue the small (really, very small) cut on his head, I asked him what he would like for dinner.  I said he could even eat in front of the TV tonight, a crazy idea if ever there was one.  He hemmed and hawed, but he finally came out with it.  “I am not eating at home tonight.”

            “Where are you eating, then?”

            “I want to eat at a restaurant.”

            Fortunately, I did know where the Denny’s was, since they are, after all, ubiquitous.  I called my friend, leaving a message letting her know what had happened, so she wouldn’t worry that the child had lost an eye.

            And, once we had returned to our temporary housing, the apartment so small and so ill-suited to children that the only way they can amuse themselves is with close encounters with the coffee table, I had to confiscate the fire station bunk beds, because the first thing that kid did upon returning home was to try to balance on them again, this time bringing his brother in on the act.

            So much for his gifted intelligence.

22 responses to “Is it me, or is this turning into a depressing blog?

  1. you haven’t lost your sense of humor.

    you’ve got it tough, no doubt. you’ll come through, and I hope soon.

    don’t forget to give yourself a few indulgences.

  2. As the cut turned out to be very small, no, this is not turning into a depressing blog. And moving is so fraking hard, you have every reason to be discombobulated for months to come. I’m glad Zachary is mostly okay. Lucy still bears an ugly scar on her forehead from last summer’s altercation with the edge of a sharp rock, when we took her to the “good” ER (supposedly) and they still screwed it up. That’s when I just wanted to move back to the city where I knew the Children’s Hospital ER would have done it right because they had with Charlotte once (yes, I have way too much experience with ER’s).

    Here’s my moving/ER story for you: the very first day we moved into our current house, in a suburb I knew nothing at all about, with my neighbor sister out of town (thanks sis!), Charlotte swallowed a rivet (I know; don’t ask). I had no idea where to go; I didn’t know any neighbors yet; my sister wouldn’t answer her cell phone. We had no computer access. It was ridiculous. The ER we found sucked; once they realized I was telling the truth about the rivet–after they finally got their stupid mostly broken X-ray machine to work (25 radiation units later)– wanted to slice her right open. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end, as these things always do, but it didn’t make me feel happy I’d moved to this godforsaken place (with no ameliorating Denny’s either).

    Oh, hi! comment hijack!

  3. I am glad that Zachary is ok. Darn kids, no matter how smart they are, it doesn’t mean that they gain common sense until they are like 30 🙂

  4. Oh, Emily, what a trial to go through, and without having anyone nearby help. I’m sure it really didn’t help with your sense of moorlessness.

    I’m glad Zachary’s injury was minimal, and that you all made it out of the ER relatively sane. You should win an award for bringing pretzels.

    You know, the first post I ever read of yours was about the dreaded band aids…

  5. Ugh. What an all around yucky incident. I’m glad the injury was minor though. Still, it would have been nice if he had, I don’t know, learned something from it?

  6. First: I’m glad Zach is OK. All kids bleed copiously for even small injuries. Every time Bean get so much as a scratch, a flood of red ensues. My frantic thought is always “Is he bleeding out rapidly from major injury, or did he just stub his toe and has a 1/16 inch shallow wound?” because the bleeding seems like it would be exactly the same for both scenarios to me. So it’s scary.

    Second: Thank God for Denny’s. There is something very comforting about eating mostly unremarkable food in their brightly lit atmosphere.

    Third: You’re a good mom. I mean it very sincerely.

  7. don’t scalp lacerations bleed a lot?

    ben had to have four stitches at two years old. judging from the amount of blood, i would have guessed he’d need at least twenty.

    and so it goes. glad he’s ok.

  8. Kids are so amazing sometimes.

  9. And…. they never do learn. One Child broke its arm because, “I was seeing how high I could jump on my roller blades,” and the other has concussed itself this week and then re-bonked its head just yesterday doing EXACTLY the same thing. Darwin, I really hope you’re not watching at the moment!

  10. Glad everyone made it out okay. And I am pretty sure your blog currently has more humor in it than mine. Considering the circumstances and the major upheaval you are dealing with while mommying two little boys, you seem to be doing just fine. I don’t recommend you come reading my blog anytime soon, though.

    Don’t forget the whole being pregnant thing in the mix. The messed-up hormones may account for more of your mindset than you think. So give yourself a break, go get some ice cream or a fruit bar or something and go to the beach. And keep reminding yourself that temporary really does mean temporary.

    By the way, C is the same way about being home. He doesn’t even like to leave for school, though he is fine once he gets there. And he proves to me every day that being exceptionally smart in some ways does not mean he is expectionally common sensical. In fact, it usually means he is not because his head is too much in the clouds. No matter how smart they are, they are still little boys.

    Peace to you. Praying that you find the perfect house soon, where everyone can have a soft place to land at the end of the day.

  11. Great scott those are the suckiest moments to me—when things actually do go out of control right when it feels like everything is out of control. It’s when I am barely managing the Regular and am suddenly called upon to be Extraordinary and part of me wants to be the one wailing instead of the one managing, again.

    I have determined, scientifically and anecdotally, that Natural Consequences are a load of BS.

    Around 22 the correct neural pathways will FINALLY develop and then, and only then, will it make any sense at all and all you can do is hope that you have not irrevocably screwed up by then.

    Ahh Em.

    This is the moment when other people call their families.

    Who can you call for you?

    If not, what can you do to get yourself the moments and things you need to retain your equanimity (since your humor seems intact)?

    It’s one more stress to find a nanny and yet, I am think I might insist on some sort of helper. You need Time Off and House Hunt Time.

    I can’t afford a nanny but do have access to lovely teens for mother’s helper and also a drop-in child care place that is really good.

    Can everything pause for a minute while you find backup for the kids?

  12. Oh I’m so sorry, but I’m very glad he’s OK!! I hope things get much better in general very soon.

  13. I can feel myself in your life most days. My life REALLY does feel a lot like yours, with our kids so close in age, and so strangely similar. . . .

    Yesterday, I was on the phone with Poison Control . . ..while you were at the ER . . .

    That says it all, now doesn’t it ?? 🙂

  14. Okay, so will you make me a map of the ER in Santa Monica? Since I will be cramming the 5-year-old into a tiny apartment with 2 newborns for a year? (Just kidding, my DH will be working at the UCLA Santa Monica hosp, so I know it and St. Johns are both around 15th St-ish)

    Glad Zach is better and you all survived the incident. I’m sure is was NOT fun. Hang in there, you’ll find a house soon!

  15. I am opening the bottle of red wine. I am pouring it into a lovely cobalt blue glass. I am gulping. Yes, I know you’re pregnant, so wine is probably out–but I am drinking one for you as after a day such as you’ve had, and a move such as you’ve done, and an apartment as unsuitable & temporary as it is, a glass of wine seems to be in order….

    WELL DONE for packing those pretzels.

  16. I wish they had glue back when my kids were whacking their heads on coffee tables.

  17. i love the resiliency of kids. and you know, sister, it’s OK. it’s ok that you are in a temporary place.

  18. Temporary, temporary. Cling to that word.

    Julie’s ideas were excellent.

    Hang in there (and no, your blog is not depressing at all. I love your stories.).

  19. The ability of boys not to learn is legendary. I remember when my friend’s two boys were at the ‘learning to drink’ stage, and one regularly forgot his limitations. My friend always made him wash and cleah his own mattress and I remarked perkily that he WOULD learn eventually, wouldn’t he? To which she caught my eye and shook her head grimly. ‘They never learn’ she pronounced in a hollow voice.

    It may not be appropriate to say I enjoyed this story, but I did because you wrote it so well. I think you were marvelous in the crisis. we dreaded our son doing something similar because my husband and I are both horribly squeamish and we could imagine the scene of a child spurting blood with two adults out cold on the floor. A little snapping is nothing, nothing.

  20. Oh Em… my heart was right there with you as I read your blog. I’m so glad Z is okay. Heads do have a way of gushing, don’t they.? You might want to give Lori a call. She went through the same thing with Jane (fell out of bed, cut head, stitches, lots of blood). And remember… I’m always a phone call away.

    When D was 3 he loved Batman. With my husbands back turned only feet away D managed to climb up on the back of our car, Batman cape in tow, and tried to “fly” . It only took seconds before the amazing, gifted, very intellegent child that he was (note the use of was)
    figured out he couldn’t fly and landed face first on the garage floor. My memory of blood, swelling, screams, and frantic calls to the doctor are a distant one at best yet, the look on the nurses face as we brought in this bruised and battered looking child still haunt me. Couldn’t she see he had on his Batman cape!

    The other suggestions from your blog friends are great. Keep your spirits up…

  21. Pingback: A note to my husband and a meme « Wheels on the bus

  22. Oh geez, Emily, I’m sorry I’ve been away for too long from your blog! What a crazy day this must have been. Glad it only turned out to be a small cut. And I’m just amazed that you packed the pretzels with you. Seriously. That kicks ass.