Friday, October 27, 2006

Art Can Be Dangerous

Whenever our kids go bike riding or rollerblading or go tearing around on their scooters, we make them wear their helmets. At every checkup, the doctor asks our kids if they wear their helmets when on wheels or ride in a booster seat in the car. No one told me that helmets would be necessary in art class.

This past Tuesday, I had this elaborate art project all set up (I always have high hopes for art… I should know better). I had spent days cutting out pictures, words, letters, numbers, etc from magazines and had spent that morning getting out scissors, paper, fabric, glue, and every other craft item I could think of so that the kids could work on collages in the style of Romare Bearden. Quarto was going to join us, so I set up a little spot for him with some paper and crayons since he finds glue “yucky” (although tasty). Being a typical “I want it therefore I must have it NOW” two-year-old, he immediately climbed onto his chair and stood to reach for the crayon box before I could move it within his reach. As he thrust himself forward by pushing against the chair, the chair, obeying Newton’s Third Law of Motion, shot away from the table. That’s when the Law of Gravity took its cue, and Quarto plummeted to the floor. Unfortunately for Quarto’s forehead, Secondo had moved closer to him in an attempt to catch him and his head met the edge of her chair on the way down. Then there was silence. If you are a parent, you know exactly what I am talking about. That nanosecond where the world stops spinning and sound waves are held at bay while your heart sinks into your gut. Then came the scream. An ear-piercing scream that expresses a toddler’s shock clearer than any Shakespearean oration. A scream that says, “That chair just attacked me! Can you believe it?! Me! Of all people!”

Primo and I took turns holding a compress on Quarto’s head and gathering changes of clothes and making phone calls. I take pride that I live in a neighborhood where many moms stay home during the day, but wouldn’t you know it… none were home Tuesday afternoon! Instead, I had to set people’s imaginations reeling when I called Frodo’s school and told the secretary that there was an emergency at home and I needed Frodo to come home immediately. By the time Frodo got home, the bleeding was under control, the kitchen was cleaned up, Terzo was comforting Quarto, Primo was crying and saying how much she loved Quarto and didn’t want him to die, and Secondo was asking, “Mom, how come when I look at Quarto’s cut I get dizzy? Can you see his skull?”

The emergency room visit was amazingly fast. We were on our way home about an hour and a half after we arrived. Quarto was amazing. He only cried twice: 1) when the triage nurse removed the duct tape band aid Frodo had put over the cut which caused the bleeding to restart and 2) when the doctor gave him the shot of anesthetic. He winced at one point when the doctor moved the needle into his line of vision, and when she apologized, Quarto said, sniffling, “That’s okay.” Before the doctor could come stitch up Quarto, she had to give another little one stitches. I was panicking because she was screaming bloody murder, and I was afraid it was going to scare Quarto, but Quarto amazed me. Do you know what he did? He looked at me and said, “That baby crying. We pray her?” So while waiting for his own stitches, he and I were praying for the little girl to have peace and healing. I love my kids.

Quarto is doing fine. The cut was rather deep, so he needed two sub dermal stitches and four surface stitches. We’ve been calling him ‘Franken-Toddler’ and he shows his “tiches” to anyone who will look. His stitches don’t come out until the day after our family photo. I could reschedule the photo, I suppose, but why avoid a photo that will recall so many scary and wonderful memories for years to come?

All this because the poor boy wanted to hold the power of ‘Sunshine Yellow’ in the palm of his hand.

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