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First Blood

It’s happened; my daughter’s perfect body has been marred. She’s been injured, and I did not prevent it. Worse, even – I was standing there when it happened and could not stop it.

My daughter cut her lip.

Early one recent morning Madeleine stood in my bedroom while I got dressed. She lost her hold on the dresser drawer and fell backwards, hitting her head on the carpet. And somehow, she cut her lower lip open.

Keeping in mind that she has no teeth at all, and she fell back not forward, the cut lip’s pretty amazing. She was startled (more, I think, from the bump to the back of the head), but Mommy was galvanized into action by the sight of blood coming down Madeleine’s face.

Brian was in the shower and I actually got him out to “help out”; not so much with Maddie, but with Mommy. I kept wiping the blood away and it kept flowing back in for a couple minutes, until I began to worry we should take her to the emergency room

But she just bit her lip, right? It’s no big deal! Babies do worse to themselves all the time! It’ll heal no problem!

But wait (the Paranoid New Mommy in me said) – what if it needs stitches? What if it’s deeper than we think, and it doesn’t close on its own and leaves an ugly scar that could have been preventable? I start to imagine conversations between teenage boys sometime in the distant future: “I’d totally ask out Madeleine, but she’s got that funky scar on her lip”. Madeleine misses getting prom queen, which would have cinched her college application, which would have gotten her that fantastic job, which would have kept her on Easy Street and able to support her aging parents, all because Mommy was too lazy to take her to the hospital.

I wish I were kidding, but that entire little made-for-t.v. movie did flash before my eyes.

Even as I freaked out and began to mentally review the path to the hospital, the bleeding stopped and Maddie began smiling and fingering her newly-fat lip. You could tell she thought it was pretty cool.

So we toughed it out – didn’t even call the pediatrician for a reassurance phone call. Yep, we’re cool. Kids get hurt – no big deal.

Bicycles and roller blades are definitely out. Mommy’s heart can’t take it.


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