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First Band Aid

With the weather turned nice here in NYC (at least for the day), we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors. Maddie’s enamored of our back yard and begs to go hang out there every spare moment she gets. So we’ve taken to grilling dinner and staying outside to eat, which of course she loves, and letting her get down and run around while we finish up.

Last night while Maddie ran everywhere, she tripped in her slightly-too-big new sandals and scraped her knee open. A mild gash, but a decent amount of blood and a painful-looking horizontal slash right across the kneecap.

She cried, of course, but allowed us to get her inside and cleaned up. We got the blood washed off, the cut cleaned and slathered with ointment, and then came at it with the band-aid.

And Maddie freaked out.

“No band! No band!” she screamed. Brian gently explained we needed the bandage to stop the bleeding and that it wouldn’t hurt. But she cried harder than I’ve ever seen her cry (outside of a doctor’s visit) the whole time. Sobbing uncontrollably in Brian’s arms, snot streaming and tears raining, nothing we offered could comfort or distract. She finally cried herself into a sweaty exhaustion and collapsed in a snuggle with her dad.

For the rest of the night, our hearts broke as we watched our little girl constantly remember her knee pain. First, the band-aid hurt. Then it hurt to either straighten or bend her knee. She refused to walk much and continuously held Silky to her bad knee, saying it made the knee feel better. She’d cuddle up like an invalid on the couch and watch home videos with Dad, forgetting her pain for minutes at a time, but some movement would invariably bring it back to the forefront and she’d begin moaning again, a low and sad, “No no no no no.”

I honestly don’t think we’ve ever felt so helpless. Even on the rare occasions that Maddie’s sick we’ve found ways to alleviate her suffering, if only with a fruit Popsicle or Motrin or a warm bath. But here there was nothing we could come up with to distract her and it drove both of us crazy. Even allowing her “special treats” such as snacking on the couch failed to take her mind off the pain for long. And I don’t think I’ve seen anything more touching than my baby girl limping around a few steps, holding Silky to her knee the whole time.

As we got her ready for bed I despaired of her being distracted enough to fall asleep. While snuggling for our bedtime read, though, I remembered massage. I’ve been massaging Maddie since she was a newborn – shoulders, neck, feet, legs – and it’s a physical memory for her by now. I use it to calm her down or distract her on plane flights, at the doctor’s, and more. Sure enough, I began massaging her feet and legs and she shut right down. So take that as a Mommy Tip, all you baby mommies out there.

Anyway, I sat down to write this and tried to figure out why the band-aid freaked her out so much. My mom was there for the whole thing and she asked me, “Did she ever have a bandage get stuck on her or anything?” and I answered, “No! This is the first band-aid she’s ever had!”

But as I replayed that conversation in my head, I realized that wasn’t true. Maddie’s had plenty of band-aids put on her legs before. At the doctor’s office, after a series of shots. Other than that, she’s never had occasion to need a band-aid, so the only thing she knows to associate them with is an extremely scary and painful doctor’s visit. No wonder my kiddo freaked out.

We’re definitely going to have to work on this. We brought out Check-Up Time Elmo and talked about his band-aid, which cheered her up a lot for a bit. And maybe we’ll play with band-aids a few times, like stickers. I don’t know. I just know I don’t want to go through another evening like that one.


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