One of the skills I've perfected over the last eight years of being an out-of-the-house mom is that I can quickly recognize and analyze the various clues immediately available to me. Within seconds of stepping into the door, I know where everyone is, and I have a pretty good sense of what went down while I was gone. Often, Ren doesn't want to relive his hours alone with all three kids, so I piece together what I can and only ask him when I need to fill in the blanks.
On this day, though, I knew something was up. My first clue(s), actually, were the multiple garbled phone calls I got during the 10-minute drive from my office to home. When I called to say I was on my way, all was well. Minutes later, I receive the first of several calls that were either missed or dropped. By the time Ren and I actually talked, I was making the turn onto our street. I couldn't make out what he was saying, so I said, "I'll be there in two," and hung up. I should note here that sometimes I get what seem like frantic phone calls but that turn out to be reminders to return a library book or to pick up a DVD on the way home. So, I wasn't terribly worried.
But, then, Sky met me crying. And apologizing. It was the combination of the two that got my antennae up.
"Where are they?" I asked.
"Downstairs," he squeaked out before running to hide somewhere.
When I got downstairs, Ren was in the bathroom with Pink P, and Stow was trying to take over the world while no one was watching. Ren, who is normally unflappable, was thoroughly flapped.
"Call 911," he said.
For the record, these might be the last words I want to hear when I step into the door after a long week of work. Especially from Ren. He's the calm one. When Pink P's lips swelled after her first (and only) taste of peanut butter, I had no clue what to do. None. My recently immigrated husband, who also happened to be in the shower at the time, immediately said, "Benadryl." Oh, right. Benadryl. And, when Stow plummeted head first off the bed to the wood floor below, I picked him up, ran downstairs, and handed him to Ren. If there was blood, I needed Ren to deal with it (possible neck injury be damned). **
I'm not great under pressure, particularly when bodily injury is involved.
So, if Ren tells me to call 911, I'm going to call 911. By this time, I had gathered enough of a picture of what happened, I could explain it to the poor 911 operator: Pink was swinging a real-life, authentic stethoscope all ninja nunchuck-style.* Sky, logically, tried to defend himself. Unfortunately, he chose an over-inflated exercise ball to do so, thereby managing to create the freak accident of the century.
Stethoscope + exercise ball = stethoscope-chest-piece-shaped divot in the back of the head
And, oh the blood. Ren, who has seen everything, had never seen anything like this. Blood spurted straight up and out of Pink's head despite the fact she was head down and he was applying pressure. So much blood that it soaked her long hair, her shirt, and his. Miraculously (no seriously, if this isn't a miracle, I don't know what is), she did not get one drop, not a single drop, of blood on our new carpet despite the fact she walked from the play room away from the bathroom to the TV room to find her dad, and then back through the play room into the bathroom. Even if you don't buy into anything else I've ever said about faith and belief on this blog, surely you can agree that this is some kind of early Christmas miracle.
Of course, at the exact moment that the ambulance finally arrived, the bleeding stopped. Pink P is the only of my children to have ever ridden in an ambulance, and she 's done it twice. Both times, it turned out to be completely and utterly unnecessary.*** The EMTs insisted we have her checked, and since we'd called them, I could hardly refuse. So, we spent that beautiful August evening sitting in the ER waiting to be told that she was fine.
You guys can make your own decision about this, but I think the best part came when we were discharged. Without a way home, we had to wait for Ren and the boys to come get us. Pink, who looked perfectly fine from the front, looked quite zombie-esque from the back. Her hair was tangled and matted with congealed blood, and the back of her cute pink Hello Kitty shirt was completely brownish-red.**** She couldn't see it, though, so she thought nothing of flitting and dancing around the waiting room, smiling, singing, and saying hello to everyone she met. Did I mention she smelled like hours-old decomposing blood? The looks she got were priceless. But her obliviousness was the icing on the cake.
*For the record, ninja didn't use nunchucks. Meh, whatever. It's not like this is a cross-cultural blog aimed at increasing understanding and eliminating useless stereotypes or anything.
** I'm not proud I did this. And, there was no blood, by the way.
*** The other time she rode in an ambulance, she was 1 and managed to make such forceful contact with her head to the pavement that we knew she needed to be checked out. At the time, we lived in Tokyo but were far from our neighborhood. So, we tried to call to find out where the nearest hospital was and ended up with an ambulance. It turned out, we had made that call from a phone booth directly across the street from the hospital where Pink P was taken (after a five-block drive along one-way streets).
**** You know, I was going to try to include pictures to illustrate, but I think whatever mental image you come up with will do this story way more justice than anything I could produce.