It’s OK now. She’s OK now. But for a moment this afternoon I wasn’t convinced that would be the case.
It started with a ton of crying. Not Little L’s tears. M.J.’s tears. But really that’s not true either. It started with a fun afternoon at the beach. After which we decided to clean up in a hurry and grab a quick dinner before heading back over the hill to our respective homes.
C chucked her sippy cup towards her suitcase and somehow hit M.J.’s head instead. She buried herself under a couch cushion, devastated to have hurt her baby friend. M.J.’s parents did their best to comfort their inconsolable, very tired baby. M and I were running around cleaning. And Little L? Well, I don’t actually know what she was doing.
We all heard the thunk at the same time. When you have a gangly 4-year-old and a rambunctious almost 2-year-old there are always a lot of thunks or thuds. After a while you know which ones are worth investigating and which ones can be ignored. The dull, hollow sounding thunk this evening sounded very much like a head hitting something hard. Hitting something hard, hard. Something like the sharp edge of a plaster wall.
M reached Little L first, gathering her up from her prone position at the base of the wall. I got there a split second later, pulling her into my arms even before the first wail worked it’s way out of her throat. Her eyes stretched wide open and circled madly as she opened her mouth to let lose and I waited, holding my breath.
The amount of time that wail takes to come it directly proportionate to the extent of the injury. This wail took forever and a year. By the time her ear splitting shriek pierced my eardrum I was looking for blood.
I didn’t find any. Instead I found a lump on her forehead that was growing horrifyingly in front of my very eyes. I’ll admit I might have freaked. I yelled for M to get me some ice. I couldn’t stand to see that bump grow any bigger. It just didn’t seem possible that at some point the skin wouldn’t burst open and I really didn’t think I could handle that.
Once some ice had been applied I busied myself trying to look deep in Little L’s eyes. I’m no doctor, but I know that when it comes to head injuries the big things to look for are weird looking pupils, vomiting, and excessive sleepiness. Little L had no desire to let me look into her eyes. She was very focused on snuggling as closely as possible and fighting the ice pack. I didn’t give up. Neither did M.J.’s mom.
We both started intently at her pupils which reacted fine to the light. No vomit spewed forth. And despite having skipped her afternoon nap Little L didn’t seem all that sleepy. Her complaints that the ice was too cold were crystal clear despite the pacifier firmly lodged in her mouth. And after a while I had to relax my hold on her for a moment and concede that there was probably no serious damage.
She danced and sang all the way home, ate her dinner, and chatted her way through her bed time routine. Now she’s sleeping sweetly in her crib. I’m the one who’s still shaking and feeling nauseous. You never know what you’re going to get when you hear that thud. I know all too well that we were unspeakably fortunate that Little L’s run-in with the wall turned out to be just another bump.