As disturbing as the head-banging is, it's just yet another thing that completely freaks parents out but doesn't faze doctors in the slightest. Personally, I don't find being hit in the head soothing at all, but to Little Dude it's as good as a trip to the spa, apparently. I think this vacation is starting to wear us both down. Right now he's smacking himself with a paper towel tube and I'm wishing he would go to sleep so I could have a bowl of ice cream in peace. I guess everyone has their own coping mechanisms.
Little Dude's self-soothing is worrisome not just because it seems, well, weird, but because it also seems like he is very slowly giving himself a concussion. So far (knock wood), he hasn't given himself one. At least not with the head-banging. Once he slipped getting into our minivan, and fell against the open door. The arm of his eyeglasses caught on something and the back of his ear was sliced open. We were just leaving the Center for Scientific Study of Mommy Skin, which is close to our pediatrician's office. I basically threw Little Dude and the Peanut Butter Kid into the van, buckled them in, and flew to the doctor's. After cleaning up the wound a bit, the doctor sent us down to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
We moved through the Emergency Room pretty quickly, because Dr. McAwesome had called ahead for us, plus, you know, Little Dude's ear was kind of hanging off his head. At one point a research assistant came in and asked if I would be willing to participate in a survey about head trauma and why we chose to come to CHOP. I explained that unless my child needed treatment right this second, I prefer to drive the extra ten minutes to go to CHOP, the nation's best children's hospital, as opposed to Local Yokel County Hospital. I'm sure Local Yokel is fine and all, but really, why choose fine when you can have best? That's like saying, gee, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is ten minutes away, but I'm too lazy to drive to its deliciousness. I'll just have this Steak-Umm because my freezer is closer.
Little Dude's ear was glued back together, appointments were made for follow-ups, and we went home on our merry way to
Two weeks later, the Peanut Butter Kid was spazzing out at bedtime and managed to roll off the bed and smack her head on the corner of the dresser. I wasn't in the room, but I heard the tell-tale giggle, giggle, giggle, THUMP ... pause ... blood-curdling scream. I ran in, grabbed a t-shirt and applied pressure. Once the situation was somewhat under control, I gently removed the t-shirt and asked the Absent-Minded Professor to take a look. (I was holding her and couldn't see the back of her head.)
"How bad is it?" I asked him. "CHOP or Local Yokel?"
"It doesn't look too bad. I think Local Yokel is okay."
I rolled my eyes, which is something I really try not to do, especially to the man who loves me and is hopefully willing to put up with my nonsense for the rest of our lives.
"Unless she's hemorrhaging blood and needs a transfusion right now, I'm taking her to CHOP."
He got about three sentences into his spiel when I stopped him.
"Yeah, um, so I was here two weeks ago? With my son? Who also had a head trauma? And I swear this doesn't happen to us on a regular basis, normally. So if you promise you won't call Child Protective Services, I will be happy to participate in your survey."
The thing is, whenever you see those reports on the news that a family's
But still, the house tends to be a mess. And I do worry that some day there will be a story about me on the evening news, and the CPS officer will be there saying "I found naked children chewing on wood." He'll shake his head sadly, and then note, "and the place was filthy."
You know how your grandmother always said you should wear clean underwear in case you're ever in a car accident? Sometimes I clean my house in case we're raided by Child Protective Services. That way, the naked children chewing on wood, boy hitting himself with a lightsaber, and coffee-guzzling mom will just seem charming and quirky, not neglected and deranged.