Mommy lesson #56: Unexplained Injuries (please don’t call DHS)

I didn’t realize this toddler stage would be so violent. I mean I expected the tantrums and battles of the will, but I was unprepared for such frequent physical injuries. I guess I figured because I had a sweet little girl and not a rowdy boy I wouldn’t be dealing with many bumps and bruises. Ha! The worst part is most of the time I don’t even know how they happened.
A couple weeks ago our playgroup met at Little Giggles, which is a magical place that has every toy you can think of to foster imagination. It has a “grocery store” with shopping carts and play food, a cozy corner full of books and puzzles, a variety of push and ride-on toys, dress-up clothes, a play kitchen, table and baby cradle for playing house, a giant play structure with ladders, slides, and monkey bars, and even a huge inflatable bounce house. The best part is I don’t have to pick up any of the toys! 🙂

Anyway, on this particular morning there were several groups of moms and kids experiencing the wonder, and it was more crowded than I’d ever seen it. I chatted with the other moms and kept one eye on Baby Girl, who likes to climb to the top of the jungle gym and slide down the tallest slide (I swear she has no fear). When she wandered off to play with a baby stroller I sighed with relief, knowing she wasn’t going to incur bodily harm like she would falling off the play structure (we’d had a couple close calls when she almost missed the ladder). I got to talking, and after a couple minutes realized I couldn’t see C anywhere. The only place she could have disappeared like that was the bounce house, which is around the corner from the main play floor. As I got closer I heard high-pitched wailing. I knew that cry. When I got to my precious child she was standing outside the bounce house, screaming her head off. I didn’t see any gushing blood or protruding bones, so I scooped her up and held her close while she babbled and cried incoherently. A boy came up to me and tried to explain what had happened, but I could only hear every other word over Baby Girl’s shrieks, something about jumping and ball. I saw there were several little boys in the bounce house, a few years older than Charlotte, who were throwing a basketball back and forth. I figured maybe she’d gotten hit with the ball, or maybe they wouldn’t let her play with them? I calmed her down and about two minutes later she was ready to climb back up the jungle gym. I stayed close, mentally berating myself for not keeping her in my sight the whole time. What if a bigger kid had pushed her? What if she’d somehow fallen and broken something? Finally I reigned in my hysteria and rational thought kicked back in. She was fine, and there was clearly no psychological damage done.

hasn’t lost her love for thrills

It wasn’t until later, after she woke up from her nap, that I noticed a strange pattern of marks across her forehead. At first I thought it was the imprint of a basketball, but surely she couldn’t have gotten hit that hard. Then I realized it was the same pattern as the netting that surrounded the bounce house.  She must have been accidentally bounced or pushed into the the net by one of the boys inside.

it’s hard to see in this picture, but if you look closely at the red spot you can see the net marks

The the next morning when I was doing her hair I saw the top of her ear was red and bruised. I hadn’t even noticed it! It must have happened at the same time as the forehead injury, right?

hoping it looks worse than it feels

Mommy guilt swamped me, but really what could I have done even if I had noticed it earlier? It’s not like I could put a band-aid on a bruise, and it wasn’t bad enough to warrant a doctor visit.

clearly not too upset about the ear injury mommy didn’t notice for 24 hours

A couple of days later as I was getting her ready for bed I saw a huge scratch down her cheek. When had that happened? And what were these red spots all over her legs and arms? Dry skin? Heat rash? Ringworm?
This toddler stage is tough. It’s wonderful too…I love being able to understand more and more of what she says, and she’s getting so affectionate, offering hugs and kisses, but my goodness, I don’t know if my nerves can stand seeing her hurt so often. I’d like to “wrap her in cotton wool” as the saying goes, but that wouldn’t be healthy or practical. So I guess I must learn again that my job isn’t to protect my child from everything (that’s impossible), but simply to be there to comfort her when she hurts and help her learn from her mistakes. After all, isn’t that how God Himself treats us, His precious children? He’s given us free will to make our own choices, which lead to mistakes and falls. But He’s always right there, offering shelter and comfort in His loving arms.
Have you ever noticed an injury on your child and have no idea how it happened? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

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