The First Break

July 28th, 2018

My three-and-a-half-year-old daughter broke her wrist this week. This was our first break, and to be honest, it was sort of a relief. My kids are bananas, and I constantly picture them in the ER. A mild buckle fracture felt like a fairly non-traumatic entre into what is sure to be a long life full of emergency-room visits for them.

We didn’t even go to the emergency room this time. She fell while with our “Wednesday nanny,” a sweet and totally competent person who, like every other human in existence, has zero control over my kids’ rambunctious behavior. Because they’re wild, and also because they’re super attached to me and revolt against being left alone with her or anyone that’s not in their very inner circle, I usually stick around on Wednesdays for backup. This creates all sorts of problems with me actually getting work done. Like last week, when Phoebe came screaming into my room while I was on an important video call with a brand new client, the nanny in hot pursuit behind her.

This week, I decided to try going into my co-working space on Wednesday so I could be more productive and less interrupted. After all, I’m paying a nanny, right? I was nervous, though, because the girls skipped their nap after summer camp, which did not bode well for the afternoon. Sure enough, I started getting SOS calls from Jon before he left for work. “They’re eating her alive,” he informed me. “When are you coming home?”

I decided to persevere and give everyone a chance to sink or swim.

Spoiler alert: they sank.

The nanny texted me mid-afternoon that Phoebe was crying because she fell off the couch and her wrist hurt. So I decided to cut it short and head back. When I arrived a while later, she was quite tearful still. I called the doctor, who said well, if it’s not swollen, and she can bend it and squeeze your finger, I would just give her some Tylenol and ice it.

I’m telling you these details so you understand that I’m not a monster for not taking her in right away. He said it was fine! It was not fine. She cried a lot, all evening, and then pretty much all night. She slept in my bed, so neither of us slept. I called the doctor again in the morning, but they couldn’t get her in until 10:30.

So naturally, I insisted on bringing her to summer school. You would have done the same, right?

Can you sense my guilt?

When we did finally get to the doctor, the NP in our pediatrician’s office decided right off the bat it was nursemaid’s elbow, which is a thing where a kid’s elbow gets pulled out of socket and needs to be popped back in. It’s not a pretty procedure and I was wincing and nauseous as I watched her try to perform it on my daughter, who was advocating for herself persistently to let us all know that her elbow did NOT hurt, but her wrist very much did.

When that didn’t seem to work, the NP finally sent us upstairs to orthopedics, where a very shit-together NP up there sent us promptly for x-rays. Sure enough, her wrist is broken.

Phoebe is not quite old enough to be excited about a cast, even if she did get to choose the color. It’s been a rough few days as she’s come to the cold realization that she can’t do most of the things she usually revels in — base-jumping off furniture (how this happened in the first place), swinging really high while holding on for dear life, digging holes in the garden or playing with water in the kiddie pool, shoveling food into her mouth with both hands.

I know this is a life lesson for her. I just hope the lesson isn’t “adults are idiots.” 

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