Yes, that’s blood on my son’s shirt. His blood. And yes, that’s a bandage on his chin. And of course that’s a chocolate ice cream bar in his mouth. Wouldn’t you want any story of yours that starts with blood and bandages to end with chocolate? This child most definitely has my genes.
Today, we visited a new park in Lowestoft. Then we visited another new place: Lowestoft’s “surgery,” which is British for medical clinic. The very graphic, bloody images that the term “surgery” calls to American minds would be appropo here, as it was a bloody wound that warranted our first visit to the surgery. 14 days “in country” before we landed there . . . not bad, actually.
Truth be told, the injury was my fault. I got carried away at the teeter totter and bounced my darling boy right off of it and onto his face. Nice mom, eh?
Up until the face plant, we’d been having a great time. We’d hopped a bus at our corner, reaching the park in just minutes instead of hoofing the mile past the grocery store and the surgery. We’d played on an ab fab jungle gym (“ab fab” . . . the British do have some lovely slang, don’t they?) that looked like a fortress made of logs. And we’d monkeyed on a set of monkey bars low enough for my boys to mount themselves, right where a drawbridge would drop if this were, indeed, a castle. One of the things I don’t like about the monkey bars at the parks in our San Diego neighborhood is that they’re so high that I have to hold the boys up above my head when they want to use them. Kills my shoulders and back, that does.
The new park also had a teeter totter, and that’s what got us into trouble. The boys love teeter totters. More accurately, they love to sit on the teeter totter while I bounce it up and down, sending boys shooting up and out of their seats when their side reaches its peak, then dropping them back down with a thunk each time their side hits its low point. I know, you can see it coming, can’t you? Indeed, I had the boys bouncing so high that when my first born came down for his thousandth thunk today, he had so much momentum that his hands ripped free of the handlebar and his face bashed right into the teeter totter’s main bar. Well done, Mom.
When I reached my crying boy, I saw that the gash under his chin was wide enough to *perhaps* warrant a stitch, so I gooped some Neosporin onto a bandage and slapped it on his chin, then grabbed our backpack, our three plastic shovels, our three Tonka trucks, and my three boys, and hustled the whole bundle out of the park and up the street. We didn’t even slow down at the bus stop, instead moving right past it to the surgery for a quick peek by a medical professional. I’d already memorized the clinic’s times of operation (c’mon, I get points for that, don’t I?) so I knew that we had ten minutes before the surgery closed. We made it, catching the final doctor in the building, a pediatrician who’d been assigned to our family just days before when we’d registered with the clinic. (I get more points for having registered them already, right? Please.) Daddy came bursting through the door minutes after we got there, having bolted out our front door as soon as I called with a “Blood Is Flowing” alert. So the whole family got to know the surgery today.
Turns out no stitches were necessary. One butterfly bandage later, we were on our way to the grocery store next door for ice cream. The patient picked a chocolate ice cream bar, which he’d never had before. So did one of his brothers, who certainly deserved a treat for his obedient, non-whiny response to being rushed down the street when I’d kicked into triage mode. My middle son picked strawberry for his first ice cream bar ever. He always picks strawberry over chocolate. I swear, if he didn’t so obviously look like my side of the family, I’d wonder about his genetics. Strawberry over chocolate? Makes no sense to me.
With ice creams in hand, our boys strolled the half mile home quite contentedly. About half way home, just after finishing his treat, my bandaged son turned to me and announced that he’d like to go back to the new park. “But mommy,” he said, handing me his goopy stick, “next time don’t bounce the teeter totter so high. I don’t wike dat.”
“Okay.” Then he smiled a gorgeously messy brown smile. “But I do wike ice cream bars,” he said. Then he turned and walked homeward, licking chocolate from his fingers as the sun set on yet another adventure-filled day in England.