Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Irony of a First Aid Kit

So I was going to try to keep this post light and cheery since I am still waiting for Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to comment on that last one. Tonight, I was going to tell you about how funny my daughter is. I was going to share stories about a recent trip with her to the mall and tell you how a three year old can really put you in your place. Here is a little of what I was going to post…We were walking through the mall and she was telling me about all the things you can do and see there, like Julie your cruise director.
The conversation went like this:
A: [passing Sephora - with a flourish] “…and this is where you can go to get your make up done.”
Me: “Oh yeah?”
A: “Yes. You can come here to get a new look.” [pause] “You should go there.”
Me: “To get a new look? I thought I already had a new look.” [posing, showing off my new figure.]
A: “Yes. But you don’t have a stylish look.”
Me: “Reeeally?”
A: “Yes. Really.”
Then she gave me the head shake and shrug that says, “sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but…” Do you believe this kid? Conversations like this happen all the time when she is around. She is quite a character. She is also a very good girl. She has always been our “easy” one.

This goodness and easiness may have led to today’s 911 call. Let me first say that everyone is fine but we did have a bit of a scare. Today after school, my son had a friend over. They were playing ball in the backyard. I had been pushing my daughter on the swings and chatting on the phone with my son’s friend’s mom. My daughter and I headed into the house. Like I said, she’s the easy one. She’s always been able to entertain herself and I never worry about her getting into things she shouldn’t. I do get flashes of nervousness when she gets too quiet and I also hide scissors because of the fear that she will one day give herself a “stylish new look” – but for the most part, she goes off and plays and I do my thing.

So I am straightening up in my room, still on the phone, and I hear her start to cry a real cry. Moms know what I mean – not a fussy cry, but a something’s really wrong cry. So it turns out that she has gotten into a first aid kit that my mother-in-law brought over for me to put in my car. In it was an ammonia inhalant capsule – you know the kind you snap to activate for revival purposes? Well, she activated it all right – with her teeth!

Here is what I want you to ask yourself right now. Do you know your local poison control number? As a new parent, we had all those important numbers posted in perfect penmanship on the side of the refrigerator. Now, even if it had still been posted on the fridge, I would have had to find it under layers of alphabet and Leap Frog magnets, baseball schedules, birthday invitations, and artistic masterpieces. 911…9-1-1…9 - stay calm - 1- should I make her puke? – 1… “911. This call is being recorded. What’s your emergency?”

Here are a few more questions to ask yourself. Do you live in a town where they send an ambulance, a police cruiser (or two), a fire truck, AND the fire chief (you know, the guy in the red SUV?) when you call 911? Do you have a lot of caring neighbors who are home at 4 pm? Have you ever had to call a parent to say, “Sorry to end the play date early, but I just poisoned my daughter. Do you mind coming to pick up your child?” Awesome.

So what is most important is my daughter is perfectly healthy. She did have some irritation on her lips and in her mouth and her top lip was also a bit swollen from the pop of the capsule. Mostly she was scared and embarrassed. She kept saying, “Don’t tell them what I did.” So I told her that Mommy made a big mistake leaving that there where children could get to it. She thought this was funny and asked if I thought Daddy would be mad at me. I do need to reflect on why this type of stuff happens on my watch and not his.

Needless to say, I really had to think today about all the other dangers around my house. Because we have never really had to worry about the little one, we have become a bit complacent. Not good. After the dust settled and I apologized to all the neighbors (“Thank you!” wave. smile. “Nothing to see here!”) and promised my son’s friend’s mother that I would only try to poison my own children and it was safe to come back another day, I began re-childproofing the house. Luckily the other mom is a friend of mine who has 3 boys – she totally gets it – and my neighbors did not ask the police to further investigate my shaky parenting. We have had 911 calls in the past but it has been almost 5 years since our last one – another stellar parenting moment – when I locked my keys in my car on a 90+ degree day, with my then 2 year old son strapped into his car seat (the keys were on the seat, not in the ignition with the AC going). I actually drove to the hospital on the day that I shut my daughter’s finger in the public bathroom door at the craft store – so no 911 that day. We didn’t have to call later that afternoon either when she removed the cast herself. “Here, Mama. I don’t like this.”

So as I file away my Mother of the Year Award, I hope that you will take a look around your house and just make sure you are keeping your kids safe. And if your kids are friends with my kids, don’t worry. I am better with other people’s children. They even let me be a teacher.

Again, my daughter is just fine. My son and his friend continued playing ball in the back yard and were unfazed by the whole fiasco, and with some counseling, I will be just fine too.

In case you were wondering, I DID NOT train today.


  1. Oh God, Tracy.....I feel for you. I'm so glad that everything is OK! Having children is by far the MOST humbling thing I've ever done in my life. Not only do those same kinds of "conversation" happen in my household, but I've had a few of those "Oh, SH*T" moments, too. Anyone who says they haven't is in denial.

  2. Thanks for the support, Erica. I know it is a normal part of parenting but I would prefer it to happen on my husband"s watch! ; )