The Burn Mark
When you have a child, there are certain things you know: 1) You are going to love this little being more than anything else on earth and 2) at some point this little being is going to hurt herself and it’s going to be your fault, which is unbearable because of point 1.
That’s what happened this morning, except it wasn’t my fault; it was technically James’ – although it doesn’t really matter who was on watch when it happened.
Every morning, if Baby wakes up between bedtime and 6am, it’s my watch; from 6am-8:30am, it’s James’ watch, so I can catch some more shuteye. He plays with her and then makes the bathroom baby safe, so he can shower. She usually just potters around, playing with the liberal selection of toys scattered all over the floor. This morning, however, she wanted to do something different. This morning, she reached underneath the radiator protector and grabbed hold of the scalding hot pipe. Even worse, James was sitting right next to her when it happened and didn’t realise until the baby screamed.
Upstairs, I had just fallen back to sleep, to be awoken by shouts of “Julia! Julia! Help!” I’ve often had this call from James on occasions when Baby has had a particularly nasty nappy, but I could hear a different tone in the call this time. It was fear. I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs with visions of severed fingers in my head.
When I got there, James filled me in on what happened as he held Baby’s hand under the cold tap. I ran to get the first aid kit that we bought when we did our course and looked up the section on burns in the book. It said to keep the wound under cold water for 10 minutes and then wrap it in cling film. It was really hard to concentrate because Baby was screaming. Every sob cut like a knife.
Recently, James has been making it his duty to secure the house for little people; stair gates installed, plugs plugged, cupboards locked and radiators covered. And obviously he didn’t mean for this to happen. But, boy, was I angry. Multiply how angry I was when he accidentally wasted an ounce of my expressed breast milk and multiply it by 100. I kept my mouth firmly closed because I didn’t want to yell at him. I knew in my heart that I couldn’t possibly say anything that he wasn’t already saying to himself. Anyway, my focus wasn’t on making him feel worse, but rather on making her feel better.
Eventually the crying stopped after about 500 rounds of “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” and a multitude of kitty cat safaris. As her sniffles dwindled, my anger also cooled, but James’ guilt didn’t. I could see tears in his eyes.
As we waited for the surgery appointment hotline to open, we all ate breakfast together, Baby stoically holding onto her oranges and apples with her little clingfilmed hand. At 8:30, we were on redial and finally got her a doctor’s appointment.
Lately, I feel like I’ve been living at the doctor’s surgery. A few weeks ago Baby had a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius one night, and then she got a mild case of impetigo and now this. I should just move in, but I guess most parents feel that way. The doctor prescribed an antibacterial cream, told me to keep it moisturised with a thick moisturiser, and put a mitten on her, as well as put a duvet on any carpeted floors as the wool can be rough and burst the blisters. Also, I need to be on the lookout for infection if the blisters turn an angry red.
With the help of a little Nurofen, Baby slept for a few hours and now I can hear her playing happily upstairs with her babysitter. She’s already figured out about 6 ways to take off the gimpy white sock that’s covering her hand. It’s going to be hard to keep such an active baby from bursting her blisters, but we’re all on DEFCON 2 over it, so hopefully we can keep her out of trouble.
I know that right now, James is still sitting in the office beating himself up over it, so I have this to say: James, it was an accident. She’s okay. She still loves you and I still love you. Just do me this favour: when something happens on my watch, please remember how understanding I was to you today.