Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...


The longer you're a parent, the more you realize you can't protect your children from everything. Sure, you could go the old "Bubble Boy" route (the Jake Gyllenhaal and John Travolta versions), but that's not really protecting your kids (unless they actually have a rare auto-immune disorder that makes even the air around them a potential killer). No, most of us just have to let our kids be kids and cross our fingers that our trips to the emergency room will be few and far between. As, let's face it, control is an illusion and although there are many things you can (and should) do to protect your kids, there are also many things you need to allow them to learn and experience on their own (i.e. “no pain, no gain”).

Now, I’m not a stranger to the emergency room. As a child I had many a foreign object removed from my being (pegs up my nose, a piece of wood rammed under the nail bed of my pinky finger, a toothpick that was jammed straight in to my heel). Visits to the emergency room are just a way of life when you’re the youngest of four boys (or the youngest of MY mother’s four sons, anyway).  But, that’s not to say I wouldn’t do anything to protect or prevent my little girl from suffering even a moment of pain, where possible. 

I’d say two years, three weeks and roughly twelve hours (my daughter’s age) is a pretty good run for never having to take your daughter to “emergency?” At least that’s what I was telling myself when I heard the very large bang, followed by the blood-curdling cries my daughter let out after she had her first major fall. It was quite innocent really. My daughter, the independent little girl that she is, wanted a marker from the living room, and didn’t want to ask Daddy for help to get it while he was stirring dinner. 

And BANG… the kitchen wall shakes like there’s an earthquake, and the wailing begins. 

In a succession of quick moves I took the pot off the burner, turned off the stove and rushed in to the other room to find my daughter in between the wall and her Fisher Price Easel, holding a red marker (the thing she wanted) in one hand and her entire face in the other. The tears were streaming, she was screaming and I held my breath as I peeled her hand away from her face. 

For a moment I was wishing that she had time to color all her teeth in with that red marker, as that would mean they weren’t all covered in her blood, but I wasn’t so lucky. Apparently, when my daughter fell she cut the inside of her mouth, and it was my job to find out just how bad that cut was. 

That’s when all my training as a dad kicked in- as if. No, I was on my own. All I knew was there was a Spongebob Squarepants first aid kit in the bathroom and it had sterile gauze in it (which, if I recalled correctly, was the most hygienic way to clean a cut). So I picked up my scared little girl and rushed her and her blood covered mouth in to the whitest room of the house- the bathroom. 

So there I was dabbing my daughter’s mouth with one hand and all the blood she dripped on the floor with the other, as I waited to see just how much blood we were dealing with. Thirty seconds later, I had my answer: not all that much. The bleeding stopped almost as quickly as it began, and aside from the rather large cut to that little flap that holds my daughter’s top lip to her gum line, there wasn’t too much damage to speak of. 

The crying stopped. The bleeding stopped. The racing heartbeat (mine) slowed to its regular rhythm. All was okay in the world again. There would be no need to go to the emergency room. Not for my daughter, and not for me. I took care of the injury, on my own, long before my wife got home and she was both in agreement with what I did and with what I did not do--- waste a trip to the emergency room. 

As the old saying goes, “no harm, no foul.” Or as the other saying goes, “shit happens,” and you just deal with it as it comes your way. There is nothing that can prepare you for these moments (expect for first aid classes). All you can do is stay calm, keep your kid laughing (which is hard when she has a cut in her mouth), and know that you’re just as capable as anybody else when it comes to applying first aid to your child. 

Could this incident have been prevented: maybe?  Am I sorry it happened? No. It’s just one of those things that makes both father (or mother) and child stronger. Sure, my daughter now has a scar on the inside of her mouth, but she also knows that her daddy can take care of her if it happens again. And, if that doesn’t help her confidence to test out her world, what else will? A bubble?

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