Friday, June 17, 2005


My lovely wife went to a meeting of an organization she is part of, and it was my job to get the kids in bed. We've done this before. Sometimes we hire a baby-sitter to get the kids to bed, but there were none to be had yesterday evening.

I don't think small kids like hamburgers, and I noticed that the little girl ate about one half gram of hers. Once I was alone with the kids, I went out front to empty the trash, and waved to a neighbor I saw down the block. I was turning when my foot must have caught on something, or just had a bit to much friction, and then I was going down like a log. I credit myself for falling in a nice relaxed way, and I thought I was going to be fine. But I hit my head against the sidewalk, right where the eyebrow tapers off, and that was unpleasant. I rolled over and lay on the sidewalk, not exactly writhing, but just trying to recover. I didn't want to freak out my neighbor too much. I could hear her feet as she trotted towards me, and I was concerned that my kids might be looking out the window wondering why Daddy was lying on the sidewalk. I got to my hands and knees sooner than I would have preferred.

The neighbor arrived as I stood, and I felt something wet run down my cheek. I touched it. "I'm not..?" I said. She peered. "Yeah you are. You hit your brow." My finger was red when I looked at it.

"The kids are in the house," I said. "Can you...?"
"Just let me close up my house," she said. "The front door's wide open."

I had come out through the back door, so I went in that way, removing my vest and holding it to my face as if wiping it. I made it upstairs to the bathroom unobserved. The kids were doing art at the art table.

The bump was about the size and shape of half a shelled cashew. It was open and bloody. Someone one said that facial blood can look dramatic even when there isn't all that much of it. This did, making a line all the way down to my chin, where it was just starting to drip.

I locked the bathroom door, and washed the cut with cold water and toilet paper, then put some antibiotic on it, and was fumbling with the Band-Aid when I heard little feet approaching. "Dad, there is a knock at the door," said my son.

"That's Maureen. Go tell her I'll be down in a minute."

"Noooo..." he said, his voice trailing off in noncompliance as he descended back down the stairs. I was still fumbling with the Band-Aid. Those tricky paper wrappers require grip strength -- which I don't have. Then the next set of little feet arrived. I was using my teeth while mumbling "I'll be there in a minute!" and "Not ready yet!" in response to whatever my daughter was saying. "Tell Maureen I'll be down in a minute!"

"OK!" she said, and went off.

Finally I got the Band-Aid on, wiped up the two drops of blood from the toilet lid, rinsed out the sink, and came downstairs. I invited Maureen to watch our night-night process, but she had to pack for a trip the next day. But she did stay and listen to my son play piano while I took two ibuprofen and tried to call my lovely wife's cell phone, which was not available. We later determined that this is because it is a new phone and there is some bureaucratic foul up. I started running the bath water and had started the girl in her bath when Maureen left.

The kids were surprisingly cooperative, getting into their pajamas and agreeing to share a story between them. Then when the story was finished, my daughter said she needed to go poo, so she got out of her diaper and sat on the potty. I told my son he could read a book while she did this. She didn't actually make poo, just pee. When she came out of the bathroom after I helped her wipe and somehow persuaded her that washing hands was not an invitation to water play, she headed to the bookshelf for another book.

This is how things can unwind, because you have to say the word "no," and they feel obliged to yell and cry and dig in their heels. But I somehow managed to persuade them. They even got into their beds compliantly. And here my troubles began.

I told them I would sing them a song. The girl said, "But, I need to go poo!" Despite the brief, acrimonious exchange you might expect, I set her up on the toilet. It took her a while, but she did make a goodly quantity of poo. Finally I got her wiped and back into her diaper, pajama bottoms, and socks, and into her bed. I told her I would sing her a song.

"But, I'm hungry!" she said. Recall the half gram of hamburger she'd had for dinner.

So we went downstairs and I set her up with the yogurt she asked for. She also wanted her bowl of nuts. We sat there, her slowly eating, and being chatty, me trying to wipe drips and gobs of yogurt off of her arms and hands before it could get onto her pajamas. Then I felt a trickle of blood coming out from under the Band-Aid. I told her I would be in the bathroom, and she should finish her yogurt.

My son was by this time asleep in his bed in their room. While I fumbled in the bathroom with yet another infuriating paper wrapper, I heard her loud, cheerful voice calling over and over from their room "Daddy, I did it!" No matter how many times I said "OK!" or "Be quiet!" she kept this up. I was worried she would wake him.

I got the Band-Aid squared away and went into their room. I told her I would sing her a song.

"But, I need to go poo!"

After a brief dispute she wound up on the toilet again. After a long while she was satisfied, though nothing was produced. So I wiped her, helped her wash her hands, and got her diaper, pajama bottom and socks back on her. Then she got in bed and accepted the song.

About 15 minutes later my lovely wife came home, and I told her the story.

Left grip is 38 pounds (35, 38, 35), right grip is 90 pounds (85, 87, 90), left leg balance is 17.57 seconds, and inhale volume is 4490 mL.
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