What I Learned this Week

Disclaimer: This post has more to do with being a parent than China. If you’re really not interested in reading about my kids, read no further.

Everyone is fine. But we had a little accident on Sunday. To protect ourselves from nasty parasites that could be lurking in our faucets, we drink from a water cooler. Perhaps it was Hunter’s infatuation in the first month with this death trap that lured Nolan into thinking it is some kind of toy. Perhaps it was my own nonchalance with letting that happen. But, Nolan too, has become infatuated with it. It’s the perfect size for him to reach into a standing position and take in a new view with such pride. As I proclaimed on Saturday, “pretty soon he’s going to be able to reach the nozzles. We should really babyproof it so he doesn’t pull the hot water side.”

Are you going to make me going into details about what happened? Must I revisit the “mommy guilt” that is always a lurking but pounces at the most trying of times? Or can you piece it together from curious infant who is on the move, hot water, accident…?

So, I won’t be sharing fun stories about China this week (see disclaimer) but I will share some important lessons in the hopes that you can avoid a week like the one we had.

1. Burns are the #2 cause of death for kids ages 0-5. Exactly what I wanted to read after my 9 month old just burned himself. On the bright side, if your baby is going to get burned by a hot liquid, hot water is better than oil or grease. That sure made me feel better.

2. The internet is your Most Dangerous Frenemy. It lures you in with this vast array of information about everything. Puts anything you could possibly need or want at your fingertips. Is there for you when you need a laugh, a cry, a virtual hug. It does not criticize. It does not judge but just when you think it is one of your very best BFFs, it stabs you in the back with facts you don’t want to know. Things you don’t need to see. Products you should not buy. Statistics that will burn (bad pun) your eyes.

3. I have another Million Dollar idea. A bubble wrap suit for infants. Seriously. Not something to be worn all the time but maybe if you just want to take a shower or run in the other room for a minute, you zip it on and feel confident you have at least 5 minutes before something tragic happens. My mother fondly talks about the 1970s version of this, the play pen. But I’m talking about something a little less penal sounding and a little more mobile.

4. Move over Usain Bolt. My kid is faster than the speed of light.

5. Don’t put off later what “should” be done now if it involves potentially maiming your child. Not 24 hours before the Incident, we talked about unplugging the Death Trap because Young Bolt was eyeing it up. So why didn’t I just do it then? Curse you, Mommy Guilt!

6. Trust your instincts. I know this one but I sometimes forget. When one doctor tells you to keep the wound covered and wrapped for 10 days and another tells you the exact opposite, seek as many more opinions as will make you feel a little more confident in what you are doing but ultimately trust your Motherly Instincts. (Take that Mommy Guilt!) You made that little bundle of joy and you know him best. If he continues to laugh and play, you are doing the right thing.

7. Everything always, always seems better in the morning. Even if your night consists of regularly waking up at 45 minute intervals, in a cold sweat because you are sure your baby’s cut will get infected if you don’t stare at for a good 5 minutes, when that big ball of fire rises in the morning somehow this paranoia suddenly seems a little silly. Did you know if a wound gets infected, you can go into sepsis shock and your organs will shut down resulting in death? It can come on quickly especially in babies but I’m not clear on whether staring at the wound will prevent it. I was afraid to ask my MDF (most dangerous frenemy) anything more. Good thing morning came. Does the age old metaphor of light symbolizing good and dark, evil come from this concept or do we subconsciously know that dark is evil and so we let the night take with it all our evil thoughts?

8. I really need to start learning more mandarin. For many reasons but maybe most importantly, so that when you are at an emergency clinic and the doctor starts talking to the nurse about your baby, you don’t have to constantly interrupt, “what are you saying? What are you doing now? What is that for? Is he going to be ok? What does ‘whoa’ mean in Chinese?” (This is the first thing the doctor said upon seeing the wound. Very comforting.) And also, so when the second doctor you see starts talking to your Ayi more than you, you can say fluently, “please talk to me first. I am his mother.”

9. Water coolers are not toys.

So I wouldn’t be telling you all this if I couldn’t report now that the tough little guy is on the mend and seems no worse for the wear. He kept a smile on his face all week (save for the times we dumped iodine on his open wound, then slathered it in ointment and then held his arm up and out, restricting his movement, until it dried). Hunter, the ever empathetic brother, no longer wails along with Nolan as I play nurse. I now know mothers cannot be squeamish. And George can happily remind me that he was right all along when he consistently reassured me Nolan was going to be fine and to relax.

With this crisis under control, we are now looking forward to the 14+ hour flight with our healthy, active ball of energy.

See…here he is, not letting a little wound (on left elbow) slow him down.

Still smiling

Still smiling

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