I have never been afraid of blood – my own or others'. I even thought I’d make a good paramedic because blood never fazed me, no matter how much. But today, I learned that when it comes to your own kids, what you thought you knew about yourself may not really apply.
My 1-year-old was playing happily in our community playground this afternoon with one of the tot lot regulars, Hannah, while I was chatting with her mom, Hiroko. Then I saw Milo trip before the steps going up to the jungle gym, which was no big deal because he usually doesn’t hurt himself during his clumsy moments. Then I heard him cry.
I calmly walked to him to pick him up, and then calm turned to terror. I saw a lot of blood in his mouth, all over his shirt and his hands. I tried not to sound afraid, knowing it will scare him even more.
So I quickly picked him up, tried to calm him down, ran to get his burp cloth and wiped the blood off his mouth. My first thought was to make the bleeding stop, but I couldn’t see where it was coming from – did he bust his inner lip? Did he lose a tooth? Was he bleeding from his throat somehow?
Thankfully, Hiroko lived across from the tot lot, so we went up to her house and gave Milo ice water with crushed ice, which he willingly took. When his mouth was almost clear of blood, I saw the cut: right behind his front teeth. It turns out his chin hit the first step, cutting his upper gums with his lower teeth.
Hiroko said she was impressed at my composure, that I was very calm in handling the situation, soothing Milo with an unshaken voice. She was surprised when I told her my knees were shaking climbing up the stairs to her house, and that I was thinking if I should call 911, and that my heart was still pounding out of my chest even as we were about to go home.
Good thing my calm façade worked with Milo, because he did stop crying shortly after the incident.
Fifteen minutes later, he was feeling better enough to want to play outside again. Five hours later, I am still traumatized, finding it quite difficult to shake off the sight of my son’s bloody mouth at the playground, his blood-stained shirt and pants, my blood stained shirt, and all the blood I tried to wash off his burp cloth.
Now, I write this while having ice cream, trying to make myself feel better. I should already relax now that my baby is sleeping peacefully after a long day. I should feel comforted with the thought that it was nothing serious, and bad falls happen to every kid in the world. But the trauma just won’t leave me.
One thing’s for sure: I’m not afraid of blood, probably never will be, as long as it’s not coming from my kid.