Of Crafts and Carnage…

26 Feb

This morning I discovered a bloody towel in the bathroom that my three sons share.   At first I confess I actually didn’t think much of it, because frankly, when you have three sons, finding an occasional bloody towel in the house is not all that unusual.  A bit later, however, as I was putting laundry away in my middle son’s dresser, I looked down and discovered a bloody spot on the rug. Well, not so much a spot, really… more like a sizable splotch, likely left by a succession of drips.  Then my eye went to what looked like an entire  boxful of spent band-aid wrappers.  I didn’t need David Caruso and a Haz Mat team to tell me that I’d happened upon a crime  scene.

“William!”  I yelled.

“Yeah, Mom?!”  he yelled back.

“Come here!”  I yelled again.  Because I am the mother of three boys I do a lot of yelling.  I consider it my ‘Love Language’.  My nine year-old son arrived breathless in front of me.  He surveyed me, surveying the gory scene.

“What happened?”  I asked him.

“Paper cut” he replied.  Emphasis on the LIED.

“Son, the only way a paper cut could result in this much blood loss is if someone took a copy of ‘War and Peace’ and fired it at you with a bazooka” I reported, my 18 years of health care experience coming in handy yet again.

[Silence]

“Tell me how you cut yourself” I tersely demanded… I mean, I compassionately queried.

“With a knife,” his confession was barely audible.

“What were you doing with a knife?” I tersely, er, compassionately, uh, demanded…

“I was cutting up popsicle sticks to make a craft I saw on You Tube.”  ARRARARAHGH!!!!  Damn you, YOU TUBE!!!!

“Give me the knife,” I ordered.  From his closet he produced a pocketknife he’d borrowed from his dad for this past weekend’s Cub Scout camping trip.

“Now show me where you cut yourself,” I gently directed, my hard, crusty exterior cracking to reveal a soft, chewy center.   He lifted his left hand to reveal a tattered band-aid encircling a filthy index finger.  When I pulled off the band-aid, I saw an injury I immediately recognized.

Just 2 weeks ago my oldest son had been home sick with a cold.  In the middle of the day I was loading the dishwasher and he, I assumed, was watching TV in my bedroom.  Suddenly he appeared in front of me, his face ashen.

“Are you ok?” I asked, then looked down to see that his hand was wrapped in a towel and there was blood on his shirt.

What the…?”

“I cut my finger”

“I can see that,” I asked reaching for his hand, “How?”

“I was trying to make a bow and arrow.  I saw it on ‘You Tube.’”

I guessed we’d get to ‘what in the Sam Hill were you thinking’ phase of the conversation later, but first I needed to see that finger.  I slowly unwrapped the towel he’d wound tightly around his injured hand (see what I mean about bloody towels not being all that unusual in our house?)  Oooh.  The cut looked deep.  And it sort of traversed the joint (there’s that health care background coming in to play again).  “Sweetie, I think I need to take you to the doctor.  You may need a stitch or two.”

Try SEVEN.

I couldn’t help but think that mothers of daughters have it so easy.  Girls will sit for hours quietly and peacefully entertaining themselves doing crafts.  Any mother of boys knows that any boy doing anything quietly for any length of time is cause for alarm.  In a household full of boys, “quietly doing crafts” involves sharp knives, bloodshed, and trips to urgent care.  I’ve yet to hear that one of my friends had to rush her daughter to the doctor for treatment because the little darling had a violent glitter mishap.  Or put her eye out when her Bedazzler misfired.  Or set her tutu on fire when her Easy Bake Oven exploded…  With boys it’s different.  There is an element of danger in everything.

When we got home from the doctor’s, we showed the stitches to his two younger brothers and had a nice chat about Internet safety, craft projects and the need for competent supervision when using sharp objects.  “Remember boys, just because you see someone do something on ‘You Tube,’ doesn’t mean it’s safe to try yourself” I wisely intoned.

After eleven days of protective finger splints and wearing Saran Wrap in the shower, it was time for the stitches to come out.  I started to stress when I thought of trying to squeeze another doctor’s visit into an already jammed schedule.  Wait a minute.  I have eighteen years of health care experience and besides that… I’m crafty… and I know how to sew. Really, how hard could it be?  I got on the Internet and Googled “how to remove stitches.”   I gathered some pointy little scissors, alcohol wipes, my reading glasses and some tweezers.  I limbered up my fingers, cracked my knuckles, then called my son over.  “C’mon, Johnny!  Let’s do this!”

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” he asked dubiously.

“Of course I do,” I replied.  Emphasis on the LIED.

A little snipping.  A little tugging.  A little “Oh be quiet, that didn’t hurt” and voila!  Thank goodness, my Internet craft project went much better than his did.  We cleaned him up and put the whole cut finger mess behind us.  Or so I thought.

Now here I stood just two weeks later, looking at the same injury on a different boy.  Thankfully this cut– the exact same length, in the exact same location– didn’t look exactly as deep.  My now finely honed triage skills told me we could treat this second cut at home.

I led my son into the bathroom and cleaned him up properly, applying a layer of Neosporin and topping it off with a clean band aid, and a kiss.  “Come on, Sweetie.  You can help me mop up the blood spatters.”  It was a tender moment between a mother and son.

I didn’t need the Internet to show me how to do that.

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7 Responses to “Of Crafts and Carnage…”

  1. Audra Krell February 26, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Hilarious and oh so sadly true. LOVE that you removed the stitches, that’s the best part!

  2. Jen Donley February 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Oh Susan,
    You hit the bullseye again on this one!! Loved it!
    In addition to a household full of boys (I have 4), we have in common yelling as our primary love language, and the ability to put our past medical experience to good use in the interest of saving time and $$!! Ha ha!

  3. Carla February 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Loved it!! And it sounded EXACTLY like my house! The last few times we have had stitches I’ve had hubby remove them and it’s funny how as you have more trips to the emergency room under your belt the more you scrutinize the wound to see exactly how bad it is. Can’t wait for your next installment. You are so talented!!

  4. Kirstin February 27, 2010 at 2:54 am #

    Loved it!! The “didn’t need David Caruso or Haz Mat” made me laugh out loud.

    You are right, w/ 4 girls we haven’t had any Bedazzler accidents, glitter fiascos or tutus on fire. BUT…I’m convinced that the steps to get girls (especially tweens & teens) out the door must be more complicated than boys….the outfit(s), the make up, the hair, the nails, the right shoes. The next time I’m trying to rush them along I’ll be reminded, that girl chaos beats a trip to urgent care!

    You ARE the next Erma Bombeck!!! Keep writing!!

  5. Gay February 27, 2010 at 3:14 am #

    Where were you when we needed to get Nick’s stitches out of his head. I practically passed out at the doctors office. I agree on the bedazzler never have I heard of a problem. When Nick needed stitches I did the ol’ oh your fine. Let me see. Ekkk I think that needs stitches. 17 and 2 layers later. I tell him that it makes him look tough. The good news is that the chicks won’t look at Johnny’s finger. It could have been worse like a hatchet that my brother used and cut his thigh after his boy scout tutorial. That was a mess but he did cut the log. So see there is a silver lining somewhere? Like now we can all call you since you have honed your stitch removal skills:)))

  6. Joy February 27, 2010 at 4:03 am #

    Sooz,

    HILARIOUS!! I laughed through the whole thing! Can’t wait to read more hilarity! Ditto to Kirstin’s comments! You are Erma #2!! Love, Joy

  7. JoEllen May 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    I have to set you straight – there may not be many Bedazzler mishaps, but don’t even get me started on the strange places that glitter and hair accessories end up.

    Knives must have some universal allure. My lovely child has been instructed many, many, many times about how to cut things and which knife to use. She is a brilliant girl and seems to comprehend but then some sort of amnesia sets in because the next time she is cutting something she instinctively reaches for the 8″ chefs knife.

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