Yesterday after lunch, I was clearing the crumbs of food off of Addison’s tray while she was walking laps around the table.  Addie was just rounding the corner on her third lap when she momentarily became part mermaid and her feet went right out from under her.  I have no idea how this happened, she was walking pretty steadily and then she…I don’t know what she did.  I can’t even make something up.  I was standing right next to her and I still can’t figure out how her feet failed her.  She stepped on a banana peel?  Hit an oil slick?  It’s astonishing how a child can be standing one moment, like a seemingly normal person, and the next they are splayed out on the floor in some impossible pretzel-like contortion.  This time though, before she got to the floor, Addison’s chin hit the chair.

By the time I bent down to get her there were two bright red slits on her tongue where her teeth punctured the surface.  By the time I picked her up, her entire mouth had filled with blood.  Her mouth was wide open, screaming, and it looked like a cup of bright red blood.  I tipped her forward and the blood came pouring out; down my shirt, on the floor, on a napkin that, luckily, I had in my hand.

For the first time since having her, I was faced with a situation that panicked me to the point that I didn’t know how to react.  I kept looking in her mouth and weighing my options.  Do I go to the emergency room?  I thought that was a bit excessive.  It’s not like she bit her tongue off.  But the blood.  Oh, the blood would not stop; what seemed like mouthful after mouthful of blood.  Do I go to the doctor’s office and sit in the waiting room?  Is there an urgent care for non-life threatening kid injuries?  It was all too much, so I just do what I do best and I stood there in the kitchen crying right along with her.  You don’t want to get caught in a fire with me.

It reminded me of an incident that happened right before I moved to Houston.  It was a week before my moving date and I was smack in the middle of final exams.  To get ready for an early morning study session, I headed out in my pajamas for a gigantic cup of coffee.  As I was leaving Starbucks an SUV pulling into my lane hit my driver’s side door.  We were both traveling very slowly; I was approaching a red light and the other car was just pulling into traffic.  I was fine, physically, but frozen with panic.  My brain went haywire and shut down.  I got out of my car and stood in the street and cried.  The people in the other vehicle pulled to the opposite side of the road.  They never got out of their car to see if I was okay.  They never said one word to me.  They sat in their car and waited for the police to arrive.  Thinking back on it, they probably thought I was a lunatic, standing in the middle of the road in my striped pajama pants and t-shirt in January, crying.

I did, eventually, shake myself out of my panic and call Addison’s pediatrician.  I choked out the questions that were going through my mind.  Do I need to go to the ER?  Is her tongue going to fall off?  No and no, much to my relief.  The first thing he said was that it looks much worse than it is.  I don’t know how he knew that over the phone, maybe he could tell I was overreacting by my muffled sobs, but it immediately made me feel better.  Apparently, with tongue and eye injuries they bleed a lot more than one would think and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  By the time I hung up the phone with the doctor, Addison was back on her feet, giggling, as she ran towards the un-gated staircase.  I was still crying.