(Note: Despite the husband's ruthless mockery, I will continue as I had planned and tell the story of Kellar's splinter. However, if you like ruthless mockery, or even just need a story that makes you spit with laughter when you try to read it out loud to your friends, you should go read his after you read mine. I just feel it's my duty to tell the real story.)
So yesterday I had one of the hardest experiences of my life. Emotionally, physically, and mentally, I was utterly drained when I finished. I would've rather given birth to another child, this time with no meds, than what I endured at my mother's house yesterday morning.
Kellar has this habit of never wearing shoes. He likes the look of shoes, but his toes just don't like to stay in them. So I'm constantly putting them back on, especially in the summer. This is only a problem in restaurants, church, dark movie theatres, and my mother's back deck.
The first morning he went out without shoes, he came back with 8 little spinters in his sweet little foot. And screamed like a banshee when I tried to extract them. So I've become a vigilent supporter of him keeping his shoes on while he plays outside at my mom's house. Everytime they come off, I try to convince him he should put them back on. Now I don't claim to always win, but I try. And I've learned to ignore the vast majority of the resulting splinters because Kellar is both loud and strong for a 2 year old.
Yesterday was no different. He decided he wanted to wear his yellow rubber boots, because, let's face it, they're cool. So cool, in fact, that I routinely let him wear them, even in the extreme heat of an Indiana July. I just usually bring along extra, less sweaty shoe options for when the boots inevitably turn into mini-furnaces and he can't wear them anymore. As I said before, yesterday was no different.
My fatal mistake was when I tried to be a cool mom and let my kids eat lunch outside on the deck. Had I been anal and made them sit inside at the table, this story would not have needed writing. Darn my coolness. It started with Kellar getting a splinter in the palm of his hand. It looked scary, but most of it came out quickly and easily, so much so that I didn't have to stop nursing Dawson to extract it. True, Kellar did not have his boots on by this point, but for the most part, I didn't think it was possible to get a splinter in your foot while sitting down. Another fatal misjudgement.
Several minutes later, he came back over and showed me the heel of his foot. He had a flap of skin scraped half off and beneath it was a much scarier splinter. On closer inspection, I realized that despite--or maybe because of-- its huge size, it would probably come out easily because I'd be able to grasp the end. Which I tried to do. Recall, I had a baby trying to get his own lunch at the same time. Well this splinter was hurting Kellar much more, as it had gone deep, so he wasn't sitting still and I wasn't able to keep nursing. Kellar started whining/screaming and I said (hollered) "everybody take your food and get in the house.(!)" I needed to have a safe place to confine baby Dawson while I pulled Kellar's splinter out, which at this point was all I thought I'd be doing.
As soon as we all got inside and Dawson was place safely in an excersaucer, I picked up Kellar's foot, confident in my misperception that all I needed was free hands to get it out. That's when my morning really took a dive.
In the short time it took us to walk into the house, the big, protruding end of the splinter had broken off, leaving only the big, submerged end deep under the skin of Kellar's heel pad. Dagnabbit.
So I whisked him upstairs to the bathroom with the most light, rooted around to find my mom's tweezers and tiny nail scissors, hydrogen peroxide, neosporin, and bandaids. At this point, I only thought I'd be cutting away that pesky flap of skin so I coul see what I was doing. Ah, blissful ignorance.
After about 5 minutes of clipping, soaking, prying, and screaming (his, not mine), I realized that I was in over my head. While not an emergency room-type of splinter, it was certainly out of my range of experience in it's depth and orientation. So in the panicky sort of desparation that descends upon all good housewives when they realize their husband would probably be doing something different if he was here(like when I very kindly mowed the lawn for him and then when I was done, the mower would not shut off), I called Matt at work. He did not appreciate the consideration I'd shown in seeking his advice. In fact, he sounded overy annoyed. It was almost naptime for four tired children, so his suggestion to call the doctor and see if I should take him in, did not actually help me. My main concern was that while Kellar was kicking and writhing, I would accidently jab him too deeply and infection (probably a deadly one) would set in. What I needed was practical advice, but at this juncture, Matt had not written his illumined blog entry, so I was left to my own devices.
I went back in to the bathroom to wear Kellar was still obediently soaking his little feet and clutching tightly to an oversized stuffed animal. Keep in mind that this entire dance was performed to the tune of Dawson screaming downstairs in his seat because he didn't want to be there. It turns out that 4 and 5 year old do not try to actively entertain a baby when the TV is on. At this point I made Kellar lie down in the carpeted hall, where the light from the bathroom was still pouring onto the operating surface. I got my tools ready and did indeed grasp his ankle between my knees. 15 grueling minutes later, I had cut down to the splinter, pulled back the new flaps of skin, and pulled out the offending wood chip. Not for a moment did he stop twisting, writhing, kicking, screaming, sobbing. I had to endeavor to turn off my emotions, reminding myself that he sounded very similar when I took the miniscule one out the first time. Of course, this time I knew I was actually hurting him, so it was much harder. When my disbelieving eyes saw the empty hole in his foot, I wanted to burst into tears, but instead swooped him into a crushing mommy-loves-you hug and soothed him the best I could. I then poured more hydrogen peroxide onto his foot, dried it, and bandaged it. I had him walk downstairs to see how he put his weight on it (not bad) and cleaned up my surgery theatre. The baby still screaming, I gave Kellar a new lunch (his had melted out in the sun) and then nursed Dawon to sleep. My whole body felt limp and sad. I called Matt's boss and told him dispiritedly to pass on the good news that the splinter was gone.
If I thought the doctor would've had an easier time, I might've taken him there. But without sedation, it would've just been the same thing, only with a three-hour wait first because we'd have been a walk-in appointment. And no TV to distract the older two kids. And we've just now found a doctor that Kellar's not afraid of, and I didn't want to jeopardize that relationship.
Now that you know the real story, you can have appropriate sympathy for me, instead of mocking me like Matthew did. I will admit that I would've liked to have consumed some alcohol during the whole sorry episode, but nursing and tipsy-ness just do not mix.
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