I don't even know where to start. That's my little guy - not even two years old yet - with his hand, forearm, and elbow in a cast. For the next three weeks.
We were at the studio yesterday morning and I was working at the die cutter. Sharp blades, 25tons of pressure, and he was at my feet. He's been in the studio with me since he was two weeks old. The worst thing he's ever done was dye himself scarlet.
In a split second he put his finger through two layers of safety grates and I heard the fan make a sound it's never made before. I immediately picked him up, pulled his finger out, and found a little bloody mess. I couldn't tell at the time but his nail on his index finger had been completely ripped out.
I washed him up and put him in the car and drove him to the doctor. He cried for a whopping three minutes - maximum. He cried a little more when I got him out of the car at the doctor's office, but then just seemed interested in what in the world all these people were doing to his finger. The doctor sent us to the ER, since apparently this requires stitches.
And the ER decided he needed surgery. Sedation, two orthopedic surgeons, and three doctors. I swear all of them were younger than I am. And they all declared that this little guy is the most chill baby ever. He does not have the most chill mom ever, though. For most of it I managed to hold myself together, until the guy that was there to take care of the emotional health of the parents and children came in and asked me how I was. Then I lost it.
When surgery was done they said he did fine. He woke up slowly (it was in the middle of nap when he woke up and he was honestly just tired) but then decided he was very hungry. He hasn't seemed that bothered by the large bonking stick on his right hand, and is making the best of just having one hand to use to play with trains. His reality changed yesterday, and he's going to function in the reality he has, rather than lamenting the one he may have had the day before.
I, on the other hand, am not adapting so well. Yesterday was the closest I have ever come to quitting my "job" - I did not want to go to the studio. I did not want to see the die cutter. I did not want to use the die cutter. I did not want to do anything other than to spend the rest of my life taking care of my children and making sure that something like this never happened again.
But honestly, I know this kid. He's just like I was when I was little. He has to figure out how things work by testing them, and sometimes that hurts. Yesterday it hurt. When I got in this morning I was showing my mom how he managed to hurt himself, and I'm still shocked and surprised that it happened. He put his finger through two layers of safety grates to get to this whirring fan, which ripped his nail out by the root. Maybe it could have been worse, but maybe these holes could have been a little smaller, or the distance a little longer, and this wouldn't have happened at all. Every time I'd looked at this part of the machine I thought it was safe - there were two layers of grates with a space between.
As much as I can rationalize my self-blame away about the specifics of this incident, I think as a parent no matter what happens to our children we will always blame ourselves on some level. Even if they are in someone else's care - we shouldn't have left them with so-and-so, or we should have done this or that or the other thing differently. There are always alternate ways that our days, our situations, our lives could have turned out, had we made different choices, but we made these choices, and this is the life we ended up with.
In that sense I know I need to take a note from my son - so you wake up one morning with a big hard bonking stick on your right hand. Use your left. That's why you have two.
I did go to the studio today, and worked. We have a show coming up next month and I need to prepare. It was sad to see his little train set scattered around the studio floor, just as he had left it. The cracker he had been eating by my feet was in the bathroom on the floor, where he'd dropped it when I washed his hands. Over the weekend my husband and kids had all been in the studio with me for a few hours, and it filled my heart and my space with love and joy. Having my kids and my family in my studio brings the things and the people I love together, and the saddest part of this for me is the idea that I may no longer be able to bring my son to the studio with me. I can take precautions to make sure he doesn't do this again - and I am pretty sure he learned, and he won't put his finger in that particular hole again - but how do I keep him safe? How do I keep him safe anywhere?
Ultimately I can't, and I know that, because a curious little kid can make big trouble in a matter of seconds. The best I can do is warn him of the dangers I can see, prevent the dangers I can avoid, and take care of him when he gets hurt by something we couldn't predict or prevent. He is resilient, and with love and good medicine he will be as good as new in no time. I just hope we can say the same for mommy's broken heart.
Oh, and did I mention I got hit by a car last night after we got home? Yep. That happened, too. I don't think I was ever so thankful that days start over every 24 hours. I needed a new one by the end of the night.