My crown of parenting incompetence grows yet more tarnished. Allow me to relate to you the events of last night as I remember them. Do you mind if I smoke? Good, because I’m still a little shaky, and these old fictionalized habits die hard.
Last night was normal enough. In fact, it was running very smoothly. I came home from work to take the second shift parenting gig over from my husband. We talked about the meetings at work I’d had that day while he put on his shoes and gave Gibs a final flurry of kisses and hugs. Then the Man went to his office leaving Gibs and I to our own devices.
Gibs was in such a good mood, I was able to prep some of the evening meal AND drink a cup of coffee while he played. I popped two potatoes in the oven to bake, seasoned the pork chops and pulled a package of creamed spinach out of the freezer all to be consumed when we returned home. I savored my 3 PM java knowing that the afternoon’s play date was going to go well and Gibs would be tired out for bed time. Things were calm, peaceful. I even got to watch most of an episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (which oh my god you have to watch it’s so awesome…)
Around 4 PM we packed up and headed to the play date. I played the Sesame Street Memory Board Game with our host while Gibson tried his best to acquire and consume the play tokens. We threw baby rice puffs all over the floor and crunched them underfoot in the heat of the game. Gibson babbled and practiced participating in the conversation while my host and I discussed the finer points of dragons and which would be the best mount for a warrior such as himself. My host’s mother baked cookies, and we discussed our holiday gift giving plans in between dragon viewing.
It was probably the most domestic, perfect afternoon for a couple of moms and their sons. 5:30 PM approached and I checked Gibs diaper as my host’s father arrived home from work. After enjoying the father’s beard for a few minutes, Gibs and I packed up and headed to our house to finish preparing dinner. As I walked out, my host and his father went back over the list of potential dragon mounts.
Home is less than five minutes away, so our drive back was quick. Gibs was out of his car seat and in his walker in the kitchen with me as I microwaved the creamed spinach and put the pork chops in the skillet to cook. The potatoes that I’d baked earlier were now the perfect temperature for baby finger food. I put a few smushed chunks for Gibs to enjoy on the tray attached to his walker while I stood at the counter and ate the rest of said potato.
Flip the pork chops, let the spinach cool off and make sure Gibs doesn’t put too much potato in his mouth all at once. I was mastering it. And I was even eating my own meal too… in pieces as it was in the process of being prepared. Like you do.
Since Gibs reached out and started taking food off my plate last weekend, I’ve been making it a point to give him real food to try. And tonight, I was going to give him tiny pieces of pork chop to enjoy. I pulled the chops from the skillet and cut them in half to be certain they were completely cooked through. I don’t know what trichinosis would do to an eight month old, and I never want to find out. I thought I detected the slightest hint of pink. You know what, I’ll be extra sure. I’ll pop the chops in the microwave for a minute. That’ll kill anything lingering in there.
La, la, la. Gibs is munching on potato and scooting around the kitchen. I put the super-heated pork chops on the counter and begin to cut them into tiny pieces. With more speed than I thought an eight month old could muster, Gibs rams his walker into my legs. I try to accommodate him but I’m still also cutting meat on the counter.
Honestly, it all happened so fast. Somehow the meat was no longer in front of me, it was to my right and flying through the air. Gravity followed its own rules and chunks of meat and sauce descended all over the place where I had been. The place Gibson now occupied.
Maybe if I hadn’t just microwaved them, it would have been a non-issue. But no, my poor baby now had steaming hot sauce on his forehead and in his hair. Two pieces of meat had landed on his skull for a micro-second. But that’s all it takes in baby land to cause a burn.
Last night, I burned my poor baby with pork chops. And Memphis BBQ seasoning rub.
Can I have another cigarette? Thanks.
Now, I do have to give myself credit for two things.
1.) Acting quickly to get the sauce and meat off of him before it could do more damage.
2.) Not degenerating into a melting mess of grief and tears that preventing me from fixing the problem.
I scooped Gibson up and took him to the bathroom to get a cool wash cloth. The spot that had been covered in sauce was a little red. At first I thought maybe that was the worst of it. Gibs started to calm down and his face became less flushed. Once he was no longer crying, I didn’t see any burns. But I didn’t feel like I was seeing everything.
In the living room, I turned on the brightest light in the house and examined him more closely. Still didn’t see anything. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong (I mean beyond the obvious.) I finally used the flashlight app on my cell phone to discover that he had two tiny burns on his scalp.
Online, I saw conflicting information. If the burn is smaller than the size of a quarter, and not blistered, it’s nothing to worry about. However, any burn of any size on the face or head is something to worry about. Do I take Gibs to urgent care? I tried to find that old “Ask a Nurse” hotline I had seen on TV when I was a kid, but couldn’t find it. Then I remembered that Gibs pediatrician had an after-hours phone number. I dialed it and asked if they thought I should take him to urgent care, sure that they were no longer at the office.
Actually, the doctor was still in at 6:30 PM. So I packed Gibs up again, much to his dismay, and with an entourage of all green traffic lights, I was at the doctor’s office in five minutes. I am sincerely glad we chose a pediatrician that is right up the road from us for just such an occasion.
The doctor was not in the least concerned. In fact, he said just put antibiotic ointment on it in case Gibs scratches the spot while it heals. And, unfortunately for Gibs, he was also scheduled to get his flu shot on Friday. Since we were there on Wednesday, the doc gave it to him then. So not only did he get burned by his mother, he also got stuck by his doctor. Poor little guy.
Home and $20 less rich, I gave Gibs a dose of baby Tylenol for the shot and the burns. We had a bottle and story time and then straight to bed for the tired boy.
As Mom of the Year, I retreated to the kitchen to clean up all the food on the floor. I was just sure the cats would have pounced all over the pork chops and potato while we were gone. I expected to find them with distended bellies and have much less mess to clean up. Alas, it was waiting for me to clean. To serve my mom penance.
And there you have it. Another episode of my parenting mishaps. Please tell me I’m not the only one this has happened to. Wearing a rusty crown is not all its cracked up to be.