Would a Helmet Help?

by gillis

Twice this week my son Gus has visited the school nurse. Those of you who are teachers may instantly flash to that kid in your class who asks to see the nurse at the first whiff of a challenging task. I’m thinking of the one who suddenly remembers they have asthma/acid reflux/malaria when the going gets tough. In any case, no teacher wants their kid to be that kid in someone else’s class. My son is in preschool and this is his second week there, so I don’t think his issues have to do with anxiety over mastering the sand and water table. At least I hope not.

On Wednesday when I picked Gus up after school, the teacher asked me if I had “gotten her message.” I hadn’t because I was in a meeting at the end of the school day when she called, but I instantly thought Gus must have bitten or hit another child (yes, this is where I go). Her expression was grave. It turns out that they had brought him to the nurse to have a tick removed from behind his ear. She told me he was “a trooper,” didn’t cry at all, and they gave me a card with the Dog Tick illustration circled, which seemed to mean that he was not a victim of the smaller, nastier deer tick that carries Lyme’s disease. I was horrified when she told me it was “fully engorged” meaning it had been there for some time sucking the blood, innocence, brain cells, personality, and who-knows-what, out of my kid. I wracked my brain, was it there the previous night when I bathed him? Oh right, I didn’t give him a bath because we were at his sister’s basketball game until 8:00. Was it there when I brought him to the barber for a (very short over the ears) haircut on Monday?  I did give him a bath after that to wash all of the haircut shards away, but I didn’t remember seeing it. Ah, but I DID remember aggressively washing a boo-boo behind his ear several days earlier, maybe Saturday -or even Friday! Holy mackerel, that thing had a lot time to vampirize my kid. On the bright side, my suspicions about my eye prescription needing an update have been confirmed.

Yesterday I had my cell phone turned off during a workshop so I missed the call from the nurse telling me that she was pretty sure Gus didn’t have a concussion, but they would watch him before they let him get on the bus to go swimming at the community center.  By the time I listened to the message, Gus had not only gone swimming, he had played, eaten, napped, played again and been retrieved by my husband, his father, who was not notified about this mysterious calamity and who was very very surprised at his son’s much-altered appearance. Apparently Gus fell off a large block he had climbed on and then smashed down face first into another block. The edges of the block sliced into his face leaving quite an impression including big gashes slashed diagonally across his forehead and left cheek, a swollen area on the bridge of his nose which raised up and purpled, and a swollen lip which has created some speech difficulties. His short, new haircut really shows off his forehead so it’s especially remarkable. This means I will really have to be on my best mom behavior at the basketball tournament this weekend because I fear if I even raise my voice to him, or rush to snatch him off of the court, someone will drop a dime on me and send child protective services to our house. Yes, it’s that ugly.

So we’ve had an eventful preschool health week. I’m trying not to get too riled up about it, and I hope this won’t be a pattern. I don’t think these health and safety issues could be faked or manipulated, but if anyone is capable of such a thing, it might just be Gus.