There are lots of unintended consequences of parenthood. Five years ago could I ever have imagined shouting, “Get your hands off your sister’s vagina?!” No, no, I don’t think so. Ditto the never-ending food particles on the floor, the fights over what exactly constitutes appropriate school clothing, and the sheer realization that “silence” is not actually a good thing. Along with these little nuggets, entering school brings a new facet to raising little ones: The Playdate.
One super cool thing about living in Europe is that I don’t really need to have the “do you have a gun” conversation before sending my kids off to play. There is the “are your kids vaccinated” conversation, obviously, but we’ll save that for another post. Beyond that, all that is really left is “what time do you want us?” and “should I stay or should I go?” Awesome, right? So a couple of weeks ago, the girls, Otto and I were invited to another home for lunch and a play date. Fast forward to the day and I am now going to tell you a story that will make you feel like a million dollars. Because no matter how bad you think a playdate can go, I bet I can top it.
The kids fed, the other mom and I sat down for a chat. Otto had discovered a metal teaspoon and was happily banging it on the glass coffee table. Very sensibly, I removed the spoon from his grasp, thoroughly impressed with myself for considering the unlikely chance that a barely one year old could break a thick piece of glass with a teaspoon. Right.
Seconds later, Otto has the spoon again and just like that, “Thwap!,” he brings it down on the glass, spidering the table top. The crack extended in two directions, across the table. Horrified, I grabbed the spoon, my face flaming, and began apologizing profusely. Our very kind hostess looked equally horrified but quickly assured me that the table was old and she was looking for a replacement anyway.
Oh wait, it gets better.
As I sat back down, Eva came over to see what the fuss was about. “Look, Eva!” I cried. “Otto broke the table with a spoon! See that is what Mommy means when I say we have to be careful in other people’s homes.” My words were abruptly cut off as Eva asked, “What? This?” and slammed her tiny little hand down on the edge of the glass, shattering the table top and sending shards of razor sharp glass around the room.
No, wait, it gets better.
Trying to remain as calm as possible, I jumped to my feet, grabbing both Otto and Eva and shouting apologies. I passed Eva over the mess and told her to stay outside. I threw Otto in a playpen and started cleaning up. We carried the remaining table top outside, where its jagged edges couldn’t hurt anyone and I set about sweeping up the glass. The next thing I know, there is blood all over their flooring. “She’s bleeding!” cried my likely now former new friend.
“Oh my God, your floor!” I yelled, while the other mom yelled, “Oh my God, her foot!” (I’ll leave you to think about that dynamic. The problem with having an ER doc for a mom: very little sympathy for the walking wounded.)
We somehow got Eva to the sink where I washed out the tiniest little cut and wrapped a pressure bandage (i.e. paper towel) around her toe. Leaving her on the counter, we continued to clean the glass, first with a broom and then with a piece of bread to pick up all the little tiny bits. (Yes, I’m now dispensing household cleaning tips as well as child health and safety advice. You’re welcome.)
But wait, it gets even better!
Wiping away the last of the damage, I looked into the garden. “Oh, no, have you seen what is going on out there?” I asked, now somewhere well beyond embarrassment.
“It’s fine, I’ve seen it, don’t worry,” she said hurriedly, clearly wondering when we would be leaving. Because outside, Zoe and said little Friend had pulled the stuffing out of the garden furniture and were decorating the entire lawn in cotton batting.
So there you go. Today’s lessons: 1) don’t be afraid to ask questions before your child goes into another home, or even better, go the first time along with. 2) An infant can actually shatter a glass table with a teaspoon. Hello Bam Bam. 3) Even tiny pieces of glass can cause a lot of bleeding. Thankfully there wasn’t any glass in her wound, the cut was very superficial and the bleeding stopped rather quickly with pressure or the day would have ended with a post about skin glue versus stitches. And 4) whatever you do, think twice about inviting the Zibners family to lunch.