Last week, CJ took the girls to the pool. Lucy hadn’t even made it into the water when an overly-exuberant and completely unthinking boy plowed through her on his way into the pool. Lucy was knocked to the ground, and got two skinned knees and a bruised lower lip in the process. The boy’s older brother saw what happened and dragged him out out of the pool and over to Lucy, who was now sobbing and very bloodied. The boy, mortified, managed to get an apology out.
One of the lifeguards got a couple of bandages on her knees, but they were much too small to cover either wound. We wanted to change the bandages that night, and get something that was size-appropriate. Lucy wouldn’t let us touch the bandages, though. She believed (and I can’t really blame her, being only three and having limited experience with bandages) that taking the bandages off would hurt as much than the original wound. We had to get them off, though. And we did, at the cost of a screaming fit.
On the fourth night, one of the two bandages was now only half attached. Three days of running, walking, sleeping, and a bath had taken its course. You could see the panic starting to form in Lucy’s eyes when we talked about taking the bandage off, though. We tried to reason through why it had to come off, and why pulling it off fast would actually hurt less than pulling it off slowly. That didn’t work, so CJ held her hands while I pulled it off. Screaming fit ensues.
On the sixth night, the other bandage was now half off. Much to her credit, Lucy tried to find a less painful solution to the problem, and suggested that we put a new bandage on UNDER the old one.
CJ replied, "Well, to do that, I’d have to take off the old one first."
Lucy responded, "Yeah. Take it off."
CJ, a bit incredulous said, "We can take it off?"
Lucy replied, "Yeah."
CJ leans down to pick Lucy up and put her on the bed. Lucy flinches. "No! Not yet. I have to be on the bed first!"
CJ backed off immediately and said, "I was going to pick you up and put you on the bed."
"No, I can do it." After 1.5 seconds of trying to climb up on our bed by herself, she put her arms up to be lifted. CJ obliged, then went to pull the bandage off.
Lucy yelled, "No! You can’t do it until someone is holding both of my hands!"
CJ took her hands and asked, "Ok, so Daddy should pull it off?"
I started towards Lucy, who saw me and flinched again. "No! You can’t pull it off until the 7th year."
I rolled my eyes. CJ, amused, asked, "It can’t come off until you’re 7? Well, I don’t think it will last that long, honey."
Lucy recalculated. "It can’t come off until the 8th day."
I rolled my eyes again. CJ just smiled. We let her be.
Later that night, Lucy was sitting on the floor, and the bandage had now progressed to the "floppy" stage: half attached and flapping in the breeze. I really didn’t want her to rub the knee against something and have it start bleeding again, so I asked her if I could pull the bandage off. She protested. As luck would have it, she had found a pool kickboard that CJ had purchased a while back, and was playing with it in the living room. She tried to change the subject by asking me to unwrap it. I took it with one hand, and while it blocked her line of sight to her knee, ripped the bandage off with my other hand.
I am really not a bad man.
My hope was that she would realize that if she didn’t get herself worked up in a tizzy before hand, she’d realize it really doesn’t hurt that much to pull the bandage off. That worked for about a tenth of a second while the horror of what her Dad just did to her processed, then the screaming fit ensued. I gave her a hug, and CJ put a fresh bandage on.
It sucks having my 3-year old injured like this, but I’m very thankful it was just a couple of skinned knees – I don’t know HOW we’d cope with something like a broken bone.
I’m also very thankful that 3-year olds heal awfully quick. Finding new ways to remove bandages from a 3-year old is like fighting the Borg from Star Trek – each new attack only works once before they’re on to you. After that kickboard trick, I think I’m down to “Oh, look at the flying polka-dotted squirrel, honey!”