Now that Steve and I are separated (again), he has donned his Devoted Dad hat (again), and begun making time every day to spend with Luke and Elizabeth. From my perspective this is of the good; I firmly believe that kids benefit from having a healthy relationship with both parents no matter what the state of the parental union may be. Luke, especially, has become a lot more confident and outgoing and less…well…neurotic, in the past four and a half months since his father has decided to give him some actual focused attention.
Being the astute child that she is, Elizabeth has picked up on the rather fickle nature of Dad’s devotion (as in, it comes and goes in inverse relationship to how secure he feels in the marriage), and she’s been visibly cooling toward him. I can’t blame her, but it makes me sad anyway.
And speaking of our Tough Cookie, she took a big tumble yesterday.
Some backstory: ever since she was four or five, Elizabeth has liked to walk out to the horse pasture and shimmy up a front leg and onto the back of a horse or pony, letting it carry her wherever the herd took them. At first I was VERY concerned about this pastime, and considered putting a stop to it, but she always chose the nice quiet mounts and nothing bad came of it, so I relaxed a little and let her have her fun.
A couple years ago she came in complaining that Balki (an Icelandic pony we used to have) had tossed her off and hurt her arm. This was the same pony that gave her an actual concussion the first time she rode him, so we just told her to stick to the safer horses for her pasture jaunts from now on, and let the fun continue. (A week of “My arm feels better today, Mom”s later, I took her down to have it looked at and learned that she had been WALKING AROUND WITH A BROKEN ARM FOR A WEEK. Hence the “Tough Cookie” nickname.)
The other day I caught her trying to slip onto Mahogany’s back from a top fence rail. I nipped that plan right in the bud. No ridee Mahogany! But when I saw her hacking around on Marshall, I thought it over and decided not to fuss. Marshall’s young and green, but he’s also calm and friendly.
Okay, so yesterday I glanced out the window just at the right moment to see Marshall BOLT out of the corral into the pasture, and Elizabeth hit the dirt in his wake. I shot out the door and into the corral, calling her name. She was all, “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay,” but she wouldn’t or couldn’t answer my questions about where it hurt and what body part she’d landed on. Her knees were all scraped up, and she seemed very disoriented. I brought her in and settled her on the couch and shone a flashlight in each of her eyes, and her pupils responded normally. I suggested a warm bath (she was filthy from the corral ground and her scrapes were very dirty, and I figured she would feel better after a nice soak). She got in the tub, but then started wailing that her head hurt. I checked and found a respectable goose-egg on the back of her head, so I gave her some Children’s Tylenol and went to find her some clean jammies.
When I got back she was kind of zoning and sleepy. I helped her out of the tub, and she got dressed in slow motion; she just wanted to go take a nap. I knew there was a good chance she had another concussion (for those of you keeping score, that’s one broken arm and two concussions so far. CPS should be knocking on my door any day now), but I also knew that if I took her to the emergency room they would: 1. keep her waiting for hours before anyone attended to her, 2. most likely eventually diagnose a concussion, and 3. tell me to take her home, keep her quiet and give her plenty of rest. So I let her go take her nap, opting to spare her the stress of a trip to the ER. She slept and SLEPT and slept. I went in every half hour or so and nudged her until I got some sort of response, because there is a risk of a concussed person slipping into a coma if they’re allowed to sleep too deeply.
She seemed to feel better when she finally woke up around 5pm, and she had some supper. And then threw it up. And then threw again at bedtime. Steve and I talked back and forth on the phone for a while about whether taking her to the ER to check for complications would be worth all the additional trauma it would put her through. (The ER is in Murrietta, btw, almost 50 miles away down winding mountain roads.) Finally it was decided that I would sleep with her, and if there were any signs at all that things were getting worse instead of better, down we’d go.
She woke up early, around 4:45am, and seemed to feel a lot better, so we all heaved a sigh of relief. But around 9 or 9:30, she kind of crashed again. I called her pediatrician, and miraculously they were having a slow day and said they could see her in the office at 11:15.
The doc gave her a careful examination, including a rather alarming bit of hands-on skull twisting to check for fractures, but Elizabeth was unruffled by that. He confirmed that she had a concussion, but said that there didn’t seem to be any life-threatening complications, and that I should take her home and keep her quiet and give her plenty of rest. No running or bouncing or anything that might possibly cause her brain to slosh around in her skull for at least a week or two, and no riding horses, climbing trees, or anything that might cause another head injury for at least a month. So, the Tough Cookie’s on the sidelines for the rest of summer vacation. Poor kid. She threw up again the instant we got home, then went and took a long nap in the hammock.
She’s a little cranky.
So I guess our Summer Of Adventure will have to be limited to non-physically-strenuous activities from here on out. No swimming, bowling, roller skating, bike riding….Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of movies.
Where’s that catalogue where I saw that child-size bubble-wrap clothing? I know it’s around here somewhere….