Tuesday was zoo day. Technically, zoo was slated for Monday, but Squish preferred to curl up in my clean laundry instead. Every time I asked him if he was ready, he’d reply “I can’t go. I fleeping.” In reality, he was pooping, which took zoo off the agenda and put potty in its stead. So we went on Tuesday.
I was totally with it. Laundry and dishes and writing were done, dog was bathed, Squish’s morning dump was taken care of in the proper receptacle, and it was only 9:30. On the way to the zoo, we even squeezed in a quick trip to Target so we didn’t have to try to do it on the way home. That was wiser than I knew.
All Squish talked about was visiting the the sandbox in the zoo’s playground, so as soon as we sun-screened, we wandered in that direction, visiting all the animals in between. The zoo has a new otter that just finished quarantine, so we got to watch from a distance as she was introduced to her new playmate. We made our obligatory visit to reptiles, and then sandbox, here we come!
As we walked down the hill, Squish suddenly remembered how much he liked the barn loft exhibit and visiting the owls. He dashed ahead of me and went to open the door, catching his toe. He winced but said he was okay. We spent a few minutes talking to the owls and exploring. As we were leaving, I saw him do the tell-tale crotch grab. As the restrooms were right on our way to the sandbox, he agreed to make a pit-stop. It was as we were climbing the stairs to the restroom that I first noticed his toe. Or rather, realized I couldn’t actually see his toe for all the blood. Did I mention he was wearing sandals when he pulled the door open on it?
I’m not a squeamish person. I used to work for a veterinarian. I once watched him perform a spay on a dog with pyometra, watched him pull out the swollen uterus hand-over-hand like he was hauling out a python. Totally cool. But the sight of blood coming from my precious little baby can make me see stars. The challenge before me was to treat his wound without vomiting on his little head.
Not wanting the little guy to panic, we went inside the restroom (by great fortune, the one restroom in the zoo that offers paper towels instead of hand dryers), and I dampened a towel.
“Wat dat for, Mommy?”
“Um, I, uh, I just need to clean off your shoe.”
“Why? Oh. Mommy? IS DAT KETCHUP?”
“Hee-hee, um, does it look like ketchup, sweetie? Ha-ha. Is that ketchup, precious? That can be ketchup if you want”
“MOMMY, IS DAT KETCHUP?”
“Well, no, sweetie. That’s a little blood.”
“MOMMY? IS I BWEEDING?!”
“You are a little. You have a little boo-boo. I just need to clean-”
“NO!!! NO CWEAN! NO CWEAN!”
At this point, small child panicking at the sight of his own blood became small child hysterical at the prospect of having his boo-boo touched. I managed to convince him to at least let me clean his shoe. Once he figured out I was leaving the toe alone, he was highly cooperative and cheerful again.
So now what? Shoe is clean, child is happy, toe looks like hamburger. Do we abruptly end this visit? I’ve already been chump-of-the-week dragging his unsuspecting little self off to get a flu shot. I can’t end what was supposed to be a fun trip to the zoo with a visit to the ER. That would just seem so wrong.
I decided we’d go visit the goats in the petting zoo and figure it out from there. Little guy refused to be carried and seemed to have no trouble ambulating on his own two feet, so that was a good sign. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the contact yard, his shoe was full of blood again. Awesome. I took him back to the bathroom to clean his shoe and got to break the fun news that he was not going to get to visit the sandbox. When he asked the inevitable “Why?” Mommy got to teach him a new word. Biohazard.
The keeper in the contact yard looked at his bloodied foot and asked if I wanted her to call the Rangers. They are the ones who are certified in first aid. She asked Mr. Squish “Would you like someone to bring you a band-aid?” I wish she hadn’t. My kids are weird, and this particular child finds band-aids about as appealing as being set fire to. Or put down for a nap.
“NO BAND-AID! NO! NO! NO!” More awesome. I do have moments of blinding genius, and I offered the kid his very first ride on the carousel, a treat that made this particular zoo visit a lot better, but will make all subsequent visits a complete nightmare. But times were desperate. We did it. And he rode the alligator.
He did agree that we could go home afterward. He even agreed that we could clean his foot when we got there. He changed his tune right about the time we were pulled in the driveway. But I had to do it. His entire foot was crusted with dried blood, and it had to come off before my husband got home. If there is anyone more squeamish about baby blood than a mommy, it is a daddy person.
It is amazing to me how difficult it is to wrestle a small child who does not want his boo-boo tended. I was merciful and used peroxide. I can’t remember what current boo-boo cleaning protocol is anymore, but I rationalized that even if peroxide is bad, it’s a whole lot better than letting goat doo-doo stay on an open wound. I didn’t try to touch it, but I squeezed the stuff over his foot. He finally quit struggling and watched the “magic bubbles” kill his germs. But still no band-aid.
I offered him a sock to wear, thinking he’d refuse. Instead, he seemed remarkably excited about the idea. And now he won’t take it off. I thought he might actually take a bath with it. My fear was that my husband would get a good look at the injury, pass out, hit his head on the sink and die, leaving me with three children to raise on my own. Maybe socks are good.I’m thinking I might let him wear it (yes, singular. He only wants to wear one) for the next three or four weeks. Until all signs of trauma are gone. Mommy’s heart can’t take it.
***Update*** Squish asked me to “cwean wif magik bubbas” this morning and giggled while the peroxide did its work. I love that kid.