Monday, October 22, 2007

The Boy Who Lived

My son Ben sort of gets the short end of my blog. That's because he's a little peculiar and sometimes naughty. Contrary to what you might think, Ben is not that kid. That spazzy, crazy, awful kid. It sort of sounds like he is here, but in reality he is complicated and sweet and doesn't fit the "wild four year-old boy" stereotype. He's very reserved and fairly cautious. He is self-conscious and doesn't want his preschool teachers to "see him play." Anyway, considering that he's not as wild as I've probably made him seem, he's had quite a few injuries this year.

Last Januuary he hit his head on a knob on our TV cabinet. He needed stitches so we went to an after-hours clinic which, as it turned out, was staffed by insecure doctors (I know, it's so rare.) They didn't think they could give Ben stitches. He wasn't even that hysterical. They wanted me to reassure them that I could hold him still while they sewed. (I knew I should have bought malpractice insurance this year.) Look, I know what's what--I've seen Kramer vs. Kramer. Parents' participation in stitch-giving is preferred but optional in the supporting role of comforter.

They framed the situation to us in a very dramatic way. "You will have to choose. You can stay here, but we aren't very good at giving stitches. Or you can leave this clinic and drive somewhere else where they may (or may not) know how to give stitches. You should know that if you leave here, you might not get your co-pay back. Please take some time to decide." So it took a long time and was a big pain but he ended up with five stitches from a real hospital. Apparently--and to our great relief--stitches are fairly common.

And when we moved into our new house the lockers fell on him. We had just gotten them and I was thinking that I needed to tell the kids not to climb on the lockers when I heard a pretty loud crash. There was little Ben crouched under the lockers which had fallen over and into the wall just above him. He was fine but scared and because he is a little annoying and sometimes hard to deal with we made a big deal to the other kids about how lucky we were that Ben was safe and sound. It made them appreciate him more.

Then about a month ago I decided to put the bunk beds up in the boys' room (there it is. . . the red flag. I think you know what's coming. I may as well have said "four wheeler," "trampoline," or "foam rubber"). You need to know how awesome I am that I put up the bunk beds by myself. I'll spare you the details but it's hard and it involves a lot of hoisting and prayer. (In the middle of this project I dropped a can of Dr. Pepper which exploded on the stairs and spun spraying throughout the whole house, as the stairway is centrally located. Dr. Pepper is sticky. I'm just setting the scene.) So of course at some point Ben fell off the top bunk and I watched as he hit into the corner of his little red shelves. OUCH! It looked and sounded hideous. But it was only butterfly-bandage-severity.

And then last night he swallowed a penny, which doesn't seem like a huge deal but the advice on the internet ranged from folksy, "Keep an eye onna kid and check the feces reeel close-like," to anal retentive, "Swallowing something or anything could range from harmless to serious and so a licensed medical professional should always be consulted. This is not a diagnosis and should not take the place of a diagnosis from a licensed medical professional." Ben said it hurt a lot so Christian took him to the ER where it was all serious and the penny was lodged in his esophagus and had to be scoped by a gastro-intestinal specialist at Primary Children's Hospital. Long story short, at Primary Children's Hospital they gave him a Sprite and told him to jump up and down. He's fine.But still. You should send him a present because he's so remarkable.


  1. Was the ER staffed by more insecure doctors? Thank you for saving up the stories from when you weren't blogging. Ben sounds pretty awesome.

  2. Some kida have all the luck. I am just counting my lucky stars [knock on wood] that none of them have swallowed non-food items of that nature.

  3. I like the Sprite-jump up and down" remedy. I wonder if that is documented somewhere in all those medical journals people talk about.

    I'm glad Ben is okay...and that there are doctors out there that can feel confident about their stitching abilities.

  4. Poor Ben. I think he'll be a famous writer some day and all these stories will be for his benefit.

  5. . . . but right now these stories should be for YOUR benefit. You could write a book about Ben and make millions to pay for his medical expenses.

    Topher swallowed a penny as a toddler and almost died (as he dramatically recalls). Apparently that story had quite an impact on Owen, who now insists that he was the toddler who swallowed the penny.

    Tell Ben I'll be rrrright over. I know he needs me now.

  6. I will send Ben a coin sorter...or maybe just a piggy bank.

  7. Yes, foam rubber is dangerous. Just ask Carly!

  8. He sounds awesome...

  9. I just laughed and laughed and laughed as usual while reading this.

  10. Awwwww...look at him lying there in his PJs. What's with kids and putting non-food items into their mouths...I was hoping Theo would get over that soon but anecdotal evidence points to the contrary. I am glad Ben is OK.

    And I am VERY impressed that you put the bunk beds up by yourself. I hate assembling and moving furniture, mostly because I hate reading directions, so I always ignore them, then do something wrong or break something, and then say, "Hey Matt, could you fix this?" and he does the rest.

  11. I am so glad to finally get the whole story.
    Does this mean that I shouldn't let Calvin go to bed while holding a fistful of coins?


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