So last week, minutes after leaving a birthday party attended by her whole class, Sophia turned to me and said calmly, "My throat hurts. And my head feels spinny."
This may not sound like a startling thing to say, but Max had been diagnosed with strep not two hours earlier. So. That was good. I reached over and felt her forehead, and I swear I could feel the temperature rising under my fingers.
It was 5 PM on a Sunday, so I spent the next fourteen years (three hours) trying to find an open and functioning urgent care. We got there, and she promptly lay down on the floor to look wan.
Did you catch that part about how she had just left a birthday party? Attended by her entire class? Yeah. I'm ascending the ranks of school mothers. Totes. THAT was a fun, grovel-y email to write!
Well, needless to say, it was strep. So she missed the next day of school (the first day of ITBS testing! Ha! Schools love that!), then went back, fortified by penicillin and an obliviousness about shade directed at her mother in the drop-off line. All was well.
The next day I got a call from school, saying she'd collided with another kid on the playground, and although she was fine, there would be a report on a head injury in her backpack.
Let me just say that I question this policy, in terms of reassurance.
When I picked her up, the "head injury" turned out to be a nice bump on her forehead. She barely paused long enough to let me look at it before she shoved her backpack at me and begged to be allowed to play on the playground for a while before we went home.
Off she ran to the monkey bars. She's making great progress on them, able to swing out to the third or fourth bar reliably, which is very exciting to everyone. She tried, and dropped to the ground, and tried and dropped and tried...
...and fell hard on her butt.
I could tell right away that she hurt, by the frozen look on her face. I ran over and scooped her up, and she gasped at me, "I can't breathe. I can't, I can't breathe."
"It's okay, baby, you will. I promise," I muttered, and I held her and rocked. After an eternity, a thin wail finally escaped her throat.
Let me tell you, friend, with nearly twenty years of mothering under my belt, I have never seen a child in so much pain. She could stand, she could walk, but she could not hold still. Her skin was chalk white, except bruise-like dark circles under her eyes and that bump on her head. I carried her gingerly to the car and strapped her in. She had settled down by then, and wasn't crying so much as moaning as she writhed in her seat.
"Hey," I said with deliberate calm, "can you tell me something? On a scale from one to ten, with one being no pain at all and ten being the worst pain in your life, how bad does it hurt?"
She pushed up on the arms of her seat and whimpered, "nine."
Long story short, I took her to the doctor, who told me that it looked like she had probably cracked her tailbone. She spent the rest of the week toting a pillow to school, which I'm entirely certain did wonderful things for her test scores, so thank GOD the powers that be have settled on such a reliable way to gauge our children's progress, can I get an amen?
So that's my report from last week. In the space of a few days, Sophia had strep, an official head injury, and a cracked tailbone. She's fine now, but I need a vacation.