1. Beth is the typical oldest child. Responsible, level-headed, practical.
2. Laura will never be an ER nurse or paramedic. Empathy is way too deeply embedded to not come to the forefront in a crisis.
3. Alice lives in the moment like most little kids and is hanging onto her childish ways longer than her sisters.
We have been trying to teach the girls to do the dishes on every night that they are home and not rushing off to some activity. It's been a long process because they are painfully slow. It's not at all like my memories of washing dishes with my sisters, singing Sunday School songs and laughing. I'm sure that's an inaccurate memory anyway. We probably fought the system in the same way my girls do.
Alice is on "clear the table and put away the dry dishes" duty this month. She's very slow and the plates are big and heavy for her. I promised to read aloud to them if they finished in 15 minutes so they were rushing a bit.
While I played the piano to drown out their squabbles, I heard a loud crash and crying. I didn't see what had happened but Laura was loudly crying and Alice too. It was easy to see the pile of plates on the floor, but it wasn't clear who was hurt or if the loud sound had just scared them (I don't think they are afraid of me yellling at them for breaking dishes).
It turned out Alice had cut her foot and needed the bleeding stopped, but Laura needed more consoling. Beth calmly found the bandaids and got pants and socks for Alice (she was wearing a gauzy dress as part of a previous game that was clearly not suitable for a -30 drive to emergency). I had to leave a crying Laura in Beth's care while Alice and I drove for help.
I opted for a MediCentre instead of emergency because even a bleeding child doesn't always get precedence over car accident victims or a loudly drunk bleeding man and the like. Playing up the "she's bleeding into her boot" story, we got in pretty quickly.
I've never had stitches, nor had Alice and she was very afraid of the freezing ("It'll be SO COLD") and the sewing on her foot. I must say that the needle in the non-fleshy top of her foot brought back awful memories of being with Beth once as nurses tried to find a vein on her dehydrated baby body long ago. This time I didn't have Yvon to deal with it while I ran away.
Once the freezing was in, they gave her three stitches and it went something like this.
"Let me know if you can feel anyth...ICANFEELICANFEELICANFEEL...Can you still feel anyth...ICANFEELICANFEELICANFEEL...Okay, now we'll just put the bandage on...Did you do anything yet?"
Obviously she could not actually feel her foot while they stitched it up. They threw her icky sock away and we went home, Alice chattering happily in the back about being the third person in Grade 2 who's had stitches and isn't it good that her talent show entry didn't involve her feet?
As I locked the car door at home, I heard my knee pop. Oh great. It hurt enough to bring tears to my eyes and I was seriously not sure how I was going to walk to the house. Generally when one knee goes, the other does some sort of compensation move and they both have trouble bearing weight. Clearly I couldn't stay outside in the cold though. Even with her own injured foot, sweet Alice stepped up to the plate and offered her arm. Not actually helpful as we climbed the snow pile between the van and our house, but we made it.
Beth had spent much of the time at home trying to ease Laura's worries and clean up some of the broken dishes. Then she promptly helped me into bed and settled me with two hot wheat bags to try to get the swelling down in my knees. Of all my children, she's the one you want around in a crisis. Laura is great for the words of encouragement after the fact and lots of hugs and kisses, but in the moment I think she feels the pain as much as the injured person.
Today I'm hobbling around painfully, and I will follow up this time with physio and try to get my weight down a bit. I've done it before and I can do it again and clearly my knees are having trouble dealing.