“Mommy, there’s blood…”

“Mommy, there’s blood!” delivered with a shaky, panicked, high-pitched five-year old oice, are not exactly the words you want to hear in the middle of Sears.

Sure enough, there it was: On her jacket sleeve, on her hands, and, as I discovered after what felt like an hour of searching for the source, pouring out of her nose.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, not hiding my surprise too well and Thalia started crying a little harder. “Oh. No. Wait, honey…it’s just a bloody nose. You’re okay! You’re okay. Let’s go find a bathroom.”

I must say, seeing gobs of vibrantly red blood gush out of your daughter’s face is pretty much terrifying.  All things considered, I’d give my reaction a solid B+,  losing one point for my initial surprise and a second for not having any wipes or tissues or towels in my handbag.  I tried to keep my voice clear and calm and I stayed in control. My mind flashed back to a woman in a baby store in Santa Monica years ago, whose year-old baby was playing with my year-old baby, before hers fell about 18″ off a ride-on toy to the carpet. Her reaction was so overwrought and hysterical I remember thinking she was making it worse.

As we crouched in the dingy bathroom, wiping off her face, her hands, her jacket (thanks for the Excellent wipe-clean construction, Hanna Andersson!) with the disintegrating wet toilet paper, damn those air dryers, I reassured her that she was okay, that it was okay, that the winter will do that to you, that I got bloody noses when I was pregnant sooooo many times that it was ridiculous, and wouldn’t this be a great story to go home and tell Daddy and Sage?

A manager was kind enough to come to our rescue with a wad of paper hand towels (thank you Irene!), and within about 20 minutes, Thalia was back to her charming self, telling the sales clerks about the beauty salon she wanted for Christmas. (Oy.)

But: “Mommy, there’s blood…”

I never want to hear those words again.

When my kids hurt or ail in any way, I can’t help but go to a very dark place. My mind flickers to those scary thoughts (what if she really is sick?)  the ones (what if it wasn’t just from the weather?) we parents (what if this is the beginning of something bad?) of healthy kids do our best shake out of our heads (Oh God, I remember reading a story once about…) nearly as fast as they enter.

As if thinking it will make it so.

So instead we reassure our children that they are fine, that it’s no big deal, that kids get bloody noses all the time.

Because saying it out loud will make it so.

Sometimes I need these little reminders of how blessed I am–or whatever the Atheist Jew version of blessed might be. Whatever challenges I have right now, I have two healthy kids. We have a roof over our heads. We can afford the name-brand cereal this year. We can afford holiday gifts this year and maybe even some for other people. We have teachers we love. We have family we love. And the heat is on, even if it’s giving us bloody noses.


22 thoughts on ““Mommy, there’s blood…””

  1. Yes! Have had a lot of those moments myself, this year. It's tempting to feel sorry for myself because of the various challenges, which I won't go into, but there is much to be thankful for.

  2. I'm glad Thalia's okay. She's a trooper (and so are you, mama).

    I've been squashing down the same scary thoughts since our visit to the doc on Friday. It's no big deal.

  3. Thank you for this. Nor just for the story that I could SO relate to, but also for the reminder to whine a little less and to give thanks a little more.

  4. I know exactly what you mean. We had a scare with our baby this year, and even though I knew that it was really unlikely that she had cancer, and I knew that even if it was cancer, childhood cancer cure rates are pretty good these days (the cure rate for the kind it was possible my baby had is over 90%)…. that was a really hard week, and it would have been even if I hadn't had to hold my baby down for blood draws (something I never want to do again, thank you very much).

    You did great.

  5. I do the same thing…I have a tendency to think about the BAD “what ifs.” Enough to make me lose sleep at night. I often have to remind myself how lucky I am in the bigger picture!

  6. I think all moms might be programed to go the “worst case scenario” place, it's what tends to keep us prepared for the bad-enough things.
    I have been clutching my phone all day waiting for the nurse to call in the event that my son's cough is not allergy related. And NO I'm not THAT mom. No fever and he did not report feeling sick. Still, he once ended up in the emergency room after a cough turned into a spasm and he couldn't breathe. So today, neither can I.

  7. Last night, I heard on the news about an accident where a kid was injured. It took me forever to fall asleep last night. Thinking about the what-ifs.

    I said a silent prayer that the kid would be okay. Which is funny, since I'm not a praying type person. I also give money to St. Jude's and The Children's hospital every year and hope beyond hope that I never need their services. Maybe it's a parent thing? To think about the worse and yet, hope for the best?

    We can't put them in bubbles…even though at times it's a tempting though.

    I'm very glad Thalia is okay. I hope you guys have a great holiday.

  8. I'm so glad you posted this! My Cowboy's been getting bloody noses since the weather turned frigid, and I've been having that same “What if…” conversation with myself over and over! I haven't told anyone my silent fears, since speaking it would make it so! Glad to know another Mom is just as paranoid as I am!

    And it IS just the winter!! Right?

  9. I completely understand! I'm a nurse and I work in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, so when my daughter gets sick, I immediately go to the worst case scenario! In my case, I know too much! I've seen some horribly sick kids, and many that haven't made it. I try not to be the paranoid mother, but sometimes can't help it. My husband is a nurse too, but he helps keep me in check (keeps me from calling the doctor or running to the ER for every little sniffle or minor fever). It's SO hard to squash those fears, especially when I know what can happen!

  10. I have several friends who have lost children to terminal illnesses. So sometimes when the kids have been sick I have had that dark thought in my head, “what if?”

    But I usually remind myself that the population isn't shrinking so there is little reason to worry about that kind of horror stuff.

  11. We had a recent trip to the doctor's office for recurring nose bleeds. Rosie was waking up in the morning with dried blood all over her face, hands, jammies, pillow, everything.

    Doctor's diagnosis – nose picker. And I think she was right. Rosie's quite honest and when I asked her about it she told me that sometimes she couldn't get stuff outta there by blowing with a tissue so she dives on in with her wee little sharp-nailed finger. And I've caught her doing it since.

    Now I'm not accusing Thalia of being a nose picker. No-sir-ee. But. Ahem. You show me one kid who doesn't do it! As my doctor says, “why WOULDN'T she do it?”

  12. All I can say is I am so glad I found your blog. I think we are in a similar place this year as you were last year. And you lived to tell the story!

  13. Bloody noses can go straight to hell. Both my boys get them regularly in the winter and even though it's just a bloody nose, it kills me every time. Every. Time.

  14. The pregnancy nose bleeds? I got those, too. Kind of off-topic, but I know very few other people who did. And I've never had a nose bleed when I wasn't pregnant, so it's definitely a Thing for me.

    But on to the actual topic at hand – yes. I try my best to remain calm and measured in the situation. But inside, I'm losing it. Sometimes I think about things that happened months or years ago, and still lose it inside. What if it had gone just a little bit differently, what if he had landed 2 inches to the left, what if? What if?

    It's a peculiar form or torture, the constant worry over children.

  15. I'm waaaaay too anxious of all of the “what if's” that could go wrong with my children. It's no wonder they're always annoyed with me for checking on them, asking them if they're OK, not letting them go too far away from me, etc.

    But you're right, it does make you feel thankful to be in a good place at the moment. I know we're better off than we were last year, and while it's still not perfect, I have a lot less room to complain, so I'd better just focus on being grateful.

  16. My 4yr old son has always been very prone to bloody noses, particularly in the winter but sometimes in the spring/summer as well. He gets it from his dad. Must be a thin membrane in his nose or something. He is so terrified of getting them, I guess it's just seeing all the blood because it doesn't hurt at all. He has started getting hysterical when he has a runny nose too. He doesn't usually get them when we're out and about though – it's almost always at night. We've had to wash his stuffed elephant that he sleeps with countless times to remove the blood. Luckily we have a spare and they both have held up in the washing machine. These days, we swab the inside of his nose with a q-tip coated with vaseline before bed each night to prevent nosebleeds. They no longer scare us, just him!

  17. Clara has been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately (just wanting to, like, HANG OUT) and the middle of the night is a bad time for my brain. It goes to some very dark and scary places during those hours and I have been gripped with worry and anxiety over all the what-ifs. I think the huge social circles possible with the internet make it even harder because we “know” so many more children to whom horrible things happen than we otherwise would. It starts to seem so much more possible that it could happen to US, too.

  18. I tend to jump to worst case scenario immediately. . this is why we go through vodka a bit more quickly now that we're parents. Thankfully all of these things are almost always just nosebleeds/scraped needs/ear infections etc. And thank god for vodka.

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