Every night when Matt is trying to pray with the kids before bed Hannah has to interrupt the routine to plead for sympathy over some malady that has recently beset her. "Oh! Ow!" she'll suddenly cry, "Oh, my finger has an ouchy, and this is a really bad one!" Matt and I usually don't even look anymore, since we rarely find any more than a hangnail without so much as a speck of blood. Usually this drives Hannah to more ridiculous antics like rubbing lotion on the sore and wrapping it in a kleenex with scotch tape in order to convince us of the wound's near-fatal nature.
So two days ago when Hannah screamed and came running to me holding her right thumb tightly wrapped in her left hand, I took a deep breath and prepared to give my usual "don't make mountains out of molehills speech." But Hannah's face was white and her screams were an ever-growing creshendo of terror, and the thought crossed my mind that she might actually be hurt this time. I coaxed the hysterical Hannah to open her hand for a split second. In that split second I couldn't actually identify what the wound was, but I knew it was real. Her hand was filled with blood and a huge flap of skin hung loosely from her thumb. At first I thought she'd ripped her thumb-nail off, but soon found that a dime-sized chunk of skin had been ripped loose.
We washed and bandaged the wound as Hannah screamed and sobbed. Then she wrapped a paper towel around that and put pressure on the thumb until the blood stopped oozing through the band-aid. I finally got the story from her that she had gone over to Elijah who was crying in his swing and leaned over the swing to comfort him. "I don't know what happened!" she sobbed, "I just put my hand up here and then, Ouch!" She had placed her right hand at the top of the swing to steady herself as she leaned and her thumb had been caught as the ball rotated up into the swing, ripping a chunk of skin loose.
I held her and rocked her as she continued to cry and then I tried to cheer her up. "I know it hurts, honey," I consoled her, "this one really is a bad ouchy, and you can complain about this one at bedtime tonight if you want, OK?"
She laughed a little, then sunk back into despair, "When will it stop hurting? It will never stop hurting. Never! And I won't have any happy birthday tomorrow either! I could never have a happy birthday when my thumb hurts like this. Oh, why did this have to happen? Oh, it hurts so much, Mommy. Oh, it will never stop hurting, will it?"
"It will, Hannah," I said. "Little by little it will feel better and heal. You need to let it rest and find something else to think about while it heals."
"But I write with this thumb," Hannah countered, "and I color with it, and I hold books with it, and make crafts with it. Everything I like to do needs this thumb! I can't do anything! It's going to be the worst birthday ever!" Hannah also needed to call Matt and personally tell him about her injury, then proceed to talk about absolutely nothing else for the rest of the day. When Matt came home and asked to see her thumb, Hannah denied him, "No! I don't want to take the band-aid off because you might be tempted to touch it, and I don't want anybody to touch it, ever!"
But even with all the dire predictions Hannah awoke yesterday to her sixth birthday and had to admit that her thumb did feel a little better. My parents are in town as well, and this gave Hannah a good distraction from her worries. I snuck out to do some grocery shopping and decided that Hannah could use some Hello Kitty Band-Aids, and this further lifted her spirits. It's hard for a thumb to hurt much with Hello Kitty smiling back at you. Our new oven arrived around noon. (The previous one in this house had been leaking natural gas so the owners had bought a new one.) We broke in our new oven by baking two birthday cakes and boiling down blueberry juice for purple dye.
Toby hadn't had a birthday party three weeks ago when he turned three since our house was under quarentine with whooping cough, so we baked one cake for Toby with Mater on it and one cake for Hannah with a purple butterfly on it. The guests arrived, the presents piled up, and I do believe Hannah forgot completely about her injured thumb. In fact, I can't think of a better way to forget a sore thumb than with a butterfly cake and a pile of presents. I haven't heard a word about her injury today. I suspect that it's healing after all, but she's still not letting me peek under the band-aid.