Blood, Snot and Tears

Mini Minx made a hole in the new Burghead to Cummingston cyclepath with her head. She’s ok. I’ve aged 20 years. The end.

Setting off for some fun

Setting off for some fun

The detail:

The minxes have been badgering me to let them go cycling for the past week. Mini has steadfastly refused to go on the childseat at the back of my bike for weeks, now. The thought of trying to shepherd all 3 on bikes safely along the edge of a busy road, past thundering articulated lorries and speeding vans filled me with mortal fear. However, little Mini has been getting faster and faster on her little balance bike, so in a haze of extreme sleep deprivation, this morning I agreed.

It started very well and just got better and better: all 3 ate hearty breakfasts, reminding each other that they’d need lots of energy to cycle all the way to Cummingston and back. Normally it’s a fight to get more than a bite of honey toast past them in the morning. Then instead of our normal fights over suitable clothes (all 3 prefer flimsy pink, glittery, frothy nonsense over sensible clothes. They do NOT get that from my genes!), they actually requested thick jeans and long-sleeved jackets. As I shuttled back and forth to the garage, fetching bikes and helmets and gloves and a partridge in a pear tree, they stood safely at the door. There weren’t even complaints when I put a tissue, a snack bar and a milkshake carton in a little backpack for each of them. I got myself in trainers, grabbed the Connecta Sling “just in case” (forgot the sun cream, doh), then headed out the door.

backpacksI felt like I was dreaming: all 3 girls kept to the side of the road. When cars approached, they hopped off their bikes and walked, or nipped into driveways. They kept together in a group. They kept to the inside of the road. They called warnings to each other about oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

Yes: these are the same 3 girls who can’t successfully WALK down the road to school without being reminded to look, listen, breathe in and breathe out again. I couldn’t believe my eyes. My step lightened. I might have smiled a bit. I started to praise the little blighters for showing such care and common sense. I especially praised zoomy little Mini, who was nipping along so quickly that I had to jog. The sun shone, a gentle breeze cooled us, the sea gleamed green: life was bloody wonderful!

snacktimeEventually, around the time we were level with Cummingston, Mini complained of being tired. Her sisters were up for cycling all the way to Hopeman and back, via Roseisle forest and the swings, but they listened to their baby sister, and suggested that we stop for some ‘energy’. I showed them how to get their bikes off the cyclepath and lay their jackets over the thistles so they could sit in relative comfort. They demolished their snackbars and milk shakes. I spent the time telling them how proud I was of each of the them: how they’d encouraged each other; how the elder 2 had held back and kept Mini company; the way Midi had passed on Maxi’s top tips on how to conserve energy cycling; Maxi for warning her sisters as they’d approached a slippy bit of the path; how they’d all looked out for each other, were safe in traffic, and been loving sisters.

“If you keep being this safe and lovely to each other”, I beamed, “I’ll let you cycle to your new school in August!”

Although all 3 were raring to go on to Hopeman, I decided to call it quits and started to head back to a chorus of minx groans. But better to feel they could have gone further than to face the prospect of carrying Mini and her bike up that hill home!

Maxi had a little wobble and fell off her bike with a loud howl. I helped her get her bike chain on again. She wanted to tell me all about her microscopic graze, but I was painfully aware that Midi and Mini had continued, and that there was a little downhill bit coming up. As I set off towards the younger 2, I saw Mini take the wee slope at full tilt, so I broke into a run, shouting over my shoulder to Maxi to catch up.

Too late. With a crash, Mini lost control on the downhill turn and fell off the side of the cyclepath. The cyclepath is just a smooth ribbon of tarmac, laid in a strip, so the edges drop a steep 4 inches or so slope down to rough stones then the dirt. It’s a sharp edge, and although Mini was wearing a helmet, as she tumbled off her bike she took the full force of the edge of the cyclepath on her forehead, right above her eyebrow. I didn’t realise that, though – I thought her helmet had taken the impact. She screamed. I picked her up and held her tight.

I’d let Mini take off her padded jacket because it was so warm. Yep: she was wearing a short-sleeved teeshirt. Her screams didn’t really abate, so I peeled her off my shoulder to check for grazed arms. I wasn’t expecting a thick river of dark purple blood running down her little face. Crap. Where was it coming from? It gushed a bit. My insides froze. It gushed again. Ah, gotcha – that black line there on her forehead. I grabbed a ball of tissues and pressed it hard on the cut. She shrieked louder. I told her something about it being all ok, that Mummy was here. Y’know, in case she was confused that I was hovering 2 miles overhead, or something. Maxi wailed a bit. Midi declared, “I feel sick!”

I’m not sure how I corralled them, but I got out the Connecta, got Mini in it on my chest, pressed the tissue to her head hard (it was still running lots of blood… don’t panic, head-wounds bleed… give it a minute… she’s hot and bothered and it’ll look worse than it is…). I grabbed her balance bike and helmet, calmed Midi and Maxi down, explained to them that we were going to go very fast back home and set off as fast as I could. Maxi offered to carry Mini’s backpack. I accepted gratefully, but it slowed us down while I transferred the pack. Then Maxi lost her bike chain again. Cursing, I helped her fix it. Then my shoe lace flapped undone. Holy God Almighty, will I ever get off this path? Mini whimpered and shivered. “I’m tired!” she wailed. I could feel panic clutching at the edges of my head. I walked faster.

I thought about whether to stop and call an ambulance. Nope – too hard to get to, and I’m not sure it’s that bad. I looked at the cut. Just oozing now. But oh my lurching stomach, it looks like a dent in her forehead. I looked at sleepy Mini. Concussion? Midi asked if Mini was going to die. In spite of myself I sniggered. And walked all the faster. I thought about how long to get home and to the car – maybe 20 minutes? Then another 10 minutes to A&E? How could I do it faster? Could I phone my friend J and abandon bikes and bags and 2 elder girls while I ran up the hill to the car with Mini on my chest? No – what if she wasn’t in? I stopped to fix Maxi’s bloody stupid annoying chain again. I told Midi again that Mini was fine and just needed a little stitch. Stitch… stitch… stitch… oh you doughball, what about the GP’s surgery in the village? Yep, faster to get there than home. But were they open? We’d arrive around closing time. I stopped to catch my breath and phone them. Shitty stupid head, don’t know the number and it’s not under the eminently sensible ‘Doctor’ in my mobile. No idea what I put it under. Crap, crap, crap. March on.

Maxi and Midi suddenly gained the ability to cross roads safely by themselves as I blazed a trail in front. After 15 minutes or so of marching / wobbly cycling, we swooped through the thankfully open door of the surgery and called for help. The receptionist ushered us through to the nurse. I sat the elder 2 down in the waiting room and carried the still-crying and clinging Mini through.

The lovely comforting nurse touched the cut and it gaped open, in a stubby T shape, very clean cut. And deep… “Oh my God!” I gulped as I stared down the deep hole. The nurse fetched the doctor. They agreed on steristrips (no glue). She applied 4 steristrips in a star shape, covered it with a dressing, reminded me of different reasons to go straight to A&E, then we were off, showering everyone in profuse thanks as we tumbled out. Well, I virtually had to haul out Maxi, who was determinedly talking to anyone with ears.

Mini wanted to walk home, clutching my hand, still whimpering. I was happy to hobble along: I’d hurt my back holding the dumb balance bike out to the side for over a mile, with a heavy 3 yo on my chest and one arm twisted round to press her cut shut. And I realised I’d given myself blisters on each foot. Mini checked herself for injuries: sore knees, grazed forearms, scratched tummy, one bashed palm. It took maybe half an hour to walk the rest of the way home.

Normal service now resumed

Normal service now resumed

After a drink of cold fizzy juice (normally only a birthday treat), my youngest Evel Knievel was back to normal, especially after a chat on the phone to Daddy. She’s wavering between not wanting to cycle again, and wanting to get back on. We’ve chatted about how everyone falls off their bikes at some point, even Mummy (comically, in front of a large group of RAF Regt recruits, who were far too frightened by the sight of the flabby, flapping skirt sailing through the air to laugh). Speaking of which, Midi’s been flapping around her, and come down from bed 3 times tonight already to tell me that Mini’s head is bleeding again (it’s not – it’s just oozing slightly). She’s asked to sleep beside Mini (no!) until I go to bed and take her into my bed with me (good idea – I will!)

I hate head injuries – they make me come over all irrational and panicky. Get well soon, my baby.