Misadventures in Solo Parenting

Will returned yesterday from a five-day business trip to California, and MAN am I glad that these trips are not a frequent thing. I have mad, mad respect for all parents whose spouses travel regularly, because this ish is BANANAS.

Things started out just ducky. Natalie and I daytripped up to NH to visit my grandparents and had a lovely time. She even took a two hour nap, despite my being completely unprepared and not having her sleepsack, noise machine, or lovey. While she was napping, my grandmothers and I sorted through piles and piles of knitting and other crafting magazines that one grandmother has been holding onto for decades.

If anyone is thinking about gift ideas for this Christmas, I’m thinking this zebra sweater would be perfect. For literally anyone.

2014-10-19 15.12.31And then our fun really started on Monday. Around 5pm Natalie was darting back and forth trying to avoid a diaper change, when she lurched into the bathroom and picked up something sitting on the edge of the tub.

My heart stopped as I realized she was holding my razor blade, that I had put there so I’d remember to change the blade. And then promptly forgotten about, until she picked it up, looked straight at me, and pressed her thumb into the blade.

I don’t think my feet even touched the ground as I flew into the bathroom and grabbed it away from her, but she’d already cut herself. I spent the next half hour barricaded in the bathroom with her as I assessed the damage (not too bad – it didn’t look like she needed even one stitch, but it wouldn’t stop bleeding, and that worried me) and tried to put pressure on it and bandage it up.

Well. Have you ever tried putting a bandage on a toddler’s thumb? I’d rather trim all three cats’ nails by myself then try that again.

The process went something like this:

Step 1: Strip your toddler down so she’s not bleeding all over her clothes. Take off her diaper and realize that she has pooped. #areyoukiddingme

Step 2: Clean up the poop and toss the baby in the tub, thinking that at least the mess (and baby) will be contained, so you have a better shot at wrapping up that thumb.

Step 3: Baby laughs at your attempts to hold a washcloth to her thumb. Literally. Laughs and smears little bloody handprints all over everything.

Step 4: Realize this is not working at all. You need her out of the tub.

Step 5: Wrestle with a slippery, naked, bloody baby who would literally rather do anything than let you wrap her thumb up in gauze.

Step 6: Pin her between your legs, sprout another pair of arms, and somehow, miraculously, wrap up her thumb and tape it. WINNING.

Step 7: Baby rips it off in half a second.

Step 8: Swear profusely.

Step 9: Repeat steps 6-8 about ten times.

Step 10: Finally, finally, FINALLY get the bandage back on. Hold her arm up, wrap baby in a towel, and go in search of something to put over the bandage.

Step 11: Locate fleece mitten that’s two sizes too small. Shrug. Stuff it on baby’s hand. That’ll do.

Step 12: Speak with nurse on call, who advises a visit to urgent care just to check it out. Most likely it’s fine and doesn’t need any medical attention, but better safe than sorry.

Step 13: Go to urgent care, where a nurse who also has a 14-month old is extremely sympathetic and does a much, much better job at wrapping and taping a bandage than you.

Step 14: Exhausted baby and mama return home. Baby eats a few bites of dinner, throws the rest on the floor. OK TIME FOR BED LET’S GO LET’S GO.

Step 15: Close the door to baby’s room, and she’s asleep before you even leave the room. Go back to the bathroom to survey the damage.

Step 16: Bathroom looks like Dexter’s kill room. Close the door and ignore it. You’ll deal with it tomorrow.

Step 17: Eat almost a whole box of Kraft mac ‘n cheese straight from the saucepan. Contemplate whether or not you’re actually going to write about this, because wow does it make you look like a terrible parent.

Natalie is fine. She didn’t appear to be in any pain and wasn’t bothered at all by the bandage, which she only had to wear for the following day.

2014-10-20 19.10.51

And that was only Monday! Nothing else truly terrible happened, which is excellent because I didn’t have the mental reserves for dealing with it.

Oh except for the part where I almost burned the house down.

2014-10-22 18.02.45

Why yes that IS a melted plate! I made rice and forgot the burner was still set to simmer, and put Natalie’s plate down on the burner while I was serving her food.




  1. Hitting the Reset Button | Happy Helmraths - November 16, 2014

    […] times a day, Will sent me adorable photos and videos of Natalie every day, and nobody grabbed any razor blades or had to go to urgent care! […]

  2. Not My Finest Hour | Happy Helmraths - August 28, 2015

    […] Are you, too, noticing any safety concerns? Sensing an impending disaster? Feeling a tingling sense of foreboding, kind of like that time I described a razor blade just sitting innocently on the side of the tub? […]

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