Two Chin Injuries, Four Stitches, One Dishonest Doctor

My 4-year-old son came home from school one day last week with a large bruise on the left side of his chin.  When I asked what had happened, he said he’d been crawling along, he’d slipped, and his chin had slammed down on the floor.

“Why were you crawling?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

How ridiculous of me to have expected him to…

We’ve had chin-injury status updates every day since, and he announced to me tonight, upon noticing that his bruise is almost gone, “My body is stronger than my bruise.  Bruises are strong, but not as strong as bodies.”

And, he’s right.

When I was 5 and in kindergarten, I hurt my chin too.  But, I required stitches, and I still have the scar—the half-inch, straight line of the injury, plus four perfect stitch marks across it.  Thankfully, the scar is just under my chin.

My son’s chin injury made me remember mine all over again, so I told him about it one night before bed. 

Getting hurt was the biggest event of my kindergarten career, and it occurred on the day that we made popcorn in class—a very special occasion.  Another girl and I were playing on the wooden seesaw located inside our classroom, as our teacher, Mrs. Madden, busied herself with the popcorn preparation.  As we seesawed up and down, up and down, one of us either pushed up too vigorously or landed too abruptly.  As a result, my chin slammed into the wooden plank—and a metal part attached to it. 

My mom had to pick me up from school to take me to the hospital, and Mrs. Madden sent a plastic baggie full of popcorn along for the ride. 

My next memory is of lying on an examination table, with a doctor and a nurse standing over me.  The doctor explained that my wound required stitches and that he would give me an ice cream cone if I didn’t cry during the procedure.  So, as he inserted four stitches under my chin, I repressed the tears as they threatened to show themselves. 

I absolutely did not cry, which was no small feat. 

As a reward, I received not the ice cream cone that I’d been promised, but a stupid plastic nurse puppet. 

To top off the day, I wasn’t able to eat the popcorn because chewing hurt my chin.

But, the worst part wasn’t that I’d been hurt or that I’d needed stitches to close up my chin:  It was the shock that an adult would downright lie to me.

Thirty-six years later, my son, whose favorite food is vanilla ice cream, was also incensed.

I love that kid.

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