I have two children, and they are remarkably adept at hurting themselves. They bash into tables, chairs, doors, shelves, bedposts, pits filled with poisonous spikes, etc. One time my daughter was running around with a mirror, tripped, fell, and put her head through the mirror, shattering it to pieces. I probably shouldn't have let her run around with a mirror. That may have been unwise.
Anyway, most kids injure themselves constantly, suddenly, and with no reason. My son will go running down the street for 30 yards and then BOOM! He's eating pavement and screaming until he's puking up his own throat. Now, this is all perfectly normal. I think it's healthy for children, frankly. It calluses up the head, and it helps weed out any soft-headed loser kids that don't deserve to advance to adolescence. Nevertheless, when your little kid has a booboo, there are certain steps you have to follow, and here they are.
1. Hand the child over to his mother.
Your kid just got third-degree road rash on his elbow when he wiped out on that tire swing. You, awkward father that you are, are of NO help to him. My son begins to scream out, "MOMMY!" before the skin has even started to break. Mothers are soft, gentle, tender, and reassuring. Fathers are big, clumsy, and retarded, and they usually grab you too hard and in the wrong spot. I tried to soothe my kid once when he got hurt and he was like ARE YOU SHITTING ME?! WHERE IS MY MOTHER? CAN'T YOU SEE THAT THIS SITUATION REQUIRES A REAL PARENT, YOU DICK? Kids will actually cry out, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!" if you're a Dad and you try and soothe them. They're openly offended by the idea of you trying to help. You repulse them.
So that's the first and only step. UNLESS the mother isn't around. In that case, you're fucked. But you may as well try these extra steps.
2. Bring the child back inside the house.
This usually involves picking them up and carrying them as they thrash around like someone at a Pentecostal tent revival. My kid will injure himself, and then injure himself six more times on the way back to the house, to the point where I get mad and am like OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE, WILL YOU STOP HITTING YOUR HEAD ON THINGS? But he won't! He's got magnets in that little skull of his! And they're such strong magnets!
3. Wash the wound.
Booboos get all sorts of fun things in them: gravel, dirt, very small twigs, etc. All of these things can cause infection, where the raw skin turns white and slimy and the kid starts licking it because it tastes interesting. That's bad. To prevent that, you have to carry the thrashing child to the sink, turn on the water, and cleanse the wound while they scream out, "NO! NO!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" as if you're washing their hands in pure lava.
4. Dry the wound.
Look at the little bits of towel lint sticking to the open sore! That's gotta be a good sign.
5. Apply booboo cream.
When you have a particularly nasty booboo to deal with, you may need to clean it with hydrogen peroxide. Children do NOT like hydrogen peroxide. I tried to explain to my kid that it beat iodine. No dice.
"No. Not the iodine. Burn the germs off with a torch. Amputate my arm, but not the—AHHHHH!!!"
Most of the time, I skip the application of hydrogen peroxide because I don't want to deal with the screaming. Instead, I go right to the Neosporin. Kids don't fear Neosporin the way they fear hydrogen peroxide. By the way, I never squirt out the right amount of Neosporin on my finger. You need only one square millimeter of the stuff for any cut or laceration. But I always squeeze it out too fast and am left with a giant skeet blob of the stuff dripping down my fingertip. Stupid Neosporin. Why do you have to be so efficient in such small doses?
6. Begin the Band-Aid selection process.
Did you buy themed Band-Aids for your kid? WRONG MOVE. I bought themed Band-Aids for my kids once and have been paying for it ever since. They're more expensive than regular Band-Aids. And your kid will ALWAYS demand to examine each and every one of them to make sure they get the Band-Aid they like best. WILL YOU JUST PICK ONE, GOD DAMMIT?! I should have just bought plain Band-Aids. The fabric ones. Those things will stay on through a fucking hurricane.
7. Unwrap the Band-Aid.
When I was a child, you opened up the Band-Aid by pulling on a tiny red string and running it down through the package. This packaging sucked, and it hasn't been much improved since. You have to take the Band-Aid out of its little sheath, then you have to take off the two little sticky tabs on either side, both of which always fall to the floor and are MURDER to pick up. Then you have to keep the child from grabbing the thing and sticking it to his own eyeball. Then you have to put it on the wound and make sure it doesn't fold up and stick to itself, WHICH ALWAYS HAPPENS BECAUSE BAND-AIDS ARE FUCKED. And then you have to take out a whole new Band-Aid and start over.
8. Kiss your child.
There. Kisses make it better, don't they? No? What about some TV? Will that work? OK, let's go.
Top image by Jim Cooke.