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Avoid porridge – and other Do’s and Don’ts for when your toddler’s in a plaster cast

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Ramona got her cast taken off her broken leg this morning. It couldn’t have been better timing as she has become a total wriggle monster in bed these past two nights. Feet in the face whilst cosleeping is one thing, being biffed in the eye with a whopping cast cladded leg is quite Next Level. So, my bruised brow and I are quite celebratory.  Cue the triumphant trumpet chorus and rara skirted can can girls. (That’s how you celebrate, yeah?) And more importantly, cue the bath. She hasn’t been really clean for the whole month she has had that puppy on.

We have learnt a few things, things which I think may help others who find themselves on the treacherous road littered with broken toddler limbs. Sooo..

DON’T

Apply the law of thrift and create makeshift waterproofing out of bread bags for bath time. We had the cast sopping wet three times then gave up bathing.

Use google to (mis)diagnose chicken pox and then cover child in porridge. No good. Especially when boycotting baths.

Leave the house. Unless you want the all the coals of motherly judgement and disdain heaped upon your head in the playground. (When I told my neighbour, usually the kindest soul in town, she exclaimed “Where WERE you?” as if I had left my darling climbing wheelie bins behind the Peckham Plex. I was toughened to this response by then.)

DO

Buy a waterproof cast, they are not cheap but in hindsight, probably worth it. Someone even tweeted me a link. I mean really, why would you not, you old penny pincher, you.

Keep giving them baths.

Avoid porridge rub downs.

See, haven’t we all learnt alot.

But for real, I did feel this was a bit of a lesson in the resilience of kids. I was SO  devastated when Ramona broke her leg, really, soap opera devastated. Yet she barely batted an eyelid. After 5 days she was crawling, 1 week climbing and after 2 weeks she was walking with the cocky confidence and limpy swagger of every chap round these ways.

Ramona kicking back in the park today with monks and minus cast

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One broken little leg

I looked up just in time to see her fall from the window ledge, straight as an arrow to land on her feet, to watch her crumble into a ball. I was close enough to scoop her up just in time to get the gale force scream of pain, to register how much more primal this scream sounded, how much more panicked her scrabbling feet against my stomach were. I was quick but not quite quick enough.

She was still crying after 20 minutes, I hoped she was just tired. After  a quick snooze she was still crying but this time it was obvious she didn’t want to stand up. We thought we had better take her to the A and E, just to be safe. It would of course be nothing, just tiredness, a bit of a shock. It had only been a small fall, half a metre, she’s always climbing, and always falling.

Goodness, this optimism of mine can get a bit ridiculous sometimes.

Even as I sit here writing, my girl fast asleep, her little broken leg in a tiny cast, my brain is still piping up “It is only a fracture, just a toddler break, they happen aallll the time” as if I’ve ever seen a tiny kid in plaster. As if broken toddler bones are as common as nits.

It was one climb too many after a tiring playful day, a window ledge too tempting a challenge, a bit of kids furniture too wonky, a fall too awkward, a tibia bone too supple. As I lay in bed last night after her midnight cast, grabbing at puffs of sleep that teased me with their coming and going my mind was on loop, replaying the child size electric piano lurch from under her feet, my heart lurching with it.

But it was only when the Doctor at the Fracture Clinic this morning said “six to eight weeks recovery” that a tear escaped. But this little one! This funny little one with her running! Her dancing! Her climbing!

She climbs all day. I’ll come in the room to find her on top of a chair, her hands in the air, face to the ceiling, as if worshipping the lightshade. She takes on the ladders in the playground with fierce determination. Tables, drawers, toys, gates, bins, walls; all are just challenges to ascend.

I’ve never hovered, always certain that she’ll be fine. They know their limits (and she will be limitless!) and they are robust little rascals (pity that tibia didn’t get the robust memo.)

Gosh, as she pats her cast and looks at me in anguish, I regret this attitude. I should have been hovering!!!! (Shouldn’t I?)

Not letting her climb, of all things, while helping her big cousins put on a Show. (It was going to be a Spectacular Show too, with jumpings and heroes and flying boys.)

To think I was there, a metre away. But not quite there enough.