Our headbanger


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

There is no sense of dread quite like it.
Those horrible few moments after something happens your child and you are trying to establish how bad the damage is.
It may be a fall, which does not bring any fatal risks, but the sense of dread is still strong.
Séimí took a tumble last week and whacked his head off a footpath. I was right behind him. It happened so innocuously, but the noise as his head practically bounced off the path made me instantly aware the damage was not going to be innocuous.
As I scooped him up I saw plenty of blood. His forehead was cut, but the volume of blood suggested to me there was damage elsewhere. Had he broken his nose? Smashed his teeth? Blood was coming out from his mouth which had me very worried about the latter.
I’d like to think I would be calm in such moments, but there and then, I was in a blind panic.
I rushed Séimí down to where Aisling, my sister and her husband and the rest of the kids were.
I think I might have shouted ‘quick’. The blood was all over poor Séimí and on my clothes too. That was incidental. I needed to know what the damage was.
A few sheets of kitchen roll later and the source was established. It was all coming from the cut in the centre of his forehead. It was incredible the amount that flowed from there. What I had seen in his mouth was blood that went straight in there on impact and gave me a false idea of what had happened. I can’t say there was instant relief, because he was still bawling and there was a lot of blood, but the worst panic had abated.
The next job was trying to get a doctor after 6pm on a Friday evening. Thankfully, the kids’ doctor, Dr O’Leary, was still at work and told us to come straight over.
Three stitches across his forehead were needed. For a 19-month-old child, Séimí was very good. We did have to swaddle him though while the stitches were being administered carefully.
Aisling is worried about a scar. I don’t think there will be one, but scars can be a badge of honour for boys, whereas girls would typically be more put out about it.
My emotional scars are healing too, but I won’t forget the thud of his little head on the concrete in a hurry. Or the sense of dread.
You can’t wrap them up in cotton wool. Most incidents, even a nasty one like that, are relatively superficial in the long run. But at the time it doesn’t feel like that, trust me!
> In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.