Lesson One: Don’t Leave Jack Alone With Scissors and a Cardboard Box

It all started with my running headphones.

I had misplaced my favorite headphones, which are quite possibly my most important bit of running gear. I moved them a week ago from a place where I was afraid they would fall behind furniture and I put them someplace safe. Then I couldn’t find that someplace safe to save my life. Yesterday at about 5:30, I was digging through all of my desk drawers looking for them when suddenly there was screaming.

It wasn’t the “I’m just trying to get my brother in trouble,” screaming either, but rather the “I have made a gross error in judgment as pertains to my skill level with grown-up scissors” screaming.

Which leads us to Lesson One: I should never have left Jack alone with those scissors and that cardboard box.

Lesson Two: Pediatrician sisters are awesome—and calming. There was a lot of blood. Dripping blood and flapping skin. I applied pressure and hugs and immediately texted blurry photos of the finger to my pediatrician sister asking for validation in the fact that a finger might bleed a lot and maybe I didn’t need to take him to the ER because how important is a fingertip really?

Don’t worry. I won’t post that photo here.

sad Jack

I’ll show you this one instead, which might be worse—or at least sadder.

Lesson Three: Never mention stitches in front of Quinn. My sister said that if I were able to get Jack to a doctor, that stitches might be in order. There was more screaming when Quinn heard me discussing the possibility of such a thing. Quinn is highly suggestible.

Lesson Four: FINGERS BLEED A LOT. Or maybe it’s just Jack’s finger. Regardless, we went through a lot of gauze before I had to leave for my therapy appointment, which Quinn and Jack were required to come along for.

Lesson Five: Always check Jack’s feet before he leaves the house to make sure he followed through on your request to put shoes on. Corollary to Lesson Five: Always check Quinn’s body to make sure he followed through on your request to put a coat on.

Lesson Six: There is no better way to make a good impression on a therapist than to show up with one kid with no shoes, one kid with no coat, and one kid with a finger wrapped in a bloody washcloth. Well, actually, it might be even more awesome if one of those kids is carrying the milkshake you bought him for dinner to get him to shut the fuck up about the fact that you forgot his DSi because you were too busy trying to get out of the house and drive to therapy while still applying pressure to your bleeding child’s pointy finger.

Lesson Seven: If, after two and a half hours, a cut is still bleeding, maybe go see a doctor in person instead of via text message. After the appointment, I unwrapped the finger and saw that, while it was bleeding much less, it was still seeping blood a little. Even I know that’s too long, so I walked my socked-footed kiddo back to the car to take him to the urgent care clinic.

Lesson Eight: Never mention stitches in front of Quinn. Really. Alex had met us, so he was able to drive Quinn home. When I left them, Quinn was still freaking out about the possibility of stitches. In Jack’s hand. For which he wouldn’t even be around to see the stitching.

Lesson Nine: Immediately after you sign in and pay your copay at the urgent care clinic, your kid’s injury will immediately stop bleeding. 

Thank God it wasn't his iPad tapping finger.

Thank God it wasn’t his iPad tapping finger.

That washcloth, incidentally, was the replacement for the really bloody washcloth.

Lesson Ten: People are either not very observant or are way too polite to mention that your child is not wearing shoes. Seriously. No one mentioned it. Where were all the assholes of the world who are usually present and ready to criticize everything children do? Maybe the fact that he was wearing thick black socks helped.

Lesson Eleven: Once the wound stops bleeding, Jack will lose his aversion to looking at it and will instead begin to closely examine and poke at it. Jack, with interest: “You can see all the layers of skin!” (He was right.)

The Constant Lesson: Jack is super brave.

The Constant Lesson: Jack is super brave.

Lesson Twelve: Doctors can glue wounds shut instead of stitching them. HOORAY! Because I wasn’t looking forward to THAT scene.

Lesson Thirteen: Never mention stitches in front of Quinn. He waited up until we got home to see if there were stitches that he would then need to avoid.

Lesson Fourteen: Jack will want to tell EVERYONE he knows about his harrowing experience. On the way home from the clinic, Jack was already telling me what he was going to tell his friends about his finger. It was a long story, detailed and graphic. I hope the kids in his class are as excited to hear it as Jack is going to be to tell it. As he got on the bus this morning, I saw him showing it to the bus aide and driver. It’s his moment to shine.

Lesson Fifteen: Jack is awesome. But you knew that.

Lesson Sixteen: The small box on my desk is the safe place where I will put small things. Like headphones.


I know that you know that autism doesn’t make people plan violent acts. But I needed to say it somewhere. I wrote about that and how I go on after horrible things happen in the wold over at White Knuckle Parenting: On Newtown. Love to all of you.

20 thoughts on “Lesson One: Don’t Leave Jack Alone With Scissors and a Cardboard Box

  1. Jack is awesome! I’m glad everything turned out OK in the end. Did any of the docs recommend super glue in a pinch? It’s a good friend around here. My kids won’t keep bandaids on.

  2. I have done the whole leave something in a safe place but forget my safe place thing, too. Glad that no stitches were needed. That could have been bad…

    • Sadly, this isn’t the first time Jack has made it onto the street without shoes. He’s sneaky, that one.

  3. I’m just glad I’m not at all squeemish….’scuse me, I just need to….lie-down for a moment…with this bucket.

    I do remember being equally grateful for the invention of medical glue when our youngest needed some to stick his head together one time. Another area that bleeds profusely by the way.

  4. Well it was a really good example of why you need a therapist, at least, right? (Unless it was like a speech therapist or something. But I’ve heard you speak, so I’m thinking not.)

    I’m currently glued shut too. If Jack wants to come pick at the crumbly edges, I would be happy to oblige. They are itchy.

    • Seriously. I should have just walked in the door with them and said, “Fix me.” :)

      Here’s to hoping that both your and Jack’s glue holds!

  5. I am glad Jack is ok. And for Quinn’s sake, I am glad Jack didn’t need stitches.

    I know this will not surprise you after learning about the youtube foot physical therapy, but Husband has been known to glue his own cuts closed with superglue at home. If something like this every happens again, feel free to bring your kids over to my house. We have plenty of superglue for medical emergencies.

  6. I am SO lucky – the only time my kids bled was when they collided in the hallway outside the bedrooms and Andy’s tooth (that was ready to come out anyway) got knocked out. Beyond that – their childhood was pretty bloodless. Thank the good Lord above because I’m not sure how I would have handled it!
    And really, coats and shoes are over-rated anyway.

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