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Mama Said: Accidents happen, writes Emily Martin

"I know I complain about the children in this magazine every month, but I’m not hoping to eventually do away with them. . ." Emily Martin pays her first visit to A&E

So far it had been a totally unremarkable day and the Boy said he’d like beans on toast for lunch so into the kitchen we went as he curled in and out of my steps like a cat. I got the beans from the cupboard and noticed that somehow the tin had opened at the bottom and tomato sauce had gone everywhere.

I was alarmed and disturbed: these beans represented at least half an hour of investigative clean up. Tomato sauce was all over the bottoms of every packet and had congealed to the cupboard as an orange wax. “Oh no,” I thought to myself, this was going to need more than a cloth. Maybe a knife.

Meanwhile the Boy is still twirling round and round my legs, making me stumble and trip and saying “Mummy! Want beans!”, also he’s actually meowing as well, which is his new thing.

So, it’s not a defence, but please picture my disorientation before you judgmentally gasp in horror at the next bit. Beans everywhere, cupboard chaos, cat son. Hold the picture in your mind.

All our plates are in a (stupid) plate rack on the wall. “OK, OK, hang on,” I say, wondering how I’m going to tell him he can’t have these beans now, these beans are over. And as I put the leaking tin down and turn to reach up behind me for a plate. . . I knock it out of the rack and it crashes down squarely, or circularly, onto my little son’s beautiful head and then bounces onto the floor and smashes.

Mama Said's Emily Martin had her first A&E trip (37607935)
Mama Said's Emily Martin had her first A&E trip (37607935)

The number of friends whose first reaction to this story has been, “Oh no, poor baby is he OK?” and then their second reaction is, “Was it an accident?” is about. . . I’d say, hmmm, all of my friends.

Guys, yes. I know I complain about the children in this magazine every month, but I’m not hoping to eventually do away with them. This column hasn’t always just been a drawn-out process enabling me to cover my tracks before I eventually leave them in the woods near a house made of gingerbread and a terrible witch. I love them. I’m trying to keep them alive.

I’m always hearing of people going to A&E with their kids following household accidents. Always seeing on Facebook “So-and-so has ‘checked in’ to Addenbrooke’s Hospital”. “OMG hun, you OK?” and it’s followed with a photo of a miserable-looking, bandaged child and a statement, “This little solider has been a brave bunny today, no more scooter for a while.”

But fortunately, until this fateful day, I’d only ever been on the observing side of the dreaded glass doors, so it was all new to me as I negotiated the carpark and carried my poor baby from the car, his blonde feathery hair turned pink from blood and me knowing that there’s no way he’s going to let anyone touch him when we get inside. He won’t even let me snip his fringe, let alone allow anyone to glue his head.

Typically, in my dramatic rush to get here I’d neglected to bring his buggy, or our coats, or an umbrella and so on this day of utterly torrential rain, there I was, scurrying from the car, a baby swaddled in a scarf and the whole scenario looking completely dramatic and out of control.

Sympathetically, kindly and I’d say even lovingly, they greeted us at the door, names, labels, took us into a room and just fully sorted it all out. The Boy’s head was glued by two people, a nurse to hold and a doctor to glue, a ‘play specialist’ to distract him with a smiling face, iPads and books, plus a paramedic came in and stayed chatting to me and making things feel cheery. That’s four whole people just for us. Simultaneously fixing us, reassuring us and, I’m sure, subtly scoping me out to see if I’m actually a dangerous liability to others. How fantastic though. And, luckily for me, they let us leave together.

Happy to be heading off home, after less than an hour, with a cheerful and glued son, the effusive thankyous don’t feel like enough, do they?

“It’s 100 per cent true what they say about you NHS people,” I said. And the nurse narrowed her eyes in feigned suspicion and said, “Why? What’ve they been saying..?”


READ MORE: Mama Said: Emily Martin grew up as an only child. Honestly, you have no idea. . .

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