As the mother of four children, I can proudly say that I have toured some of the finest Emergency Rooms on the eastern seaboard. Something I've noticed on these excursions, is that many hospitals these days have divided their emergency departments into separate sections for very specific treatments. There's the Chest Pain Clinic, to quickly diagnose and treat a heart attack before major damage to the muscle occurs. The Trauma Center, for situations where imminent death is a real concern. And the children's ER, because believe me, no body wants a sick or injured toddler in the mainstream waiting area for six hours, especially when the television has already been commandeered for CNN. All are ingenious ideas, however one faction of the population seems to have been overlooked. Mommies. It's not that mommies need more specialized treatment. It's that mommies need the six to ten hour vacation. Aah, to recline on a thin vinyl mattress, separated from the world by four rainbow colored shower curtains.
Here are some of the injuries you would find in a Mommy ER, if there were one.
1) The Severed Achilles Tendon is caused by repetitive attacks by the front axle of a grocery cart, manned by an underage driver, going 80 in a pasta zone, which clearly has a limit of 8 mph. This injury is recognizable by Mama's clenched teeth, the noticeable limp, and the broken sandal strap that flaps onto the ground as she hobbles onto the next aisle, to muffle her screams in the toilet tissue. This is why, to this day, we are no longer allowed to squeeze the Charmin.
2) The Facial Fracture is a direct result of holding a baby on your lap, with it's inability to control that disproportionately large head, as it bends forward and then suddenly whips back. And you thought those heads were supposed to be soft. HA!
3) The Concussion is caused by the unexpected contact with any seemingly harmless projectile, expertly shot from a playpen at a range of two to three feet. These head shots are no accident. They are meticulously planned by the tiny sniper, during moments of solitude that you refer to as "naps". First, they create a diversion by tossing an item, such as a string of purple snap-together beads, carelessly over the side. When Mama bends down to retrieve the toy for her precious, another item is launched, such as the heavy wooden cobbler's bench.
4) The Scalping is typically suffered during the exploration of a daughter's potential talent in the art of Cosmetology. I'll bet you never noticed how similar a kitchen whisk is to a round curling brush. But I'll bet your daughter noticed.
5) Puncture Wounds are typically found on the soles of a mother's feet, after wading through a sea of toys in the dark, while she lovingly attempts to tuck her sleeping angel into bed. Occasionally, the pointy metal jacks, or the gun muzzles of green plastic army men must be surgically removed.
6) Paralyzed Vocal Chords are a common injury, typically found in homes containing teenagers. It is the result of having to repetitively scream the announcement of dinner, at a decibel louder than the boombox that's playing ... oh, say, ... Duran Duran, for a completely random example, that I just pulled out of thin air. Really.
7) The Pelvic Tilt is a semi permanent condition, where one hip rises slightly above the other, creating a 165 degree obtuse angle. It comes from years of providing "on the go" seating for a child, as they grow from 10 to 30 pounds. Adding to this skeletal deformation is the fifty pound bag of supplies slung over the shoulder, opposite of the protruding hip, causing a mother to walk with a prominent lean. Not unlike Quasimodo.
8) Finger Cramps come from intensely gripping a pair of tweezers for hours on end, in an attempt to carefully remove foreign objects from various body orifices. Typically, nostrils harboring elbow macaroni, California raisins, or tiny Barbie accessories.
9) Eye Strain is a result of a mother's many adventurous expeditions through the thick jungle of hair follicles, searching for the elusive, microscopic lice egg. Some say they don't exist, but one can't overlook the numerous sightings reported on a daily basis from school nurses across the country.
...and finally, on occasion, a mommy will have to turn over her vinyl mattress to a daddy who is suffering from ...
10) The Unintentional Vasectomy. This comes from simply holding a child, who just happens to be wearing a pair of those hard shelled toddler shoes. No matter how tall the man, the shoe almost always extends to crotch level. This injury is brought on by either a "put me down" full bodied tantrum, or a simple excited "I just saw a doggie" leg kick. In any case, it is followed first by an unmistakable sound, similar to the reported Bigfoot "yowl", then the quick hand off of the child to nearest entity resembling a human (as detected through his blurred, watery eyed vision).
This post is dedicated to my own mom, who has generously taught me how to bring up these old motherhood injuries at opportune moments, to induce just the right about of guilt, thus inspiring the children to help out with chores, when I'm feeling lazy.