I broke my daughter

It started with dog poo.

My daughter was running and jumping and skipping along, as she does.

She did some sort of beautiful ballet leap and landed straight in the middle of some dog poo.

Why did she do that? Why didn’t she see it?

‘I thought it was mud.’

So she dragged her shoes on the grass and they looked OK, but I wasn’t letting them in the house. So they sat outside the front door.

The next morning, she put her shoes on outside the front door. And I shut the door ready to set off for school. And it wouldn’t budge. And there was a strange noise. And I realised what I’d done.

She didn’t cry. Not at first.

Then she screamed. She screamed and screamed and screamed. I’d never heard her scream like it before. There were tears. Lots of them. Clearly, she wasn’t going to school. Not at that minute, anyway.

Her brother set off on his own.

And we sat down and I held her as she screamed and the tears and snot went everywhere. And she still had her violin attached to her back. We’d left a trail of stuff – my headphones and running belt, her water bottle and book bag. And our shoes. We’d taken them off to avoid messing up the carpet, even in all the panic.

Daddy didn’t answer the phone. The builder offered to help. I was going to send him to find my husband. And still my daughter screamed. She wanted Grandma. Grandma would freak at the sight of her and the sound of her. She hates to see the kids in distress even more than I do. I rang Grandma to find Daddy and we sat there and waited. The two of us wrapped around each other, both crying.

It was broken, for sure. Nothing else could make her cry that much.

There was a nasty bruise across the nail. She couldn’t look at it. I put frozen peas on it, but she said it felt worse. So we just sat there and cried together.

Daddy and Grandma brought Calpol and cuddles and words of reassurance, combined with shock. The screaming subsided to silent tears.

The two of us drove to hospital. Again. She’d been to the physio last week. She had an appointment with the paediatrician the next day and an MRI scan the following day. I’d had a pain killing injection there last week and had an appointment with the dermatologist later in the week. We were always at the damn hospital.

She found the walk from the car hard. She was shaking and felt cold. I worried she was going into shock. So I picked her up and carried her, to keep her warm.

The doctor didn’t think it was broken. It was bruised and swollen and painful, for sure. He could see where it was injured – right at the bottom of the nail. But it was the tip that hurt. It even felt weird to me when I touched it.

There was a light grey shadow on the X-ray. Maybe it was the nail? There certainly wasn’t an obvious break to me. But what do I know? I’m not medically trained. I can’t read X-rays.

Daughter, Broken finger, Hospital, Xray

That grey shadow at the end? That’s my daughter’s fingertip in the wrong place

The Calpol had kicked in. My daughter was feeling calmer. It was badly bruised. She’d be strapped up and we’d go back to school, both feeling a bit silly for over-reacting.

‘Well, you’ve broken it.’

The light grey shadow? That was the break.

I felt sick and upset all over again, the obligatory hospital vending machine Doritos churning up inside me. I’d broken my own daughter’s finger. Not deliberately, of course. But it was still me. I still felt it was my fault.

The injury wasn’t where he’d expected to see it – it wasn’t the bruised nail. It was the very tip of the finger. He’d never seen a break there before. But it was exactly where my daughter had said it hurt.

My daughter wasn’t upset by having a break. Not at that point, anyway. No doubt there will be upset to come. She was cheerful, hyper almost. I think it was the adrenaline kicking in. She was chatting away happily.

She had her badge of honour. Her first break. Her fingers were strapped together and she went off to school. She hadn’t been skiving. She hadn’t just badly bruised her fingers. She’d broken something and, when you’re 9, that’s cool.

For me, not so much. I’d broken my daughter and I felt sick.

Broken fingers, Daughter, Hospital

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ahhhh glad she’s ok now, it’s one of those things we absolutely dread isn’t it? Big hugs to you all, sounds like it was quite the morning x

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    • Thanks very much! It was a horrible start to the day! 🙁 x

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  2. I was discussing ‘worst parenting moments’ with a patient yesterday and reassuring her how we’ve all done things by accident that have hurt our children. It’s a hideous feeling isn’t it. I was telling her how all 3 of my children had had their fingers caught in the car door and every single time it was me who slammed it. You think I’d have learnt from my mistakes but it’s just that split second when you don’t think. How you wish you could turn back the clock. Kid’s fingers heel really well and I’m sure she’ll be back playing her violin soon. Your bruise on your heart may take a little longer xx

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    • Thanks very much, that’s reassuring to hear it should heal quickly. My kids have had a lot of accidents over the years, caused either by themselves or one of their siblings and this is the first one caused by me, so I supposed I haven’t done badly. It still feels awful, though! x

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  3. Oh love, her broken finger and your broken heart, it’s awful when stuff like this happens. I remember trying to clip M’s nails when she was a baby and making her finger bleed, I sat sobbing on the bathroom floor that I’d drawn blood from little buba. Big hugs and I hope her finger and your heart make swift recoveries xx

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    • Thanks very much, it’s an awful feeling. Her finger is still really hurting now, but we’re back to the fracture clinic today, so hope to find out more about when it will be better! x

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  4. While feeling sorry for her my biggest sympathy goes to you – I know how awful I would feel! Don’t be too hard on yourself – so easily done – I am constantly having to tell Syd not to put his fingers in door hinges at the moment because of this sort of thing! Treat yourself to some green and blacks and remember you are an awesome mum! Xx

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    • Thank you very much, that’s such a lovely thing to say! 🙂 x

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  5. Aww! Sending love and hugs to you both! Accidents happen…..I hope she feels better soon!

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    • Thank you! I’m hoping it doesn’t take long to heal. She decided to only have one day off dance, bless her!

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  6. My son broke his thumb, in school, a few weeks ago, I felt sick that I wasn’t there. We can’t win, as parents, we feel guilt over everything. I’m sure she’ll find a way to use that guilt on you, soon enough xxx

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    • That must have been horrible to not be there, it just shows that parents feel guilt both ways. My eldest has broken his shoulder and his arm and I wasn’t there either time 🙁 x

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  7. You see? All kids want to break something! Until it actually happens and hurts like hell 🙁 I do hope that she’s still her chipper self today. I don’t suppose she slept too well. That flipping hospital! You must be sick of it. x

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    • We are definitely sick of the hospital! She slept well the first night, but not so well the second night. It’s still hurting, so I hope it doesn’t last too long as it’s already getting her down. x

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  8. Ouch! Glad she’s ok. It is a bit of a badge of honour breaking something as a kid.

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    • Thanks very much. I think they like the idea of it – it seems cool until they realise how much it hurts!

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  9. Oh Sarah I was wincing reading this, heaven help me if any of my kids break something or get a particularly nasty gash at any point that pours with blood. You poor thing, I just know how awful you will be feeling but don’t – it was an accident! Sending hugs xx

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    • Bless you, thanks, that’s such a lovely thing to say! My poor kids have had so many silly accidents over the years, but it never gets easier seeing them in pain. x

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  10. Aww this must have been so awful for you both, but accidents happen. I hope you are both ok today and that it is a long while before you are back at the hospital!!

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    • Thanks very much! We’ve definitely had enough of going to the hospital!

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  11. Thanks very much, it was a horrible thing to happen, but I’m sure she will! x

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  12. Oh hon, these things happen. I feel for you. My best friend did this to my finger when I was about 7 and chopped it right off. She still feels terrible about it. x

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    • Oh my goodness! That’s a horrible thing to happen! So many people have told me about shutting their own kids’ fingers in doors since this happened, so I feel bad, but perhaps not quite as bad. x

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  13. You really will be needing your own private space in the hospital car park soon won’t you? Poor thing, that must have been awful and I hope she is ok

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    • It was horrible and it’s still hurting a week later, but she’ll be fine.
      It’s ridiculous how much time we spend at the hospital!

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  14. Oh poor darlings. I shut Natty’s finger in a door last month but just the nail is coming off. Main broke 3 fingers on Xmas day trying out her roller skates. It’s sore but they heall well after a couple of months. I understand how you feel, but like you say it’s the first accident in your entire career as a parent. Much love and healing to you all x

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    • Thanks very much! I remember reading about your daughter’s fingers on Christmas day – that must have been horrible. It’s amazing how many parents seem to have shut their kids’ fingers in doors 🙁 x

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