“Mom-meeeeeeeeee!” my 3-year-old screamed at the top end of his vocals. “Help me!”

One would think that, upon hearing this noise, I would have dropped everything and headed out to help my son. But I was in the middle of switching a load of laundry — and honestly, my youngest son seems to use that tone of voice for many things. It could be that his cracker fell on the floor, the hound knocked him over, the bookcase toppled over on top of him or maybe just that he needed another glass of water. The next shout made me drop my laundry basket.

“Blooooooooood. Blood. Mommy, Blood!”

I bounded up the stairs two at a time. My toddler was sitting on the counter, a Pampered Chef knife and sheath lay next to him along with little droplets of blood. He wasn’t crying, but he was looking at his bleeding index finger in panic.

I pinched his finger, and hauled him into the bathroom. He had done a good job of cutting it, and it took a bit for the bleeding to subside. He wasn’t excited about a bandage on his finger — he thought that a kiss would be a better idea. It seemed to take a lot of talking to convince him that mommy’s kisses were like Santa — they’re the ones with the magic — but sometimes they need the elf bandages to help get the work done. It took a bit, but he finally decided bandages would be OK as long as they were kissed too.

A bandage on a 3-year-old doesn’t last very long — between dirt and play and water — and I seemed to be changing or replacing it every few hours. Somewhere in this period, my son’s other fingers started to feel real bad for his index finger. Suddenly, they all needed bandages. Again, bandages on 3-year-olds don’t last long — whether they are on real or sympathetic hurts. We blew through an entire box in just a few days and started on a second. It soon became apparent that it would be more economical to buy something other than the fabric, flex bandages — seeing as how the chance of one of them lasting from breakfast to lunch was about as good as coaxing an egg out of my rooster.

My toddler became obsessed with his bandages. Thankfully, over the course of a few weeks, his other fingers stopped having “hurt pains,” and we could cut back on the bandage usage. Well, at least the bandage usage on his un-cut fingers. The bandages that were saved now were used to “help” the toilet seat stay down and the bathroom door to stay shut. A crack on my cellphone screen was “fixen” (the opposite of broken) with a brightly-colored bandage. Bandages also started popping up on torn items of clothing, or on body parts that had moles or bruises.

Bandages even ended up in my hair after my toddler saw me doing a french braid one morning.

“What doing, Mommy?” he asked.

“Fixing my hair,” I replied.

“Oh, why Mommy’s hair broken?” he asked, his big blue eyes looking genuinely concerned about my hair.

Anything that appeared broken was fixen with the help of a bandage — everything, that is, except the initial cut on my toddler’s index finger.

He would hold his finger out of the water during baths or cry when made to wash his hands — because his bandage would get wet. Playing with the baby lambs was fun — until they started to nibble on the finger with his bandage. Meanwhile, weeks passed and the bandage boxes rotated through our medicine cabinet. The cut under the bandage has long since healed, with hardly even a scar to mark its history, but try convincing my 3-year old. I think you’d have better luck talking to my rooster.

I wonder if it’s a 3-year-old thing. My oldest got his thumb slammed in a car door and wore a thumb protector for months. Even after he had lost his thumbnail and a new rosy-pink one had grown back in its place, he still insisted that he needed that protector.

As parents, we should never worry that our children aren’t listening — because they are always watching us, ready to imitate our worst habits. Makes me wonder what I don’t need that I won’t let go of? (And, no, it can’t be a closet full of shoes — regardless of what my husband might say!)

Brianna Walker occasionally writes about the Farmer’s Fate for the Blue Mountain Eagle.

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