"Don't freak out, Daddy."
She had just walked in the door holding Bea, back to me, and words woke me up from working on my laptop; they stung like a snapping towel.
I pulled the right rusty levers in my head to stop time.
Don't - the opposite of do, which wasn't a good way to start.
freak - definitely not the second word I wanted to hear; visions of nightmare carnies and sideshows.
out - the opposite of in, and when connected with freak, the nightmare carnies and sideshows are on the loose on our street.
Daddy - not sweetie, honey, sugar-pie, sugar-plum, hot stuff or Kevin.
"Don't freak out, Daddy. Beatrice split her head open."
I didn't want to look up. "What?"
Mama turned around and there was Bea with a big swollen knot on her forehead covered with a bandaid.
With a big splotch of blood in the middle of bandaid. (It was big to me.)
She told me the story of their play date with another mom and baby - one minute Bea's walking and the next she's falling and hitting her head on a bookcase.
I pulled other levers in my head to start time and said, "We have to go to the doctor."
Mama said, "No, we don't. Let me call Elyse and my sister."
Elyse, our baby-care person, was wonderful with our child, as was Amy's sister, neither of whom were doctors.
However, our neighbor was and so we got him to come over but he assured us that even though he was an internist, not a pediatrician, Beatrice should be fine if she wasn't blacking out, or feverish, or howling intensely non-stop.
The swelling was already going down, the cut was that bad, and Bea was walking around the house giggling.
And falling over and over and over again.
Anno Beatrice Unum. Cogito sumere potum alterum.