Kristen Hewitt admitted that when her daughter started crying after stubbing her toe running around the house, she wasn’t exactly sympathetic.
In a post on her blog, Her View From Home, the mother of two wrote she “rolled her eyes” at her daughter’s injury:
I thought she had stubbed her toe and was putting on yet another dramatic performance. She’s the queen of injuries, usually getting hurt in some form at least twice a day.
Paper cut? Cue the tears and get out the Band-Aids.
Tiny scrape on the knee? Someone needs to find the butterfly stitches. STAT!
Lila had smashed her foot into the corner of the entertainment center running around with her sister and mom, and though Hewitt was dubious of the severity of the injury, she tended to her daughter’s suffering.
Hewitt explained she elevated her foot, applying ice and administering Advil, but by morning the pain hadn’t subsided. Still, Hewitt suspected Lila was putting on a show. She wrote:
The next morning when she couldn’t put any weight on it though, I was like, “Seriously? It’s just a bruise! Try walking on your heel, don’t be a drama queen.” Since she could only hop on one foot, she had to stay home from school.
Hewitt later realized perhaps her daughter wasn’t faking an injury when Lila got sick to her stomach. The injury, too, grew more grotesque:
Later she threw up, and around lunchtime, I looked again and the toe did look funky. Black and blue, with a weird bump, and she still couldn’t walk at all.
Wanting to avoid the cost of a hospital, Hewitt took her daughter to an orthopedist who discovered not only had the little girl broken two of her toes, but one had been severed completely, as she wrote in a Facebook post:
“I’ve never seen anyone so ridiculously happy about a cast!” Hewitt captioned her photo in the post. And while Lila was pleased to finally have relief for her foot, Hewitt was wracked with guilt. She wrote:
He fitted her in a cast, she smiled with redemption knowing she indeed was not faking, and I felt like the worst mom ever.
For her part, Hewitt was not alone. Many commenters shared their own accounts of having shrugged off their children’s pain only to discover the source was actually serious.
One commenter shared: “5 year old fell off a short fence hitting her face on the ground. She looked ok. No blood. 3AM ‘Mommy my tooth hurts’ me, you are fine go to sleep…..7 AM.. OMG top lip the size of a grapefruit. Tooth broken inside the gums. Great mom huh? Tiny false tooth there for the next 3 years. Guilt to last a life time.”
Another wrote: “When I was around 11 I was complaining that I was really tired and my mom thought I was just trying to get out of doing my homework. When she finally took me to the doctor I had pneumonia and missed school for a week.”
This commenter said: “When I was 10 I had a crushed ankle, mom told me it’s just a sprain, went to the emergency room and was in surgery an hour later to get pins. Yesterday her grandson stepped on a bee, he gets crutches with no second thought. He’s not allergic, btw?.”
In an interview with Cafe Mom, Hewitt expressed her gratitude for her daughter’s swift forgiveness: “That’s okay, Mom, I’m a drama queen, I get it,” Lila told her.
Hewitt explained on her blog that if she has learned anything from the experience—and of those shared by other parents—it’s to not wait for medical attention:
Don’t despair, parents, there is no manual for child-rearing, nor is there one for determining if our kids are indeed faking an injury or truly need their appendix out. And we learn from our failures so now at least we’ll know what to do the next time our kids break an appendage. GO TO THE DOCTOR! Hoping that never happens, but guilt be gone parents because it appears we’ve all been there! (Some worse than others.)
And next time her daughter cries and says she’s hurt, Hewitt won’t be so quick to shrug it off, she told Cafe Mom:
“I know plenty of parents who too are raising accident-prone kids; we all just have to do our best! Lesson learned — if you think it might be broken … go to the doctor!”
Because as Hewitt now knows…
It’s best not to take any chances.