Well, it's happened. Carter has had his first injury.
Every night when I come home from work, if my husband has already arrived I will pull into the driveway and he will come downstairs to get the Roo out of his carseat so that I can park the car in back and tote my 87 million bags (food bag, milk bag, daycare bag, pump bag, purse...and perhaps another I'm forgetting) without having to carry Carter, too (run-on sentence? Yes, and I don't care). Last night my husband picked up Carter, then I parked the car and heard him in the alley talking to our neighbor. I came around the corner, carrying my massive load of bags like a good sherpa, and saw Carter wandering around underfoot, examining the nooks and crannies in the driveway.
Suddenly he raced past us and headed toward the garden. Neither of us reacted very quickly, as it seemed (STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!) that the most dangerous thing in the vicinity was perhaps a delectable-looking rock in the garden, or a plant to destroy. So we just (STUPIDLY) watched him rush past, my husband finishing his conversation and me toting my billion bags, before following.
Not two seconds later we heard a loud wail and saw him next to the front tire of my just-parked car. We rushed over (mind you, he was only ten or fifteen feet away) to discover that he had reached in and GRABBED the wheel well (or whatever the hell it's called) and had burns/blisters across the top of three fingers on his left hand.
He wailed for a minute or so, yelling "MAAAAMAAAA! MAAAMAAAA!" like he always does when something's wrong (the rest of the time it's all Daddy, all the time), then squirmed out of our arms and once again raced off down the driveway, normal as can be. We got him in the house, rinsed it with cold water and called the pediatrician, who told us to give him a dose of Motrin and then apply Desitin (who knew??) to the blistered area until it heals. For the rest of the evening, his behavior was basically normal - he wasn't favoring the hurt hand, and wasn't particularly fussier than usual, except for one toddler-like fit when I wouldn't let him eat a chunk of tofu that had fallen in the bathtub. Today he seems normal and the hand looks better, though the blisters are still visible.
I can't overstate how horrible we felt after all this. I spent the evening feeling like a negligent asshole, continually replaying it in my mind and wondering WHY OH WHY didn't I just toss all the bags to the ground and race after him? How did we let this happen? Ultimately, I know that we just made a simple mistake - when he ran by, each of us did the typical parent-scan of any hazards in the area, and neither of us considered that CAR TIRES GET HOT, especially on 98-degree days.
Sigh. So there it is - the first injury of toddlerhood. I know that there will be many more now that he's mobile (and my boy is FAST). Lesson learned - you can NEVER be too careful, especially when dealing with a rambunctious little Roo.