Every mother knows her child’s need for attention. But sometimes, life happens and our focus changes. Work comes first, or a family matter or a health issue. That’s what happened to me. My focus changed. For two months it moved from my daughter to my work. And my daughter knew exactly how to get it back.
Maya has always had a pleasant disposition. She smiles a minute. I remember the time when she hit her head on the corner of a bathroom tile, all she said was, “Mama, blood.” Her goofy, incredulous smile is her trademark.
So this one very early morning, when she told me she had swallowed a hairclip, I hesitated to take immediate action. My attempt to wake up was failing. I doubted her. But then I woke up thinking what if it was true. Panic struck and I immediately took her to the doctor.
While we sat in the waiting room, I attempted to decipher her pain through her smile. I wondered may be she had dreamt it all or may be the clip was still at her bedside. My husband confirmed, “It’s probably nothing. Kids her age usually can’t distinguish between dreams and their immediate reality.” And I quenched to that statement and hoped for it to be true.
As she waved hello to those waiting, I imagined the clip inside her doing the worst of damages. “Will she start vomiting blood? Will she be smiling then? What is this primary physician going to do? Will he have the scanner in his office? Are we wasting our time here? Should I panic? Why is she not crying?”
I wondered whether I was dreaming and how much of all this I wanted to be a dream. My thoughts were interrupted when our doctor asked us to come in. Maya fidgeted as he moved his hands over her neck. “She’s too calm.” After realizing he was talking about “Maya”, the girl who smiled even when blood was gushing out of her head, he asked us to take her straight to the emergency room to get a full body scan.
Doubt continued to show on the faces of the hospital staff. Maya’s trademark smile had now turned into a sad face once she rested on the hospital bed and the doctor on call pressed his stethoscope on her chest. A quick flight up, we headed right to the diagnostic imaging section of the hospital.
With just her shirt off, she stood upright with her back touching the flat plate behind her. A sophisticated robotic arm scanner thingy moved up and down making a “copy machine sound.” Even before we could ask her to stand still, an image of her body appeared on the technician’s computer. The technician asked us to join him while he had a look. He told us that there was no hair clip and to wait to see the doctor.
We were elated that she was okay. We couldn’t understand why she went through the ordeal of telling us that she had swallowed a hair clip.
After the doctor confirmed that there was no hair clip inside her, we walked straight out the door, with a huge sigh of relief. On one hand, we were calm knowing that she hadn’t swallowed a hairclip but were bothered that our 4-year old daughter had just tricked us. Of course, we were glad we went through the pains of finding out.
While Maya played swing between us, my husband told her the “story of the boy who cried wolf.” She responded with her goofy, incredulous smile: “See it all worked out, I got to spend a morning with both of you.”