Well, I was planning to sit down tonight and write a post about my new light fixture project, which involves spray painting the old fixture we took down from over our table. Instead, I'm writing a post about how I'm the worst mother in the world because my child sprayed herself in the face with a can of spray paint! Agghh!!!
I went into the well-ventilated open-doored garage at 2:30 and spent a total of 10 seconds spray painting my light fixture. I knew I had to do another coat in 30 minutes, so I ran inside and placed the can on the kitchen table. Sylvia woke up from her nap earlier than planned, a little before 3:00. I was keeping my eye on the clock, but it never occured to me to MOVE the can of paint OFF of the kitchen table and place it somewhere HIGHER. Duh. I just broke the first rule of Babysitting 101. I would totally be fired if I were a sitter in high school!
I was standing at the kitchen sink and Sylvain was standing by the door to the garage. Neither one of us was more than four feet away from the girl when she grabbed the can, which was pointed toward her face. She grabbed it by the neck, which had the trigger spray nozzle, and in less than a second, the right side of her face was covered in Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. I heard Sylvain shout "NO!" And when I turned around I couldn't see it right away. He said, "She just sprayed herself in the face!" and she turned toward me - a giant, dripping mass of BLACK on the side of her face - hair, ears, checks, right eye, corner of her mouth...all the important places. When I saw it, I screamed, then she screamed, and the longest fifteen minutes of my life commenced.
I'm still amazed at how quickly Sylvain and I went from "panic mode" to "survival mode." He whisked her up and brought her to the sink. I don't know how the clean, warm rag even got into my hands, but I had one. I knelt down and started wiping it off of her cheek, away from her eye and mouth. It stated coming off right away, thank God! But it was everywhere, and I knew a watery rag wasn't going to cut it. I said, "BATH!," and suddenly her clothes were off. I guess we both ripped them off, but I don't remember that, either. I know I was concentrating really hard on appearing calm, for her sake. I was working really hard to hold it all together. For a split second, I wondered if we really should put her in the tub, or if we should put her in the car and head to the hospital.
We ran downstairs to the tub and my brilliant husband brought the can of spray paint with him. While the tub was filling with water, I lowered her in and started dumping cupfulls of fresh water over her head with one hand, and I somehow managed to open her baby soap and lather it up in my other hand. I don't know where that third hand came from, but it was there! By this point she was screaming, but I knew this had to be done and there was nothing I could do about the screaming, except say things like, "Wheee!!! Isn't this fun! A bath in the middle of the day, you lucky girl! Look, you're getting ALL clean! Hooray!!!" I must have sounded like a nutcase.
Sylvain read the back of the can, which instructed us to flush out the eyes and mouth, then wait fifteen minutes to see if there was any irritation, redness, or swelling. He handed me a little squirt bottle which he already ran under hot water, so I filled it with fresh bath water and tried to flush out her eyes. No dice. Finally, Sylvain had to take the bottle and I had to pin her down and hold her eye open with my thumbs while he squirted water in it. It wasn't fun, but it had to be done, and we both knew it. We never even discussed what to do, it was like an animal instinct totally took over.
Finally, her eye, cheek, mouth and most of her hair was back to normal, so I took her out of the tub and wrapped her up. She was still crying and whimpering at this point, but I could tell she was settling down. Whenever she gets out of the tub, we put her in her purple robe, which we didn't bring downstairs with us, so she started crying for her "Bow! Bow!" I took her up to her room (right past my mother in law who showed up during the drama!) and put her in her robe. We rocked for a few minutes until Sylvain brought her some water and some milk, hoping it would help flush out her insides. After a couple minutes of rocking, we all settled down and my heart rate returned to normal. Her eye seemed perfectly fine, and she was drinking like normal. After fifteen minutes, we decided she was going to be alright and there was no need to call poison control or take her to the hospital, but we made sure to keep a very close eye on her for the rest of the night. She didn't itch, touch or complain about her eye all evening. In fact, she was back to her normal, bubbly self as soon as I got her dressed and put pigtails in her hair. Phew.
We went out for a lovely dinner with Mamie, then came home and gave her another bath (she still had a little paint in her hair and on her neck) and I put her to bed like usual. It felt different, though. Usually bedtime feels warm and cozy and safe for both of us, but I couldn't help thinking that this was not a safe day for her, and it made me feel icky. I came downstairs and let the Mommy guilt wash over me and had a good cry about the whole thing. How could I do something so stupid? Why isn't Sylvain more mad at me? What would we have done if it had been worse? Oh my gosh, it could have been SO much worse. Shame on me.
I decided I better sit down and write about it in the hopes that someday I might look back on it and laugh. But more importantly, I don't want to forget how scared I was or how guilty I felt. I also want to remember how practical, forgiving and good-natured Sylvain was about the whole thing. Once it was all over, he said to me, "It could have happened to anybody. And something like it will probably happen again. There's a good chance we WILL have to take a child to the hospital someday, so don't beat yourself up about it."
So here I am, not beating myself up, asking any readers, family or friends, out there to forgive me, too, and please share with me your not-so-great Mommy moments. I need to know I'm not the only one who's been scared within an inch of her life.
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