It happened so fast I barely turned my head and it was done. She was wriggling forward on a fold-out chair, not minxing, just moving to the edge to get down, when it unbalanced- slammed - forward, her mouth hit the edge of the table, her head flew back and she fell underneath onto the paving.
She cried hard, in wave after wave, for a long time. Blood streamed out of her mouth, reminding me of the rivers of blood when I once bit through my own tongue, slamdancing to Lithium in the Sari Club back in the old days in Bali. My shirt was bright pink. I swapped her to the other side so she wouldn't see it, I held her for a long time, swaying, trying to say soothing stuff, failing.
I plopped her on the couch, she sobbed and sobbed there until, exhausted and shell-shocked, she fell asleep. We didn't have any kids' painkiller. Parents, simple lesson, always carry some baby Panadol or Nurofen when you travel. I walked with one of our nice hosts down to the nearest Chemist. It was closed. He drove me to another, where I nearly bought the older kids version before learning that Baby Panadol is more potent. Went for potent.
Beloved administered a generous dose to a rewoken Bear, who was sobbing again. Then we had to go to a wedding and leave Bear and Mitts with our trusted friends. I felt a bit sick.
The friends were wonderful, and soon after we left Bear calmed, perhaps helped by the drugs. She sat up past bedtime watching Monsters Inc, whatever that is, then announced when she was ready that she'd like to go to bed. I meanwhile spent the whole wedding telling people how I was the kind of dad who sits next to his daughter but fails to grab her in time as she falls off chairs and sustains bloody injuries.
There is still a big flap loose on her tongue. The nurse at Royal Children's said it's fine. But every time I think about it I feel a little queasy.
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