Little Miss, still at clumsy toddler stage, fell and scraped her knee on our walk one evening. The sting on her knee must have caused her to look down, when the mysterious scarlet that appeared took her by surprise. Apart from curiosity, there was no other reaction. When we reached home, I placed a regular Band-Aid that I found in the medicine cabinet over the affected area, and that was when she started to bawl. I noticed she stopped moving the afflicted leg, as if paralyzed by the adhesive bandage, and there was fear in her eyes. That’s when I realized that she must associate it with her shots at the doctor’s office, where it always ended in tears and a Band-Aid.
I reminded her that she could still move, that her injury didn’t really hurt, but saying, “You were walking just fine remember? You didn’t even cry after you fell” to a toddler is like trying to negotiate with my cats, “If you stop shedding, I’ll serve you real tuna for dinner every night.” Little Miss was inconsolable until I removed the little strip from her knee. Miraculously, she could walk again.
Knowing that scrapes, bumps and bruises are a rite of passage, I couldn’t just let it go. She may have won this round but she had to get over her fear soon. It’s the summer; the season for bare legs. Being far from graceful meant she would undoubtedly need a Band-Aid in the near future, and trying to coax her of it while she’s in pain would be impossible.
And thus began Project Band-Aid. Initially, I adhered a couple of strips to my arms to prove that they were harmless. Mere accessories. She wailed, thinking I was hurt. Attempt 1: Fail.
Next, I procured kid-friendly Dora the Explorer ones. When I showed them to Little Miss, she was fascinated. By Dora. I was getting close... But once she looked past the sheep’s clothing and spotted the wolf, she flailed and ran from me. Attempt 2: Fail.
At dinner one night, when I saw her pretend-feeding one of her stuffed animals before turning the spoon to her own mouth, it occurred to me that they would be my ally in helping her overcome her fear. So this is what I did:
At first, she kept pointing at the doll’s “wound” with consternation. But I convinced her that this doll, who we named Bessie together, was fine. I was cautious to not choose one of the Famous Five, her favorites, just in case it alarmed her to see them “hurt”. Bessie the doll-turned-thug wore her Dora face like a freshly inked tattoo, and Little Miss went from scared to impressed. That was when she asked for a Band-Aid for herself.
Attempt 3: Success!
Indeed, for every problem, there is a solution. If only they could be solved this easily each time. This round may go to me, but I realize that it won’t always be that way. For now, I will revel in this sweet victory. A tiny one, yes, but a victory nonetheless.
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