Littleboy 1 made his second trip to an American ER this week, almost a year to date since the first one.
This time he managed to gash the top of his head, running under a slide in the school playground. ("We were playing Angry Birds, and I was the piggy," was his explanation).
Unlike before, I took him this time, and made the following observations about an American ER.
1. There is no-one that looks like George Clooney, or even Noah Wyle - instead, the doctors seemed about 18 years old and looked more like spotty college students.
2. No-one ran about demanding CBC and Chem7, or even asking for a 'psych consult'.
3. The staff were chatting about their lunch or the Super Bowl, rather than rowing about the patients or their love lives.
4. There really is no difference between the pediatric ER in the UK and US, other than the fact you have more forms to fill out and a nice $100 'co-pay' to be coughed up there and then.
Anyway, Littleboy 1 was once again stoical about it all, only slightly losing it when the doctor explained that he would have a staple put in his head. On first hearing this, I had confidently told him, "it's not like a stapler you use for paper, darling," (the boys are obsessed with stapling and are always nicking mine) only for the doctor to approach carrying what looked like, er, a stapler. Littleboy 1's chain started to wobble (and frankly I don't blame him), but it was soon all over and he now sports a shiny metal staple looking remarkably similar to a paper staple, under his hair. This appendage has clearly gained him something approaching infamy at school - apparently, several of his friends actually wrote about his staple in their journals yesterday.
Anyway, perhaps the most bizarre thing about the whole episode occurred when we came home from the ER. I asked him if he wanted to watch TV as a treat until his brother got home from school. He opted instead for playing the piano - manically, for about half an hour, and with intense brio.
Regular readers may remember that the boys started piano lessons in September, and Littleboy 1's first one in particular was disastrous, as he banged on the piano, misbehaved and refused to do anything the teacher asked. Well, those of you mulling the idea of starting your child on an instrument, do not let this put you off. About six weeks into his course of lessons, something miraculous occurred. Littleboy 1 decided he LOVED the piano. He began practising all the time, unprompted, improved very quickly and was soon racing through his first piano book. He performed brilliantly at the music school recital in December, and his teacher now says he is one of her most promising pupils. It was completely unpredicted, as we had thought Littleboy 2 would be the more musical one (he's doing fine, but as you would expect) - just goes to show you never can tell.
Even knowing that, I was still fairly astonished that after a session in the ER, all he wanted to do was practice the piano. Then I remembered the time that his grandfather - himself a very talented pianist - had accidentally swallowed a wasp in a glass of cider (yes, really.) Refusing all offers of being driven to hospital, his reaction was to drink more cider, then sit down and manically play the piano.....
Maybe it runs in the family.