How do you care for a bleeding kid if you’re about to pass out yourself?

Joe Tarica
Joe Tarica

These last seven days in the Joetopia household have been filled with triumph, trauma and a few of my not-so-finest moments in parenting.

It all started with a call from Mr. Big Eighth-Grader, who was headed down to play tennis with his sister when she took a header on a dirt road and cut her knee.

This is already more information than I initially got from the boy, who always requests help with the most minimal information possible. If I get three words — “Dad, come here” — I’m lucky.

So I was more exasperated than worried and didn’t even bother to put on my shoes when I drove down to see what was up.

When I finally found them (his location information was sparse as well), Little Miss 11-Grader was sitting in the middle of the road, disheveled and dusty with a towel around her knee.

My first thought was, why is she still sitting in the dirt? So I rolled down the window and told her to get in the car, you know, me being in my socks and all.

But she didn’t move. Just sat there in a heap looking shaken. So I got out to see what was up.

That’s when she lifted the towel to reveal a garish, crooked 1- 1/2-inch gash. Here I am thinking she just scraped her leg and instead it looks like Tonya Harding’s husband’s thug-for-hire hit her with a pipe.

After getting her off the ground with the help of a friendly resident, we drove quickly home, but if you think that’s where my parental failures ended, guess again.

I don’t do well with blood. I fainted three times as a kid from either seeing it or tasting it. I don’t even do well with the thought of it, so that combined with her semi-hyperventilating, and suddenly I’m feeling a little woozy.

I leaned out the car door and put my head down to keep from tumbling out onto the driveway or throwing up or both.

This got her attention. It was probably my most effective action of the whole episode.

“What are you doing?” she asked, suddenly sounding like herself again.

She let out a sigh and then limped into the house to wash her wound, while I stumbled over to the hose and sprayed myself in the face with water.

You will be happy to know I got my act together enough to get her to the emergency room, where she got numbed, cleaned up and sutured to the tune of 10 stitches.

Her brother watched the whole thing with great interest, never once looking even a little green about the gills, all the while providing comedy relief and moral support.

The week took a more uplifting turn after that, culminating Thursday with the boy’s promotion from eighth grade.

I’m using the word “boy” loosely, as he’s now taller than me.

As of Thursday, we officially have two high schoolers, and it was bittersweet leaving the campus that’s been home to one or both kids for the last seven years.

After enjoying dinner on the patio on a warm North County evening, the two kids and I played two games of Sorry with Grandpa.

I came in fourth and then third, mainly because now-Mr. Big Ninth-Grader decided to use every opportunity to send me back to Home, regardless of how the strategy affected the game.

Grandpa and Sister thought this was pretty funny, as did Mom and Grandma when they came over to watch.

You can imagine my response. Curse words may have been used.

Again, perhaps not my finest parenting hour.

It was that kind of week.

Joe Tarica: 805-781-7911, @joetarica