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Thursday, April 15, 2010

If there's one thing I've always said, it's that lucky black cat keyrings are an invaluable and vital possession, and nobody should ever leave home without one. I also think that childhood accidents are something you should never ignore.

Poster GirlBut that aside, the good thing about spending a Wednesday evening in A & E is that you get to see all the posters of Amelie. This is the first one you'll see, near the main entrance, just to the left of the reception desk. It's heartwarming to think of all the people who have stood in that queue, dripping with blood, waiting to be booked in for treatment on their hideous chainsaw injuries, who have been soothed by the sight of my daughter smiling at them from a hand gel dispenser. Although if they'd been there yesterday, they could have seen her in the (bruised) flesh.

It all started with a trip to Lidl. Which is ironic, because that's the best place to buy a chainsaw. And an industrial bacon slicer. To be honest, it's a miracle anyone makes it out of there alive. The place is like something out of the film 'Hostel'. But I digress. I've spent my week off showing Amelie the supermarkets of Brighton, so having toddled to Morrisons and back on Monday, then made her walk all the way home from Asda at the marina on Tuesday, the two of us set out on foot for Lidl yesterday morning. Without the lucky black cat keyring.

It was as we were walking past the electric lawnmowers that Amelie started playing the 'hilarious' (her word, my inverted commas) game which involves her suddenly sitting down, laughing hysterically, and wanting me to pull her up by the arm. Having done so for the third time, I decided enough was enough, and reached into my bag for the baby reins. But as I did so, she burst into tears. Possibly at the memory of those baking tins we bought last time we were there. So I placated her with a rice cake as I trussed her up like a chicken, and all was well with the world.

Until we paid for Lisa's chocolate seashells, and got outside. As soon as we started walking home, she burst into tears again, and this time wouldn't stop unless I held her. Which is not good news when you're half a mile from home with a toddler who weighs more than a hippo. But using a combination of superhuman strength and copious biscuits, we made it back to the flat, by which time both Amelie and I claimed to have severely aching arms. Although only one of us was crying about it.

To cut a long, painful, scream-filled story short, Amelie spent the afternoon walking around like a bird with an injured wing, accusing me of having done permanent damage to her right arm when I pulled her to her feet in Lidl. Although for a long time, we thought she was just teething. It's not easy interpreting the cries of a tearful child who just sits there with three fingers in her mouth, saying miaow.

Eventually, however, we realised that she would only pull Chloe's tail with her left hand, which is not like her at all. So Lisa phoned the doctor. Half an hour later, we were sitting in the surgery waiting room while Amelie ran up and down laughing, picking up stones from the ornamental plant pots, and shouting "Makka Pakka!". Which was annoying as we only went down there because she wouldn't stop crying.

We saw a lovely young locum (here's why) who was excellent, and felt that the problem was Amelie's shoulder. He didn't think it was serious, but wanted it x-rayed just in case. Which is how we found ourselves in A & E at 6pm last night, looking at posters of Amelie. There's one of her by the entrance, and another in the waiting room, both of which feature her name, but despite that, the nurse still called her Amelia. I think it just proves they don't use the alcohol hand gel.

Having waited for an hour and drunk some free Calpol, Amelie was examined by a nice young doctor who I met last July during a Grand Round at the Sussex Eye Hospital. Those are the kind of learned (and ever decreasing) circles I move in. He waved a teddy bear at her, manhandled her arm, and confirmed that it wasn't broken or dislocated, but merely sprained. I was a bit concerned that I might be reported to the child protection unit, so I made no mention of Lidl, and told him it had happened in the food court at Marks & Spencer. That seemed to get me off the hook.

So at 7:15pm we finally made it home, where Lisa cheerfully informed me that if we ever split up, she'll be using the incident to get custody of Amelie. I reminded her that usually she can't wait to palm off our daughter on the in-laws, so with that in mind, we drove over to my parents and dumped the flightless bird on them for the night. I spent the rest of the evening being reminded of just how much pain the girl had been in, and what a sad day of suffering she'd had, purely because I'd taken her to Lidl. From now on, I'm only going to Waitrose.