It's Like a Toy Store That My Children Haven't Visited Yet
A Special Year

Up the Down Escalator

So. This happened.

Ezra faceplant1 

"This" is Toddler vs. Escalator. 

Ezra faceplant2 

We took the boys to Barnes & Noble last night in a fit of "it's gorgeous outside! let's go someplace with the plan of spending time outside but really, who are we kidding, Noah can sense the presence of a Public Thomas the Tank Engine Train Table from within a five-mile radius!" 

Noah indeed made a beeline for the Swine Flu Comes to Sodor table while Ezra...well, while Ezra proceeded to BE INSANE. He ran down aisles, he knocked books off displays, he responded to every kid-friendly merchandise offering I made with disdain and a wicked curveball throw. He responded to Jason and my calls after him with a downright evil glance over his shoulder right before speeding the hell up in whatever direction he was unsteadily bolting towards. 

For lo, he'd discovered the escalators. I'd let him stand on one while holding my hand as we went down to the children's area instead of carrying him, and it was easily the biggest thrill of his young life. (His expressions looked something like this.) So he couldn't begin to understand why anyone in the store would want to do ANYTHING ELSE except ride on the escalators. MORONS, ALL OF Y'ALL. 

After about a solid hour of thwarting his escape plans, we were ready to leave and I granted him one last ride up the escalator. We arrived on the second of the store's three floors and I attempted to distract him with...I don't remember what. FOLLY, probably, because right then, while he was in that terribly dangerous and elusive three-feet-away-from-Mama radius, he realized there was another escalator right there.

It was a Down escalator, but of course he didn't know that. I knew that. I very helpfully told him that, which, you know, wasn't quite the deterrent you'd think. Neither was the sight of my body lunging towards him in full I WILL THWART THEE mode. 

Instead, he spun around and stepped on the escalator as quickly as he could. Which was pretty quick. Even quicker: His feet went flying out from under him and BAM. Dead-drop face-plant into the collapsing bottom steps.

Needless to say, there was blood. A lot of it. I tried wiping it away to ascertain just What We Were Talking About Here, while Jason heard the screams from the lower level and called up to find what was wrong. My response was simply to stick my own blood-covered hand over the railing and wave it around in the universal symbol of SHIT IS HAPPENING AND I HAVE NO COPING SKILLS. 

I stood there panicking for a bit, debating the upsides of 1) running to the poor cashiers and screaming gibberish at them, or 2) running back downstairs to the bathroom for paper towels.

The bathroom option seemed vaguely better, so I ran through the store with my profusely bleeding child to the OTHER escalators, breathlessly muttering "excuse me, excuse me" to everybody I pushed past, including a stand-up cardboard display for the Twilight Saga. 

(Huge props to Domesticated Gal for giving me my first laugh since the accident on Twitter this morning: If you just start yelling "the Volturi are after him!" I'm sure the Twilight fans would understand.)

By the time I got to the bathroom a salesgirl had sort-of maybe noticed that there was a child covered in blood in the store and offered to call 911 (yeah, it honestly did look that bad, even though I KNEW head injuries always look worse than they are but this was mah baybeeeeee ahmahgad) while Jason barged into the ladies room, still trying to ask what had happened. "ISN'T IT OBVIOUS?" I cried. "AN ESCALATOR ATE HIS FACE."

We bailed (leaving behind Noah's scooter and helmet, we realized later), accepted the salesgirl's offer of a spare roll of paper towels, and took off for our car. A homeless guy asked for change as we dashed by, then started mocking Ezra's screams -- Ezra lifted his face to give him a Look, and I'm pretty sure I heard the guy say something like, "OH SHIT. Okay, I'm an ass."

Damn skippy.

The hospital, as usual. This was our first kid-related ER visit, something that simply underscores my belief that I gave birth to two different species of children. Noah wouldn't go near an escalator until he was three-and-a-half. Ezra is going to be the child who goes joyriding down the Beltway in the neighbor's speedboat at three-and-a-half.

Ezra sat on my lap as I gave the registration desk our insurance and contact information, and two minutes into the conversation managed to wriggle around in my arms enough to thoroughly and soundly smack his head into the wall and began screaming anew. The dude behind the desk gave me a Look. I Looked at him right back, because bite me.

Once the bleeding stopped and the wounds could be properly cleaned, the doctor was less concerned about the cuts as he was about the possibility of a head injury, since Ezra' nose had been bleeding pretty heavily for awhile and he responded to the initial news that we could be discharged by promptly barfing all over the both of us. "Never're gonna need to keep him here for another hour or so," the doctor said, while handing me YET ANOTHER GODDAMN ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS.

(The good news is that the pediatric ER was equipped with DVD players! And one single solitary Elmo DVD! It was so good, we watched it three times!)

He didn't need stitches, luckily. They glued the wounds shut instead, which gives him a slightly comical uni-brow appearance (or Wolverine when combined with this morning's matted bed-head).

Ezra faceplant4
I think Baby's First ER Visit merits a photo. After this, though? Forget it, dude. You're on you're own. And you're taking a cab.

Once another hour passed without any vomiting, we got to go home with the even MORE fun discharge instructions to wake him up every two to three hours last night, just to make sure that he really didn't have a concussion. He ended up just sleeping in our bed because he was sad and miserable and I am a sucker for sad and miserable things who make sad and miserable snuffly noises and sleep with their butts up in the air.  

Ezra faceplant3 

Anyway, he is fine, as are we, though I am welcoming suggestions on how to remove dried blood from his bangs without getting those glue patches wet. I will also accept wine. And leashes. Maybe a helmet. Or some kind of inflatable toddler sumo suit. (Or just the wine! It's okay, I'm not greedy.)


Christina Q

Poor, poor Ez. And poor Mommy. I hope his wolverine eyebrows get better quickly!


We just got ours a leash last week for THIS EXACT REASON. And I don't even know if leashing kids is controversial these days because you know what? I DON'T CARE. My kid needs a harness and a rope, so you can take your kumbaya and suck it, non-leashing hippies.


Oh I am so sorry y'all had to go through this. My first boy (age 3) is a quirky little fellow and while supremely challenging in his own right was (and still is) quite reasonable about safety issues. The 11 month old...well, I am surprised we haven't been to the ER yet. He is attracted to danger like a frat boy is to beer (oh goodness, I just realized that someday he is going to be old enough to drink and I cannot fathom how reckless he will be then).

Lady M

Poor baby. Oh, poor Ezra too! I hope he learns escalator respect, although toddlers are pretty determined creatures.

We have too many late night ER photos. Sigh.


Sooo, my babies are grown, but I love your stories.Feel like a neighbor next door. Anywho, my 15 yr old had a propensity for head injuries as a toddler-dropped a hammer on his head, dropped a 10 lb rock on his head, tripped on NOTHING and hit his brow on the stairs (this was by far the worst-he resembled Lou Ferrrigno). And we watched him like a hawk! My mantra for 3 years was "head wounds bleed more." We survived!


Awww mighty Ez! Poor little guy. Glad it looks to not be super serious, but eek! scary! Glad y'all are (long-term) okay!


OMG, I'm a horrible person. I read the part where he face planted and totally LOLed. I mean, I have no doubt it was SO NOT FUNNY at the time, but... Face plants as a concept are just full of LOL, right? I'm not horrible. D:

And then I forced my husband to listen to me read half this post aloud and "'AN ESCALATOR ATE HIS FACE,' ahhh, she reminds me so much of what I will undoubtedly be like as a mother, dontcha think?"


So, I just skimmed your other comments and I see no one else mentioning laughter. Shit, I am in fact a wretched human being. Oops.

(No, actually, I will now be neurotic about my awful wretchedness for at least the next week. Dagnabbit.)

Erin (Snarke)

bloody bangs: baby wipes?

I do not know why but when I look at those photos all I can think is "ouch!! Poor little boogerhead" and I don't think that I "know" you or your blog well enough yet to really be able to use that monniker affectionately but...there ya go.


I know I shouldn't have done, but I LMAO. Especially at the shit is happening and I have no coping skills! I'm going to use that one for sure.
My son has a scar next to his eye, which was most traumatic/bleedy at the time. It was caused by his father wrapping him in tin foil with a plastic box on his head and dragging him round the room in a cardboard box (he was 11 months old). They were playing spaceships apparently. One wonders how many corners of coffee tables there are in space. I don't leave them on their own together anymore.


"SHIT IS HAPPENING AND I HAVE NO COPING SKILLS" was my exact reaction to every time either of my boys fell down and started bleeding. There's something about the sight of blood coming out of one of my baybeeees that makes me lose my mind. I'm so glad Ezra is okay! That E.R. photo - oof, it makes my heart ache. Poor sweetie.


Oh my gosh, I just saw a story on GMA this a.m. about kids LOSING LIMBS in escalators. I immediately thought of your little one from this post, that I read yesterday. So glad he's OK, and if it makes you feel better, kid's getting mushed in escalators is a trend and people (moms) aren't going to take it anymore. All malls should be on ONE FLOOR!


Oh no! Poor little guy! Hopefully you got some good cuddles out of it.


Oh gosh...poor thing! & I feel bad for Ez too. I am terrified at the thought of what I might do when faced with these the verrry verrry far away future. Because I don't think I can cope, either.


After reading all the "escalators are evil" posts I have to say I agree. We try to avoid them - I have 2 boys aged 4 and 7 - and yes they love riding on them. My 30 something single brother with no kids has even sent me articles about how dangerous they can be for kids.


Sigh. I'd like to tell you that it gets better, but with Ez, you're screwed. My younger daughter was just like him.I found her standing in the middle of the kitchen table at 9 months trying to jump up and grab the chandelier. The next week, she stood up and swan dived out of the Target shopping cart on to the concrete floor while my then three year old screamed "My sister's gonna DIE!" The good news is that she's a damned fine soccer player now at age 7 1/2. Keep the ibuprofin, liquid bandaids and boxed wine handy is all I'm sayin'. Hope he feels better soon!


Poor Ezra! And poor you! The ER is just the worst place all around. Thank goodness for that Elmo DVD. And the pictures of him are just heartbreaking! Feel better soon Ez.


I'm so glad he was OK. I am freaked out though because my 13 month old sounds exactly like him. Arrrgh!


I'm glad he got to keep his nose!


Aww, poor Ez. He looks so pitiful (and so little) in the ER picture. There is no resisting the power of the escalator; my 3 year old is obsessed with it.

I'm glad that he is okay and since I'm going on a wine tour of Northern Virginia tomorrow, I'll drink a few for you!


"the escalator ate his face!" i'm not quite sure why we have to state the obvious to our husbands but this line made me laugh out loud!

sorry little munchkin.


We had a similar emergency back when my oldest was about Ezra's age, only it was Cat Vs. Toddler. We had this big, fluffy cat who loved to be snuggled and snorfled on his tummy...but not when he was in a sound sleep. I didn't stop toddler in time, and the next thing I knew there was yowling, hissing and screaming and Blood. Flying. Everywhere.

The damn cat had bitten my preshus baby ON THE HEAD. And clawed him for good measure. Thankfully, he missed my son's eyes. By the time I got my son to the ER, he was happily burbling, but I was covered in blood, so was he, and I felt like a Bad Mother to the max. Nothing more horrifying than blood spurting out of your wee one's head, is there?

And of course Animal Control got called to the hospital, they told me to put the damn cat in quarantine, and I said, "That damn cat is going to a farm in the country where there are no children for him to menace!" And lo, we did find a childless household in the country and the damn cat was gone for good.

Curiously enough, my son still speaks fondly of that damn cat. He loves cats. He does not trust dogs, but cats? They're okay.


OK, you live a charmed life. By the time my kids (girls, even!) were the ages of your two we were on a first-name basis with all the ER nurses at our local hospital (which, by the way, good idea; doesn't hurt to grease the skids there).

Amber McN

Poor little guy! And glue! How are you getting him not to rip that crap off?
I hope you made friends with the local ER staff. Sounds like he's going to be sending you there a lot.


Oh bless his heart. Unfortunately, we've made three baby trips to the ER already, and mine is just under 14 months old. The first time, his big sister dropped him on the tile floor. The second time he fell off our king size, "need a ladder to climb into it" bed. The third time was for the ever increasing, Tylenol/Motrin resistant fever of mystery that wouldn't dissipate at 4:00 AM. I'm glad Ezra's OK, and if you get any extra leashes, throw one my way!

Amy in StL

I think my mom still has the harness and leash from my (50 yr old) brother. Yes, he was that kind of child that needed a zip up the back harness because he defied all parenting attempts in the store as soon as someone let go of his hand.

I used to work in retail and can't even count the number of times I saw a child remove their wrist tether and attach it to a clothing rack while their mom wasn't pay attention. It's probably due to retail trauma that I don't have kids.


Dude, that way sucks. I'm glad he's okay. The worst thing that happened to me in a Barnes and Noble is that some guy opened a door on my kid's sandal-clad foot, resulting in a severely broken and bleeding toenail. The dude's response, if I remember correctly, was mostly to wander off.


I am reading this after having just gotten back from the ER with my 22 mo. old (third visit) son fifteen minutes ago. Just under 6 hours of fun. Some sedation (him) and stitches (also him) later we are finally home to be followed by some sedation (me) and on demand project runway (me and daughter who has never once necessitated an injury ER visit).

coffee table 2
toddler 0


I was reading your 17 mo post and thinking my Isaac and your Ezra are cut from the same cloth. Then I got to this post. Our 'escalator incident' was at the airport in Victoria BC after our flight was delayed for two hours (about ten minutes before our flight left, of course). Isaac got his finger stuck in the up escalator and we are so lucky all he needed was 5 stitches and he didn't lose any digits. He would have been about Ezra's age at the time. I'm seriously considering a leash.


This is so well written! I was actually laughing out loud at it. Poor ezra!
You should listen to the comedian Christopher Titus' skit "wait, wait, wait"...Ezra probably won't mess with escalators again!


I'm a family doc who has glued a number of these myself.

Don't worry about getting the glue wet. As long as you're not soaking it, it's ok. Wet washcloth is fine. After the first 24 hours, treat it like normal skin.

And the waking overnight thing isn't recommended anymore; it doesn't do much other than give parents something else to worry about and make everybody crabby from lack of sleep.

Days too late info, I realize. Sorry.


Aw... look at those sad eyes (Yours, not Ezra's. OK, Ezra's too!). Feel better, sweet baby!

Can I just say, though, that you are one of the few people who can make a panicked trip to the ER with a kid and their gushing bloody head entertaining? Because I laughed. Twice.



Delurking..... I really wish I could attach a photo of my 1 yr old daughter right after she tried to scale a tv tray. The tray won, fell on her head, resulting in the worst black eye I have ever seen. It looked so bad people actually threatened calling CPS on me.


Aw, poor kiddo- hope he's feeling better before you know it! That glue works wonders and it's so much better than ugly yucky stitches.

I have to say, though, the people in your twitter feed are crazy... what, exactly, do they think you could sue B&N for? Silly!


Poor little guy- poor mama too.
Our son has been to the ER twice and both times my heart was hammering so badly I felt like I was going to explode.

As for the blood- try to genly comb it out, if you have a baby comb, with the super fine teeth. Otherwise leave it, the other toddlers at the playground will think he is bad ass.


Holy shit poor Ez! Glad he's ok now. The Volutri line had me laughing like a fool. My husband was giving me WTF looks.

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