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How Birdie Broke Her Arm + Where To Buy Cute Face Masks Since Everyone Asked

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We had our first broken bone this weekend, and it really gave us some excitement. My little Birdie fell off her huge tumbling blocks while in ninja training with her brother. Somebody might have kicked the block as she was standing on it and about to jump and she landed wrong, fracturing her elbow. Charlie, her ninja master, felt AWFUL and many lessons were learned (mostly about the intensity that one needs to train their ninja proteges). Generally, we want them to take physical risks, learn how to fall, understand their body, physics/gravity, blah, blah, blah, so this is the first time we are wondering if maybe we should be more cautious. But like I said, I think lessons were learned and it’s also going to be fine.

Here are the questions that my friends keep asking so I figured you might, too:

  1. How did you know it was broken and that you needed to go to the ER? This is a good question as most parents have been in the “do we really need to go to the ER?” situation before. Answer: Birdie is TOUGH and has an extremely high pain tolerance (far higher than her ninja master or her ninja grandmaster if you know who I mean). She was shrieking in pain, wouldn’t let us touch it, or even come close to it (like SCREAMING at the top of her lungs if we even tried to look at it), and she went (even extra) pale. Since the hospital was 5 minutes away and we knew it was likely empty, it just felt like we should go sooner than later.
  2. How was it being at a hospital right now? Fine! I was so glad we weren’t in LA (for this minor break, anything major would have been a different story) as this hospital is so small and so close to our house. No one was in the waiting room and it felt very, very clean. Everyone wore masks and gloves (we didn’t have any gloves as this was our first public appearance in 7 weeks). We tried to be super friendly and grateful and just say thank you over and over.
  3. Were there any Covid-19 Cases? Not at the current time in the hospital, thank God. We know that there were 3 cases in the next town over but not sure if any of them were hospitalized and to be honest I didn’t want to know. If the answer was yes I would be more worried but it wouldn’t change how safe we were being (SUPER EFFING SAFE). But knowing that there were none there that day was a huge relief. They were very prepared, every room looked like it was ready for the pandemic, with having zipper plastic walls which I appreciated.
  4. How did Birdie handle it? Oh good, just GREAT. She was a real peach. That poor brave trooper screamed bloody murder at anyone who came near her arm, more out of fear than pain (but who knows, 4-year-olds aren’t too articulate when it comes to deciphering why they are absolutely losing their sh*t). You’d think I was swinging her around by her arm if you didn’t come in and see that I was just standing near reaching my arm over to press play on the iPad, accidentally grazing her leg (not arm). The nurses were horrified and impressed, which is probably why we were in and out in less than 2 hours. But there is nothing quite like having to hold down your broken boned 4-year-old screaming daughter so that two nurses can put a splint on her. We talked about it, she understood why I had to and I of course mostly talked about how brave she is, as she remembers it “only kinda hurting”. HAHAHAHA
  5. What now? Brian is taking her to LA to get a cast today with celebrity orthopedic Surgeon Oh Bob (@bobbybobOh Joy’s husband – how am I JUST now calling him Oh Bob???). I called Joy asking for a referral and he was like “come to me!” which is awesome. I’m just wondering if we should do waterproof cast (that might be itchy) or normal (that might be miserable to bathe her in). I suppose I have to choose her discomfort over my inconvenience (or vice versa) for 5 weeks.

Brian’s brother is an orthopedic surgeon, too (and he knows Oh Bob!) and he helped us throughout which was just so amazing. Thanks, Pat!

Look at that little warrior. She is SO proud of herself. Also if you need to convince your children that breaking a bone is a positive thing you can tell them what my brother Ken told both my kids years ago (and they have retained). He said that when you break your bone it grows back together stronger. He knows this because that’s what MMA and Thai fighters do in the offseason. Uncle Pat (orthopedic surgeon) didn’t agree when Birdie told him that, but I shut him right up, concurring with Uncle Ken’s MMA story. So for now, she is going to have a VERY strong right elbow, which will come in handy (!!) as that will be the new handshake for a while.

Meanwhile, a lot of you asked about our masks on Instastory. I ordered mine from an Etsy seller who I had collaborated with before on projects – Bramble workshop out of Portland, and they are hand-dyed shibori and so cute (kinda expensive, but if you can afford to shop small please do). We also linked a bunch of others that we like on the interweb down below.

But before you go – any tips for broken bones? Our neighbor came over and brought watercolor paints (having just took a cast off of her son) and told us to tape paper to the table and it’s so much easier. So any other tips like that would be awesome. She’ll be fine, we’ll all be fine – I’m obviously just glad it wasn’t worse and so grateful for those working on the front lines.

1. Organic Cotton Face Masks | 2. Fabric Face Mask With Filter | 3. Face Mask | 4. Eco Adult Mask | 5. Protective Mask |6. KES Sustainable Washable Face Mask | 7. Summer Picnic Fabric Face Mask | 8. Linen Face Mask | 9. Cloth Face Mask | 10. Cherries Adult MasQini Face Mask  | 11. Reusable Cotton Mask (2 Pack) | 12. Bow Face Mask | 13. The Wake Up & Fight Mask | 14. Sentry Face Mask | 15. The Sustainable Mask

Okay, that’s all the excitement the Henderson’s have for you today. Again, if you have any tips for broken bones let me know in the comments. xx

Fin Mark

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MC

Oh goodness! Our experience with an almost 4 year old breaking her arm? The removable splint worked for about 4 hours and the “option” to take it off meant that she wanted it off! After a bath, she wouldn’t put it back on. So having the plaster cast is what we needed. It wasn’t so bad taping it with a plastic bag for other baths and luckily kids heal so quickly! Only three weeks were needed in the cast and it never got unbearably itchy or anything and it was summertime – so that’s our experience! Hope Birdie heals quickly too!

chelsey

I don’t have kids (yet) but I was a gymnast and was injured constantly, it is definitely tough and scary as a kid to go to the ER, but taking risks made me who I am today. Also…..just get the waterproof cast! I had a broken ankle once in high school and needed to get a new cast 3 times because it got wet or soggy or broke. I was not good at following directions and my mom of course wanted to kill me! Waterproof casts make things easier, but I would also get one of those plastic cast covers as well! Good luck with a cast, they get very smelly and itchy 🙂

Allison Beal

I’m so sorry to hear this and what a trooper! One question i had was – how did you put her in her car seat to drive to the hospital? Or did you just hold her? I’ve always wondered what we do if one of our boys are injured and how to get them safely to the hospital. Thank you!

Emily

I had to just hold my son when he broke his arm. We couldn’t get him in his seat.

Deb

Oh dear. I always tell kids”at least it wasn’t a blood owie”. Somehow that reassures them.
You could boost her calcium intake to promote healing- yogurt, cheese, milk. Also seeds, almonds(nutella and almond butter roll ups on tortillas), beans and lentils, figs, etc.
Also never tried this but you could ask her friends’ parents for little drawings by her friends, and transfer them to her cast.

Molly S

Poor girl! She is a fighter! Hope she heals quickly.

jaime

My son (8) broke his arm a couple of weeks ago during COVID. We weren’t totally sure it was broken because he wasn’t in excruciating pain and waited a week to take him to the hospital because we didn’t want to take the risk of going to the ER. I found out from a friend that the orthopedist at our Children’s hospital extended their walk in clinic hours to keep kids with broken bones from the ER so we prepared to go there but when I called the office they had an appointment that day for us. It was a quick visit- xray showed a broken radius (surprise!) and they fit my son with a removable bionic looking cast. The doc said she preferred the removable cast since the bones were already lined up and they didn’t want us to have to come back in 5 weeks to get a cast removed. We love the cast because it comes off to shower and my son thinks it looks super cool. Anyway- I learned something useful from the doc during our visit- she said if a kid falls or gets hurt and you see swelling, it usually means the bone is… Read more »

Greta

I am a pediatric physical therapist, and my top tips are:

-Don’t forget to let her use that hand even though she is in a cast…it is good to keep the hand muscles strong

-Definitely choose the waterproof cast. It is just so much easier, particularly with warmer SoCal weather and the possibility of outdoor water activities. I think Birdie will end up thinking it is much easier too, and I haven’t heard many complaints about more itching with waterproof v regular fiberglass.

I broke my arm at the age of 12 while jumping on a trampoline. My parents didn’t believe me that my arm was broken (I see that high pain tolerance, Birdie), and refused to take me to the doctor. I made my own sling out of a dinosaur bedsheet and wore it to school.

Three weeks later (!!!), my parents were sick of my “fake broken arm” and took me to the doctor to get spite x-rays. Surprise, surprise! It was fractured. They felt terrible, bought me a Super Nintendo, and we all learned a valuable lesson: they started believing in my own intuition, and I learned how to make an effective sling (it was so good that the bone healed correctly, and I didn’t need a cast) AND that you should always make a scene in front of your family members so that they understand the urgency with which they should take you to the hospital. 🙂

On another note, thanks for the cute mask suggestions! I went for the red gingham check.

oh my! You poor things! when it rains it pours, glad you had a safe place to take her, and as they say, if it is a real emergency-go to the ER! Hope she sleeps well and her brother is not too tramatized!

Mary

Sorry to hear about Birdie’s broken elbow. Not fun. Hope she heals quickly.

If it helps, when my third son had just turned 2 (and his baby sister was not yet 6 weeks old), his two older brothers convinced him he could fly if he jumped off a desk in the family room. Yeah. Concrete floor under that carpet. Did he cry? No. Instead he crawled up the stairs to me as I sat in the kitchen with the baby. Me, not knowing about the jump and thinking he was regressing because of the new baby, stood him up. He promptly fell down. One more time. Fell again. Picture me yelling down to the other boys, “What did you do???” Yup. Broken leg. He ended up in a heavy bent cast from ankle to groin. Walked out of orthopedist with the baby on one hip, the casted-kid (who never did cry) on the other and the two perpetrators trailing behind. That was 36 years ago. His brothers survived–just. Casted-kid ran in the Marine Corps Marathon a few years ago. Just letting you know–it’ll be okay.

Oh no, I’m glad to hear Birdie is on the mend. She sounds like a trouper. I bought two kids masks from Alex and Nova for my small 3.5 year old and 5 year old. They fit great and we’re really happy with them. The potential downsides are they are made in Korea (would prefer to support made in the USA) and say to hand wash. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to wash in the machine on gentle. I wanted to pass along in case anyone is looking for masks for little ones.

J

My son broke his arm. My friend said GET WATERPROOF and don’t worry if it costs extra it’s worth every penny. (And she’s mega frugal). It was worth it’s weight in gold. Bath time is already a pain with kids, don’t add to it. Best wishes for a speedy recovery! 💜

LizM

My 2 year old broke his leg last fall. It was crazy. But we didn’t do the waterproof cast – it wasn’t even an option in our small city I guess. We bought a shower protector that went over it and it wasn’t really in convenient after all. He could bathe pretty easy in it.

Becky

Ouch! I feel your pain Birdie, I didn’t break my elbow but did manage to dislocate mine in a “mom’s division” at a youth wrestling tournament and had to go to the ER just as this whole COVID-19 thing was starting. Also, I never thought I’d see the day when MMA was mentioned on this blog! I train at an MMA gym (not now, it’s obviously closed) and have met some amazing women through MMA. If Birdie needs a real-life ninja/professional MMA fighter role model check out and give a follow to my teammate @jae.kazee. She’s an ICU nurse in Minnesota but recently handed in her resignation to fight her toughest battle yet on the frontlines with healthcare workers in NYC.

Becky

whoops, that’s @jae.kaaze

Jeanne

I just about died when you mentioned Oh Bob. It’s like when your two celebrity worlds collide! Horrible situation but that was neat to read about. So glad Birdie is doing okay. I remember when my son broke his when he was a boy. It’s so scary. The pediatrician nurses told me to wait a WEEK for an appointment. They were indignant saying that it probably wasn’t broken. I was aghast because when you know, you know. Thankfully the urgent care dr immediately knew confirmed with an xray and lined everything up for us. Get well soon!

Bobbi

Even if the waterproof cast gets itchy you can run cool water over and into it to relieve the itching. Can’t do that with a regular cast and they really advise not to stink anything into them to scratch the itch.
Hope all goes well!

Margaret

Well, that s**ks, Birdie.
If you need to, you can make an easy waterproof cover for a cast with the right-sized trash bag and bandage tape. Plastic is better, but paper tape will work. Just make a tight seal between skin and the top of the bag with a couple of layers of tape, and rip it off when you’re done. Bandage tape doesn’t hurt when it comes off the way adhesive or duct tape does.
I do this all the time for patients with casts or dressings that can’t get wet, and it works fine. I’ve even wrapped really awkward ones (think external rods) in plastic wrap from the kitchen. It’s a nightmare to handle, but sometimes works when bags won’t.

Suzanne

I hope Birdie heels quickly! Good for Birdie for being so loud. My friend’s son fell off one of those little plastic play structures at a backyard birthday party when he was about Birdie’s age. She told him to suck it up as they drove an hour home. The slide wasn’t that tall, maybe 3 feet at most, but it was grass in compacted soil. By the time they arrived home, she realized he was serious about being in pain, took him to the hospital, and discovered his arm was fractured. She felt so bad!

isabelle

Please reconsider isolating at a vacation home. It may seem like a good idea but it puts undue burden on more rural communities with less full time residents funding resources like hospitals and ambulances. The people who DO live there tend to be older and more susceptible to illness and the infection rate is higher. Unless you are growing all your own food and not going outdoors, you are exposing yourself and your community members to some level of risk. And if you are traveling back and forth to a metropolitan area anyway, it pretty much defeats the purpose. Stay at your primary address, because that’s where the resources are allocated.

I’m happy to explain in more detail how this situation could have been handled differently, if this is unclear. Again, I don’t say this to shame anyone, but to point out that we can examine our past behavior to avoid future mistakes, and realize that sometimes you have to go out of your way to put the safety of others over your personal comfort. If you can afford to have a second home, I’m sure your first one is comfortable enough to stay in.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/nyregion/coronavirus-leaving-nyc-vacation-homes.html

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/492008-rural-areas-with-vacation-homes-more-susceptible-to-coronavirus

amy

Yes, THIS! There has been so much conversation about this issue, so I was shocked she didn’t address it in the post. This is a perfect example of why people should be sheltering at (their primary) home. Accidents happen, and even if the local hospital was “empty,” vacationers are still bringing their city germs into that clinical space, where actual locals (who may be more vulnerable) should be able to safely receive their care. Very strange to talk at length about whether they felt safe going to the hospital and not even mention the dangers their visit introduces for others in the community. Glad it worked out and Birdie is on the mend, but I also hope Emily and her family reconsider the choice to isolate at their vacation home right now.

Emily

My son broke his arm last year at age 3 on our trampoline (talk about feeling like an awful parent!). My advice- it went really fast and is a blip on last year’s summer. We ordered a cast cover on Amazon to use on this cast in the bath and it worked like a charm. It will be fine.

It did ruin swim lessons, which we said we’d do them this summer. But, I guess it can wait another year!

Kari

Can’t stop laughing at Oh Bob. 😂🤣

chrissie odonnell

Hey hi! Big fan! Please add this gal’s small shop too because with every purchase she’s donating 2! She was just mentioned on Forbes too!:

https://ksgarner.com/products/face-mask-2-pack?_pos=1&_sid=db4ef9871&_ss=r

Lindsay

I’m so sorry! That must have been so nerve racking. Our youngest broke his wrist about a month ago, which required an ER visit and orthopedic surgery. Yikes! It was super reassuring that our local hospital and medical clinics have taken a lot of safety measures to screen incoming patients and to quarantine anyone with potential COVID symptoms. It was actually our quickest and probably cleanest ER experience. Most people are staying home for non-emergency and routine care. Still hard though! I kept telling my kids no one could break anything. We lasted 2.5 weeks into quarantine. Hoping for a quick recovery for Birdie.

Oh no Birdie! I’m glad she’s such a trooper (you’re all troopers tbh). I broke my leg in late February before the quarantining all started for TX. Biggest tip is to get some shirts that are easy to get over her head and around her broken arm (and will fit over a cast)! Bonus points if she picks them out and really likes wearing them

Poor Birdie, she’s a brave little warrior! So I actually broke my arm two years ago and I was SAVED as a clumsy adult by the plastic waterproof cast protectors with elastic around the end. You still have to be moderately careful but it literally saved me as a gal living alone.

Carly

Here’s a tip from a mom of a lefty (since she’ll be using her left hand for a while): Detach the stylus from the toy and reattach with velcro on the other side. Most toys are made for right handed babies and they can be hard to use with the left hand.

Kp

Hi Emily,

Awhile back, I remember that you struggled with the decision of whether to include pictures of your kids on the blog. These pictures seem especially personal. As a parent of teens and tweens, I would encourage you to revisit your thoughts on this topic. Birdie may not want these types of images to be public when she is older.

Carrie

The Vancouver Aquarium, a non -profit organization, is selling cute facemasks as a way of raising funds to care for the animals in its care during the coronavirus crisis. They have had to close its doors to visitors and are at risk of closing permanently. They ship internationally. http://www.vanaquashop.org

Rusty

Oh! Little Birdie!!! Sending you lots of hugz from Australia. xx

I’m impressed with her screaming too! I often think of parents shushing their injured or really frightened kids, when really, we need to say how scary something is or how awfully it hurts.

Good on you Mama, for letting her know it’s okay.

Now Charlie, Ninja Trainer, will have to watch out! Birdie will have Super. Ninja. Powers! Charlie must’ve been so scared scared too, poor little guy.

Scary as … for ALL of you! Sounds like you were a great team and that’s the key in all of this. You stuck together, in a Pandemic, no less, and it’s a hugely important lesson for everyone, but especially the kiddos, that no matter what, you take care of and do what you need to do to care for the loves of your lives!

Bravo! 🥰

Roberta Davis

“and there was a pandemic, AND I broke my arm!”- oh the stories!

Martha

Awww, sweet Birdie. Heal fast and well. 🙂
I loved the bit about you shutting down the refutation of the stronger-bones reassurance. I’ve done similar with my oh-so-literal father many times.

Anne

I broke my elbow when I was 9 months pregnant 5 years ago- I don’t recommend 🙂 But for adults they don’t even cast elbows anymore because we older folks lose mobility so quickly. With kids that is way different but I will say when she gets it off make sure she moves it a lot. Some kiddos can be kind of precious about a healed bone and Docs don’t always spend enough time highlighting the importance of movement of a heeled joint. So down the line but just something to keep in mind. Glad she is ok! Must have been so stressful…

Christina

Seeing our children injured or sick is WAY harder on the parents than the child. She will be completely fine. Stinks. Totally stinks, and I would have taken photos from the very beginning…as soon as I knew we were headed to the hospital…in between my own tears and screaming, “I know!!! I am so sorry, but your older self will think these photos are super cool someday!”

And she does look super cool and tough walking out with her splint. Definitely do water proof. Not for your sake but for hers…splashing in puddles, “walking” in the edge of the lake. It will make it way more fun to not stress about having it removed and replaced b/c waterpaints got dumped on it, etc.

Nancy

Re face masks. I’ve found that the ones that have ties in back instead of over-the-ear loops are much more comfortable. I ordered several different etsy ones and I’ve ended up taking out the ear loops and adding ties. (Cut from an old pair of Lululemon leggings! No need to hem—the strips just roll in on themselves once the masks are washed and dried.)

Elaine

My daughter fractured her elbow when she was seven. We bought a cast cover on Amazon to cover the cast while bathing. Watch out for your wood furniture. Our dining table was ruined because of her cast resting and scraping the edge. Lastly, when the cast is removed, she will have crazy stiff arm for about three days. My daughter found this part more painful than the initial fracture. Good luck!

Karen T.

Hi! So sorry to hear about Birdie’s break! Recommendations are definitely to bag up the cast for showers/baths/water time. Even with a waterproof cast, it can get itchy and uncomfortable as it dries out. We took to using a blowdryer on low until we could purchase a cast protector bag (Walgreens). Resting and using a sling helps and ibuprofen or tylenol sometimes if they’re really uncomfortable. My oldest (now 17) has broken his collarbone (snowboarding), shattered his finger (stupidity), broken each of his arms TWICE and once he had two broken arms at the same time (all from travel soccer). I’d say we got through by cutting him some slack until he healed–chores/some schoolwork went by the wayside and it was okay. Love that girl up…she’ll be fine. 🙂

Lori Jackson

The best way to shower is with a garbage bag over the cast and duct tape it to the arm. I did this for months and never had a wet cast on my leg.

Lori Jackson

If there is an itchy cast, use a hair dryer on the cool setting and blow the air in the cast.

KMS

Two questions: aren’t we collectively supposed to be sheltering in place?
And is there no place in Portland to cast a broken elbow?

Why not risk the health and exposure of a bunch of people by crossing state lines for a routine procedure? That seems incredibly privileged and completely irresponsible.

We’re all in California 🙂

amy

They live in LA but are vacationing at their second home a couple of hours east. Nobody crossed state lines, but they probably should be home in LA.

Linda

Our younger son broke his arm FOUR times over the course of five years – once when he was 2 and then three times just being an active little boy (I think they took his cast off too soon between break 2 and break 3). He finally had surgery after the fourth break to put pins in there, which were later removed. Be glad that we have social distancing. Otherwise you would get dirty looks at the grocery store from people who have OPINIONS on your mothering skills.
The kids get used to it really quickly and take it in stride. I cried for three days after his first break. We used a plastic cast cover for baths, and it was just fine. We even went camping at the beach, and covered it up with a plastic grocery bag when he wanted to romp in the surf.
She will be fine, and so will you!

Holly Hanna

We just went through this with my Dad, of all people! We was out walking and tripped on a rut in the sidewalk, and thought he’d use his body to absorb the fall instead of injuring his precious “jazz hands” (he’s a jazz musician, so I guess in this instance it makes actually sense). He was sent to a Covid-Only hospital for assessment as it was the closest, diagnosed with a shattered hip, and then transferred to ANOTHER hospital emergency hip replacement. Ugh! The timing of this all!!! On top of the stress and worry of his fall, there was the added worry of Covid infection and then also the heartbreaking reality that he had to endure all this alone as both hospitals prohibited visitors. But wait! There’s a silver lining to this story: He had to come stay with us for a few weeks to recover until he was strong enough to manage the stairs in his own home, so my kids and I got to spend a massive amount of time with him (at a distance, with masks). I seriously don’t think I had seen him that much in decades! It’s been three weeks since the surgery and… Read more »

davoco

re: broken bones, a nurse told me that eating high fat content would help the body heal at a quicker rate, so I ate lots of coconut oil and avocado. avocado smoothies with coconut milk and honey!

Joleen

Dear Emily, I (35F) am a small time finishes specialist in LA and I have been following you for a number of years. I have not commented before but this post caught my eye, first out of sympathy, but then, seeing the image of your daughter without top on, I felt compelled to reach out. What I am going to say is out of the utmost love and protection feelings and not out of judgement or anger. I hope this will be positively viewed as more of an awareness post. I believe in and have respected you for shielding your children from social media posts when they were younger. I feel the photo of your 4 years old daughter without a shirt on may end up being seen by the wrong type of people. Hear me out… Last year, I sent a child predator to prison for 150 years to life for molesting both of my sisters. Its a complicated story but 7 years ago a psychopath specifically inserted himself in our life (wolf in sheep clothing) to get access to my younger sisters. I am shaking from PTSD side affects just merely recalling our story – our experience has… Read more »

Bri

DO NOT BUY A VIDA FACE MASK.

They’ve continuously delayed shipping. We ordered them mid-April and now we won’t receive them until June. They provide a delivery date when you order, but it won’t be met.

I just want to give you a heads up since during that time you could order other masks, and I don’t want anyone waiting like we did. Stay safe!

Janelle

I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to make money especially during this trying time, but there’s something kind of icky? To me about this like late wave capitalism that has created a cottage industry for chic/fashionable face masks? Like how quickly companies and industries pivoted (brands that pivoted to masks for hospitals and the public exempt) to capitalizing on this pandemic? Is it just me? I am hopelessly cynical?

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