So a quick stitches update: the kid has been doing fine. She was a bit clingy and wiggy for the first couple of days, but she was the best patient I've ever had. We developed a little ritual for changing her bandage--the doctors wanted her stitches covered and antibioticked up--in the morning and at bedtime. It came to involve a Dum Dum, the smallest, most innocuous lollipop we could think of. [After having abandoned our naive, idealistic opposition to trading good behavior for candy a while back in toilet training 2.0.]
Still, we held off several days before breaking the news that this was more than a typical Band-Aid wound. Wednesday, we explained to the kid that in fact, she had stitches, that her terrifying glimpses and sounds of scissors in the ER were not just not cutting her head as she first thought; they were cutting thread. My wife asked if she wanted to see them. She did. She gave her a hand mirror. The kid was stunned. All the next day, and on through Friday, the kid instructed us to not talk about them. During a playdate, she'd occasionally come running in to me, complaining that her friends were talking about her stitches. Again.
In the ER, one of the scariest things for the kid was not knowing what was going on, or what was going to happen. So at the risk of TMI, we decided it'd be best to explain as much as we thought she could take about getting the stitches out. Thursday after dinner, my wife sat the kid down with a dishtowel and a needle & thread, and they practiced making and cutting stitches, and she explained that this is just what the nurse would do Friday.
And damned if the kid didn't go along with it the entire way. We were at her pediatrician's office, so a familiar setting helped, but she didn't complain, didn't flinch, and didn't cry the entire time. Lying on the table, you could just see the fear washing across her face, but she managed it, and then chatted away with the nurse and us when it was over. She's one freaky-strong kid. At least when there's a Dum-Dum hanging in the balance.
From the doctors', we went to buy her some new hats; she was told to keep her cut covered for six months to minimize discoloration. All I can say is, there are some seriously fugly kid's hats out there, when they're there at all.