Sunday, May 17, 2009

Who Bloody Nose?

My kids are prone to odd maladies that lack medical urgency, yet still astonish and disgust everyone in their vicinity.

Take barfing for example. To this day Toby is the only toddler I have ever seen be personally delivered to his parents in the middle of church service by a gagging, vomit-covered child-care volunteer. If there were a barf Olympics I would enter Toby and tearfully cheer from the bleachers as he projectiled further than anyone in history. "That's my boy!" I would say and then I would reminisce about long nights spent on the couch holding towels under his chin and how worthwhile it was now that he was on the podium singing our National Anthem.

Last week we were outside for all of thirty minutes, wherein the absolute first mosquito hatchlings of summer congregated on Toby's shins for a celebration feast. It wasn't like I didn't know to hose the boys off in deet before subjecting them to the insect Hades of our backyard, but I hadn't checked my entomological calendar for the precise mosquito life cycle. One moment I'm dreamily sipping my Chai latte in Spring's sheltering arms, the next I'm digging through our medicine cabinet for the *AfterBite* cream and *Benadryl* because Toby's legs are swelling to the size of Redwood trunks.

I know what you are thinking. Lots of kids are allergic to insect bites and blah blah blah, but I kid you not, none of them (except B.A.D.) ever produced such hideous, colossal boils as what sprouted from my son's innocent flesh. Boils with eco-systems and lunar phases and fast food franchises. Part of me was a little excited to share this anomaly via Internet photo, and for that I apologize. In my defense, if your own child were capable of a grotesque reaction you would find the urge to shock your FB friends irresistible too.

Today I added "bloody noses" to my long list of *WebMD* queries. While my adoration and gratefulness for *WebMD* runs deeper than most consider prudent, there are times when I cannot convey the appropriate severity. "Bloody noses" are what happen when your brother throws a wooden train across the room, or when you go skiing in Breckenridge, or when you pick. Searching "Sudden failure of entire vascular regions while sitting quietly in Children's Worship" did not produce any valuable results.

What can you do? After four years of research I have learned there is usually nothing to worry about, and that just about anything is a symptom of cancer.

Anything except emetephobia. That is just a perk of mothering two uniquely gifted individuals.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Paradigms: Sometimes They Won't Fit the Mold

Remember your first child? You know, the one who fell asleep in the shopping cart at Target during the Christmas rush? The one who jumped in bed before you got to "two?" The one who kissed you without your having to pretend cry? The one whose bibs went unstained under the threat of mashed yams? Remember him???

Just when you accepted either a) your chromosomal superiority or b) your (look out...) remarkable parenting skills, your second child springs from the womb yelling "no" and laughing while you try to snuggle his limp-bodied, kicking self into some semblance of the Willow Tree carving on the dresser.

"Oh, I'm sorry," you tell him, "I guess you didn't know that breaking all the glass votive holders was dangerous. That yelling 'Cookie!' the entire time we ate out (though you were, in fact, holding a cookie) was irritating. That shrieking 'Down! Down!' as I carried you from preschool every day was embarrassing. It should look like this: you kneeling beside my heart-shaped, featureless face while I tenderly stroke your wooden cheek. Yes, that's it! Isn't that what you meant to do?"

Then your second child locks eyes with you and smiles very dimply and peachy while reaching one toe into the street just a touch, just a little weensy bit. "Charlie!" you say, "No sir! Go to the naughty spot!" You wave your arms and squinch your eyebrows so the neighbors see you are not permissive or negligent or incompetent, though you yourself aren't really sure.

You scrutinize your care, your attentiveness, your goodness while he sits in time-out. You look at his tiny bean-of-a-self enduring this formality with the remorse of an artichoke. What am I doing wrong?

He grabs his wiggly feet and sings, "He ha da Whole worl in His han!" and "biddy biddy beebees, in his han!" until you realize the answer is nothing. What is flawed is the statue itself, because as moving as it seems, it isn't as delightful, as marvelous, as perfect as this stubborn, extraordinary soul.

God don't let me change him!