I’m fighting a cold right now, which is frustrating. I’ve barely been out of the house this week, so where did it come from? Maybe from the orthodontist’s office, where everything is coated with invisible platinum for your bankruptcy enjoyment. (Note to self: invisible platinum is apparently not antimicrobial.)
So I perhaps read a little faster, at bedtime, and tucked the kids in a little more briskly than usual. I did the most cursory clean-up of the kitchen that I could justify, then retreated to my bed with my laptop. I planned to finish up some work and go to sleep early.
About half an hour after tuck-in, Monkey stumbled into my room, squinty and sleepy.
“I can’t sleep,” he announced, “because my foot hurts.”
I stiffened. In the world there are blacks and whites and a million shades of grey inbetween, but with my son there are only opposite ends of the spectrum. Such a declaration could only mean one of two things: Either he was troubled by something intangible which I would be unable to fix, or his foot was broken. Either way, it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“What’s wrong with your foot? Show me.” Monkey obediently shed his footie pajamas bottoms and flung his foot into my lap. He was still rubbing his eyes and trying to adjust to my lamp.
“There,” he said, stabbing a finger towards his heel. “Something hurts there.” I bent down and examined his heel. I brushed my finger over the area and he winced as my fingertip hit something. “Don’t DO that!” he scolded me. “I TOLD you it hurts there!”
Trying to remain nonchalant, I set my computer aside and propped him up against my pillow. “Be right back, don’t go anywhere,” I told him. I went into the bathroom and grabbed the rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, band-aids, and tweezers.
(There are about a million things in this world I would rather do than dig around in my child’s flesh with a pointy object, by the way. Some of those things include chewing off my own arm, and using internet dating sites.)
I came back and doused a cotton ball in alcohol. I swabbed his foot and the tweezer tips and looked my son in the eyes. “Buddy, this might hurt a little. Try to hold still. Can you do that?” He nodded and I bent to work, steeling myself for wails.
Monkey was a statue and didn’t make a peep as I pulled the biggest splinter I’ve ever seen out of his foot. “Goodness, buddy, where did you get THAT?” I asked, holding it up for his inspection.
“I don’t know. I don’t think I want it,” he answered. I swabbed his heel again and blew on it until it dried, then affixed a band-aid. He put his pajama bottoms back on and I carried him down the hall to his bed.
As I pulled the covers up for him, he grabbed my hand. “I feel much better now, Mama,” he sighed. “Thank you for getting that thing out of me.” I ruffled his hair and returned to my work, and only lost a little time wondering how in the world he got a splinter while in bed. (Or, alternatively, how long he was wandering around with a two by four lodged in his foot before it occurred to him that it hurt.)
So often I cannot fix my children’s pain. They trust me to make it all better, and as they grow I will fail them more and more. But tonight I had the magic tweezers.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. May you all have someone who truly believes you can make it all better.