Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Rise and Shiner

So I slogged into the bathroom this morning, as I do of an A.M., and there, confronting me in the mirror, was a terrific shiner.

I was a bit taken aback, not so much by the bruise as by the bags under my eyes. Can you get bruising from sheer puffiness? A sort of internal injury? Maybe from sinus pressure, because there's a lot of that going on too? But the other eye was puffy without looking pugilistic. My dreams last night were uncomfortable, but of the driving-through-a-postapocalytic-city sort, not the being-beaten-about-the-head sort. There was a sort of nightmarish quality to how aged I looked, but otherwise it had been a normal night.

Of course, both puffiness and black eyes are the sorts of things you might expect from having your horizontal hours supplemented by a ten-month-old and then a seven-year-old with long limbs. I spent a good deal of the night wedged between the two, for all I kept muttering to the 7yo, "Go get in your own bed." (She eventually did, maybe an hour or so before my alarm went off, so that was nice.) The 10mo has a habit of throwing himself around when he kinda wakes up and he's not immediately popped on to nurse, and will crawl around the bed and bang himself on the headboard and hurl himself over me.

"MrsDarwin!" you say. "Put that kid to sleep in the crib and get some rest." People. Do you think I do this for my health? No. I would actually like this child to sleep in a crib. Indeed, at the beginning of the night I place him there, and listen to him scream determinedly for a Very Long Time, and then I come back into the room and find his face bloody because he bangs his mouth on the rail. I'm no monster, so I nurse him and walk him and get him to sleep, and then I try to transfer him to the crib again, and every time I fail and he wakes up. Every night, friends. Every afternoon too, when I try to put him down sleeping. He even knows when I'm walking toward the crib. Are you thinking about sleep training your child? Do it at six months, like I should have done, so you're not faced with a willful ten-month-old.

The baby was snoozing adorably in my bed when I discovered my eye. I don't say it was his fault. I don't remember being hit in the face last night. There was some point in the recent past when I did see stars as the result of something contacting my face, but blamed if I can remember what it was. Was I nursing and the child kicked me or hit me with a toy? Was it the four-year-old climbing on my head in order to agitate his little brother? People roust on my head so often that I don't pay it much mind anymore, but it seems like I ought to have a clear memory of blunt force trauma to my eye socket.

It was while I was a Vacation Bible School meeting that morning that I suddenly became self-conscious about the fact that I'd left my wedding ring on the holder in my bathroom when I took my shower, I had sunglasses pushed up on my head, and I had a black eye. No one asked me when my husband had stopped beating me, or actually took any notice at all, but I spent the rest of the hour with my left hand tucked casually under the table. As soon as things adjourned I skulked out to the car and examined my eye. The puffiness had gone down, but the bruise was more noticeable. I drove home very carefully so no officer would pull me over and question me about my domestic life. Darwin, out doing yard work on a sunny Saturday with his earbuds in, waved at me as I rolled down the driveway. His eye was not black because he sleeps with his back to me in the twelve inches of space baby leaves him. Also, baby has no cause to pound him because he gives no milk.

This was developing into a prize bruise, one of those pure prismatic beauties with no hint of brown to spoil the true violet shading into blue and green. Between the swelling and the color, concealer was not an option. I was going to have to brazen it out. My observant children were, as ever, a consolation to me. Each of them informed me that I had a black eye, and a few kind souls poked my face and asked if it hurt. It did not, actually, but I wasn't about to tell them that.

Most weekends of the year I do absolutely nothing, but on this bad face day I had to make several outings. My friend at lunch was good enough to just come out and ask me about my eye. Everywhere else I tried to walk confidently, like someone who knows she has a black eye but she's cool because there's a perfectly innocent explanation. This was easy enough because it was true, but that evening as Darwin and I strolled through the grocery store with baby, I was acutely aware of my phiz in a way I hadn't been since I had open poison ivy sores oozing on my forehead two years ago. In the checkout line, I put my nice Memorial Day bouquet on the conveyor belt. Then I wondered how it looked to have a husband and a wife with a bruised eye buying flowers. Then I thought, screw it, because I want a bouquet for our Sunday cookout.

After we got the kids to bed (guess who screamed in the crib for twenty minutes while everyone else was being tucked in?), we came downstairs.
"I think I'll make some tea," I said.
"Maybe I'll make some coffee," said Darwin.
"Why don't you just do that?" I said.
"You want me to give you another black eye?" said Darwin.
And then we laughed ourselves stupid, as we do.

1 comment:

Foxfier said...

"MrsDarwin!" you say. "Put that kid to sleep in the crib and get some rest."

Right up there with "rest when the baby does" as advice to help a new mother not be so tired. Ouch.

(My mom's "advice" tends to be more in the form of sympathy, on the assumption that all the easy stuff has already been tried, and obvious things like "so lay the baby in his own bed" is #1.)

Have you considered pool noodles for the crib (dollar store usually has some, rather than paying six bucks at Walmart), or would he bite chunks out of them? Or just find another way to do the same thing?

Good luck!