Whenever I post stories of what I think are normal childhood things, there’s always some person who comments about how horrible it is, or how children shouldn’t be exposed to such things, so let me preface this by saying that if you’re one of those people who thinks playing the “got your nose” game is traumatic for small children, you don’t want to read on.
There’s this thing that parents say, “Let’s just cut it off!” We start this around the age of talking, when children begin to obsess over broken things, or misplaced things, or things that just aren’t fair.
A kid falls down, skins his knee. The parent cleans it, puts some antibacterial gunk on it, applies a bandage and a kiss, le voila!
But it still hurts, so obviously the parent will never hear the end of it, and parents really don’t like whining kids, because life is fulla pain, and skinned knees are really the least of their worries, not that they know that, precious, innocent souls that they are.
“Daddy, my leg still hurts.”
“Want Daddy to cut it off? I’ll get my saw.”
“No. I’m okay.”
“Mama, my knee still hurts.”
“I can cut it off.”
“No. I’m okay.”
I dunno where you’re from, but where I’m from, this is common parental defense.
When Moo was three, she put some hairbands on her ankles.
Moo is always doing things like that. Moo is mayhem. Gets her head stuck in the chair. Climbs to the top of the tree and gets her shoulder stuck. Gets her foot stuck in a sinkhole. Last year, she put my mother’s ring on the wrong finger and it took four broken tools before a doctor pulled out a Dremel and sawed it off.
Really, this hairband incident was one of the earlier Moo moments, when we knew she was more trouble than the others, but we didn’t know it would always be this way.
Unfortunately, Moo was wearing a long nightgown, so until she snuggled up with me, none of us saw the hairbands.
Once I did see them, I helped her pull them off and then I told her not to do that, because hairbands are specifically for hair.
Except, I am a big liar, because as she pointed out, Sissy had hairbands on her wrist.
Hours later, a gown-removed, panty-clad Moo came to me in tears, with a hairband over her knee, and a substantially blue leg buckling under her. Her leg had swollen and the hairband wouldn’t move, but every time I tried, Moo cried out in pain. She was hysterical. Obviously, I had to cut the hairband off Moo’s leg.
I called for Bubba, who came to hold the baby down, so I could cut it off.
Sassy didn’t handle this so well.
I mean, there I was, one of many adults who’d offered to cut off an ailing limb, and I had scissors in hand. Sissy was holding Moo’s hand, trying to calm her, Bubba was holding her down, and we were talking about how best to “cut it off.”
Sassy began running in circles, screaming in horror, mostly with her eyes shut.
Once it was over, I stood Moo up on the kitchen counter, held up the string that was once a hairband, and much to her relief, Sassy saw that her baby sister, her beloved Moomy, still had both of her legs.
So we don’t joke about cutting off limbs anymore.
But then, the grandbaby doesn’t talk yet, either.