I mentioned in my last post that my life is “full of emergencies.” Let me rephrase that. Because really, it’s not true. My life used to be full of emergencies, back when it was my job to take care of the whole world. Or at least back when I thought that was my job. But it’s not. I’ve resigned. Or maybe I was fired. I wasn’t very good at it, so I wouldn’t be surprised, either way.
But there’s a part of me that still likes the drama. I admit it. The other night, I was cleaning out Jack’s ear and pushed a little too hard with the Q-tip. He started to cry. I freaked out. “Brian, Brian! Come here! I’ve hurt him! I’ve hurt him!” I cannot tell you how horrified I was. I was certain I had punctured an ear drum. He kept crying, probably because I was so upset. Brian tried to calm me down, assess the situation, and make sure Jack was OK. It wasn’t easy. I could tell he wanted to take Jack and check him out, but he didn’t want me to take that as a sign that he thought I was an unfit mother.
Jack actually calmed down pretty quickly, even though I didn’t. I did check his ear again: no blood. And he seemed not to feel any pain. Only then did I hand him over to his dad and have a good cry. Having caused him pain (and possibly permanent damage) had me reeling. It was really the first time that I realized I *will* hurt him sometimes. And he will hurt me. Sometimes on purpose, but mostly by accident. So much for being perfect and taking care of the world, huh? Though I hope I can teach Jack by my example that we all make mistakes and do our best to learn from them, it’s much easier to say that in the abstract than to actually make the mistakes and do my best to learn from them.
The whole reason I was cleaning out his ear is because I smelled something funny. Could be ear wax. Or, I thought, it could be an ear infection. I remembered possibly letting water touch his ear in the pool, then later in the bath. I was worried that water in the ear had caused an infection that was starting to smell bad. He didn’t seem upset or feverish, but you never know. So we took him to the doctor, who checked him out pretty thoroughly. No ear infection, just wax. She said, “You’re just a waxy boy” and tickled Jack’s tummy. He laughed.
I could learn a lot from that kid.