Pregnancy is a stressful time.
"Hey! Thanks for the brand new info, Ev!"
It's just a blur of time filled with lots of confusion. It's a bit like sex I guess, which of course leads to pregnancy (see above statement), and the cycle continues. I remember lots of odd little moments from both births down to eating pancakes that were as thin and hard as crackers. I guess it's possible that they were crackers, I was pretty out of it. I also remember the nights when we'd finally get a chance to send the baby off the nursery and the nurses shut the door and would tell us to get some rest. Being so tired from the day, we fell right to sleep.
For five minutes.
That's when there was a knock on the door, as the same nurse, WHO JUST TOLD US TO GET SOME REST (!!!!!!!), comes marching in to check on Mom and make sure everyone has everything they need.
"Dad, there's coffee by the nurse's station."
"Hey thanks! That terrible slop juice is just what I need to help me get to sleep. Do you know where I can get some candy bars? I mean, like the fun sized ones cause...I'm trying to get to sleep. Maybe some energy bars? Red Bull?"
I was tired, and I "never said that." I am a nice man with happy feelings. All the time.
The doctors had one concern with William when he was born. He was born with a skin tag by his right ear. For those who have no idea what a skin tag is, please don't feel bad. It's a small grouping of excess skin. Almost half of all Americans have them, even if they are unaware (as they can just fall off before you even notice). They're most common among obese people....like I said, almost half of Americans have them. It is, however, not that common with newborns and because it was so close to his ear, the doctors were concerned that his ear had not developed properly which had caused the skin tag. Follow that with failing his initial hearing test (passed a second one with flying colors) and there were concerns. We were told to take him in for further screening...in a few months.
I have seen probably 5 or 100 commercials for Grey's Anatomy, so clearly I know a little about all medical professions. That seemed like a real dumb process. "Your kid may have a serious hearing issue, but don't worry. Just sit and think about it for a long time and we'll chat more once you've built up a couple nervous ticks."
Between the time we got out of the hospital and the time we were able to get William in to see the hearing specialist, I had become convinced that he was completely deaf, that it was my fault, and that Handy Manny was the only hope in fixing the Sheetrock Hills town clock. The hearing test itself was pretty interesting. They put headphones on the child (William really enjoyed having a strange object on his head that he wasn't allowed to touch) and play a sound on the left or right earpiece. The child is supposed to hear the noise on that side and look to the left or right at which point they'd flash some lights and toys would start to wave or move around as a sort of prize for looking in the right direction. I'm pretty sure I've had a nightmare with that very type of scene, but whatever works for the kids. William had a hard time sitting still, so I was sent in to sit with him and casually feed him cheerios while a nice lady figured out if he had a hearing problem. No big deal. I may have tried to give him subtle clues as to which side the noise was coming from, and by subtle I might mean frantic hand waving, and by clues I might mean blatant pointing in the direction the noise was coming from.
When all the testing was done the very nice lady sat down with us to explain that William's hearing was completely normal. The skin tags were just skin tags, nothing was wrong. When I explained that I may have been helping him, she assured me that she was very aware of what I was doing (clearly she was saving face, I'm stealthy like a ninja) and I had nothing to do with the results. When I explained that over the past couple months I had observed him not reacting to sound or his name being called, she assured me that children learn to ignore their parents from a very early age. What the heck, William? I should add, Handy Manny did get that clock fixed.
There's been one other time that William has made me that level of worried and frightened for him.
As shy as William is around adults, he is much more open around kids. I get that. Adults are pretty upsetting and they have hair in strange places. We had some friends over one evening and it was time for bed. William was having such a great time running around with their little boy that I just went up with Melissa to take care of Carter and give William another couple minutes to have fun. Moments into Carter's diaper change I heard an awful scream. I rush downstairs and see William crying a type of cry that just made me panic. I notice something small on his forehead, and as I go to wipe it away I notice he had quite the deep cut. Really small, but as deep as the internet. As I continued to check on William, the other boy was interrogated on what happened to make sure it wasn't something he did. We were fortunate that of all the friends who could have been over, we were with some serious emergency room pros. Their little boy had a similar accident, and they explained that the problem with the cut was that it's just too small to stitch properly. We let him stay up a bit and calm down, cleaned his head and put on a bandaid (which William thinks are stickers). Yes! It was looked at by an actual doctor, and all is well. Yes! I know about mederma, and it is applied every night. My lack of concern for potential problems in my own body doesn't apply to my kids. He really is totally fine, and sometimes puts his hand where the scar is and says, "It's gone! It's gone!" though he'll probably have a bit of a visible mark forever.
Believe it or not, I am actually going somewhere with all this. I understand that a scar on the forehead and a little bump of skin that most people miss unless it's pointed out, is getting off pretty lucky. I'm well aware that many parents deal with far worse issues when it comes to their kids. I even know a few. What I'm trying to get to is, no matter how tough or stressful parenting becomes, you're probably doing an amazing job. Being upstairs when your kid has a complete and total accident does NOT make it your fault. Just like you don't get to take credit for them not crawling into the dryer just because you were with them as they walked by it. My Dad once told me, honestly, that I was having pain from a kidney stone because I wasn't at his house with him. He really believed that. It's the same logic that made him invite over all his kids, their girlfriends/boyfriends, and everyone's pets, 7 people (Odd number? Fine! Okay? I wasn't involved with anyone at the time. No one wanted to hold me through the terrible hurricane winds.) and like 10 pets jammed into his house because of the threat of a hurricane one year. P.S. Almost no wind and it barely even rained.
I suppose I'm doing my best to learn that there's no reason to always hover over my kids in some creepy way just because I consider it being "protective." I can only hope to teach them both some common sense, and perhaps not give them the matchbox cars with the crazy sharp edges. I'm looking at you Francesco Bernoulli!
Accidents can and will happen, so while with my man-sized logic that seems in perfect order, as a parent it's tricky sometimes to not try and blame...something. I'm working on it.
Not all of times William kicked me in the gentleman's fruit were accidental.
I know it.
I really am working on it.