Where Stubborn Meets Ridiculous
First of all, I kind of can't believe I haven't already told this story, but I searched my blog this morning and couldn't find it. If I somehow missed it, and I'm repeating myself, please have mercy and remember that I've lost more and more brain cells and memory space with each child and I'm lucky I remember my own name half the time. Caveat issued.
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A few months ago, I was manning the controls of a routine school-night at our house. This involves making pasta, scaring up a vegetable, and keeping the little kids somehow occupied while helping the older kids do their homework. It's quite a juggling act.
At one particular moment, I was chopping carrots, correcting 4th grade math and helping my oldest figure out his science homework, when a blood curdling shriek interrupted the proceedings. I turned around to see my youngest, standing absolutely rigid, with a look beyond terror on her face, and a sound from the depths of hell spewing forth from her throat.
She was not standing near anyone, so no one could have hurt her. Everyone else was accounted for, so they couldn't have swiped a toy or lovey from her. She wasn't crumpled on the floor or recovering from a great fall. There were no tools or other implements near her. She was either in extreme pain or extremeley pissed off at someone, and I couldn't figure out what had happened.
I tried asking her what was wrong, and got screamed at for my troubles. I tried to comfort her, but she put her arms out in front of her and spit out several guttural NOs!, which I took to mean: Stay the hell away from me, lady!
Everything and everyone came to a halt. Good God in heaven, what is the matter with this child?
Diaper rash? Checked it out: all clean.
Tortured by siblings? Checked it out: they were all baffled and concerned.
The screaming continued, the rigidly stiff body remained so.
Is she hungry? Um, no, she just threw the crackers we offered her at my head. Thirsty? Um, she says no, and I'm not giving her a heavy sippy cup just to be sure, as I think it will end up in a trajectory towards my head.
Does she need her blanket? Not providing relief.
Tired? Just got up from a nap 30 minutes ago.
All I could do was gather her in my arms and hold her, screaming, angry, inconsolable child that she was. After resisting that for awhile, she finally let me. She settled a tiny bit, but was clearly just furious with the world.
With no idea how to help her, I rubbed her back, and tried to get back to homework help. After about 20 minutes, she was still distraught, and I had to do SOMETHING to break this cycle.
When in doubt, change a diaper; at least it gives you something to do. Maybe it's pinching her skin? So I took her upstairs and put her on my bed and proceeded to do the job.
When I lifted up her legs to pull the (clean!) diaper off, I got a look at the bottoms of her feet. There, lodged nice and firmly in her left foot, was a push pin. The neat red circle was flat and flush against her skin. It took a fair amount of digging to dislodge it.
OK, now tell me: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS KID? Wouldn't a normal child indicate to her mother that her foot hurt like a mo-fo, and ask me to make it stop? She's verbal, she's not shy, she's clearly able to obtain things she wants from me, her dad, her siblings, her daycare provider, the neighbor, the mailman, and the grocery store clerk. She is, usually, the tail wagging this family back, forth, up, down, and sideways, and yet, and yet...
She left the damn push pin in her foot for over 20 minutes while I was quite obviously trying to make every effort to find out what was wrong and make it better.
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W. T. F.
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