My Bloody Valentine


     Most moms seem to have little to no gross-out index.  They take a chewed-up egg sandwich in their hand.  They will wipe a kid’s nose with their hand.  They will catch a poop that has escaped in the pool WITH THEIR HAND.  They kiss scraped knees, clean up puke, and are drooled on, spit up on, sneezed on, coughed on, etc.

     I used to watch this happen with a mixture of horror and wonder.  I assumed when I finished gestating Lulu the Wunderkind, I would somehow become immune to being grossed out.

     I was right.  I was also wrong.

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     Lulu hands me a half-chewed raisin.  I take it.  Lulu gestures for me to come closer.  I do.  She sneezes and laughs with delight at my “surprise” (read:  ew).  I have been drooled on and spit up on.  And puke?  Oh, honey.  I’ve had a former oncology nurse (they know vomit) tell me that Lulu’s is extraordinarily stinky and gag-inducing.    And I’ve had that vomit in my hair three times in one night.  I have watched an emergency room doctor take the medical equivalent of a heavy-duty stapler and use it to inject medicine into Lulu’s bones.  I’ve watched while nurses have punctured every available place for an IV.  I’ve cleaned up her bandages and kissed her boo-boos.  She’s made enough laundry, between the vomit and the diarrhea, to have completely used up all of the sheets and towels in the house.  When we later had to take her to the hospital and I called a family member to go and check on our cats, I had to tell him to avoid the mountain of laundry at the bottom of our stairs.  And also to only breathe through his mouth inside our house, because that mountain stank.

     But my own blood?  Can’t do it.  I am a squeamish wreck when I am bleeding.  You see, I am a drama queen of epic proportions when it comes to my own blood.  When I wrote my birth plan, the first sentence was “don’t let me see any blood.”  And they didn’t.  I would have passed out if they had, and that would have been an awful way to greet the baby.  Most of the credit goes to Travis, who found ways to get me to look away at strategic moments, and in fact interrupted the midwife when she really, really, really wanted me to look down.  Because that would have been a bad idea.

     I know that’s a lot of fluids.  Let’s focus here.  Since we’re all probably celebrating or mourning the death of Twilight, let’s focus a little on blood.  Mine.  Because it’s really all about me.

     I’ll set the scene:  It’s 4:30 pm.  Lulu is cutting a molar.  She is alternating between HAPPY and SAD.  When she is HAPPY life is really good and rainbows sing songs and there are rivers of milk and birds and sunshine and the toys are good and when she is SAD everything can go to hell.  We’ve been alternating between HAPPY and SAD since 6am (2 breaks for naps) about every 3-5 minutes.  I am exhausted.  At 4:35pm, we are SAD but then Daddy comes home and we are SO SO SO HAPPY!!!!!!!  And he has to run an errand, so I send Drama Baby Lulu with him.

     At 5:00, he returns.  There is a pot of water boiling on the stove, a sliced onion on the cutting board, tater tots just about ready to come out of the oven, and me, sitting on the couch, with my thumb wrapped in a paper towel.  He doesn’t ask questions.  He just gets Lulu situated with toys, takes me in the bathroom, gets rid of the carnage that is there from me attempting to bandage it by myself, cleans and bandages my thumb, and then removes the bloody garbage so I don’t have to see it.

     We have a history here.  When we were first married, I cut my thumb.  Probably with the same knife.  It bled like I was trying to single-handedly (ha-ha) recreate the prom scene from Carrie.  When Travis came home from work, he found me sitting on the couch, waiting, with a paper towel wrapped around my hand.  Sound familiar?

     Yeah, I’m surprised I still have two thumbs too.

     So then we have this conversation:

     Travis:  How bad is the cut?  Do you need stitches?  Should we go to the emergency room?

     Me:  I don’t know.

     Travis:  What do you mean, you don’t know?

     Me:  I haven’t looked at it.

     Travis:  What do you mean?

    Me: Every time I look at it, I get a little whiffy.

     And then Travis looked at me like I was nuts and unwrapped the towel and we both looked at it and I actually fainted.  But we decided I didn’t need stitches and he cleaned it up and ever since then he’s been in charge of it whenever I decide to hack a bit of myself off.

     And that’s love.  Real love.  You can keep your roses and chocolate and fancy dinners.  I will keep the man who will gnaw his way through a tough pot roast and tell me that’s the way he likes it, and will call me on his way into a hospital room where I’ve been all night with Lulu to ask if I want my coffee from McDonald’s or Starbuck’s and will make absolutely certain that I don’t see the cut on my thumb until it’s a scar.

     My valentine this year was signed in blood.

     Suck it, Bella.

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