the agony and the ecstasy
The other night, my son put on his skeleton pajamas and said "I'm going to put Band-Aids on my face so I can be a skeleton AND a zombie" and I didn't pay it much attention because my daughter was having her 14th meltdown BUT an hour later when it came time for bed and taking the Band-Aids OFF of his face, he screamed the bloody murder of an 1895 pre-anesthetic surgical patient.
Live footage of me removing a band-aid from my child’s leg
As he WEPT AND WEPT at the NOTION of MOMENTARY epidermal discomfort, tears truly cascading down his face at the impending torture, I came up with a genius idea to use hair scissors to slowly cut the middle of the bandaid part open so it would hurt less to remove them. Whilst smirking at my astounding talent for gentle, solution-oriented parenting, I immediately sliced into his forehead with the scissors, causing quite a shocking amount of actual bleeding. I then had to rip off the half-cut bandaid (adding actual injury to insult) and apply a bonafide bandaid to his hemorrhaging, screaming forehead.
Helen Garner wrote of her grandkids:
A great treasure is being offered to me daily, a humble glory on a platter, right here in front of me, under my nose.
‘Are you going to keep on writing about us?’ says my fifteen-year-old grandson in the kitchen, dashing off the crossword that I have cursed and abandoned.
‘I don’t know.’ I look up guiltily. ‘Would you rather I stopped?’
A long pause.
‘No,’ he says, with his philosophical smile. ‘I don’t think you should stop.’
‘Because,’ butts in his twelve-year-old brother, bouncing his football in a forceful rhythm, ‘it shows – that we – exist.’
It so happens that my 4 year-old daughter also acts absolutely apeshit apoplectic when it comes time to take off or replace a bandaid with one that doesn’t have toxic spores growing at its edges. I’ve tried it from all the angles: letting her take it off (takes 47 minutes and she gives up, still crying, on the 48th minute), ripping it off when she’s not looking (leads to her screaming and looking at me as though I’ve sold her into a human trafficking situation), and singing really quality, improvised songs about removing bandaids (charms her for about 3 seconds before reality sets in).
The other day I finally thundered “I AM NO LONGER ALLOWING YOU TO PUT ON ANY BANDAIDS IF YOU ACT LIKE THIS EVERY TIME WE HAVE TO TAKE ONE OFF” which only vaguely one-ups my nugatory threat from 2021 “BAND-AIDS ARE NOW ONLY ALLOWED WHEN THERE IS ACTUAL BLEEDING” due to always being out of Band-Aids whenever their skin came into contact with any material other than foam, essentially.
Today when I picked her up from school, she showed me a scrape on her foot. A teacher bent down and said “Aww, we can get you a Band-Aid for that,” but Zoe looked up at me and narrowed her eyes. “No,” she said. “I don’t want to have to take it off later.”