June 18th, 2007

love in a band-aid

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His teddy bears are covered in band-aids. They have been pushed over a tremendous precipice by a deceptive little hand, quick to give the fatal shove and just as quick to scoop up and cradle. He coos softly to his fallen prey, S’okay bear! S’okay. Band-aid, bear? Aaaaallll better.

This new game—the one where he plays doctor to his countless fallen victims—derives from a current obsession with his own ouches. He runs and jumps and climbs and rolls, and with all of it comes, inevitably, scraped knees and banged-up elbows. The seconds following a head-over-heels topple are paralysis: I wait, breath sucked in sharply, for the signal from him which will dictate my response—a small whimper crescendoing into elephant teardrops or a nervous grin, looking up at me as if to say, wow mama! Did you see me fly? Were you watching? before bounding up and away, back to business as usual.

I’m coming to discover in these bruised shins and grass stained elbows the markings of a day well lived. I peel off his clothes at night and carefully inspect every crevice—dried hummus behind his ears, sand between his toes, dirt in the folds of skin behind his knees. He squirms in my arms, trying to escape the onslaught of inspection, but not before I can nuzzle my nose into his dirty neck and breath in deep, inhaling the scent of cheerios, sunscreen, and sweat, the smell of 100% pure boy. The smellier and filthier, the more irresistible he is to me, and the more I know that this day, he’s done it up to the fullest.

We are lurching full steam ahead into toddlerhood. When band-aids become necessary, when I have to dust off his sandy hair and wipe away tears, I find the most sugary of surprises—he rarely submits to my doting, but in these moments, he presses his body into mine, and allows me cover him with salty, medicinal kisses. For this brief, precious moment, I get to be the only one who can make it all better.

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Posted by: Sarah on June 18th, 2007
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