Thursday, March 02, 2006
Numquam Ponenda Est Pluritas Sine Necessitate
You hear all the time--mostly from people who don't have kids or in, like, Redbook or some crap--that kids are wonderful and life-affirming and the little gifts from Jesus that make life worth living.
I'm not going to come right out and say that these are all lies because they aren't. They're just part of a larger truth about children that rarely sees the light of day in publications aimed at housewives (like myself). For instance, kids are also EVERYTHING EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of everything I said at the end of the first paragraph. I know that implies that they are actually curses from the Devil. That sounds a little harsh I guess, but I'm not comfortable coming right out and saying 100% that they aren't. Because they might be.
One thing that children also are that you never hear about are fascinating little laboratories for grown people to understand how the human body works. Stuff happens to kids that would never happen to you because you're a grown person with basic survival skills that preclude much of the overlap between childhood and adult injuries/health issues.*
For instance, did you know that the human stomach, when working in reverse, can launch partially digested food in the form of vomit more than three feet? I did. Know why? Because kids, unlike adults, don't know that when you feel sick, you stay in bed for as long as possible, getting up only to find some kind of receptacle for said vomit (should it occur), defeating any kind of rational scientific study of the projectile properties of involuntary regurgitation. Kids, on the other hand, can apparently play and play and play at full speed while feeling nauseous and then will suddenly--say, in the living room or in the linens aisle at your local Target store--be violently ill. It just seems to sneak up on them. And then it sneaks up on you and the carpet and the walls and their siblings and the dog and the shoes you so liked but now have to throw out because they will always, always be Spaghetti-O colored.
Other times things happen to your kids that you didn't even know the human body was capable of. I recently discovered that bruising on a child's body can MIGRATE from one place to another, spontaneously and all on its own. It's never happened to me, but then I am a rock of a man well steeped in the mystical secrets of ancient Oriental combat-domination-survival. I am a karate-man. Karate-man bruise on the inside so they don't show their weaknesses. Remind me one day to show you my Quart-O'-Blood technique.
See, I always assumed bruises were site-specific points of injury caused by blood leaking out of damaged capillaries just below the skin and into the surrounding tissue, causing discoloration. Turns out I was right about everything except the "site-specific" part. Sometimes one of the liberated blood cells, high on the freedom from the oppressive constriction of the Pharaoh Blood Vessel, will lead his fellow blood cells, Moses-like, to the promised land of some other part of the body dictated by gravity. And probably God.
It's sort of awesome when your two-year-old has a big fat gnarly shiner (this is three days on, so the Rocky Balboa-style swelling is mostly gone) because you feel like "Wow, he looks like a tough guy. Now maybe he'll stop crying every time he can't find his goddamn blanket." It's illusory, but you grasp on to what you can grasp on to.
The problem with this bruise-migration business is that eventually you have to go out in public. People seeing 2-year-olds with big fat gnarly shiners are less amused than a parent who understand the context of the minor biological miracle. All they want to know is "What the fuck did you do to your child?!"
And then I have to explain that he fell and hit his forehead and then the bruise somehow migrated ALL ON ITS OWN down to his eye. So there's really nothing wrong with his eye.
Which sounds like bullshit. People like to whip out their stupid Ockham's Razor crap they learned on the internet to go "bruise around eye = punched in the eye by asshole father." Maybe they don't call the cops right away, but they hold their own kids a little closer when you walk by. Which is OK by me because the only kids I really have the urge to punch belong to other people.
So overall I think it's all for the best.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.985
* = I think it's obvious that I identify drunk adults as the exception to these exceptions.