Bejewell on October 6th, 2008

So, the little Bean *nearly* broke his nose a couple of weekends ago in a couch surfing attempt that went horribly awry.  I pretty much knew it was going to end badly when I saw him in the laundry basket on the couch, teetering dangerously close to the edge and looking VERY excited about that, but it was one of those slo-mo moments where you SHOULD be moving like lightning but seem to be trapped in a world of invisible but very thick molasses while the BAD THING happens JUST outside of your reach.

After the (literal) nosedive, I was released from my molasses cage and time returned to its regular pace, which suddenly seemed incredibly fast. The Bean sprang to his feet like he was on fire, and the screams started, those deafening, blood-curdling, torturous screams that conjure thoughts of slaughtered lambs and Hannibal Lecter – but at that point there was really nothing I could do except hold him with a death grip and try not to look horrified as his nose swelled up to the size of a large, very red, very snotty plum.  When he started snorting through it instead of breathing like a normal person, it finally occurred to me that it might be broken, and I even considered a trip to the emergency room, despite the fact that we’re really not “emergency room people.” 

(To me, emergency rooms should be reserved for actual, life threatening, blood-spurting-out-of-important-places emergencies.  For everything else, regular doctors should be consulted.  During business hours.)

I think there was probably a little bit of denial going on there, too, like I really didn’t want to believe that my child had broken his nose under MY WATCH, because that would mean admitting that I did not have the situation completely UNDER MY CONTROL and might actually suggest that I am not a perfect mother.  Which, let’s face it, nobody really thought anyway.  But still.  I didn’t need any additional confirmation of that sad fact.

Anyway, within 15 minutes the Bean was the Bean again, still breathing funny but back to laughing his belly laugh and chasing me around the house and throwing stuff and torturing the puppies and, yes, trying once again to climb that couch and finish what he started — so I figured the nose *probably* wasn’t broken and the doctor’s visit could wait until morning. I put him to bed, and he went down like a rock in a pond and I felt like everything was going to be okay.

But then it dawned on me that I was going to have to tell the Big Bean about this.  And I trembled with fear and apprehension at the thought of that.  

Now, I love the Big Bean desperately and he is a wonderful father — better than I ever could have imagined in a ba-jillion years.  But he DOES have a tendency to overreact to stressful or scary situations.  Those that involve the Bean are especially upsetting to him and elicit the most extreme overreactions of all.  And I never handle any of it well — I take it all very personally and get offended and then it turns into a fight under already stressful conditions, and it’s pretty much downhill from there.

So I formed my statement carefully, crafting my language in such a way that the Big Bean would be made aware of the seriousness of the situation WITHOUT inducing panic or anger.

And I guess I must have done a pretty good job, because when he got home that night I gingerly delivered the news and he did NOT freak out, just shook his head like “Well, shit’s gonna happen” and that was basically the end of it.

Until the next morning, when he actually SAW the damage that had resulted from the Couch Surfing Incident. The Bean’s nose was STILL swollen, and he was STILL snorting instead of breathing, and it was pretty clear that a doctor’s visit was in order, sooner rather than later.

The Nose.  A full week after the Couch Surfing Incident.

The Nose. A full week after the Couch Surfing Incident. (And just before his first haircut, so don't judge.)

I could kind of feel the over-reaction bubbling under the Big Bean’s surface, so I started grasping at straws to distract him or lighten the mood, because really it wasn’t like I didn’t already feel bad enough and the last thing I needed was someone giving me some doom-and-gloom I’m-no-doctor-but-that-looks-BAD diagnosis and saying things like “Obviously it’s much worse than you said” and “Can you not SEE how swollen it is?”  I just really DID NOT want him to say those things to me.

But of course, he DID say those things, and I DID take them personally, and it DID turn into a fight.  Not a big, serious fight but one of those par-for-the-course-Bejewell-Big-Bean fights, where HE says something insensitive, I get my feelings hurt, HE‘s his usual non-apologetic self, I pout in a corner, and HE remains generally oblivious to my evil Ninja death stare and goes on about his day blissfully unaware that we’re even in a fight at all. Which makes ME even more pouty and resentful.

You know, the usual.

So we took Rocky, Jr. to the doctor (as I continued to pout), and it turned out that the nose was NOT broken, just bruised, and the doctor was really very nice about it all and did NOT send Child Protective Services after me, which I appreciated.  (Thanks again, Dr. Chang.)

We all breathed sighs of relief, although my sigh was really more of a “Thank God they’re not going to take me away in handcuffs” relief heave and the little Bean’s sigh was more of a “Please get me the fuck out of here, I am SO BORED” snort with snot bubbles.

When we got the little bruiser home, the Big Bean FINALLY realized that we were in a fight, and he tried to appease me with his usual half-assed, way-too-late apology, and I was once again faced with two options: (1) Wage an exercise in futility and try to elicit a genuine, sincere “I’m sorry” from the Big Bean, or (2) Just get over it and pretend it never happened, until some other fight three months later when I can pull it out of my back pocket and be all “See? You ALWAYS do this!! Pow! Shazam! Bejewell style!!” — once again feeling morally superior while making another excellent point in the Bejewell Land of Justice, a lovely land where I am the Mayor, President and sole occupant.

I decided to get over it.

Later the subject of The Nose came up again, but this time we knew that the Bean was okay, plus I had moved on from the pouting stage, so it was a much more adult(like) conversation.  And during that talk the Big Bean explained why he had become so upset when he saw the little Bean’s nose.  This is what he said:

It’s like when the Jeep’s door got dented that time, and I took it to the shop to be fixed, but they didn’t fix it right, and it’s not perfect anymore. And every time I look at it, I know it will never be as perfect as it once was.
I gotta tell ya, as much as I wanted to be angry with him for saying something so ridiculously stupid, it also made me realize that he’s looking at all of this from a Man-and-his-STUFF perspective.  You simply DON’T MESS WITH A MAN’S STUFF.
Men have this weird way of looking at their Stuff – at least, most of the men I know.  They like things to be NEW and SHINY and PERFECT.  And once something has been damaged in some way – dented or torn or spilled on or something — it immediately becomes TAINTED and no matter what’s done later to reverse the damage, no matter how flawless the ensuing repairs might be, the man in question KNOWS that his STUFF has been damaged, and he will never forget that or even really get over it.
I’m not the only one who deals with this Men-and-Their-Stuff issue, either.  BFF has been dealing with it for years, too.  There are some stuff-related things that she and her husband STILL can’t discuss, months or sometimes years after the fact, because to this day he’s unable to get over the fact that his Stuff was damaged.  Doesn’t matter that the Stuff was fixed to perfection, that it wasn’t her fault, that it was an accident, whatever.  You just DON’T MESS AROUND WITH A MAN’S STUFF.
In the Big Bean’s bizarro world, the Little Bean is his STUFF.  As illogical as it might be to me, he sees the Bean as NEW and SHINY and PERFECT, and the Couch Surfing Incident contaminated that vision of perfection in some way for him.  It was the first damage ever sustained by that beautiful, perfect little nose, and that knowledge HURT the Big Bean. 
In his mind, the Big Bean really can’t be held responsible for anything he might say or do in response to such a crisis.
And, really, how can I argue with that logic?

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19 Responses to “Spicoli: Couch Style”

  1. First of all, your child seriously is one of the CUTEST kids I have ever seen.

    Also, I actually thought his nose didn’t look that bad at all! Then I read that pic was taken a week post-couch dive.


    I get the whole Man Stuff thing. In our house, it’s his tvs, his computers, his kids, his beer fridge…and not necessarily in that order.

    p.s. Sorry if this is the boring-est comment you ever have received. Would it help if I told you that you are an awesome mom?! Because you really are. At least you didn’t let your kid fall backwards off a bar stool today. Not that we were in a bar. We were in my kitchen. And I didn’t so much “let” it happen but rather I couldn’t fly over fast enough to prevent it from happening. I’m a failure of a mother.

  2. I know I’m fixating on the wrong thing here, but I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU WOULD CUT HIS GORGEOUS MESSY MOP O’ HAIR.

    That said: thanks for the giant (energy efficient) light bulb that just went off over my head when you explained about “man stuff.” I have a whole new frame for evaluating Goat Daddy’s overreactions now. Although it probably doesn’t make me look any better if you consider the Curious Case of the Infant Carrier That Did a Half-Gainer Off the Kitchen Chair (With the Baby Inside.)

    WaltzInExiles last blog post..Optimism

  3. Men and their stuff…not at all unusual. Pretty typical that it extends to their sons, and in a different way, with their daughters.

    My hubby collects Ducati motorcycles – let me rephrase that, he DID collect Ducati motorcycles until the final move to the states and I gently suggested he sell them because it would be more than the hassle was worth to ship the three of them over here and get them inspected and considered road worthy for US roads. Two were brand new but that’s beside the point. One day I accidentally opened the door of the little sardine can the Brits call a car, and it just barely TOUCHED one of the bikes. OH MY GOD you’d have thought I ran over the damned thing. There was not a scratch on the bike yet the hubby pouted for a month. He even, when he put the bike up for sale, mentioned it to the guy who came and looked at it, and brought his wife. His wife gave me a knowing look that said it all.

    Anyhow, the first time the Little Imp face planted into the coffee table and came away with it looking not too dissimilar to the little Bean’s nose, the hubby thought his precious baby girl was damaged for LIFE! No man would want a young woman who face planted when she was all of 10 MONTHS old. She was ruined for life…lets just pack her off to a convent in Switzerland because it’s all down hill from here. I never knew men could be so dramatic.

    I told him to chill, and that it could have been worse. I could have driven off with her car seat still atop the car…with her still in it. Looking back, I never should have said that. He always double checks to make sure she’s in the car with us, nearly two years after I said that.

    Oh and the Little Bean…could there be a cuter little boy? NO!

    Auds at Barking Mads last blog post..Who Knew…

  4. Um…OK, now I feel like I need to have a post-eight years ago throwdown with my husband, because when my oldest sone was just over 2, he took a flying accidental leap off the steps and his face tested the sturdiness of the walls. Lo and behold, that wall is a bitch! It’s strong! It split open my kid’s face and turned it into a geyser. My husband grabbed a bunch of towels I thought he was going to use to put pressure on the face gusher I was trying to stop with my hands. Nope. he went and took them to the carpet and was trying to mop up the blood from the carpet fibers. He’s not an insensitive man, but maybe the carpet was ‘stuff-ier’ for him at the time. I don’t know. Maybe it was his way of bracing himself for having to care for the first major trauma in our parenting life. Maybe I should just tuck this away and not use it for ammunition for later.

    Bean is freakin’ adorable!

    foradifferentkindofgirl (FADKOG)s last blog post..‘hide away folk family, or else someone’s gonna get ya’

  5. He would have stroked out by now if he were my niece’s father, she does not fear heights and used to climb anything and everything. If she fell off, no big deal, if at first you don’t succeed at bashing your head open try try again! She looked beaten much of the time, we were getting pretty close to wrapping her in bubble wrap! Actually that could be fun, I should do that next time I see her…

    Either way, kids bounce, the sooner he learns that the better for his sanity as that adorable boychild grows up and can scale higher peaks and such.

    Karens last blog post..Contamination Fairy Drawing Contest

  6. Men have a form of self expression through things. They chase things but when they capture them, they dont know what to do. So they build altars to them; garages, bedrooms, gun cases, whatever.

    Of course the ultimate oxymoron to a man is womanly relationships. They want to chase a wicked girl that is a virgin. I mean, how the hell do they deal with that? You cant have it both ways, which is why they date wicked women but marry virtuous ones. Then they wonder why they are not compatible in ALL areas. LOL

    such it is, dented fender, bent nose, but hey, by the time that kid is 18 and his girlfriend asks him why is his nose bent that way, the story will be that his mom, YOU, smacked him upside the head with a Fung & Wagnel when he wouldnt do his homework. In kindergarten!

    LarryLilys last blog post..Great, now I am being told I am a woman

  7. You have the most hilarious way at getting right to the truth of the matter. So much of this was like watching my life, just insert a little girl trying somersaults down the stairs for your ultra adorable Bean and the couch.

    I too am loath to head to the ER for non-arm-in-table-saw incidents. But after witnessing and not running through the mollasses air fast enough to stop the intentional stair tumble, I had one of those full of bad-mother-insinuation conversations with the husband. Just to show him I scooped up my firs-born and headed straight to the ER. I’d show him, dammit!

    Six pointless hours and one expensive and unnecessary xray later, I came home with his “stuff” that fortunately was not actually damaged.

    So been there!

    Just Bs last blog post..Funny Delusions

  8. “To me, emergency rooms should be reserved for actual, life threatening, blood-spurting-out-of-important-places emergencies. For everything else, regular doctors should be consulted. During business hours”

    As a nurse I must ask this of you, Will you be my girlfriend?

    (yeah, I know that wasn’t the point of you post, but I’m all tunnel visioned like that)

    Honeybells last blog post..Look At This Photograph; Everytime I Do It Makes Me Laugh

  9. He is so perfect, bruised nose and all.

    I locked the keys in the trunk of Caspian’s nova about a month ago, while it was running (cause ya know on old cars you can take the keys out while they are running). He was so pissed at me he didn’t even look at me until we were done at the locksmith and finally on our way to our destination. I don’t even like to drive the Nova half the time because I am afraid something will happen while I am driving it and he will freak out.

    KD @ A Bit Squirrellys last blog post..Hi Headache? We need to talk.

  10. Very true about a man and his stuff. I never quite thought of it that way. But I’m glad to hear that the little guy is okay. I get very defensive when questioned about anything having to do with my children. God help anyone (my husband) who thinks to criticize… Even an observation that I may have done a better job watching them will sound like “that’s it – you’re the worst mother ever,” to me. I obsess over that kind of thing for a long long time…

    Kates last blog post..My First Big Interview: Fashion Designer Kathlin Argiro

  11. Why do kids always want to climb in the laundry basket when it’s perched in the most unsafe and unstable position possible? It’s like something is hardwried into their brains, some genetic coding that compels them to get into that damn basket at all costs. Wedged halfway between the dining table and dining chair, but not actually resting on the ground? No prob. Sitting on the bed, but right on the edge and tilting ever so slightly toward the floor? Absolutely.

    Furthermore, you’ve just described many fights between my husband and myself. You should write a book.

    Also? Your kid and his curls are so freaking adorable.

    blissfully caffeinateds last blog post..I Got Nothin’. Except This Video.

  12. Well, it’s true that these things happen. And it’s true that it’s hard to get over the “new and shiny stuff” thing. But I think it’s equally true that it’s incredibly hard to get over the “mom guilt” which can be heaped on extra heavy and full only by mom herself on top of herself. So, kudos to you for figuring out Big Bean’s motivations and being understanding of them. But don’t beat yourself up about this. And just be glad there was no blood. My son split open the back of his head on the corner of a coffee table while both my husband and I watched, powerless to stop the self-destruction that happened in an instant. He’s fine now, and the Bean will be too. Promise.

    Hug yourself for me.

    MommyTimes last blog post..Getting Out of the House

  13. My husband is the worst apologizer ever. He finds a way to turn it into sarcasm and a feigned apology. It’s sort of his calling card so I don’t bust him for it too often. He’s also the one that over reacts to every scrape, every raise in temperature. Don’t have “mommy guilt” over this. Chances are, as a boy, he’s going to break something some time and you won’t even be there!

    jenboglass (steenky bee)s last blog post..Foreign Office Politics

  14. Um… (pausing to look for the safest path). I kinda get where he’s coming from. I overreact when the boys get hurt. At the same time though it’s like, they’re boys, what are you gonna do? Have to get past the overreacting and panic first. I’m not bad with the new/shiny/perfect stuff, but if I can’t find the remote when it’s time for one of my shows? LOSE IT.

    Captain Dumbasss last blog post..She Let You Do What?

  15. Your husband and my husband must have been formed from the same womb. Instead of apologizing and being done with it, The Guy That’s Snoring on the Couch just pretends he doesn’t see me sitting on the loveseat shooting death rays at his head and mumbling “Asshole” as I walk by him in the hallway. He just goes about his simple existence in a cloud of oblivion and happiness. Jackass.

    Oh, and your kid’s adorable.

    Shannons last blog post..My clients kick ass

  16. The Ninja Death Stare is my favourite way to end an argument. Sadly, the other person rarely gets my point.

    Razs last blog post..When Lightning Strikes

  17. Having banged up a few cars early in his driving career, my husband learned that stuff is stuff and people is people. It’s something I learned from him and admired in him. Awwwww Yeah right! Had me fooled.

    Our 2 car garage is very tight and we both like to park in there along with all the bikes, toys and yard equipment. He freaks out every time the kids rub up against the Accord(read:not high end car) with their coat zippers or back packs on their way in and out. He had a mon u MENTAL tantrum when Boy 3 tossed him something that hit the side of the car. I was sure we were headed for the autobody shop. When I worked up the nerve to look at it (the next day!) it took me a minute to find the tiny dimple. THAT? THAT’S what you were screaming about?

    Bottom line. It doesn’t pay to get too attached to STUFF. I tell my kids (and myself) not to get too attached to cars, especially; they’ll only break your heart.

  18. stuff is just stuff and it can alwasy be replaced. but stuff can also remind you of home so I think its ok to get attached to some comfort things.


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