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.
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.