Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spitting blood

Today, we went to the mall. Both the cars went into the shop, the dealer gave us a rental, and we spent 6 hours in and out of stores.

JB could not have been sweeter or more well behaved. We packed snacks, and he ate some of the soup and sandwiches we bought out. He took a nice long nap in the stroller, and he and I played on the the mall's indoor jungle-gym-y-thing for about 30 minutes while Mama partook of the bookstore. The playground was insanity. There were kids of all ages EVERYWHERE. They were jumping, diving, crawling, yanking on the legs of the kids climbing higher up. There was pushing, pulling, sliding into one another, etc. Needless to say, I stayed close to our boy. For the first 20 minutes, I was never more than an arm's length away from him. I was sure I would have to pull an instantaneous vertical grab to prevent a pair of six year old legs from skidding into and taking him out completely. For his part, JB just kind of sat stunned, his mouth in a quiet "oh" shape for those first 20 minutes. Every once in a while, he caught my stare, saw my smile and giggled nervously. At some point, he started to move around more and then when he made it though a 3 foot horizontal tunnel, he seemed to "wake up" to the potential for fun around him. Our last ten minutes there were the kind of awesome that I've waited my whole life to experience. Though I enjoyed watching JB's quiet awe, it was even cuter to see his rambunctious side.

Then I looked over the wall of the play area toward the bookstore and found Katy's beautiful smile watching us slide and crawl and laugh inside the kiddie zoo.

After that fun was done, we went into a sports apparel store as our last stop before picking up the newly serviced cars and heading home. I was trying on a white sweatshirt over my street clothes when our new walker clumsily wobbled from standing to sitting position. His mouth and upper lip (we would find out later) were scraped open near his gum-line by one of those metal "ONLY UCONN FANS CAN PARK HERE" signs. I heard him cry out briefly, then when it got quiet, I heard katy say, "It's about to get loud in here." I looked over and JB's face was reddened in a pre-scream contortion. Then he let loose, and when he opened his mouth to yell, we noticed it was full of red, red, red blood.

Keeping my wits about me, I threw off the appropriately sized yet un-purchased shirt while my wife caught JB's blood in her hand. "Do you think there's something wrong with me," I asked her later, "That my first instinct was to avoid getting blood on the merchandise?"

"No," she sweetly replied. "I think you are just calm and not inclined to panic in an emergency. Plus, you knew I had him, you might have been different, if you were alone with him."

"Maybe." I was only vaguely reassured.

So, JB cried for about 3 minutes, but bled enough to stain twice as many paper towels. Then when the bleeding slowed, we peeled his upper lip back to try to visualize the wound. That didn't reveal much - except more blood.

It was his first real "gushing" wound and it broke our hearts a little. But he seemed to be practically unfazed. He ate a full dinner. Except for those first few tears, there's been no evidence of discomfort. During his bath, I tried to clean the blood off his top teeth and he pretty much allowed it.

Tonight, after we put him to bed, I went in to "eyeball" him. I admit, I half expected to see a pool of blood on the tiny mattress near his mouth. In my defense, we were watching CSI, but still, the messed up nature of my mental expectation is not lost on me.

Something's happened recently to make this kid more lovable. It's not that he wasn't heart-torque-ingly wonderful before, but some new wave of... some larger capacity of love has washed over me. Maybe I'm just finally used to the fact that he is here. He is here to stay. He is not a mirage. He's real. Perhaps it was hormonal denial that kept me from feeling secure in that information. I guess the labor and c-section scars weren't enough proof. I guess the feeding a human from your tittie for eight months part didn't make enough of an impact. I guess the infant cries and poops and pees and complete helplessness of it all didn't do enough to make it "real" for me... But this new stuff, the new level of communication, the walking and falling and walking some more, the bleeding...

Somehow now, it is more real. We love this kid. We planned for it our entire relationship (maybe our whole lives) but we're still shocked by the magnitude of truth in that statement.

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