"You will never stub your toe standing still." -- Charles Kettering

September 14, 2010

Middle Child
Originally uploaded by gotbaby
E has an ingrown toenail on his left foot. He doesn't complain about it, but when I look at it (when he lefts me look at it) its clearly an angry red with a little peeling skin. I have to confess that I don't look at his toes much (anymore) - his father noticed it before I did, at bath time, and we've soaked it and sort of hoped it would resolve itself, but it hasn't. I'm not really surprised at this development. E was born with the strangest shaped big toes I've ever seen on a person, and the real surprise is that we haven't faced something like this sooner.

So, last night, after bath time, his father tried to "do something" about it. I had known he was going to do this, and had hoped that he would let me know before he started, but instead I was alerted to the "something" by the shrill screaming that began to emanate from E's bedroom. When I got upstairs Josh was sitting on the edge of the bed with E's left leg clamped firmly under his right arm. E was pushing on Josh's back with his other foot, and laying back on the bed, a Thomas train playing card clutched in each hand, and he was SCREAMING. Heartbreaking, earsplitting screaming. Screaming as I had never heard from this child, not even as an angry infant. Tears running down his face, breath hitching, the whole thing.

Then I realized with a start that there were also tears streaming down Josh's face as he diligently worked at E's toe.

E's dad is a huge man. He's 6'6", broad shouldered, bearded, and slings boxes around all day for a living. when E was a tiny infant, Josh used those microscopic infant clippers they give you to try and cut E's fingernails, and ended up cutting into the tip of one of E's fingers. He was shaken when that happened, but I've never seen him quite as upset as he was last night.

I probably shouldn't be surprised at anything Josh does anymore, but somehow I found that I was surprised. And moved. We do thing together, he and I, as a team. And as stoic as he can be, I need to remember that all the pain and anger and anxiety I have as a parent lurks in him below the surface as well.

PS: We took E to the doctor today, and the doctor just told us to continue to soak it. That's money we could have saved.