Bait & Tackle
August 20, 2008
The other day, while getting Noah ready for his nap, I noticed something. Something...odd...and white? What is that? The odd-and-possibly-white thing was on a...how shall I say...very delicate and highly valuable part of his anatomy. A part that I have probably not been allowed contact with since he mastered his hand/eye coordination enough to meet every attempt to clean or examine said part with a tremendous thwack.
THAT'S MINE, LADY. BACK OFF.
So my attempts to determine the origins of the odd white-ish thing were rather futile. I assumed it was a bit of paper, and if you're wondering why "a bit of paper" was the obvious, most-likely answer I can guess right now that you have not changed many diapers in your life, my friend, because sooner or later you will come to expect stray Cheerios and Mr. Potato Head parts falling out all the time. It's not like they have POCKETS, or anything.
Eventually I realized that the...thing....appeared to actually be connected to his...thing. Like, possibly with skin. Like it possibly WAS skin.
I wasn't entirely sure that was possible, but...I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS EQUIPMENT. So I opted to go with my default solution for All Things Involving That Thing, which is...Vaseline.
(Shut up. I learned that one from the hospital. It was the closest thing to an instruction manual as we got -- the nurse handed us a small tub of Vaseline and told us to use it "down there" with a super-scientific wave of her hand.)
So I dug out the Vaseline, wrastled the child to the floor and gooped the whole area up. Then I slapped a pull-up on him, sent him to bed and congratulated myself on a job half-assed.
I thought about calling Jason to describe the Odd White Thing -- perhaps, as the owner of a similar set of plumbing, he would know what to do? But then I pictured him sitting there, in a gorgeous pin-striped suit, around a gleaming conference table with a dozen Important Clients, who perhaps have briefcases full of money in front of them, and it's all up to Jason to nail the presentation when suddenly his phone rings and he explains that oh, sorry, he HAS to take this, because his dear sweet wife is pregnant, and instead I get on the phone and start asking him about whether guys occasionally, I don't know, gouge divots in themselves with their fingernails, or something?
(Jason wears flat-front khakis to work most days, and as far as I know he doesn't generally ever get paid in briefcases full of money.)
But I figured maybe I should try to solve this one on my own. Right! To Google! Except...hmm. I wasn't exactly sure how to phrase this one. I didn't want to see...like, PICTURES. Nor did I really want any information whatsoever about all the many OPTIONS for male anatomy injuries and I certainly didn't want to include the word "toddler" in there because that just opens up a whole new cache of worms. It was just like the time I was convinced the FBI was going to storm my house and take my son away because I was the pervert on BabyCenter.com looking for What To Do When Your Child Seems To Maybe Enjoy A Bit Of Private Time With The Sofa Cushions If You Know What I Mean. I thought about maybe emailing some bloggers who had sons. Or calling my mom.
Mostly I just wanted to hear someone tell me to "Put a little Vaseline on it, he'll be fine."
I ended up going with option B: Doing Nothing At All. I waited until he woke up from his nap and tried to examine it again, with limited success. It LOOKED like it might be a little better. Sort of...pinkish and not so white? I tried to quiz him about the origins of the Thing, which was SO HELPFUL. Apparently, a dinosaur did it.
Noted. How about some more Vaseline?
My phone rang. It was Jason. He was on his way home. I blurted out the whole story, about the odd white thing that now looks kind of pink and I think it might be skin or maybe...a burn? Like...chafing? Shrinkage? Any of this sounding like something run-of-the-mill and normal from your childhood that your mom used to treat with Vaseline on a regular basis?
There was silence. I think he was pulling the car off the highway, just so he could fully wind up and let me have it.
"OH MY GOD DID YOU CALL THE DOCTOR WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL THE DOCTOR WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT PIECES OF FLESH ARE HANGING OFF OUR CHILD'S <REDACTED> AND YOU DIDN'T CALL THE DOCTOR OR TAKE HIM TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM LIKE HOW MUCH SKIN ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE CALL THE DOCTOR OH MY GOD."
"But...I put Vaseline on it? And I think it looks better?"
"He won't really let me look at it. He gets mad."
"HE WEIGHS 31 POUNDS."
"But he's a...thrashy 31 pounds."
"WE ARE TALKING. ABOUT. A VERY IMPORTANT. THING. HERE. YOU DO NOT. FUCK. AROUND. WITH THIS."
"Fine. Hold on. I will go look at it again."
"Never mind. It's nothing."
"It was part of a fruit sticker."
"It was white with red letters. The Vaseline must have turned it pink. Anyway, it's gone now."
"Are you okay?"
"Were you praying?"
"I just...I was just really scared there."
"I'll, uh, see you in a few minutes."
"Okay, I love you!"
"I love you too."