These are the moments that I hope I never forget.
Tonight, Big Brother was outside playing while Daddy mowed the yard. From the kitchen (where I was doing dinner dishes), I heard a ker-THUMP outside and knew Big Brother had taken a tumble. I poked my head out the back door and he was getting up from the ground, grinning.
"I felled," he told me cheerfully. He didn't seem hurt, so I admonished him to be more careful and went about my business.
Moments later, the door opened and he tromped in, announcing, "I have to poop." These announcements never fail to bring a smile to my face (potty humor isn't really my thing, but when a darling three-year-old with a cherubic voice is the one who makes the declaration, it is nothing if not hilarious).
"Okay," I told him, wiping my sudsy hands in preparation to assist in any way necessary. "You need to take off your shoes."
He bent down to comply and suddenly noticed that one of his fingers had a little bit of a dried blood smear on it, presumably from the tumble he had taken moments before. It is one of the idiosyncrasies of toddlerhood that blood MUST equal pain, despite the fact that he hadn't noticed anything hurting until he saw it. Of course, he immediately started sobbing.
"I have a owie!" he wailed, holding it up for me to see.
At this particular juncture, I had several thoughts swirling around my head. Being a normally level-headed individual when it comes to crises (however irrational and emotional I can be otherwise), I was able to quickly surmise that A.) the shoes must come off if I didn't want to sweep the floor again, B.) the bottom needed to be hanging over the edge of the potty if I didn't want to be cleaning his underwear, and C.) the tiny bit of dried blood was last on my list of priorities.
So, I did what any sane mother would do; I frantically pulled off his shoes, carried him (wailing about his owie all the while - did I mention that Little Brother was asleep and I had been hoping to get the dishes done before he woke up?) into the bathroom, whisked off his pants and plunked him on the toilet seat. With tears rolling down his cheeks, he held out the only thing that was of ANY concern to him at the moment... a slightly bloody fingertip. Now that A. and B. had been taken care of, I felt free to push my compassion button and found myself saying, "It will be okay, I will put a bandaid on it. Push out the poop, okay?"As I said this, I wrapped my arms around his little body and hugged him, as he sat on the pot. The thought occurred to me that perhaps this was one of the more ridiculous moments of motherhood... loving on a crying boy as his bowels moved. I gently took his hand and inspected the offending owie. Honestly, it looked like a paper cut, less than half an inch long. Since his hand was dirty, it was hard to tell if there was a splinter in the finger or not.
Just then, Daddy walked in, concerned because he hadn't seen Big Brother come inside. To his credit, he didn't laugh at the scene upon which he entered. I asked for his opinion on whether or not there was a splinter (please note that the wailing had not lessened to this point). He didn't think so and instructed peroxide and a bandaid be applied, then went back out to finish the mowing.
As the wailing continued and I tried to be soothing with my "It will be okay, I will make it better" monologue, I fumbled with the cap of the peroxide bottle and the packaging of the bandaid. Finally, I was able to splash the wound with peroxide. The foaming action quieted him a little; I have to admit that he wore a horrified expression on his face, and I know that if the peroxide had burned he would have thrown a fit. Apparently, however, it didn't hurt and I explained that the foaming meant that it was getting clean. I then applied the bandaid over the wound, and a miracle occurred: the crying stopped!
With tears streaming down his cheeks and a quiver in his voice, he said, oh-so-sweetly, "Oh, thank you, mommy, for the bandaid!"
"You're welcome, lovie," I replied, enraptured at his sweetness. In that moment, I was reminded why I am head-over-heels for this child, and why I will always love being his mommy.
As he sat on the potty, staring at the bandaid, he calmed himself down, in awe of my mad nursing skillz. And from that small, everyday occurrence, we both felt loved --- he, because his mommy put a bandaid on his owie, and I, because he had thanked me so sweetly and through his pain for so trivial a thing.