I get the call just as I'm beginning to prepare for a conference call I'd forgotten about. Z got hit in the eye with a stick at daycare; I need to get him.
Thursday is usually the low ebb in the the unmitigated nightmare that is now my nine-to-five world, and today is no exception. I should appreciate this Get Out of Jail Free card. But my afternoon is already complicated. Normally, I have Thursday "off." I spend a quiet hour in the library or a cafe and join a few friends for wine, food and knitting. But today M has an eye doctor appointment, and C has an evening meeting, which I didn't find out about till the last minute and, because I'd already arranged to take M with me to knitting so he could tie flies with my friend's husband, I'll be taking all three boys to knitting. Now this complicates matters. Maybe it's nothing.
At daycare, all three boys are in the kitchen, Z in one arm chair, ice pack over his eyes, M and E in the other,. Z removes the ice. The area below his eye is dark blue and swollen, and split with a raw red wound. Blood pools on his eyelid and the corner of his eye and a stream of dried blood streaks down his cheek. OK. Not nothing.
I call the doctor and cancel M's eye doctor appointment. M sobs. Z whimpers. I find myself reassuring them and our daycare provider who tells the story of the boy who got mad and threw the stick that split open Z’s eye. He's in E and Z's class and has been having problems all year. His mother is on her way to get him, and I feel terrible for her. As awful as it is to have a boy with a bloody eye, I imagine it's many times worse to be the mother of the kindergarten bully.
At the doctor's office, Z and I squeeze together on the exam table, and I tell him about how when he was a baby we went to the hospital in an ambulance, and we lay together in a hospital bed as small as this table. He laughs at my description of the lung X-ray machine, with its tiny blue bicycle seat and clear plastic tube with the Medieval leather strap that buckled it closed around his body.
The doctor is older, with a bushy beard, funny tinted glasses and corduroy pants. He seems more like an absent-minded professor than a doctor. I just read William Carlos Williams' story, "The Use of Force," and this doctor's efforts to look into a reluctant Z's eye remind me of that doctor's attempt at seeing into the little girl's throat. He assures me that the cornea is undamaged and there is nothing solid in the eye.
By the time Z’s prescription is ready, the boys have recovered from their empathy and are fighting in the car. My head is pounding and I want to lie on the couch with a book and a sleeve of Thin Mints. M and Z elect to play outside, but E comes in with me and wants to play Connect Four. When Z and M come in, all three just want to be near me and talk and talk and talk. I feel stifled by their neediness. I count down the minutes to knitting, where they get attention, ice cream and TV. We arrive home for a late bedtime. I look weird, Z wails. Yes, you do, I say.
|Z recovered enough to take arty pictures out the window.|
|Another arty Z photo (he say's it's Colorado)|