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Numb, from the neck up?

Posted Oct 22 2008 9:40pm

I park him the throne to do the business. I leave him there on the toilet unsupervised contemplating his knee caps and scabs to return to domestic chores back in the kitchen. The other two lie on the carpet surrounded by enough Pokemon to take over the world. I run my hands over my face, to check how many nerve endings I will enjoy today after jaw surgery? I appear to still be numb from below the bifocals, but my furrowed brow is fully functioning.

Some time later, amidst truck loads of laundry, I realize that I am still a child short. The ‘thought’ chimes with his appearance in the kitchen together with his excuse, “I didn’t pick it! It was an accident!” I look at him, his leg, drenched in blood and the trail of bloody footsteps in his wake. As I wipe him down I glare at his father, the idiot who chose the cream coloured carpet.

The flow of blood from the gaping hole in his knee, where the huge scab once was, is unstoppable. He didn’t cry or notice when he hurt himself in the first instance, nor does he now. It is merely a minor inconvenience in his day. The child is a walking disaster zone, immune to pain. Does he have any nerve endings at all? Rarely have I ever witnessed such a chaotic wiring system.

I hand over the responsibility of Band Aid application to his father and stomp off for carpet triage. All carpets should be sludge coloured, patterned, with texture to forestall the inevitable. I set to work, scrubbing arm all ready for a dose of tennis elbow, or maybe housemaid’s knee. I scrub rhythmically until I notice a tingling sensation in my forearm. I sit back on my heels to evaluate the damage. Difficult to tell at this stage, I will have to wait for it to dry.

“I’m going for a shower now!” I bellow to the chooser of carpets, a warning of impending thunder and a command to supervise small people; pre-empt leakage from anyone. Once the water starts to flow over me, I cheer up considerably. No-one hurt. No real harm done. Time for some mummy therapy. I grab the buff puff, for my version of ‘beauty’ maintenance. I blow out my cheeks like a puffer fish so that there is no risk of impaling myself on my braces and scrub away. I’m sure that exfoliation will reveal a youthful complexion underneath the Rhino hide. Two minutes with the tooth brush and I’m ready to emerge, cleansed, renewed and refreshed.

I bounce down the stairs pulling on a T-shirt. I bounce John Wayne style to avoid tripping over a couple of cats, determined to attach themselves to my ankles. My family are in the family room, parked in front of the telly for Saturday morning cartoons, mesmerized. I park myself in front of the screen to ask, “So what are we going to do today then?” Four people lift their hands to their faces, a rare incident of joint attention:
“What happened?”
“What you did?”
“Mooooooom!”
“Why, why, why you are er,………. what she said?”

The ‘chooser of carpets’ guides me to the loo, where there is a mirror,
“so is red still your favourite colour?
Looks like a serious case of road rash to me!”


Or maybe I’m just shamed face
with a little carpet burn.

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