The little boy sat on my lap, comparing the difference between my belly button and a button on the back of the chair. He delighted in pointing from one button to the other, over and over. Surely, he was learning something from this so I let him continue with his button business. Plus, it was too early to redirect him into something more constructive or active.
From button to button he obsessed until he missed the button on the chair, located just over my shoulder, and poked his grubby finger into my eye.
I shrieked from the surprise of having a tiny finger suddenly jammed into my eye and the actual pain of the contact. His hand was clammy and sticky from drool and who-knows-what else with a sweaty hand smell. Freshly cut grass or rain in the summer or hot cookies in the oven all have specific yet hard to describe smells, I believe the smell of a sticky, sweaty baby hand is the same. You just know when you smell it and to be honest, it’s a little gross.
My beloved son recoiled back as though bitten by a cat, an all-too-familiar experience, shocked and scared. Temporarily, he froze with finger in midair to assess the situation. Mommy would live, although likely with only one eye. A possibility which he found acceptable and continued poking at the buttons. Meanwhile, I mused over life with limited vision and at the very least the eye infection that was soon to follow.
Perhaps the thing that shocked me the most was that I wasn’t even mad at the assault on my eyeball or that I would likely wake up with my eye crusted shut and need to go to the doctor’s office for a horrible prescription eye drop that would sting with each drop. Certainly, I didn’t love what happened, but it was another day in the life of baby raising and for better or worse, I was in it for the long haul. There was no room for anger in our busy schedule of playing, napping, eating and repeating.