I had fantasies of this Christmas being very relaxing for me. We spent the week with my parents, who are generally laid-back, fun, non-button-pushing types, AND my mom gets up early and is happy to watch HellBoy while we sleep. I figured that HB would be distracted by the new toys and the doting grandparents and the snow, and I would loll about reading the paper and drinking coffee and blogging.
Ha. This is what really happened: My mom did watch the monster every morning, bless her heart. But this meant that she was so worn out by the time I got up that she was basically useless for much of the rest of the day. My stepdad is good with somewhat older kids, but he finds toddlers irritating (and honestly, who doesn't?). He did read some books to HB, and take him for brief forays outside, but that added up to about 30 minutes a day. Then my mother would watch HB while TrophyHusband and I went for a run, which was also much appreciated.
This all totalled about 3 hours a day being off-duty (but really, who's counting? Me, that's who). Plus the 90 minutes of nap time, that left ten or so hours a day of trying to keep HB from destroying everything in the house. The toys were distracting for about ten minutes at a stretch. My folks had tried to childproof a little, but there's no way to childproof a Christmas tree, bookcases full of CDs and framed photos, nice furniture (when did they start getting nice furniture, anyway?), cats, computers, plants, etc., etc. And TrophyHusband needed to get some work done, which I tried to let him do because I felt a little guilty about dragging him to my family's for Christmas for a whole week.
And I had forgotten that HB really doesn't travel well. Not just the actual traveling part, though that is notably awful, but the being someplace new. So he acts out. A lot. My parents had friends over for Christmas dinner who've tried to get pregnant but couldn't, so they are half-heartedly contemplating infertility treatment. But HB put on such a show that night — screeching, running around like a rabid ferret, snatching clumps of fur from the cats' tails, chewing on crackers and spitting them out on the coffee table, pounding divots into the wood floors with his blocks — that at one point I turned around to see the wife with her mouth literally hanging open in shock. Later she said to my mother, "No way. I can't do it." So at least we've saved someone some money in fertility treatment, I guess.
Anyway. One of the things my mother did to distract HB while we slept in the mornings was to let him jump on their bed. Fun, right? Except that from then on we had to keep our eyes on him every second (instead of every other second), because he started climbing on all the furniture and trying to jump to his death. Then the other evening, I took HB down to our room to go to bed (my parents have a split-level, with the guest room downstairs). We were sitting on the bed, HB babbling and playing peek-a-boo with the covers. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he leaps to his feet and flings himself backwards. It was too dark for me to see what was going down until it was too late.
KER-ACK!! went my nose as his noggin made contact.
"FUUUCK!!" said I as I crumpled onto the bed, clutching my face.
When you break your nose, unless you're seriously drunk, you know it. The blinding flash of pain is usually enough to tip you off, but that sickening snap of the bone is unmistakable. I've done it twice before and had hoped never to do it again, but I've been afraid that HB would manage it one day. He's split my lip a couple of times and head-butted my nose, but never this bad.
No one heard me yelling for help, so I snatched HB under one arm and staggered to the foot of the stairs, tears streaming down my face. I could barely see, what with the tears, the pain, and the fact that I'd lost my glasses in the melee. HB was howling too.
"He broke my nose!" I yelled.
Much flurry and consternation, while I kept saying, "Just take him! Get me some ice! For god's sake, take him!" Finally HB was sequestered in the TV room with my stepfather and a Baby Crack DVD and I had ice applied to my poor throbbing nose.
After a few minutes I ventured to take off the icepack and show the damage to TH. "Er, I think it's swollen on one side?" he said nervously. Swollen? On one side? So soon? I went to look in the mirror.
It wasn't swollen. It was crooked. It was pushed to the side. I looked like something out of one of those awful domestic violence awareness videos they show to med students.
"It's displaced!" I wailed. "Yeah, I know," TH said despondently.
So then the conversation turned to whether I should go to the ER. Everyone else said yes, I said no. Because I know what happens to people who show up to the ER with a broken nose: first you wait, because a broken nose by itself will not kill you. Then once you get seen, they grill you about how it happened, because the real reason has to be domestic violence (thanks to the above-mentioned videos, medical personnel are now acutely attuned to this possibility). (In my case I guess you could say it was domestic violence, couldn't you?) Finally they take a look up your nose, poke around at the place it already hurts like a motherfucker, and tell you to go home and ice it and see a specialist in a few days. Because while you can put a nose back into place if you do it before it's too swollen to see what you're doing, nobody in the ER really likes to mess around with people's faces if they don't absolutely have to. So you go to the specialist in a few days, when you're finally feeling better, and they snap it back into place then. And I went to the ER the last time we spent Christmas with my parents, and I didn't want to make it a tradition.
"I'm not going to the ER," I said. "I have to fix it myself."
So I took two of some of the really good pain meds they gave my mom after her last medical procedure ("TWO? A half of one of those wipes me out!" she said. This from the woman who can drink a Cossack under the table, and has tried more drugs than any of her kids, I think, but whatever). Then I made everyone go into the TV room and watch some episodes of House that my odd brother had been insisting we HAD to see (because we're doctors, he said, but mostly because the main character seems to be channeling my brother). We all sat and watched (HB had miraculously fallen asleep on his grandpa's lap), me with the icepack on my nose, and I waited for the pain meds to kick in. From time to time I prodded at my nose and listened to it go "click-click" as it moved a bit. I tried to get the others to listen to it, because it seemed pretty cool to me, but maybe that was the medicine talking, because nobody shared my interest.
Finally I got up and slipped out and went to the bathroom and took a look, then put my finger up to the bridge of my nose and carefully puuushed and puuuuuushed and ... SNAP! It went back into place! I was so fucking proud of myself. Also a bit queasy, but definitely proud.
Now it's still not quite right, but that may be because it's swollen and a bit greenish. I can breathe just fine, and the bruising isn't hard to conceal. Besides, my cold sore and my weird hair draw attention away from my nose.