The Pain of Parenthood

Are you familiar with “the fishhook”? That’s the term C. and I coined for this little maneuver of the baby’s where he pries open your mouth with his tiny fingers and pulls REALLY HARD on your bottom lip. When you’re nursing him or trying to get him to sleep next to you at 4 a.m., for instance. It’s even more painful when his fingernails need to be cut.

That’s not the only injury I’ve sustained since becoming a mom. Not by a long shot. And I’m not the only one. I know a grandmother who got a black eye during a scuffle over a hairbrush with her grandson. That kid REALLY didn’t want his hair brushed.

Besides perforated lips and black eyes, caregivers of small children run the risk of:

Pulled hair. One way to keep my baby from log-rolling off the table while I’m changing his diaper is to tickle his face with my hair. He loves this. Unfortunately for me, he’s got lightning-quick reflexes and an iron grip. Just think: if I lose a clump of hair during each diaper change, it won’t be long before I’m looking into those Paris Hilton clip-on hair extensions.

Pinching, scratching and/or purple nipples. I don’t know what it is about my baby, but he likes to keep his hands busy while he’s eating. So if he’s not doing the fishhook or trying to turn my nostrils inside out, he’s probing my body for handfuls of flesh to squeeze. REALLY HARD.

There was a passage in my new favorite book, Dadditude by Philip Lerman about “the purple nipple” that had me in hysterics. Basically, his son wouldn’t go to sleep until he pinched his dad’s nipples. And the dad LET him because that was the only surefire way to get the kid to sleep! It’s so true; you do what you have to, and sometimes that means a purple nipple or two.

(Speaking of nipples, I’m not even going to go into the pain and suffering lots of us experience with breastfeeding. That’s a whole other post...or 20.)

Head butts. Is there any parent out there who hasn’t experienced the searing pain of a child’s surprisingly hard skull cracking them in the nose or under the chin? I’m flinching just thinking about it.

Board-book paper cuts. So much worse than the regular kind. Brought about when an overly enthusiastic young reader turns the pages too quickly during storytime.

Burns. “Mommy, try my oatmeal and see if it’s still hot.” Sure, and why don’t I lick the George Foreman grill while I’m at it? Burns also may be incurred while testing the temperature of bath water and making sure your flat iron is turned off.

Obviously, this list only scratches the surface. (Pun intended.) From “carseat elbow” to feet punctured by stepping on Legos, the list goes on and on. It’s a wonder any of us survives till they hit kindergarten, isn’t it?

PIC O’ THE WEEK: “My Mommy ordered the Maclaren hinge guard, or as we like to call it, the severed-finger saver! You can, too.”


AnchorMommy said...

Oh boy. The head butts. I get those at least once a week. The thing I hate about them is they usually come completely without warning! It usually happens when my son is sitting next to me on the couch and he spazzes out trying to get down. WHAM! I get nailed in the chin.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

HA! Love it. My kids always want something to play with while nursing, but I just play handsies with them and that spares me, although my lttle guy now has razor claws, and yes, I get pinched, clawed and scratched regularly!

I did a post on the occupational hazards of motherhood a couple of weeks ago...link is at http://kathleenbasi.com/2009/11/23/occupational-hazards-of-motherhood/ if you're interested.

EC said...

Definitely a victim of all the above, in addition to being the ultimate teether for my child.

Loukia said...

Oh, man! YES YES YES! I have permanent marks on my faces from the scratches my boys (accidentally, I hope?!) have given me!

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