Cal is something of a gentle giant. He's tall for his age, but kind of shy, and if other kids push him around or take away his toys, he mostly just shrugs it off. Actually, sometimes when other kids take toys away from him, he claps, as though to say, "Oh yes, I didn't want that toy anyway, good for you for taking it away at this choice moment." Pushover.
Yesterday at the play place (I call it "the play place" but I guess it would be more accurately termed an "indoor playground" or some sort of kinder-enrichment-wurld) Cal got victimized by a tyke-sized bully. In retrospect, maybe I just should have kept Cal away from the kid altogether, because even from afar, I kept hearing his dad say things like, "No pinching!" and "Don't push the baby, he was just trying to play with you!" but I'm just trying to let Cal interact more with kids his own age and learn to deal with jerks, because it's good practice for life. So Cal was playing next to this other kid in the pretend supermarket section of the play place, and I guess the other kid didn't like the looks of him or something, because he suddenly started pushing Cal away (I want to say "strangling," but don't want to sound alarmist--what do you call it when someone pushes you away with both hands around your neck? Strangling? Yes, I thought so) and pinching and scratching Cal's face.
The other kid's dad interceded in short order and pulled his little wolverine off Cal--to his credit, the dad was mortified and made the wolverine come over not once, but twice to apologize. I made my face very mild, accepted the apology on Cal's behalf, and then took him out to the sinks to clean off some of the blood. Yes, blood. He drew first blood.
Cal calmed down after about five minutes and was back to playing soon thereafter. And he basically ignored me as I tried to give him some "Full House"-esque talk about how some kids like to play rough, and how even though it wasn't nice to pinch and scratch, the other kid had apologized, blah de blah. Soft "learning about our differences" music played in the background as Uncles Jesse and Joey looked on approvingly, their mullets swinging.
I left out that part where if that other kid tried to touch Cal again, I would kick his ass.
* * *
Today is my last day of vacation. Every time I come to the end of a vacation where Cal and I get to spend a great deal of time together, basically 24 hours a day less naptime (and even those are occasionally spent together), I wonder how he's going to react the next morning when I'm not there. Will he be surprised? Upset? Or will he just roll with it and not give it a second thought? Inevitably this takes me to questioning whether or not Cal would be happier if I were home full-time. After a week at home, you get so attuned to the rhythm of your kid's day, all the little small moments. I know I must be missing so much when I'm at work, and I wonder about how much Cal feels like he's missing too.
That's just working-mom guilt talking, though. I'm not going to stop working--when all's said and done, I like work, and anyway we need the second income--though I hope that after residency I will certainly be working fewer hours, and maybe fewer days per week. Also is the knowledge is that this week with Cal has been so nice precisely because it has been vacation time, by definition a break from the normal routine. If I were home with Cal every day, certainly every moment I spend at home with him would lose its significance and poignancy. I'm sure stay-at-home types don't spend every moment with their beloved children hugging and having meaningful exchanges, while in the background, a rainbow gently shimmers. Actually, that sounds more like a tampon commercial.
Since I'm going to be back at work, probably the quality and quantity of updates will diminish somewhat, at least on the weekdays. However, I promised myself 30 posts in 30 days and I am intending to keep to that. Just don't begrudge the typos.
Currently deciding: Whether or not I should culture Cal's rash. A word of explanation: Cal developed a rash on the back of his knees, with one prominent lesion that looked sort of annular, which made me assume that it was tinea and started treating it with an antifungal. However, my dad dropped by the other day (he's a dermatologist) and pointed out that both the site of the rash (behind the knees) and the fact that it was bilateral made a more convincing case for eczema. He said he would drop off a culture bottle so that we could make sure, though. "Just scrape some of the scale off with a #10 blade into the bottle," he said offhand, "I'll run the prep and we'll see for sure." I am leaning away from actually doing the culture though, because not only are the lesions already getting better with topical hydrocortisone, but because I think a 20 month-old lacks the ability to sit still with having a razor blade scraped against the backs of his legs. (Though I'll reconsider if the rash starts getting worse again.)