Thursday, March 12, 2009

Love Hurts

She bit me last night.

We were sitting side by side in the recliner watching Top Chef on TiVo. She was curled against my side, right arm slung across my belly, head resting against my side. I was surprised I was able to calm her down, as everything was tormenting her, pissing her off. She hasn't been herself for the better part of a (long) week. I was petting her soft head, whispering to her and she seemed content. I felt her little body relax against me. And so we sat.

In an instant, she turned her face to my side and bit me hard- on the side of my boob. Through my sweatshirt and t-shirt and my startled, painful cry in turn startled her. She burst into tears and buried her head into my lap. I felt my heart break.

I quickly peeked at my wound. Two perfect teeth marks- red, violent welt forming. The skin peeled back on each side.

I pulled her into a hug where she continued to wail miserably. See, she's been doing this biting thing- but not people. She'll gather as much of her pink blanket she can into her mouth and bite. Same with her sleeves, the dishtowels, her stuffed bears. I know her upper two molars are being relentless, causing her so much pain, it's all she can do to not lose her shit. It strikes me to the core, my inability as her mother to not be able to end the pain she's enduring.

She's stopped crying now, pulling her little cheeks away from her mouth, sad, silent tears running down her red face. Her eyes, they are so sad and tired. I take her to the sink to wash her face, give her some water. She is still in my arms and wraps her arms around my neck and we just sway for awhile.

After a quick bath, I settled her into her pink star pj's. I turn on her music, the lullaby rendition of Nine Inch Nails songs. I close her shades against the light of Daylight Savings. We read a quick story about a mouse who wants to become a wind-up toy and turn off the lamp. And now, instead of pulling away from me and pointing towards her crib, she settles against me and pulls her blanket to her face. I imagine she's trying to soothe me after what we went through earlier. Soothe me by letting me hold my still, still daughter tight to my chest for once. I stroke her damp hair, inhaling the scent of Aveeno. It becomes rhythmic, rocking and petting. I feel her body completely go prone and her breath even out into the patterns of sleep.

There we sat. My sleeping baby, safe and comfortable in my arms. As the room grows darker and the music nears the end of the disk, I think about all that has happened in a week. Her ear infection, the Croup. The dose after dose of antibiotics and steroids and Motrin ... how it affects her sleep, appetite, energy levels, and normalcy. Her teeth and the endless runny noses and diaper rash and face rash. I know that bite was not her, but some other frightened, confused version of her tiny self. Still, the welt is there on my skin. Proof she'll do things she'll regret just as I'll do things I'll regret.

But so long as we come back to this place, here in the quiet dark against each other, we'll be fine.