During my 3rd year of medical school I spent eight weeks on a Pediatrics clinical rotation. Eight weeks isn’t enough time to learn everything about caring for children, but I figured those eight weeks of knowledge would come in handy once I had my own children. And it has been helpful to a certain degree. Being able to tell the difference between a simple viral infection and a more serious bacterial infection has certainly saved me from several trips to the pediatrician (and the co-pays). But when my firstborn son got his first minor injury, I learned that my Pediatrics rotation left out one of the most important treatments involved in healing children.
[Location: Outside on driveway Scene: Son is running. Laughing. Trips. Falls. ]
Me: Oh no, did you fall? Let me take a look. Well, it looks like you have sustained an abrasion to your right knee. We need to go inside and treat you.
Me: I’ve cleaned your abrasion, applied some anti-bacterial ointment and covered it with a Band-aid. All done!
Me: I’ve provided appropriate medical care for an abrasion, why are you still crying?
Me: Come here, let mommy kiss your boo-boo. <KISS>
[R instantly stops crying and runs off to play]
Wow, kissing boo-boos seems to have some kind of magical healing power! I don’t recall learning about kissing boo-boos in medical school. Maybe I was sick that day and missed the boo-boo unit. I pulled my old Pediatrics textbook off the shelf to check…nope, no chapter on kissing boo-boos. Huh. I guess my years of medical knowledge are no match for the curative power of kissing boo-boos. So from that point on, whenever one of my kids got hurt, Mommy always kissed their boo-boos. Pretty soon my kids were like Pavlov’s dogs – if they got a cut, scrape or bruise, their first response was to run over to Mommy and say, “Kiss my boo-boo!”. Other times they would run over and instead of asking me to kiss a boo-boo, I would be instructed to kiss the injured body part like, “Kiss my head”, “Kiss my foot” or my personal favorite, “Kiss my butt”. I would always honor these requests, even the butt kissing request, because my kisses have magical healing powers. Especially magical butt healing powers. But there was one injury, one boo-boo I would not, I could not kiss….
One day when my younger son J was around 2.5 years old, he was lying on the floor and I was changing his diaper. He was moving his arms around and when I took off the wet diaper somehow he managed to hit himself in the genitals. The privates. The pecker. The ding-a-ling. The weenie. The johnson. The schmeckel.
Yes, he hit himself in the penis.
J: Kiss my boo-boo!
Yikes! My son wanted me to kiss his boo-boo – the boo-boo on his penis! I couldn’t help but burst out laughing because his request was really really funny in a really really unfunny way. I kissed my finger then blew a kiss aimed in that general direction. Problem solved. I’ll gladly accept that Mother of the Year award right now, thanks.
J: No Mommy, kiss with lips!
Oh crap! At this point I’m crying. Not because I’ve just had my Mother of the Year award taken away from me, but because I’m laughing so hard. I know this was just an innocent request from a toddler, but I still felt like we were crossing into dangerous territory. Like 21st century Oedipus rex territory. In between my laughter, I tried to have a logical, intelligent conversation about why kissing this boo-boo was wrong. So very wrong.
Me: I’m sorry honey but I can’t kiss that boo-boo. If Mommy kisses that boo-boo, Mommy may end up in jail. Or on an episode of Jerry Springer. You don’t want Mommy to go to jail or Jerry Springer, do you?
But the more I talked, the angrier he got.
J: Kiss my boo-boo! KISS MY BOO-BOO!
Well logic and intelligence wasn’t getting me very far which wasn’t that much of a surprise considering I was trying to reason with a toddler. A better approach probably would have been to get an Elmo puppet and put on a puppet show about why kissing penis boo-boos is a no-no. But, no, I kept talking. And laughing.
Me: Oh honey, Mommy just cannot kiss that boo-boo! But don’t cry. One day when you’re older you’ll find a nice girl who will kiss that boo-boo for you. Or perhaps you’ll find a not-so-nice-girl who will kiss it. So even though Mommy can’t kiss that boo-boo now, later on in life, there will be girls who want to kiss it. And then you’ll get married and no one will want to kiss it.
J: KISS MY BOO-BOO! KISS MY BOO-BOO!
Logic didn’t work. Intelligence didn’t work. Promises of oral sex from slutty girls in the future didn’t work. This kid was not going to be happy until I kissed his boo-boo. So I resorted to the oldest parenting trick in the book…distraction.
Me: Look, here’s a Lightning McQueen car! You can play with it and I’ll change your diaper.
Sure enough, he smiled, took that Lightning McQueen car and forgot all about his boo-boo. Phew! But what about the next time he hits himself in the penis? I can’t make it through another Mommy-can’t-kiss-your-penis-boo-boo ordeal again. I wonder if the Disney Store has Lightning McQueen jockstraps for toddlers. I can only hope.