Friday, July 28, 2000


It's summer, time for kids to run and play, jump and climb, ride and romp and slip and fall. Which means, in our house, it's flesh-wound season.

Yes, there's something about warm weather and exposed skin that leads directly to bloodied knees and raw elbows. It is comforting to know that this is one area in which my children are blissfully normal. I remember having my share of skinned knees as a kid, and I didn't have low muscle tone or Sensory Integration Disorder or poor depth perception to blame it on. I was just a klutz. This year, however, my kiddos seem particularly intent on making the antisceptic and band-aid industries very healthy indeed.

We started the summer with a decidedly otherwordly blister on my daughter's thumb. This turned into many blisters, then into many puss-filled grotesqueries that necessitated a lot of painful whining, then into lots of loose flappy skin. She'd had similar yucky business two summers before, so apparently this is an every-other-summer sort of thing. Every other millennium would be too soon for me.

That wound was still in the band-aid cover-up stage when my basketball-camp-going girl suffered what might have been a career ending injury: a traumatic blow to the pinkie. Oh, the agony. She was sure it was broken. We were sure it was bruised. It sure did get black and blue and puffy. Showing her mettle for future professional athletics, she did manage to finish out her time at camp, dribbling in a particularly gingerly fashion, no doubt. She is now proudly able to bend it completely without screaming once again, so no harm done.

Then we have my son, who is racking up the injuries with each new day at camp. He must always fall to the left, because he has two separate skinned spots on his left knee and two more on his left elbow. These are in a constant state of regeneration because he is in a constant state of scab-picking. Here again, a resoundingly normal activity for a small boy, but the extremely expensive special-needs camp would like us to tell him to cut it out all the same. We cover the owies with bandaids, he peels the bandaids off, then peels off what's underneath. It's a regular science experiment. Threats of infection do not concern him; more research!

Today we added to the collection a mark on my son's shoulder-blade that looks like an abrasion to me and a bruise to my husband, and a small cut just below my daughter's nose from where her baby cousin through her Gameboy at her. The Gameboy, I hasten to report, is just fine. But if it wasn't, we'd have had more than enough band-aids to patch it back up.

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