All parents seem to get one child who has an unnatural tolerance for pain and one who an absolute wimp. My son is some sort of freak of nature. His pain tolerance is off the charts. He has actually played baseball with 103 fever and will walk around with blood spurting out of his body before someone points it out to him. He detests ice packs, ace bandages and splints and refuses them under all circumstances. He has been concussed three times and we didn’t even know it because he bounces back up like a rubber ball without skipping a beat. I spent most of his childhood uttering phrases like, “where did you get that bruise?”, “who bled all over the kitchen?” and “doesn’t it hurt with that eye ball hanging out?”. There are no tears, whining or dramatics involved in his (many) injuries. One time, my daughter threw a rock at his head (causing one of his concussions) and he walked into the house with blood all over his face and calmly said “I think I need a band aid.”
*I must pause here to mention that this unnatural tolerance for pain does not extend to things that actually do not hurt such as getting his hair cut, brushing his teeth or putting his contacts in. Those things cause him to flip out like a stark raving lunatic.*
My daughter, on the other hand, is a wuss, plain and simple. She cannot take any sort of pain or discomfort at all. Or the anticipation of possible pain or discomfort. Her tolerance level hovers somewhere in the -5 range on a pain scale of 1-10 and it’s causing A LOT of problems in every day life. She has to be chased around the lab for blood work, restrained by three people for a throat culture, and sat on in order to detangle her hair. If she trips up the stairs, she will literally crawl up the remainder of the steps until she reaches her destination, whimpering all the way. A hangnail will leave her catatonic. We go through a box of band aids a week because she puts one on every single bump and bruise she gets. I cringe when the phone rings and it’s the nurse from her school, mentally playing “guess the ailment today”. Yesterday she claimed she needed to come home because her “thigh collapsed”. I don’t even know HOW that would happen. She is routinely carried off the basketball court and softball field for injuries. The other parents think I am the worse mother ever because I do not indulge her and my only reply is usually, “Is there a bone sticking out? No? Okay, suck it up Buttercup and get back out there.”
I am certain that it’s an attention getting ploy. I’ve witnessed her falling off her pogo stick and bike when nobody is looking. She glanced around to see if she had an audience and hopped right back on when she realized she couldn’t get sympathy. Either that or she just likes to embarrass me. I’m pretty sure it’s the later.
Case in point. She has two teeth that have been loose for about 6 months. The adult teeth grew in behind the baby teeth, yet they are still sticking out of her head. She looks like a beaver. I finally decided to call the dentist to get them pulled. Stupid me. I forgot that a few months ago she actually PUNCHED the dentist while he tried to apply SEALANTS to her teeth. Yeah, that’s just painting your teeth with some film that helps prevent cavities. There was no way she was going to let him actually PULL a tooth out of her head.
She started her dramatic hyperventilating as we pulled up to the dentist office.
“What are we doing here?” she asks me suspiciously.
“Getting your teeth pulled,” I reply nonchalantly.
She crosses her arms over her chest defiantly. “Uh, uh. I’m not going.”
I sigh as I tell her, “Oh, yes you are.” And so begins the battle royale.
She tells the dentist immediately upon entry that there is NO WAY she’s letting him pull her tooth. He’s probably his mother’s wimpy child because he tosses his tools down on the tray without a fight.
“Well, you’re going to have to go to an oral surgeon then,” I tell her, while glaring at the dentist for his lack of effort. He rubs his jaw, probably recalling his last run in with my demon child.
“No,” she retorts. We go back and forth for several minutes, arguing. I have succumbed to every no no in the parenting handbook including threatening and bribery. The dental assistant is sitting there with a bemused expression on her face. She can’t believe that my children are related. The last time my son had a cavity filled he did it without Novocain because Novocain is for wimps. Like his sister.
“Tell you what…” the dentist finally jumps in. I shoot him a pained look. This better be good. “If you can get those teeth out in two weeks, you won’t have to get them pulled.”
She considers this for a moment. “Five weeks,” my lawyer in the making replies.
He shakes his head. “Two weeks.”
He frowns and growls, “Two weeks. If you don’t get those teeth pulled, you’re going to need braces.”
Her faces crumples. “Will braces hurt?”
“Of course they hurt, ” he tells her. I want to personally knock him out at this point. She has a new worry now. All the way home, she is sniveling about braces. I want to drive my car off a cliff.
But this is why I think she just enjoys mortifying me. Her father will take her to the dentist, the doctor, the chiropractor, etc. etc. and she will tell him, “I’m going to be brave for you, Daddy,” with a pouty lip and a tear glistening in her evil little eye. And she will get whatever she needs to get done completed without a fight, causing my husband to come home and raise his eyebrows at me.
“I don’t get what the big deal is,” he will tell me. “She didn’t give me any problem.” And I will glare at her because she is clinging on to her Daddy and simultaneously sticking out her tongue at me.
“How come you’ll behave for Daddy and not me?” I accuse later on.
She smiles sweetly at me and responds, “It doesn’t hurt when Daddy’s there.” Little brat. Fine. If that’s the way you want it, Daddy can take care of all your doctor appointments and injuries in the future. I’ll take the one who doesn’t cry to get his bones reset and his head sewed back together. That’s MY kid.