Raucous Recreation, Tumult on the Turf
Mock me all you want for overpacking my diaper bag but when it comes down to Debbie's last teething toy versus my nail file and clippers, no one at the playground will be laughing at the blood trickling down Debbie's neck from where I stabbed her with a rounded safety file. You think sharp objects are scary? It only takes a pound of pressure to puncture skin with a pointy object. It takes a helluva lot more with something dull.
It didn't have to be this way, and I'm pretty sure I mentioned that before the first dirty diaper flew, but Debbie just couldn't shut her goddamn trap about Baby freaking Einstein, about how her toddler could already read while mine was still calling all round objects "ball" and not properly pronouncing "Daddy".
They'll say I started the fight and it can be argued either way, but I ended it, didn't I? Didn't I, Debbie?!
I could say I didn't mean for the cheddar bunnies to end up in her hair, that the pop top on the pink giraffe snack tub was tricky and maybe I used a little too much force and maybe that's how cheese crackers went flying. But did she have to loosen her gender neutral yellow sippy cup and fling water at my face? I don't think so.
I couldn't tell you who squelched out the first squeeze yogurt on whose head but it was definitely Debbie who shoved the first Cheerio up my nose. "Cheerios aren't organic, bitch!" I yelled as I dropped a handful into her mouth and held it closed. When she spit them out in a mushy clump, she reminded me that they were, however, gluten-free.
From there, it's all a blur of binkies and blankets, chokeholds and changing pads. I diapered her head and she bandaged my fingers together.
It escalated when she cut me with the edge of her diaper rash bottle and poured hand sanitizer on the wound.
The rule when it comes to self-defense is to use no more force than your attacker; punch for punch, bat for bat, gun for gun. I'm sure that was somewhere in the back of my head once she drew blood. I'd like to think my super ego was still functional even after my lizard brain took control. But seeing her standing there, armed only with a BPA-free silicone back teeth teething toy in sage green to match her canvas tote, head still partially wrapped in a diaper, breathing heavy from my attempt to garrot her with amber teething beads, I knew I had the upper hand. I was bleeding from the forearms, the cuts still stinging from the antibiotic gel. That's when I found the file and clippers.
There was a moment, so brief and so quickly broken, when it could have ended. We could have walked away embarrassed but unharmed. We could have used the altercation as a teachable moment. But instead that overbearing helicopter mother mocked my decision to formula feed and I lost all inhibition.
As the police questioned bystanders and our husbands cradled our traumatized children, Debbie and I sat side-by-side on the time out bench. The EMT had removed the nail file from her neck and she patted down the taped edges of the bandage nervously. I kicked at the dirt and tried to think of a way to apologize. The patrolman who was first on the scene told us we weren't allowed to leave the bench until we did. Fortunately for me, Debbie started.
"Sorry," she said giving me a side-eye glare.
"Yeah, sorry," I said shrugging.
Hopping off the bench in tandem, we walked away through separate gates. Needless to say, we weren't allowed back in.
Copyright © 2016 by Eda J. Vor
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