Recently I noticed a small bump on my daughter’s shoulder blade. It was a hard little growth, and I only noticed it because I was rubbing her back. I thought nothing of it and forgot all about it for a week or two, until she wore a vest, and her little not-so-little-friend said “hello!”
The small bump had grown into a fully-fledged growth, knobbly and red. It looked angry. Like a warrior wart, hell-bent on staking the ‘blade’ territory for its own. I stifled a shriek of terror and very casually stuck my nose to her shoulder, daring the growth to make its move. In defiance, it inflamed a large portion of the skin around it, turning it scarlet, and so I did what all women do when faced with the unknown in the world of children’s health. I scuttled to the doctor with my tail between my legs.
I have a mole on my chin (yes, hair does grow out of it, thanks so much for asking) and another on my back that wedges just underneath my bra strap and annoys me, so I figured I might as well get my money’s worth* and have him check those while he was at it.
[Aside] It’s important to note that these are not the only two moles I have on my person (as the previous sentence may imply) but they are the only two that I have any concerns about at this stage.
Dr Hoobastank (real names may have been altered to protect the identities of those concerned), took a long hard look at the wart-like growth on my daughter’s shoulder. Then he went to fetch a magnifying glass and took another long hard look. In the interim, I started humming the theme song from Mission Impossible and the wart farted. I’m almost sure of it.
“Right,” Dr Hoobastank announced, setting down the magnifier and pulling up his pants in that professional manner that I can never get right, no matter how many times I try. “I think it’s a wart. The best course of treatment is for us to burn it off and then to reassess in two weeks.”
You hear that, little man? You’re toast.
“Right,” I replied confidently, hoisting my own pants, which resulted in a rather unflattering camel-toe. “Let’s do that, then.”
At this point, I became aware that there wasn’t only the three of us in the room. My daughter was here too (the aforementioned three people being the doc, the wart and myself), and at the mention of burning it off she had started to do the brave-quiet-cry that makes moms hearts break and swell at the same time.
“It’s all right, Sweetheart,” I said, horrified at my lack of compassion. “It won’t hurt. Will it Doctor?”
“Well, it will hurt,” he replied smoothly, “but not too much.”
The tears flowed faster and I narrowed my eyes.
“It’s going to be fine, my baby. You’re a brave girl and it won’t hurt as much as you think,” I compensated, stroking her hair and wiping away a steady stream of tears. My stomach curled itself into that tight knot that only a mother understands. The thought of our children being in pain is agony and we wish simply that we could take it away – that we could endure the pain for them, because we would if it were humanly possible.
The doctor picked up the red jar which holds the evil liquid which freezes/burns off warts and at this point, my daughter started to panic slightly.
“I’ll do it,” she sniffed quickly, “but can you just tell me what you’re going to do?”
Like her father, this child needs to be prepared.
Doctor Hoobastank very kindly explained that he would be putting 5 “drops” of the solution onto the wart and then it would be over. He showed her the solution and waited until she gave a tiny nod of her head.
“I’ll do it,” she said in a tiny voice, “but will you please hold my hand, mommy?”
I charged forward like a bear protecting her cub and seized her little hand in my own.
“Mommy’s here,” I said, “it’s nothing to worry about. It won’t hurt Be brave.”
Five exhausting drops later it was done. My brave girl didn’t so much as whimper, but she clutched my hand like a lifeline the whole time. Children can be so frightened of the littlest things, I thought fondly. With plaster firmly in place, she sat up, and thanked the Doctor. My chest puffed with pride. Good manners, despite the fact that she was terrified. That’s my girl.
“Right,” said Doctor Hoobastank. “You mentioned something about a mole?”
“Oh yes!” I nodded, jutting out my chin. “This one hurts a bit, but I think there might be a pimple behind it.”
He lowered his gaze and shone his light on my hairy mole.
“It looks okay,” he announced, “when last did you have mole mapping done?”
I blushed. “I’m overdue, actually.” It made me sound pregnant, although with the size of my chin mole, it might well be hosting a spawn of little mole babies.
“You should do it as a matter of course every year.”
“I know. Now, this one,” I yanked up my shirt, exposing an obscene amount of white winter flesh. “Somewhere here,” I tried to reach the exact location on my back, in case he couldn’t spot it’s enormous self. “It hides under my bra strap.”
“Ah, yes,” he placed his finger on the precise spot. “Erm…” a pause, “actually, that’s not a mole. It’s a skin flap.” Being someone who has ample flaps of skin, I side-eyed him over my shoulder. To my surprise he had stepped back, his hand reaching for something.
“I can just burn that off,” he announced conversationally, holding up the red jar.
Not even when my parents came home mid-makeout session in my teens has my shirt been hoisted back into place so fast. I retreated backwards so quickly that I hit my ankle on the leg of his chair.
“Are you mad?” I shrieked, cowering under his astonished gaze. “I can’t,” I added, my voice unnaturally high. “I just can’t. What if it hurts!?!”
As the words left my mouth I realised what I’d just said. My gaze slid from Dr Hoobastank’s amused expression to the look on my daughter’s face. Her small forehead was creased into a frown, her mouth hanging open in surprise.
Doctor Hoobastank cleared his throat. My daughter stepped forward and took my hand.
“It’s not that bad, mommy, I promise,” she said, encouragement shining in her clear blue eyes.
I froze like a deer in the headlights.
“Here’s your chance to show her how brave you are,” Doctor Hoobastank offered cheerfully.
Look, I know you all want me to say I did it, that I proved myself to my child and braved the pain. But I’m not going to say that. I’m just going to go out and buy new bras.
Happy Thursday, everyone!
*I am not cheap, medical bills are expensive.