My Son Has a Black Eye & It's Not My Fault

After my long and sordid career as a mother (read: 10 years), I've ascertained that certain kids are prone to certain ailments. My eldest had a propensity toward lung issues. My baby, well, she was born with a neural tube defect. My middle son, Alex, oddly has had problems with his eyes.

From that description, you might think that he'd been born partially blind, or with a lazy eye, or is cross-eyed or something, and you'd think that I'm only capable of making weird kids. (Which is, in fact, true.) But in this case, it's a moot point. Because Alex's eye issues are all accidental.


Here's the back story: When I was pregnant with Alex, the kid never stopped moving -- ever. I'm not sure he slept during those long nine months he lived inside me. Instead he tried his damnedest to beat my internal organs to a pulp. And sleeping as a newborn? Forget it. The kid simply didn't sleep.

Hence the nervous breakdown I had when he was 9 months old. Since he didn't sleep, I didn't sleep, either. By the time I crawled to my doctor, begging for something to help me with my terrible, crippling postpartum depression, I was in such sorry shape that the doctor herself nearly cried. I looked that bad.


He's 4 years old now and sleeps slightly better (notice I said SLIGHTLY), but his inability to stop moving, stop pushing his physical boundaries, has caused him all kinds of injuries. I'm amazed that I haven't had DCFS called on me in regard to all the bumps, bruises, and scratches he manages to inflict upon himself as he flings himself around the room. Good thing there's a market for physical comedians ... right?

The weirdest injuries, however, are those involving his eyeballs.

I could've written one off as a fluke, one of those "these things DO happen" kinds of things. But the second time we landed in the ER with periorbital cellulitis, his eyeball sporting a creepy, swollen shiner, I was pretty sure we were cursed. (And, for the record, it turns out you DON'T get a punch card for a free sandwich from the ER, no matter how many times you visit.)

This week, Alex came down with a double ear infection (his motto: go big or go home), with a leaky, gooey eye to boot. Once again, his eye looks like he may have gotten into a cage fight with a bear. I'm almost embarrassed to take the poor kid out in public because it looks THAT bad.

Every time he hurts his eye, the voice inside my head pipes in as the mother from A Christmas Story warning her son, "You'll shoot your eye out."

One of these days, I have no doubt he'll actually succeed.

And when he does, at least I know which ER serves the best coffee.


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