beautiful knees

Did you know knees are beautiful? Well, they are. I didn't know until about a month and a half ago.

At the beginning of June, Lucas was outside mowing the sidewalk. He got a little too enthusiastic and his knees bit the concrete. He's a pretty tough little guy though, and he honestly didn't seem to mind that he was bleeding. He just got right up and continued his mowing. The only time he cried was when we had to make him stop playing ["I wasn't done mowing..!] so we could clean him up and band-aid him. But then he went on his merry way. If only the story ended right there, with Lucas mowing off into the sunset. Unfortunately, what followed was six full weeks of band-aid-ed knees.

The first two weeks were torture. If a band-aid even showed the tiniest sign of falling off, there were meltdowns and freaked out wailing and panicked tremors and the need for a half an hour of soothing once the band-aid had been fixed/replaced. It was nightmarish. It got to the point where he didn't want to get wet [band-aids and water don't get along], diaper changes were an extremely stressful ordeal [he started equating the removal of his shorts/diaper to seeing his knees] and there had to be band-aids on hand at all times as literally nothing else would calm him down. It was miserable for everyone involved.

After the first two weeks, even though we knew his knees were completely healed up, we decided to stop fighting him. He very clearly "needed" the band-aids for his peace of mind. We had tried the Very Stupid Method of using reason with a panicked toddler and it honestly just made things worse. [Nothing makes you feel like a horrendous mom like having to bodily hold down your screaming kid just to get his diaper on so you can get his shorts back on so that his knees are covered again so that you can attempt to soothe him.] So instead we decided to be okay with this [hopefully] temporary phase and just let him have his knees covered at all times. I knew realistically that he wouldn't turn 12 and still require band-aids on his knees. I knew it, and yet it was still hard to know whether we were doing the "right" thing by allowing him to be afraid of his knees. Logic above all else? Apparently not when you're dealing with a toddler.

The next three weeks had Lucas getting better and better at dealing with his band-aids falling off/being replaced. No more curling up in a ball. No more shrieking. No more body tremors. If a band-aid started to curl up, he'd come running to find one of us and then sit in our lap "being brave" [read: squinching his eyes and looking away] while we fixed his band-aid. As soon as we pronounced him "good good," off he'd go happy as a clam [if indeed clams are happy]. Without us constantly trying to wean him from the band-aids through coaxing, bribery, and even a little trickery, he was able to finally be at ease with his knees again and, more importantly, was willing to trust us with his knees again.

Over time we transitioned him from big band-aids to smaller band-aids to, finally, tiny circle band-aids. He handled each transition well. By this time, it had been over five weeks of constant band-aids. Lucas would dutifully check his knees every morning, before and after each nap, before bedtime, and ten other times during the day. He would pull up his shorts, pat each knee, and declare each one "good good" in turn. Lucas was in a good place mentally, so we initiated Operation Give Your Knees Some Air. We knew that it was much better for him to be aware of a band-aid being taken off rather than him suddenly noticing it had fallen off, so anytime a band-aid started to show signs of falling off we would make a big deal over taking it off, exclaiming wildly about how good his knee looked, and then coax him to give his knee some air for a few minutes. The amount of air he would allow his knee gradually grew and eventually we had an hour or so of a band-aid-less knee. Success! However, he would inevitably remember his bald knee and ask for a new band-aid, and we would oblige.

We seemed to eventually reach a standstill with our weaning progress. He would sometimes go a couple hours without a band-aid, but come nap time or bedtime a "deb-bay" was insisted upon. We figured more time was needed. However, on Day 45, inspiration struck by complete chance. As Jason touched on in his last post, Lucas has a friend named Big Bear. Big Bear does everything with Lucas. His latest activity is sitting on Jason's amp while Lucas strums on the guitar or plucks away at the keyboard. Big Bear makes everything funny. Big Bear convinces Lucas that it's nap time or bedtime or time to go upstairs or downstairs. For whatever funny toddler reason, Big Bear has huge sway in reasoning with Lucas. On a whim, Day 45, Big Bear was astounded by how smooth and good Lucas's knees were while they were "getting air." Big Bear did a thorough examination of each knee, sniffed each one up and down, gave each knee a fluffy pat and "wooooooop!" and... boom. Lucas accepted Big Bear's expert opinion with a squeal of delight and went on with his day fully and completely band-aid-less. Nap time came, bedtime came, one day passed, two days passed. Not one band-aid was needed. The first couple of days Lucas would require another examination by Big Bear and his knees were always pronounced "good good." Lucas would nod in agreement and all was good.

It has now been almost two weeks since Lucas last had his knees covered. His beautiful little knees. The skin no longer has any marks from the initial injury or any rashy patches from constantly having band-aid adhesive on it. It has been over a week since he has had to check his knees for the "good good" confirmation. Big Bear has even been able to retire his Knee Doctor hat. Life has returned to pre-June-8th status. So.much.relief.

It is a bit weird how much pride I feel for Lucas's accomplishment. I'm just so incredibly proud of him. I know this is just Silly Mom-ness talking ["My baby is the best thing since peanut butter and bananas!"], but I can't help it. If you had seen how much fear and panic he experienced those first two weeks, it would be a little easier to understand why I feel so proud of his ability to now run around with his two little brown knees completely band-aid free. He totally conquered his fear and I could not possibly be more thrilled for him. Goodness, I love this kid.

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