He was born not in a cross-fire hurricane*, but with a perfectly heart-shaped tongue. Ankyloglossia, I remembered from my nursing days, was the medical term for it, but I preferred to call it a tongue-tie. It just seemed more appropriate for a baby whose mouth never stopped moving. Er, screaming.
I mentioned it to his pediatrician at his one week Well Baby check-up, not because I had concerns about his eating habits, but because I knew that as an infant, it was a quick office snip. His old-school pediatrician seemed unconcerned, providing he was eating.
And Alex, he was a boob man. Eating, screaming and DECIDEDLY NOT SLEEPING were the three things he excelled at.
The tongue-tie stretched a bit over time, but still, that delicious little heart-shaped tongue greeted me as he bleated for more food. Later, it began to affect his words…only very slightly. That heart-shape gave him the most delightful Jersey accent, and one feverish night, I wondered if I could potentially cast him in an upcoming episode of Jersey Shore. Once I realized the amount of spray-tan I’d have to invest in, I decided against it.
It was a matter of time, I knew, before we had to get it fixed.
What had once been a simple quick snip at the doctor’s office had now become a full surgical procedure. Mostly, I knew, because no four-year old will willingly let you near his mouth with a scalpel. Because four-year olds are smart.
I’d taken him last year, one summer day, to the ENT, who pronounced that it’d be a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sort of procedure: give him the gas, snip it up, and POW! Heart-shaped no more.
I stopped listening after he said he’d be putting the kid to sleep. Not because I had any specific, rational fears about it. Hell, my girl had her head carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey and this, this was the surgical equivalent of a paper cut.
But still, I couldn’t handle it. I tried to be all EYE OF THE MOTHERFUCKING TIGER about it. I even went as far as to schedule the appointment. When it came time to actually bring him in, I bailed. Cancelled the surgery, ashamed that I couldn’t do something so simple. Every time I went to reschedule this – such an easy procedure – my heart raced, my eyes went all blurry and three-hundred pounds sat upon my chest.
Every time Dave would mention the surgery, I’d suddenly busy myself with a new cactus video or waxing my dog, or really anything besides talking about the surgery.
As this morning at 7:45, Alex became officially tongue-tie-less.
What shocks me is not that he pulled this incredibly easy surgery like a champ. It’s not that he just inhaled 12 donuts post-op. It’s not that he’s complaining that I have not yet bought him Oreos.
What shocks me is that I’d managed to entirely block out the surgery until yesterday. Last night, it hit me like a bag of oranges to the face, and when I began whining to whomever would listen to me on IM, each person was all, “OMG AB, HOW DID YOU NOT TELL ME?”
And that, really, would be the question.
All I could sputter out was that I’d forgotten. Which I had.
As Alex’s tongue became untied, mine knotted up, unable to share with even those closest with me.
*stands up and waves*
My name is Becky, and I am the Face of PTSD.
*that’d be me. Or Jumpin’ Jack Flash. OR BOTH.