I blame the shoes.

Don't be fooled: it looks all neat and pretty, but the feet inside these shoes are nightmares.

Don’t be fooled: it looks all neat and pretty, but the feet inside these shoes are nightmares.

Last night I was innocently doing a little repair job on Gabby’s Irish dance buckles. Sitting at the kitchen table, feet up on another chair, hurting no one.

Let’s back up: we all know that I’m easily grossed out by the contents of anyone’s mouth and/or nose. But to be fair: that’s basically all that freaks me out. I’m not afraid of spiders. I don’t mind heights. And blood doesn’t faze me at all: an ER doc, stitching up Dave’s knife accident years ago, had to ask me to step back, so absorbed was I in checking out the inner contents of Dave’s thumb. Cammy’s pediatrician, stitching together Cam’s scalp, once barked at me, “Get out of my sterile field!” Injuries? I tend to find them interesting more than horrifying…. with one exception:

Gabby and her awful propensity to lose her toenails.

Several years ago, Gabby violently ripped away most of her big toenail, trying to apply the brake on her scooter while barefoot. As usual I was totally fine. We brought her to the doc, where she sat in my lap and endured shots directly into the injury– shots which Dave could not witness but which I calmly watched, stoic and unaffected. Then the physician took long tweezers, grasped the remains of her nail, and lifted it away from her toe. I was instantly sick; I felt the blood drain from my face, and as from a distance I heard myself murmuring comforting words to Gabby. I’ll spare you the details of the machinations they went through to remove it– but at one point I thought, I’m going to pass out if they don’t get that thing off right now.

Fast-forward to about a month ago. Gabby has been practicing dancing on her toes; as a runner, it’s been in my head for awhile that the constant pressure might cause her to lose a nail or two. She said to me one day, “Mom, look at my feet.” Sure enough: two nails, bruised and turning purple. I said, “You’re going to lose those, babe. No big deal.” And I meant it– I didn’t think it was a big deal! I forgot!

..Until last night, when Gabby approached me as I sat repairing her buckles. “Look!” she said. Gleefully, Gabby took hold of her toenail– AND FOLDED IT IN HALF BACKWARDS. It was like old times: the blood drained from my head, and as though from a long dark hallway, I heard myself say, “Dude, do not show me that ever again.” Whereupon she immediately DID THE SAME THING WITH THE OTHER NAIL.

This compelled me to leap up and chase Gabby into the entryway, where I captured her. However, possibly due to the fact that I was woozy was disgust, we promptly lost our balance. and I fell onto the sharp corner of the newel post. When I get hurt, for some biological reason beyond my control, I start laughing– so I was lying on my back, laughing hysterically and shouting, “Get off me!! I’m dying!!” –while all three kids and the dog capered gleefully on and around me (I could literally feel Dave, shaking his head at me from the kitchen).

This morning I am developing a giant bruise over my left kidney, which will probably turn a lovely shade of blue just in time to match my new teal bathing suit next week. And from all of this I have learned the following:

Gabby needs new dance shoes.

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