"We'll clean it in the morning," they chimed.
"Somebody's going to break their neck!" I said.
"We'll clean it in the morning," they insisted.
We went back and forth like this a bit until I decided that some battles aren't worth fighting. Going to bed with a disastrously messy room wasn't the worst thing in the world. And my kids were offering to go to bed, a rare scenario in our house.
"Fine," I said. "You can clean it in the morning."
I woke up this morning to the sound of Benjamin roaring. We doesn't really cry anymore. He roars. And I hate it so, so much. It's like crying but yelling at the same time and it's perfectly calibrated to push all my buttons at the same time. Except for my sympathy button. It's impossible for me to be sympathetic when he's cry-yelling these days. The first thing out my mouth is usually, "Oh, Benjamin! Stop that racket and use your words!" Never anything sweet and motherly like, "Oh, Benjamin! What's the matter, honey?" It's seriously the most annoying sound. Anyway...it's the sound I woke up to this morning.
Nothing was really the matter. Miriam wouldn't let him get in her bed to snuggle and he was gravely offended. He still likes to snuggle in the mornings.
"You can snuggle with me," I said. Then I said, "But get off your sister! That's Zoë's spot. You can't snuggle on top of her. Come to the other side of the bed!"
We snuggled until he felt better and then he left to go potty and get dressed.
No more than one minute after he skipped out of my room he was roaring...again.
"Oh, Benjamin!" I grumbled. "That is the worst noise! Use your words to tell me what's wrong."
"I....WAAAAAAAAAAAH!" he roared, blood spilling out of his mouth.
"Oh, dear!" I said. "Hush, hush. Let's get that taken care of."
I got a wet wash cloth for him to put in his mouth and we eventually stopped the bleeding, though it took about fifteen minutes. He was in pretty good spirits, though, and helped Miriam clean their room (while sucking an ice cube wrapped in a baby wash cloth) because guess what happened. Your guess is as good as mine, really. Something about jumping, tripping, a pillow, his bed...biting himself... He didn't explain it very well but it was clear from his explanation that the messy bedroom was (at least partially) to blame.
I can hardly look in his mouth without shuddering.
I called the nurse hotline but no one was answering, so I sent a message to our office, but no one answered that either so eventually I tried the nurse hotline again. This time I got through. She said that from the description I should probably bring him in but that she didn't think they'd actually do anything.
Fortunately it's winter break and Andrew was able to come home from campus to take Benjamin in so that I didn't have to find a babysitter or drag in all the girls to the office.
They saw a resident first, who agreed that it looked pretty bad and told Andrew that they only bother repairing it if "it has flapping parts, is bigger than 2cm, or if it is at risk of getting food in" and that this particular wound is one that might be worthy of stitches. She call the attending physician in for a second opinion. She also thought it looked worthy of a stitch or two. However, because it's in his mouth he'd have to have undergo general anesthesia (or general-er than mere local anesthesia) to get those few stitches, and the doctors weren't sure it was worth it all the hassle.
So, he's left with a gaping hole in his mouth.
We're supposed to have him rinse it out frequently, to have him not chew on it, and to keep a close eye on it to make sure it's getting better, not worse.
It's seriously so gross.
At least I can say, "There is a reason we keep our bedroom clean!"