A Pox on Our House: Facing My Issues

She IS snow cute! But maybe I need to chill out.

She IS snow cute! But maybe I need to chill out. Photo by BJ Forsythe.

So, one of the joys of turning one year old is getting your one-year vaccines. Unfortunately, Sarah had a poor reaction to her varicella shot (that’s chicken pox), which means she’s sporting big oozy, scabby blisters on her little face. Boo!

Her doctor and I weren’t sure what the deal was at first, since it looked like she had just one random lesion. But over the last weekend, she got her first fever (and oh boy I took her temperature in a way I hoped we’d never have to er, face, because the ear thermometer we have sucks), and then about six more blisters popped up. Poor baby!

Once her fever broke and the worry of what exactly was happening, health-wise, was over, I realized I was really mostly worried about the appearance of Sarah’s scabs and whether they’re going to leave scars or not. It was strange and sort of icky to realize how invested I am in how she looks.

I mean, it’s partly because I don’t want people to see her and worry that she has something contagious (she doesn’t, as long as the blisters are scabbed over). I also worry that folks will see her marks and think I’m a bad mother–I let something happen to my baby! But yes, a big part of my dismay is that we’re going to a wedding next week, and I want her . . . to be pretty. And two of those three things are about me, not her.

Fortunately, Sarah is little enough that my issues are not directly impacting her. But I want to use this episode to work on myself and my reactions for the future: I mean, all kinds of things could happen. Bad haircuts. Acne. Poor fashion choices. Sarah may have no interest in being pretty. Hopefully I will gain enough wisdom so I can raise her without the belief that it’s vitally important.

Augh, weird blog post! I tend to think of myself as fairly evolved–or at least fairly self-aware of my weaknesses–but body and beauty issues run so deep, and we’re pretty much surrounded by pictures and pressures everywhere, every day.

So what can I do?