When I collect Dora from her fourth grade overnight camping trip, she is an exhausted, irrational mess. She sobs the entire trip home. As I shepherd her little body toward the bath she insists she does not need, I notice the bright, bloody tiny wounds dotting her forearms and I stifle a gasp.
Jesus Mother of God.
Hold it together, I tell myself. Stay calm.
“Why do I have to take a bath!” Her blue eyes are cold, angry slits.
I ease her gently into the water. Her anger subsides as she sinks into the warmth. She flinches when the water reaches her raw little wounds. A tsunami of nausea rises from my belly.
“I’ll be right back, honey”, I say.
“NO! You stay!” she growls, slapping the water hard enough to drench my shirt. For a moment I am too stunned to respond.
“I’m going to get some clothes to keep you nice and warm when you get out.” I am pretty sure Caillou’s mother would say this.
But likewise I am pretty sure Caillou’s mother wouldn’t take a detour into her own closet, sink to the floor and sob directly into a pile of laundry.
Sweet Jesus Mother of God. What territory have we entered?