You knew this would eventually be a topic right? I tried, I really did try to never write about this one facet of puberty and oddly enough, peri-menopause; we would rather not deal with. But alas.
I remember four years ago when the pediatrician informed me both kids would experience puberty at the same time, I almost cried. Yet now that we’re in the thick of things…well it’s just another day in the life. We are constantly reminding the boy “Don’t touch your face” or “Make sure you use soap and water when you wash your face”. The doll, needs no reminder. Her nightly routine at bedtime includes using Clearisil wipes to extinguish any growth of dirt within her pores. Yet with all the precautions, the acne keeps arriving, right on schedule.
“I know, I’m going to buy you some zit clothes…” I said to the boy as a particularly large number of blackheads have taken up residence on his nose. “What will that do?” He asked. “They will rip the blackheads right off-like a band-aid” I said watching his eyes squint at the thought and replied “No thank you!” “The alternative is me trying to remove them using my thumbnails” I replied, which was met with even larger eye squints.
Truth be told I wanted nothing to do with trying to pick his zits. I remember all too we’ll getting cornered by my mother as she singled out some particularly large blackheads on my face. “Torture!!” I used to scream; to no avail. “Bay let’s try this method alright?” I asked and he obliged. We read the directions and he washed his face. A few minutes later we applied the acne strip and then waited. Fifteen minutes later I pulled the strip rrrripppp…..nothing. “Did we do it wrong?” I asked to the air. “Bay we must not have applied it right. Let’s try it one more time.” I said desperately hoping this would work. After re-reading the directions we once again applied the strip and waited.
Not willing to experience the “ripping” pain of pulling the strip off, the boy carefully removed the strip-which once again did not work. Looking into my eyes the boy said “Just do it yourself!” “Uh, I don’t know if I can..” I replied, petrified that I was turning into my mother. “You can do it mom!” He plead. I thought to myself, how ironic is this? He’s begging his mother to pick his zits!! “Okay bay, I’ll try not to take too long…” And began.
“JESUSSSSS OW!!! WHAT THE HELL MOM!! The boy yelled. “I know baby I’m sorry, but this is a really deep pore.” I said in my most calm voice and continued pushing.”MOM WHY ARE YOUR NAILS DIGGING INTO THE SIDE OF MY FACE?” “I’m sorry baby, almost done…” I said as I pulled out the dirt trapped within. “OW FREAKING GOD!!” He yelled as I tried to excavate another pore. “AREN’T YOU DONE YET!” He yelled getting angrier by the second. “Almost!” I said and then stopped. “What’s going on in here?” His Grandmother asked. “I was squeezing out a few of his blackheads… But I didn’t get all of them” I said as I prepared to leave the room. “Ooh, let me try…” Grammy said. “NO!! Not you too!!” The boy cried. I returned a few minutes later with a hot soapy washcloth and directed the boy to thoroughly clean his face and nose again, to ward off infection.
“Mom what was all the commotion in the other room?” The doll asked and I explained. Leaning forward she said “Will you pick a few of mine?” “Are you serious?” I asked. “Very” she replied. I began to reach toward her but hesitated. Sensing my distress the doll turned away “Never mind mom” the doll replied. “Instead can you scratch my back?” She asked and I complied, gratefully. I had already inflicted too much trauma on my son’s face and my psyche for one night.