breaking black…


I broke one of my most tightly held golden rules last night. I didn’t want to, but the boy offered me no choice. The doll stood back horrified at what I was doing and then consoled her brother afterward while I instructed what needed to be done. It was hard, going against my self-imposed rules, but in the end, everyone was better because of it.


When I was a teenager, my mother used to corner and attack me, or rather attack my zits and blackheads with her fingernails whenever I ventured too close to her.  I made a promise to myself right then and there that I would never do this to my children–ever! And for the better part of my children’s teenage years I’ve kept my word, though I have to admit, at times it has been a struggle.

“Mom would you just pop them?” The doll begged when she had some rather large blackheads on her nose. Approaching her, my thumbs at the ready I moved in and cried, “I can’t, I just can’t! I’m sorry!” But to my credit, the next day I bought her some rather expensive acne medication that helped clear them up without invasive picking from me. Only later did she inform, “Uh no mom, I picked them myself. They were gross!” “Better you than me…” I replied.  My husband lovingly calls me a wimp, for my inability to push the waxy build up from my children’s pores, but I don’t care. I never want them to experience getting cornered and then attacked by me. I mean there are so many other memories they are making, my picking their zits should not be one of them.

But then last night, the boy entered the bathroom and I noticed the fairly enormous black head on the side of his nose that looked angry and begging to be popped. I knew it wouldn’t take much pressure, but couldn’t bring myself to do the deed. “Oh bay, that blackhead is screaming to be popped. You need to pop it” I said to him. “I don’t know how.” He replied.

Overhearing my conversation with her brother, the doll joined us in the bathroom and said “But you have the perfect fingernails to do the trick” The boy paused for a moment, looking down at his nails before saying “What?” “Just put your nails under the blackhead and push” I instructed, but watched as he couldn’t figure out the correct angle needed. “Hang on”, I said turning his head for a better angle, “You may want to use your index fingers instead”. He lifted his fingers and made an attempt, but couldn’t bring himself to apply the necessary pressure to expell the junk. “Bay you need to push harder. You realize you can push harder without pain to yourself than I can…” I tried to explain. After failing to extract the comedo, he looked at me and begged, “Can’t you just do it, please?

“I’d prefer not to” I replied.  Taking a quick glance toward his sister she objected before even he could even muster the courage to ask, “I’m not touching his oily face!” He then turned on his secret weapon, the puppy dog look, back to me. “Dear God!!” I said before mustering up the courage to attack his face. Lifting my thumbs to his nose I said dramatically, “I hope you know how much this is hurting me!” and then pressed, releasing the gunk from his pore, using a piece of toilet paper to remove it before declaring myself finished.

To the boy’s credit, he withstood the pressure of the extraction with grace and even thanked me for my sacrifice. In addition, he then did everything I instructed him to do afterward, to help keep the pore from becoming infected. Then all of us went to bed. Exhausted by our late evening ordeal.

As of this morning, no infection and the boy looked no worse for wear. Whew!


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