Yes, Miriam has a black eye. But it was obtained legitimately, I swear.
Miriam was born with a dermoid cyst on her right browbone. At various times in her life, it has been very noticeable, moderately noticeable, or not noticeable at all. I don't know why. It seemed to show up more between the ages of 0 - 2, then it blended into her face pretty well until she was almost 3, at which time strangers started asking the same old "did you bump your head?" question again.
Here it is at age 3 months (while being tough-guyed by my cousin's baby, who is two weeks younger than Miriam):
and at age 1, after a visit to the opthamologist to make sure it wasn't affecting her actual eye at all:
It was a decision three years in the making, but we recently decided to have it surgically removed. The surgery took place on Thursday. The black eye showed up on Friday afternoon.
Sending your child into surgery is not a walk in the park, no matter how often the doctors involved tell you it's no big deal. General anesthesia is always a big deal. In fact, in Miriam's case, the fact that she would have to be put out for the surgery was a bigger worry to me than the procedure itself. Like I said, we've been thinking about doing this for three years, and so we went to the hospital on the morning of the surgery confident but not entirely without fear.
Everything went well - the surgeon was able to remove the cyst without any problems and Miriam didn't have any trouble with the anesthesia. In the end, the most traumatic thing about the whole experience for Miriam was in the waiting room when a little boy grabbed a toy dinosaur right out of her hands. That made her cry. Several nurses wheeling her hospital-gown-clad self away from her mom into a brightly lit, sterile medical corridor did not.
I was hoping for a quiet day on Thursday afternoon, post-surgery, with Miriam recovering meekly on the papa-san in the living room, watching movies or reading books. Instead, she was back to normal in about 20 minutes. Typical.
The doctor had said we could expect some "bruising or bleeding," but I confess I was taken aback by the severity of the black eye as it took shape so ominously on Friday afternoon. We've gone out in public as normal and it's been interesting, funny, or unnerving to observe people's varying responses to a three-year-old with such a grotesque injury.
Some people shake their heads and smile in sympathy, or even volunteer to me the story about the time their kid got a black eye while [whatever]. Some people glance and then look away, and then sneak a few more peeks at Miriam (and me, possibly to assess my child abuse potential) when they think I don't notice. Other people flat-out glare at me, as if I had the audacity to beat my kid and then take her out in public. Very few people (strangers, at least) have actually asked me what happened, but I wish they would rather than assume the worst.
So far, it appears that no one has reported us to Child Protective Services. Hopefully that won't change. In the meantime, I'm considering digging out my copy of the doctor's post-surgery orders and pinning them to Miriam's shirt just as a preventative measure. Let's hope it works.