My daughter was so excited about having her tonsils taken out. She counted down the nights on her calendar. She advertised the upcoming procedure at school with huge fanfare; kids in her class were telling their parents they wanted their tonsils out too.
“Ah, the beauty of innocence,” one mother sighed.
I tried to manage my daughter’s expectations. I told her she’d get a needle. I warned her that her throat would be very sore afterwards. But she continued to talk it up so much that one might think she was off to Disneyland. Perhaps it had something to do with my promise of endless portions of ice cream and jelly.
When she woke up from the operation she screamed. It wasn’t the thrilled scream of a child on a Disneyland ride, but one of a terrified child on a House of Horrors ride. The nurses wheeled her bed through the hospital corridors to find me in the waiting area as though they were an Olympic toboggan team.
Once I had settled my daughter, she whimpered. “I don’t want to have my tonsils out anymore.”
I hugged her. “It’s too late. They’re gone.”
“I want them back!”
Oh dear, I thought, this is the unbeautiful side of innocence. “You can’t have them back. The doctor has thrown them out.”
“I don’t know, in a bin.”
“We can get them out of the bin.”
“No darling, we can’t.”
She burst into tears.
Later, as she sat on her hospital bed eating jelly and ice cream, she looked at me, “Mummy, are you sure we can’t get my tonsils out of the bin?”
“I wanted to take them to school for Show and Tell.”
My God, that’s why she was so upset about her discarded tonsils?! She wanted a trophy from her trip to Disneyland.
Now that is the beauty of innocence.