Sometimes mothers have to invent a lovie fairy that comes in the middle of the night to take the pacifiers from grown up babies so baby babies can have them when they’re born. Sometimes they have to pretend that the bottle or the breast simply runs out of milk at nighttime. Other times, they have to get minor surgery to have their moles removed.
Clara has never taken to pacifiers or bottles and she throws her pink piggie out the crib if I tell her it’s her new lovie friend. She’ll grunt like a groundhog in front of the company to nurse but other than that, she has no other tangible sources of comfort. Except the mole on my neck.
At first it was a tangential love affair. She would fondle and trace its irregular shape when she nursed, but eventually the connection was not just circumstantial. I would be holding her in the line at Blockbuster and realize that her hand was massaging and squeezing it with a slightly addicted insistency. She looks for moles on other people’s necks when they hold her. She has loved it so dutifully that it blossomed into a special mole microcosm with mole blisters and hairs.
At some point someone, perhaps my sister, suggested I get the mole I’ve had since birth removed, ostensibly because of cancer but likely because it is distractingly three dimensional. Convinced by the internet that native moles are not malignant, I opted instead to keep my mole in declaration of cosmetic disinterest.
You would be surprised at how annoying objectification can be. Sometimes it’s clear Clara does not understand that I’m more than just a pretty neck. Lately, to keep the microcosm under control, I hide the mole with my hair or turn my head so Clara does not have access to her friend. She then doggedly pushes my chin aside until access is restored and gets what I feel is a bit too upset at me—Me! It’s my mole!—if I say, “Nuh, uh, Clara, don’t play with Mommy’s blemish.” And so I am not nice Mommy who sometimes suffers a quiet frustration and lets baby pinch her mole but mean Mommy who never lets me play with my friends!
Today, the mole has a new home in a specimen container even though Aaron and I joked that we should have kept it in a Ziploc in Clara’s baby book. Now, Clara strokes the Band Aid forlornly, but upon discovering that the mole fairy had to come and eat Mommy’s mole so she could grow big, strong mole fairy wings, Clara seems at rest and content to lay her head on my shoulder instead.