Necessity- the Child of Invention???

We knew our son was smart, and resourceful. He had given us many indications thereof early on. He walked early; he mastered coordination of simple tasks early; he was even speaking in short sentences as early as ten months of age. When I say short sentences, I mean three words. He was not a great orator then, but he did surprise some adults along the way.

Our surprise at his cognitive ability came when he was around fourteen months old, battling a double ear infection that was coupled with a high fever and the gastric symptoms that generally came along with it. He could keep nothing in his stomach. Not even clear fluids. We were instructed, by his pediatrician, (and not his grandmothers), to give him one ounce of Gatorade every hour, until he could keep that down, and then gradually increase the amount.

Our efforts were simply to keep him from getting dehydrated. For him, apparently, it wasn’t enough. We were trying everything we could to divert his attention to other things. Videos, storybooks and games didn’t work. Finally, Daniel decided he wanted to take a shower.

At the precise moment my husband stepped into the lukewarm spray, my son on his shoulder, Daniel turned around, strained his neck toward the water and opened his mouth to drink. He was thirsty. He had a drink. He was satisfied. He kept it down, and he felt better!

What do we know???

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Parents, What Constitutes an Emergency?

As a parent, we go through stages.  For me, an emergency is all about perspective.   From the time I was a little girl, I didn’t have aspirations to be anything when I grew up (besides a movie star), other than a mom.  It was at something I seemed to know I would be good.

 Unfortunately for me, and for everyone around me, I wasn’t successful immediately, as I suffered two miscarriages first.   My doctor, who, by the way, knew me well, decided not to wait to do the obligatory testing, saying that he usually would wait for a third miscarriage, but “knowing me…”

 All tests were normal except for one errant lab artifact.  There seemed to be no reason for this other than the fact that every time I conceived, I quit smoking and drinking!!  After nine months of trying again, we finally conceived.  I have the only physician in modern times who recommended that I smoke a few cigarettes a day, and drink four oz. of white wine before bed every night.

 I did this, and nine months later, my son was born with a little butt.  (Forgive me… that has always been my husband’s joke).  We fell into parenthood very easily, until… 10 days into his life, our son had to have a kidney scan to see if had both, due to a single umbilical artery.

 Colic set in at six weeks on the nose.  Was that an emergency?  To us, yes.  To the doctor, no.  For four hours at the same time every evening, our son regaled us from the depths of his lungs.  We called the doctor every other night.

 At four months, we were playing with him on the floor, when he toppled over and bumped his head ever so slightly on the leg of the crib.  His screams reminded us of those colicky days, and yes, we called the doctor.  It was an emergency because there was a pink spot on his forehead.

 When he was two, our son fell off of his tricycle.  I had him under one arm and the bike under the other and ran home.  Was this an emergency?  There was no blood.  There weren’t even any tears.  But he fell…

 Okay, so we overreacted.   When he was two and a half, he finally gave us a real emergency.  He mustered the strength to slide a nineteen inch television out of the wall unit, and had I not caught it and flipped it over it would have landed on his head.  Instead, it landed on his hand, crushing two of his fingers.  Into the ice and down the street to our neighbor the doctor, who sent us immediately to the “emergency” room.  He’ll never be a brain surgeon, but he survived.

 My mother always told us that boys are harder to raise physically and girls are harder to raise emotionally.  I think all parents learn to listen, finally, to their parents when they become parents.  My mother was right.

 My daughter crept into our world very quietly when our son was two, and until she could talk (she was a late bloomer) she didn’t create any emergency situations.  That is, until one night, she popped a double inguinal hernia!!!!  At four months, she had turned blue from the waist down, so we left our son in the bathtub (with his grandfather babysitting), and made another trip to the emergency room.  A month later, she had surgery to correct the problem.

 When she was two, our daughter slipped and chipped her tooth on the side of the bathtub.  That in itself wasn’t a real emergency.  It fit her personality… that is, until she developed an abscess and had to have the tooth pulled.  That was rather emergent.

 We were all outside playing one day, and our daughter went inside and locked the door.  This could have presented a plethora of problems.  But that was during my skinny period, and I was able to climb through the dining room window, grab my keys and my child, and go back outside.  Just as a point of reference, even today, I don’t go anywhere without my keys in my pocket.

 The truest test, I believe, as to whether something becomes an emergency is the level of panic it can create.  We had a neighbor who was pregnant, who was extremely panicked over the fact that she had eaten a bagel that had a little mold on it.  Having been through what I had with my pre-school aged children, I had become an old pro.  I was much more aware of what an emergency was and what wasn’t quite as important, so I was able to allay her fears.

 Later that summer, my husband was outside playing with the children when my daughter came running inside to use the phone.  She was all of four.  I said, “Who are you calling?”

 She said, “9-1-1.”

 “What’s the emergency?  What’s wrong?”

 “The kite is stuck in the tree.”

 It’s all about perspective.

Mr. Manners

Out of work for six months now, and my nest seemingly emptier than ever, I’ve had the chance to reflect on raising my children and how fast the time passed.  I was a follower of Dr. Spock, firmly believing that children needed discipline to make them feel secure.  They needed to hear the word “no,” to understand that somebody cared enough to set limits for them and teach them to set limits for themselves.

 Yes, we let them cry themselves to sleep to learn that bedtime was bedtime.  Yes, we made them taste everything that was served to them (not necessarily cleaning their plates).  Yes, we punished them when they did wrong.  No, we did not shower them with either idle threats or expensive gifts.  No, we did not let them “find themselves” at age three.  No, we did not let them get up from the table until everyone was finished eating.  

 In so doing, we did get a lot of compliments on the behavior of our children over the years, but it didn’t start out so smoothly.  They were polite and well-behaved.  Or so we thought…We could take them anywhere.  If they acted up or cried, we simply removed them from the restaurant or movie theater so they would not disturb other patrons. 

 One particular evening, we were dining at a family style restaurant which allowed  children.  My husband and I were appalled to see dozens of children running around screaming and crying, with what seemed to be no supervision.  We looked at each other and nodded in agreement that our son, age two, was, indeed well behaved, only to find him leaning over his plate of macaroni and cheese, and eating it like a dog.

 He hasn’t done that since.  It is, however, twenty-three years later.

Who Am I?

I never thought I would actually admit this, but I have no idea who I am.

I know what I am… An empty-nester, a middle-aged woman (and being menopausal, it makes all of this that much harder to comprehend), a wife, and an unemployed fund-raiser. I am likely soon to become a caretaker, as my mother will be 80 in three weeks, and while she isn’t failing, I know that is in her future.  (Hopefully for her, not in her near future.)

I stand at the edge of a new chapter in my life, having had a wealth of life experience to draw on, but I still don’t really know WHO I am.  I’ve played so many roles in my life I should have been nominated, at least once, for an academy award.  I think that’s the reason I wanted to start blogging.  I wanted to reflect back on some of my “performances,” and hopefully be able to relate to or at least touch somebody out there…

Please join me as I turn the pages back and forward on my journey of discovery!