What was the first best? Or worst? Maybe I was thinking back to the past, and ahead to the future. My father passed away in the summer, sure, and then my mom remarried in another summer. I was born in the summer, and my firstborn was born in the summer. My second was due in the summer, but surprised us two weeks early. I met Cassidy in the summer. If all of this is out of order, it’s because it’s actually IN order, because time is all happening at once anyway. Spiraling in & out of your control. They’re spiraling summers – each with poignant stories that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Summer is when I discovered my own spiritual strength, and confused it with the spiritual strength of the world, and maybe it’s all connected, but summer is always when I learn my own strength. Anyway you slice it, and slap rainbow sprinkles along the sides, sometimes it seems like everything happens in summer. That’s when I celebrate my birthday and reflect on every trip around the sun, every growing pain and pang, and every mountain I’ve climbed, only to find a steeper one still waiting.
Everything I love and hate about summer is all tied up into one – with only a thin distance between the two. It’s ALL growing pains and pangs. It’s all care. It’s all love. I wrote this post originally in 2012, and have wanted to share it here again since.
And I know, I know, that I talk about my kids all of the time. I started this blog when I had one eight-month-old and I write it now with a three-year-old and a one-month-old. Other stuff, other life, swirls all around me and I jump on the chances to write about it. Any/all of it. And I also cherish the moments with my kids that are so hilarious, or so deep, that I have to run home and write them down. It’s not unusual. Our kids are amazing. All of yours are. Mine are no exception.
Then days later when I dropped something, I don’t remember what, and I said aloud, “Oh, it fell off the changing table!” And Scarlet ran into the room and asked, “Did Baby Desmond’s ‘pagina’ fall off, finally??” (Finally?!)
It’s comic gold. So this afternoon I had to take Des for his one-month well visit at the Pediatrician’s office. Not wanting to displace Scarlet, she came with us. She told me she had to take Buddy with her. Now Buddy is often the name for the red laser light we sometimes shine on the walls and the couch, while discreetly hiding the laser pen, because she’s young enough to think that Buddy is magic. Or she’s old enough to know the truth and young enough not to accept it. (Which is awesome) I was a little concerned about Buddy the Red Laser Light coming with us to the doctor’s office.
My concerns disappeared when I realized she meant Buddy The Hamster. She came up with this on her own: Buddy is a stuffed rat or mouse that Grandma gave her when she was a baby. I think Buddy might be a finger puppet because he has a hole where his butt should be. Anyway, Scarlet took the wooden cube that came with a Melissa and Doug shape sorting toy and decided it was a hamster cage and that Buddy was a hamster. (Not a rat!) So we think this is brilliant. And right or wrong, Buddy is a hamster in a hamster cage. He is NOT a stuffed rat puppet in a wooden cube shape sorting toy.
When we got in the car, Scarlet put Buddy safely in his cage in the backseat. Nine times out of ten, she forgets what she puts in the backseat before we pull out of the driveway, much less when we get to our destination. Today was not that day. She gave me strict instructions to help her unbuckle her seatbelt and then hold Buddy while she got out of the car. I did. In the waiting room, she showed Buddy to all other waiting parents/children/babies. She showed him to every nurse and lab tech and doctor as we walked to the examining room. One even said, “Wait. Did you bring a real hamster in here???”
So then when I had to undo Desmond’s diaper on the examining table so that he could be weighed. But he had soiled his drawers. So I changed his diaper, all the while he’s yelling that he’s cold or hungry or gassy or something. And Scarlet. She just keeps touching his balls! And she says to the nurse, “Those are his balls!” And the nurse is all, “Why thank you for that anatomy lesson!” And Scarlet won’t stop touching and poking his balls while he’s…screaming his balls off. So I say, “Quit touching his balls, Scarlet!” And the nurse is all, “How can she resist. They’re pink and bouncy and not what she’s used to.”
So then we put him on the weighing table and he’s like 11 pounds, 3 ounces already. (70th percentile) And his height! Somewhere between 23 and 24 inches. (99th percentile) I know none of this means really anything about what he’ll be for life, but he has huge feet and long fingers and he’s taller than 99 percent of all other baby boys his age. Or something.
Then he pees this perfect arc which goes over the scale and over the table onto the floor and just about hits Scarlet, who by some sixth sense, dodges it by a split second. So we go back into the examining room and Scarlet has to pee but probably decides I’m not the proper authority on peeing, so the second the doctor enters the room she blurts out, “I have to pee!” So since I’ve got Des on the breast for the 18th time in 19 minutes, we decide she’ll go to the bathroom with the nurse.
Only, she gets stage fright and comes back 30 seconds later announcing, “I didn’t pee!” as proudly as if announcing that she did pee. So then we go through the exam (he’s totally healthy and awesome) and I have to bribe her into the doctor office’s bathroom with an all-natural fruit leather. So this works, of course, and we walk outside the bathroom with me lugging a baby and a diaper bag and she yells to a hallway full of people:
Then there’s how neurotic they make you. I blame it on Desmond’s NICU stay. Like when the nurse rechecked his head circumference. And I asked, rapid-fast, “Why did you recheck his head circumference? Does he have an unusually large head? What does that mean? Brain swelling? Just tell me the worst case scenario. Just tell me now. I need to know straight out.” And she looked at me, patient as day, and said: “Um. I rechecked it because I forgot to write it down the first time. His head is as beautifully big and proportionate as the rest of him. That’s your worst case scenario.” And when the doctor said he had a touch of diaper rash and I was all, “Is that common??” And he looked at me, patient as day, and said. “Very.”
Well what can I say? I have two healthy kids, but I know that life is so fragile that it can slip through your fingers without warning. And I want my kids to be perfect. But there’s no such thing as perfect. There are nail scratches on faces, cradle cap cases and diaper rashes. Head circumference percentile charts. Lingering coughs. Asymmetrical heads. Fluid in ears. And if you are experiencing all of that, which I’m not, but if you are experiencing just all of that in the grand scale of health matters, then you are wonderfully, wonderfully, lucky. And so, we went home. In happy, healthy spirits.
I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “The things I love and hate about summer are…” Link up HERE with your take on the matter! Write anything summer, summer, summertime.