27 February 2011

Suburban Home Beset by Plague

The recent spread of “The Gunk” made its way into the home of the Wolfe family approximately 10 days ago. The first to be struck with this harrowing illness was Eamon Wolfe, 2.

“He started with the sniffles,” reported Kathleen “Kate” Wolfe, 30, and Eamon’s mother. “We thought it was nothing. We were wrong.”

The sniffles soon turned into a trickle which sources say then became a deluge of snot on Saturday, February 20.

“We had to get more tissues,” explained Eamon’s father, Aaron Wolfe, 37. “A lot more tissues. The lotioned kind.”

According to his father, Eamon weathered the illness like a “trooper” and a “champ,” attempting to smile and play despite a racking cough that would drop him to his knees in bronchial fits.

But no matter how valiantly he fought, by Sunday morning Eamon proved not to be winning his war as infection set in. After several calls to health insurance companies, Eamon was admitted to a Patient First where he received antibiotics for his first ear infection. Sources indicate that Eamon was “a very good boy” who did his best to sit still in the waiting room.

“Thank goodness for smart phones and Dinosaur Train on YouTube,” said his mother.

With antibiotics on his side, Eamon made a slow but steady recovery.

That Sunday evening, however, disaster struck again when Kate succumbed to a second bout of the stomach flu. She had been ill with the same virus earlier that week. After five days of subsisting on bread and soup, Kate thought she had made a full recovery.

“I was wrong,” said Kate, who then sighed and returned to heating up more Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

During this time, Aaron was the sole man left standing in the Wolfe family, the last beacon of health. He had Presidents Day off and then stayed home again with a still recovering Eamon on Tuesday. Reports indicate that Aaron was up several times during these nights with Eamon, who would cough to the point of dry heaving. Aaron let Kate sleep while he tended to the sick child.

For his efforts, by Wednesday the cold virus had spread to Aaron. By Thursday, he was sent home from work and told to rest.

“These are dark days,” explained Kate. “But we are sticking together as a family and pulling through.”

Last reports indicated that Eamon’s cold was back to the sniffles, Aaron felt somewhat better after finally getting some sleep, and Kate had increased her diet to include turkey sandwiches without any significant relapse.

“At least one good thing has come of this,” reported Kate. “Eamon has learned several new words: doctor, medicine, tylenol, tissues…”

19 February 2011

I Like This Kid

Last Sunday, we took Eamon to a nearby Jurassic Park to see the genetically engineered dinosaurs.

Okay, well, actually, we took him to the Richmond Children's Museum. Which was awesome.

And Eamon was awesome.

If you don't have a Children's Museum of some kind in your area, this is a tragedy (I mean, assuming that you have children). The one in Richmond wasn't really so much a museum as a huge, fabulous playroom. There were playrooms set up like grocery stores, giant dinosaurs, huge sandpits, and an apple tree with pickable "apples."

Kids could basically just run free (followed by their adults, of course, who were more like interlopers into this strange, magical world of imagination realized). Eamon had a blast.

Of course, sometimes we felt the need to play a little, too.

The one thing Eamon really didn't like was the giant outdoor sandpit. While other children were happily rolling around in the sand, acquriing sand in all sorts of fascinating cervices, Eamon just kind of stood in the middle of it all, almost not daring to move.

"What's wrong, buddy?" we asked.

He looked around and shook his head.

"Mess," he told us solemnly.

"Well, yeah," I said. "It's a sandpit."

"Dirty," he said, sounding a bit put-out.

"Buddy, that's the point," said Aaron.

Eamon thought about it for a minute before reaching a conclusion that pretty much summed up his feelings about the entire idea of a giant sandpit: "Back inside."

So, I guess the beach is out this summer.

Eamon most loved the apple tree. We gathered those apples into our bucket over and over.

My favorite part, though, was watching Eamon interact with the other children. He easily "played" with the other kids (as much as 2 year olds can play with each other; it's mostly parallel play at this point). If a child had a toy that Eamon wanted, Eamon simply waited until the child was done with only the gentlest of reminders needed. If another child wanted the toy that Eamon had, Eamon would immediately give it to the other kid and find something else to do--often without any adult prompting.

At one point, another girl around Eamon's age tripped and her grocery cart full of "food" spilled all over the floor in front of Eamon. He had been running to the play school room, but stopped and began to pick up all her food and put it back in the cart for her. She eyed him distrustfully the entire time, as if he were helping only so that he could take her toys.

He finished putting away all her food, then just ran on to the school room.

At no point had anyone asked him to help. There was absolutely nothing in it for him--in fact, it kept him from his destination.

He did it just because, well, that's what Eamon does. He helps.

Well, as long as you're not having a crisis in the sandpit. That might be asking a bit much.

12 February 2011

An Ancient Art Form Reads This and Weeps a Little to Itself

Good morning. In an effort to up the artistic integrity of this blog, this morning I shall regale you with Saturday morning thoughts—the haiku version.

Please try to contain yourself.

Ahem. Here we go:

I want to tell you to
Stop but you are so cute when
You jump on the couch.

Why did you just take
Off my shoe? And why are you
Tickling my toes? Ack!

You cover your ears
When something is scary and
It just melts my heart.

My head is heavy
With so many facts jumbled
About dinosaurs.

Kiefer Sutherland—
The Great Longneck Migration?
Really? Really? Why?!

But I think you would
Enjoy it if you just tried?
Let’s watch
Glee now, please?

Okay, really, now.
Stop jumping on the couch. Stop
Before you—oops. Ouch.

There, there. You’re okay.
Would some toast and berries help?
Yum, yum. Love you, too.

04 February 2011

Stubborn as a Green Mule

Aaron is stubborn.

I can be quite stubborn when I need to be.

So, by all rights, we shouldn’t have a kid as much as a mule.

(You saw what I did there, right? Because “kid” is the name of a baby goat, which is also a type of animal, so it’s funny because…oh never mind. My co-workers keep telling me that if I have to explain my jokes, they aren’t really jokes at all. Sorry. Here is a picture of a cute child to make you forget all about it.)

But Eamon…he isn’t terribly stubborn.

Consider, for instance, the dinosaurs. Eamon, as the more savvy readers out there might have inferred from my cryptic clues, kind of “likes” dinosaurs (you know, in the same way that he sort of “likes” food and sleep and air). When I try to get Eamon out of the door in the morning to go to my parents’, he often tries to take his entire bucket of dinosaurs. And if you don’t let him, he cries this miserable, whiny little cry.

“Eh heh, eh heh,” he cries melodramatically, as if you have told him that his dog has to go live on a “farm.” He cries the entire way out the door. “Eh heh, eh heh, deedore, deedore!” He cries as you buckle him into his carseat. “Eh heh, eh heh, eh heh!”

And then you turn on the music…and he starts to dance or “sing” or pretend to make his Lion dance or sing. Deedores? Huh?

In contrast, by Eamon’s age I was apparently throwing temper tantrums in which I would scream for 2 hours, following my mother from room to room crying at the top of my lungs, throwing myself onto the floor dramatically until, exhausted, I would finally pass out, sleep, and wake up like it had never happened. My mother never gave in, and she never did anything to encourage it…I just had a temper and once I lost it, I couldn’t be coaxed back. Around the age of 5, I finally learned enough control and figured out that golly, these temper tantrums never seemed to work, and I stopped. Nevertheless, it was a hard won war for my poor parents.

Now, Eamon might just be a late bloomer…but so far, he just doesn’t have that level of stubbornness in him.

Except for one thing: colors.

Eamon does not want to learn his colors. Oh yes, he’s knows his entire alphabet. He knows what sounds all the letter make, and for some of his letters, can even tell you a word that starts with that letter. He can recognize all his numbers through 9. He knows all his animals and can make sounds for most of them. He recognizes and can name most shapes. He’s a smart kid.

But everything? Everything? Everything in the entire world is: green.
Go ahead, ask Eamon. The grass, the sky, the cars, my hair, Eamon’s skin, the dog? They are all green.

Oh, I know what you’re going to say. “Maybe he’s color blind, Kate? Maybe you’re being too hard on this poor little color blind kid?”

He’s not color blind. I am 97.85% sure of this. One day a few months ago, we were in my friend Charmaine’s classroom. She has a SMARTBoard (an interactive whiteboard and projects whatever is on your computer) and it has 4 markers, which all look exactly the same except for being four different colors: red, green, black, and blue. They go into 4 separate bins that also all look exactly the same, except for each being red, green, black, or blue.

While we were in Charmaine’s room, Eamon found the markers and immediately removed them from their color-coded bins. He mixed them all up, and then without hesitation put them back in their correct bins. He did this about nine times in a row. There is no way that he could have known which marker went in which bin except to be able to see the colors. This was not coincidence.

But even that doesn’t convince you of his stubbornness on this one issue, how about this? We have a red RAV-4. This is an actual conversation he and I had yesterday in the parking lot.

ME: Eamon, look, there’s our red car. Our car is red. Can you tell me what color our car is?
EAMON: Gween!
ME: No, baby. Our car is red. We have a red car. What color is our car?
EAMON: Gween!
ME: No, Eamon. It’s red. Can you say “red?”
ME: Great! You said red! Just like our car! Our car is red. What color is our car?
EAMON: Gween!

I gave up after that.

At some point, he’ll decide he wants to learn his colors.