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Monday, March 18th, 2013
2 years, 4 months.
It seems like only a year ago that you had your febrile seizure.
And it seems like only two days ago on your 2.333rd birthday that I said this:
“You haven’t had another [febrile seizure] since; in fact, the last time you were even sick at all was last July.
As your dad, I am so grateful and thankful for your health, safety, and general well-being.
I don’t worry about you, but I am constantly aware of what precious cargo you are and how I responsible I need to be for you.”
With that being said, I had to take you to the ER today at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital because you were slipping into another febrile seizure.
I’m more of a romanticized, big picture, spare-me-the-technical-details kind of storyteller, so I’ll just regurgitate the highlights as best as I remember them happening over the past 24 hours:
Mommy had already left late for work due to a tornado warning, you had a fever of 105, I gave you fever-reducing medicine, we were watching Hard Hat Harry’s All About Monster Trucks, you starting shivering, I took off your clothes, your lips looked like they were going numb…
As I held you while talking to the nurse on the phone, you started convulsing like you did in last year’s febrile seizure…
When you did that it scared me, which then scared you, which caused you to wake up from the first three seconds of this year’s febrile seizure…
The nurse on the phone said to bring you to the ER instead of the pediatrician’s office, I threw your clothes in a Kroger bag, I by default imagined myself as Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies as we drove through the post-tornado warning weather to the hospital…
I remember snapping my fingers a lot to keep you awake as I drove you there, saying, “Stay with me, son! Wake up! Don’t fall asleep! Listen, I’m snapping my fingers like Hard Hat Harry does…”.
When we got there, I found out you had caught a case of Roseola, which had caused your temperature to spike, setting your body up to go into seizure mode.
Thank God, you’re okay… again.
It was scarier for me this 2nd time because I didn’t have Mommy or an ambulance. I kept telling you, “You’re going to be okay, son. Daddy’s taking care of you. Hang with me…”.
I knew what I was saying was true, but at the same time my trust was in God, not myself.
Navigating my way to the ER in post-tornadic weather, trying to find out where to park once I got there (!), and keeping you from falling into another seizure because I hated the thought of your seizing while I drove 65 mph on the interstate in the wind and rain…
Well, I really do feel like Bruce Willis in a Die Hard movie right now.
As for you having another febrile seizure, A) I’m becoming a pro at what to do now and B) I’ll going ahead and mark my calendar for next March, so hopefully I can jinx it.
Sunday, March 10th, 2013
2 years, 3 months.
While learning to walk really is a big deal, I feel like I never hear of any parents talking about the first time their kid runs.
I’m not referring to walking fast. I’m not talking about jogging a few steps before falling down. Instead, I mean running.
Today was the first time where your updated motor skills had the opportunity to be tested on an open course. Mommy and I took you to a huge park with virtually no physically boundaries.
You just got to wander wherever you wanted to today; you’re so not used to that. Granted, we were about 15 feet behind and/or in front of you the whole time.
Mommy and I joked that you ran your first 5 K today. Once you started running, and realized you could do it without falling and hearing us trying to stop you, you didn’t want to stop- so you didn’t.
Just like Forrest Gump.
I just didn’t know a 2 year-old could run for 20 minutes straight. It’s like you were trying to burn off all the calories from your goldfish crackers for the past week. If so, you were successful.
As one would predict, you were ready for bed early tonight. That worked out pretty conveniently since yesterday was Daylight Savings Time so technically I had to put you to bed an hour early.
You pretty much snubbed the playground for the opportunity to run the whole time. As much as you like dogs, you weren’t that fascinated by any of them you saw today. You were only semi-impressed by seeing kites for the first time.
Running made you very happy today. This seems like the perfect cure for your typical Sunday afternoon antsy-ness. Just let you run in a park until you heart is content.
Honestly, I’m nearly more excited about you running for the first time than when you learned to walk.
Walking is so last year anyway.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
In yesterday’s “Asking A Toddler Why They Did Something Wrong” I explained how you got in trouble at school yesterday for throwing a toy at a friend, hitting them in the face and leaving a mark. I also explained how you were disciplined for it.
So today is the direct sequel to that story.
When I was a kid, I hated having to apologize and hug “the other kid” when I hurt them.
I didn’t like that it was forced. I would think to myself, “This obviously isn’t a real hug. I’m only saying I’m sorry because I have to. This is stupid.”
Now that I’m the parent, having you apologize to and hug your victim was the first thing I made you do once you got to school today and saw “the other kid.”
Turns out, though, “the other kid” just so happens to be one of your very best friends, Sophie Culpepper. I have mentioned her here on The Dadabase more than any other friend.
In other words, she’s no generic kid without a face or name. From you and her playing at your 2nd birthday party, all the way back to November 2011 when I first wrote a story about you two, you both have been buddies this whole time.
So this morning as I was unstrapping you from you car seat, I whispered to you, as if I was some divine voice from above trying to subconsciously place the idea in your head:
“Today, you need to apologize to Sophie and give her a hug.”
When we arrived in the classroom, I placed you on the floor next to Sophie. I whispered my divine instructions to you again, with Sophie’s mom watching too.
You froze. You usually do when we cross over from “family mode” to “school mode.”
I’m going to assume that after the parents went away, you did what I asked of you. Sure, it may just be wishful thinking.
But I know you really are sorry about what happened. I’ve learned here recently when you get in trouble with Mommy and I before leaving for school, you’ll be quiet the whole trip. Then, as I’m taking you inside to KinderCare, you will say with shame, “I listen to Mommy.”
(Translation: “I will listen to you and Mommy next time, instead of freaking out about not getting to watch Mater’s Tall Tales when it’s time to go.”)
If it’s true you hurt the ones you love the most, then I, in some strange way, can understand that your first victim of a toy-to-the-face throw had to be your best girl friend.
After all, you’ve grown up with Sophie in your daycare. She’s so much like a sister to you. If I did the math, you might even spend more waking hours with her than I am able to spend with you myself.
So yes, a forced apology and hug may seem a bit awkward to you, but those things help you to understand that hurting others comes with consequences; not just physical, but emotional.
Like I said yesterday, I know that it’s challenging right now for you to understand your emotions, but when you hug the person you have hurt, it helps send a message of emotional healing in the relationship.
Better are forced apologies and hugs than ignoring the offense all together. However, I know that the more I force them on you, the more natural and sincere they will become.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
Today when I picked you up from KinderCare, your teacher gave me an incident report to sign:
“Jack threw a toy at a friend, hitting them in the face. Left a good sized mark. Separated them. Had time to himself and we talked about being nice to friends and using words when upset.”
It’s so natural for me to respond by asking you, “Jack… why did you do that? Why did you throw a toy at your friend?”
I realize now that by asking you that, I’m asking you a question you yourself don’t know the answer to.
In fact, you’re sort of relying on me to explain why you did it.
After all, while you can now easily and quickly piece together sentences to communicate things you observe, you’re not really able to communicate to me how you feel unless you are either very happy or very sad. Therefore, asking you to explain why you feel the way you do is even more confusing for you.
Right now Mommy and I are working on teaching you different emotions to describe how you feel. While you don’t quite yet understand “angry,” you do understand “sad.”
So I guess the best way to help you understand why you threw a toy at your friend and hit them in the face is maybe something like this:
“Jack, today you hurt your friend when you threw your toy at them. I think you might have felt angry when you did it. That made your friend sad. Jack, please say you’re sorry to them tomorrow. We hand our toys to our friends instead of throwing them; even if they do something we don’t like.”
You had to go to bed without your usual playtime at your train table, plus you didn’t get to take any of your trains to bed. That’s pretty weird for me… the thought of you going to bed without your little talking die-cast trains.
Ultimately, why you threw a toy at your friend doesn’t change the fact that I need to teach you to not throw a toy at a friend… for any reason.
So now, I don’t care about the why. I care about the how: How can I teach you that what you did was not nice?
By trying to help you use words to describe how you feel, asking you to apologize to your friend, and then by taking away your favorite toys for the night.
(There may be a better way. If there is, I’m open to suggestions from anyone else who happens to be reading this letter.)
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
While I am quick to tell you all the things you’re good at, I have to be honest with you today: You’re officially not good at playing like a girl.
The picture to the right might imply that you are a 2 year-old boy who enjoys a good old-fashioned tea party. However, let me remind you what I said in The Masculine Version Of A Tea Party, Part 1:
“You are wired to choose action involving crashes and messes, not role-playing a sophisticated brunch.”
Turns out, I was right.
As you played with your cousin Calla’s new tea set on Christmas, you quickly pretended to eat all the icing off the plastic cupcakes and see how fast you could gulp down the invisible tea.
It was a cupcake cake eating contest, with tea to wash it all down… and you won, fair and square!
Immediately after, you moved on to Calla’s new dollhouse. It didn’t take you long to discover that there was a handle on the toilet in the bathroom you could press down to hear it flush.
Needless to say, the dollhouse quickly became more like a truck stop.
Later you decided to check out your cousin’s new Disney princess tent with her and Mommy.
As you can see in the picture here, you helped transform the event into Jack’s Jump House. It only took about 7 minutes before you bumped heads with Calla and ended the rockin’ party before its prime.
So while certain dads might raise an eyebrow to see their son so easily playing with pink foo foo girls’ toys, not me.
Because I know you simply make a joke out of anything a princess would find enticing.
Instead, you’re the king of the playground and all the world is your stage.