Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Month 28, Helen!

Dear Helen,

I have heard more than once that a true test of someone's mettle is what they do in times of crisis. And this past month, we got a glimpse of just how wonderful you could be. I was putting together a picture frame that came in the mail. You were hovering over my left shoulder and Connor was hovering over my right shoulder. Because a screwdriver, in my hands, what could be more exciting than that? Connor must have rocked his stepstool a bit, and he plummeted to the ground.

Ed recalls that Connor screamed when he hit the ground (I do not remember this scream - but I do remember a terrible look), I instantly reached down to pick him up. Immediately after I had him in my arms and was waiting for a huge howl in my ear, he flopped backwards. I thought he was playing around. He was not. He had fainted in my arms. I screamed at Ed that Connor fainted. Ed yelled something about Connor having gummis in his mouth as Ed lunged towards me and Connor. I yelled he must be choking. Ed grabbed Connor. I made a beeline for the phone and dialed 9-1-1. It took them three rings to answer. THREE RINGS! In case you do not know how long three rings is (because by the time you read this, we might not even have telephones, we'll have some other crazy contraption to communicate with), it is an eternity when you are staring at your child and under the impression he is not breathing. T.H.R.E.E. R.I.N.G.S. By the time the woman answered, Connor had "come to" and Ed was telling him to spit the gummis out. Ed had definitely given Connor a thrust in the tummy, but in piecing everything together, neither of us think Connor was choking. But he definitely passed out. And he could have been choking on a gummi. We just don't know. (And did I mention it took THREE RINGS for 9-1-1 to answer? Which is actually remarkably fast service under normal circumstances, but when in a panic, it is not so fast.) I told the operator that my son had passed out but that he appeared to be fine. She asked if I wanted an emergency vehicle to come, but I declined, as each passing moment seemed to confirm that Connor was fine. I did, however, call my sister and ask for my brother-in-law's cell phone number because I had no qualms at all about interrupting his cigar event to figure out if I needed to get to the ER for follow-up or not. (And by the way, Ed and I were trying to remember just how many ER trips my brother-in-law has allowed us to avoid, and we couldn't- but we know it's more than a few! Thanks, Bill!)

Through all of this chaos, Helen, you stood on your stool and watched silently - which must have been hard for you since you rarely stop talking when you are awake - even in your sleep you talk some nights. And that, my friend, is the absolute most helpful thing you could do. But once Connor was laying down on the floor on a pillow, and Ed was getting Tylenol for Connor's hurt head and a cool cloth, and I was talking to Uncle Bill, you pulled up right next to him, gave him a pat and told him "It's OK, little dude. Daddy will be right back. I'll be your friend." and you snuggled up next to him and put your little pink blanket on top of the two of you. That was possibly the sweetest moment of life I have witnessed to date. I wish I could save it in a bottle. I did think about taking a photo, but then decided it was more important to listen to what Uncle Bill was telling me.

After everyone was calm again, you proudly pointed out that you had stood on your stool without falling.

You also follow the wake-up light, and usually sleep well after it comes on. Here's the deal. Day 1, you stayed in bed until well after it had turned on. Your dad and I gave each other a swift high five and looked forward to more of the same. Day 2 - you unplugged your wake-up light and claimed it had broken. I let you in my bed because I didn't feel like arguing with you. Day 3 - wake-up light was never plugged back in so it was on the ground and you were in my bed in the middle of the night. Day 4 - I took you back up to your room only to have you protest that the light was broken. After you got back to sleep, I tried to turn the light on so that whenever you woke up, you'd see it and start to have faith in it. It was on the ground. Unplugged. I was confused. I plugged it back in. You woke up, unplugged it, came down and gloriously announced "I broke the wake-up light. It does NOT work." I took you back upstairs and indeed, there it lay in the floor. Our au pair had witnessed you messing with it when she came home that night so she helped us piece this part of the story together. Day 5 - I got a new light and told you it was not broken and reminded you that children in this house DO NOT TOUCH electrical plugs. Days 6 - 8, I returned you to your bed every night showing you the light was not on. You didn't actually protest, just went to sleep with a few pats and a brief song. Day 9, you enlisted Connor in your plot to convince me the light was on in the middle of the night. Since then, smooth sailing - sleeping until around 6:45 almost every day. Awesome. But here's the story behind day 9.

The night Connor hit his head, after he'd fallen to sleep in his bed, Daddy moved him down to our bed so that I could check on him constantly without having to walk up and down the steps each time. Connor's first words to you the next morning when you came into my room announcing "my wake-up light camed on!" were "Helen, I got to sleep in Mommy's bed ALL NIGHT! Daddy brought me downstairs last night when I was sleeping!" and you definitely gave me a look questioning the authenticity of this story. I didn't want to dwell on it knowing you would be completely offended, so I changed the subject. You must have digested it though, because the next night, rather than coming down to my room in the middle of the night to see if you could sleep in my bed (a strategy that had proven wholly unsuccessful), you actually went in and woke Connor up. Over the monitor I heard "Connor, my wake up light camed on! You can come downstairs with me!". Obediently, if not enthusiastically, Connor had begun following you. I met the two of you at the top of the stairs and told you the wake-up light had not come on, and Connor almost breathed an audible sigh of relief as I tucked him back in bed. You were a little more disappointed, so we sat in your chair for a few minutes before I put you back in bed. I guess sometimes you have to try and gather your armies, Helen, and since Connor had somehow managed to wiggle into my bed the night before, you figured he might make for a good ally.

You have enjoyed scissor privileges, though I can only guess they might be short-lived. I overheard you telling your au pair that you needed a haircut and when she said that you could talk to Mommy after nap you responded "I do it by self!" in your usual, emphatic way. I suppose you'll look super cute in a little pixie cut when you do finally go for it.

You spent the motnh perfecting your foot stomp that accompanies every important statement you make. The arm fold is a bonus, though not a necessary element of the routine.

One day during our recent snowstorm, Connor and I were out making a snow fort long after you had tired of eating icicles and playing outside. You had the best time snuggling up with your dad reading the Dog book over, and over, and over. You even got to sit right beside him instead of on his lap, something you claim to not get to do very often.

You only occasionally truly enjoy the snow, but I suppose if I the snow was up to my shoulders, I'd be a bit leery as well.

At the Super Bowl party we took you to, you quite enjoyed playing with a little rocker and refilling your water cup. You didn't even spill it until we were leaving, and since our neighbor is the most laid-back person in the world, it didn't cause much concern. Every neighbor in attendance commented on your rock star vocabulary as they tried to reconcile your small stature with your use of the word "occasionally" and other multi-syllabic words in context. You remain a performer at heart, excitedly pronouncing TOUCHDOWN with your hands and arms in the air when cued.

Your fashion sense continues to surprise, if not impress. The green sweater you're wearing here is referred to as your "New Jersey". I believe that phrase comes from your au pair calling it a jersey, and you hearing "New Jersey" in reference to Cape May, a vacation we relive often (which is good since we're repeating it this year).

You have finally gotten to enjoy being Daddy's helper in the paint department. You must have been up in Connor's room for over an hour helping him with your small brush and small "paint tray". Daddy had a fun time.

Your million smiles still light a room, my dear.



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