Friday, January 30, 2009

Can't Teach the Swish and Other Notes

So we get in to see the ped, and after about 10 minutes of searching Nic's ears, throat, tongue and gums, she concludes that the inflammation owes to a new tooth Nic is cutting. The Rx is hot compresses to the inflamed node and salt water washes twice a day.

Here's a problem. Nic doesn't know how to swish.

"Mom, how do you *do* that?" he asked last night.

Er. Hmm. Good question. I take the salt water mix and demonstrate. And Nic stares, fascinated.

"But how do you *do* it?" He asked again.

And I am flummoxed. Much of what I've learned in life has been either by a) direct instruction--getting some one I trusted implicitly to teach me something in a normal universe I would have known how to do on my own and b) trying, failing miserably, brushing myself off, and trying again, and again, and again.

I have no words for any of it, so I demonstrate again. And Nic by now is really amused, fascinated, and just a little bit annoyed that this swish thing is not coming nearly as naturally to him as it is to me.

So, he takes a mouthful, tilts his head to and fro, and spits. I make him repeat it twice more and give him some seltzer to chase the salt out.

I'm not stressing about the swish, however. When we went into the office, Nic greeted Dr. R with a handshake, climbed up on the table, told her exactly what was bothering him, and cooperated willingly with her instructions.

If this does not sound like a big deal, less than six months ago I dragged him kicking and screaming out of the van to see the doctor.

Six years ago, Nic the nonverbal toddler screamed, thrashed and hit his way through a physical in this same office.

Watching this same child conduct himself so maturely and matter-of-factly yesterday simply blew me away.

But it was very simple. I told Nic that if he wanted to get rid of that lump, then he needed to talk to Dr R, tell her what was bothering him, and do whatever Dr R asked him to do. And he simply wants to get better.


Meanwhile, G occupied himself with the toys in her office and was looking forward to our adventures afterward. We went over to the mall and picked up invites for Nic's party (will make some phone calls behind the scenes to make sure we have at least 6 kids next week), and then went over to Costco for a food run after.

So what happened next--instructive to me yet again how different the boys are. G insisted on riding in the front of the cart, despite repeated scoldings to get off, you'll hurt yourself. Predictably, he falls off, hurts himself, and I scold him again.

It takes me a moment to realize that he is blinking back tears, the corners of his little mouth turned down in almost clownish exaggeration. But he is really trying hard not to cry.

I knelt down next to him, ashamed of myself. "Are you okay? Is your foot hurt?"

He threw his little arms around my neck and buried his face in my jacket. Meanwhile, Nic is nattering in the background, "I am behaving, but G is not. I get pizza and he doesn't. G is too big to carry. Mom? Why are you picking him up?"

"Is Nic talking too much?" I whisper in G's ear. G nods against my jacket. "Nic, G says you're talking too much, can you give us a second?"

I put G on the ground again and remove his shoe and sock so I can examine his foot. He appreciates this. "I'm okay, mom, can I have some pizza?"

But that...that he is such a little man already, trying not to cry. So NOT his big brother--where did he learn that? Where did that come from?


Both of my little men are growing quickly....

And Nic addressed his invites this am. I hope for a couple affirmative replies. It's only a week out, so we'll see....I can't believe he's going to be 9....

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