Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stretch Marks & Raisin Bran

I sometimes forget that, for Dylan, literally everything is new.  Child psychologists have compared young children to empty vessels who are waiting to be filled with knowledge; sponges, that absorb all that is around them; or, drunk, homeless men who shout at you for no reason.  Okay, that last one's mine, I admit.  But Dylan soaks up quite a bit.  Dylan has been interested in (her words) "all sortsakinda things" lately.  Here are a few examples:

Bones/dead things/the cemetery:
I have to blame my cousin Julie on this one, although it's not really her fault; she just happened to be in the car with Dylan when they drove past a cemetery.  Dylan asked about it and, in the explanation Julie told her that we'll all die someday.  "Julie?" Dylan asked, worried, "I kind of have a cold right now."  "I think you'll be alright," Julie reassured her.  Questions about dead people lead to questions about bones, and if you've ever been around a four-year old on a hot questioning streak, you'll understand that bone questions can last foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr.  "Daddy, what's this bone?" "Uh, tibia? no, fibula.  Maybe."  "And this one?" "Skull."  "This?" "Still skull." "How about this?"  "Uh.  Finger bone.  And that's your eyeball bone.  Go ask your mother."

For a few weeks, every morning Dylan would tell me about her dreams.  You think dream stories are boring?  Try made-up dream stories.  Most of Dylan's involved princesses, snakes, rock slides, deer, horses, and me, killing one or all of the above with a sword.  I'd get a full, detailed report on two or three of these dreams every morning.  They really made no sense -- like real dreams -- and it took me a while to realize they were a cross between the bedtime story we'd read the night before and the latest Dora episode.  So, for example, Ferdinand the bull might get covered by a rock slide and I'd have to come in -- with a sword, and maybe a princess -- to kill a deer that was trying to ... you get the picture.

Raisin Bran:
Every night, just after we read Dylan a story and say "I love you," Dylan wants to share a secret.  I usually forget the secret portion of the ritual, so she has to get out of bed and come find me.  The secret? It's always the same.  "I want Raisin Bram in the morning," she whispers.  Raisin Bram?  Not the most exciting of secrets, or cereals, for that matter, but if she needs a little bran in her diet we'll gladly give it to her.  She used to only eat Raisin Bread, and now I think she might be changing her cereal allegiance to strawberry mini-wheats.  Whatever it is, it's a secret.

Stretch Marks:    (*Names have been changed to protect the mothers)
Dylan came home from pre-school last week and announced, "Guess what, Peggy-Sue* has stretch marks.  Her mommy does, too.  Daddy, I wish I had stretch marks."  How in the hell do I respond to that?  Obviously, my first question was how does a kid in pre-school get stretch marks, and secondly, how does a kid in pre-school know about stretch marks?  Then, the very next morning, over cartoons and secret cereal, right after a Barbie commercial, an ad for stretch mark removing cream came on the television.  "Oh, I wish I had stretch marks," Dylan cried.  Let the child psychologists sponge that up, I say.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Five Steps of Grady Teething

Have you ever been stuck at a railroad crossing as the world's longest train went by?  First come the engines, about seventeen of them, then the box cars, the flat cars, the graffitied cars, the hobo cars, the circus cars, more engines, and, finally, the caboose.  Done?  No.  After ten minutes of nothing except clanging warning bells and flashing lights, along comes the Bugs Bunny manual locomotion thing with the teeter totter handle.  Get the picture?  That's Grady teething.

Like most things Grady does, teething is a slow, multi-stepped process.  So far, it's served him well.  He has beautiful, straight, and nicely spaced teeth.  His molars are the size of Chicklets.  His eye teeth make Twilight fans jealous.  He has a terrific smile.  But, it's come at a price.

Step One:  Giant Poop.  A nurse finally told us that no one really knows why kids get the runs when they teethe, but one theory is that teething causes drooling, and when kids swallow drool, it gives 'em the looseys.  Grady must drink drool by the bucket-load because phase 1 has us doing several loads of stinky laundry every day.  Last fall, when Grady really started teething in earnest, we couldn't figure out the cause of his diaper-bursting bombs.  We asked allergists, nurses, strangers at the supermarket, pediatricians, and veterinarians and no one could figure it out.  We took him off dairy without any results and finally had a stool sample taken to test for Giardia.  The results were, of course, negative.  With hundreds of dollars invested into the poop-investigation, he mysteriously got better.  And a week later he popped out two teeth.

Step Two:  Drool.  Grady drools like a Saint Bernard when he's teething.  The upside is that Grady is also a flirt who likes to give kisses.  Nothing funnier that watching people ask for a kiss, then try to back out when they see the drool coming.  You're a bad person if you turn down kisses from a one-year old, even if they are disgusting drool-smooches.

Step Three:  Rash.  Constant drooling gives our G-man a rash around his lips.  It makes him look like a gas-huffer.  A small, baby huffer.  I'm surprised his chest doesn't break out as well as much as it gets drool soaked.

Step Four:  Fussy, Fussy, Fussy.  Grady turns into a bear, doubled by the fact that we've taken away his pacifier.  His angry yell is that of a drunk Yankees fan after Jeter gets called out on a close strike three.

And, Step Five:  Teeth!  Last fall and winter they came like animals on the ark: in twos.  He was popping out rows of teeth weekly.  We were on pace to have a full set by Valentines' Day.  But, things slowed and now these last few remaining stragglers, late to the party, come in one at a time.  The caboose is in sight as, by our best guess, he only has between one and five left to come (we'd make terrible dentists).  It's been a slow and painful process *puts on sunglasses* kind of like pulling teeth.