Tag Archives: Junior

Acceptance.

Thank you for your good wishes in the comments and otherwise. They’re much appreciated.
Junior was a little cranky through lunch, but today Junior started to own his broken arm. We walked to the diner like any other weekend, and he was almost (but not quite) as independent as he usually is; the difference was that he didn’t run ahead to each corner, trying to race his sister. As he said this afternoon coming home from Starbucks, “I can’t race with a broken arm.” But he wore his hat backwards (which, for those of you not in the know, makes it a running hat) and never once asked to be carried, already a huge change from yesterday.
He had a more active day, and has started to learn to use his left hand for things like building with Legos. He waited all weekend for his buddy I. from up the street to come home; I. and his family finally got home around dinner time, and Junior delighted in telling his harrowing tale.
We told Junior yesterday that he would need to have the cast on for about 45 days; he denied it, then got mad, then tried to bargain us down, but we held firm on that figure — no point in raising false hopes. He’s accepted it now. As we went inside for dinner tonight after he showed his cast to I., one of I.’s older brothers told Junior to get better soon. In response, Junior shouted from the top of the porch stairs, “I’ll get better… for forty-five days!”
A picture* of Junior with Unfocused Girl at the end of this post shows him at his defiant best (that’s a lollipop, not a cigarette, by the way; the sling is a custom job by Mrs. Unfocused — she bought more printed fabric today, and I’ll try to post a shot of him wearing the Batman sling when that’s finished).
Last best thing — Junior read to me tonight: The Eye Book, by Dr. Seuss, sounding it out and only needing help on some of the more complicated, counter-intuitive words (“Our,” “They,” “Sometimes”). It was hard work for him, but he pushed through to the end. We’ve been working on his reading for a while, and since school ended, he’s really started making an effort. What do you think that means?
In other news, Unfocused Girl put on her Batgirl costume right after breakfast this morning and wore it all day despite 80+ degree weather, including to the diner and to Starbucks. My secret plan to corrupt their minds with comic books is working. That’s her “watching from the rooftops” pose.
Unfocused Junior and Unfocused Girl, ready for anything.

Unfocused Junior and Unfocused Girl, ready for anything.

Finally, I note that I have not yet begun a petition drive to make slides illegal in the City of Chicago. Based on the recent track record of the City Council (thanks for the sparkler ban, by the way!), I’d probably have a better than even chance of getting an ordinance passed if I really worked at it. As it is, though, I don’t expect to change anything about the slide in our own backyard, where the Unfortunate Incident occurred. I told Unfocused Girl today that I’d appreciate it if she’d refrain from climbing up the slide for a day or two, until I get my equilibrium back, and I’ll point out to Junior (once his cast is off and he can climb up onto the playset again) that he should go down the slide on his bottom, not on foot, but other than that I don’t know what else there is to do. I could enclose it in a big plastic tube, I suppose, but that would get really unpleasant on summer days.

* This photograph is copyright 2008, all rights reserved. The remainder of the post is subject to the usual Creative Commons license (see the sidebar for details), but I don’t release the rights to pictures of my kids.

July Fourth: In Which Junior Discovers His Limits, and We Discover How Tough He Is.

Junior has been pushing his physical limits lately, testing to see what his body can do. He’s four and a half, and since spring finally hit Chicago he’s been accumulating new bruises far faster than the old ones can heal. When he gets undressed, he appears from his thighs to his ankles to be more bruise than boy. Unfocused Girl went through this a couple of times, and Junior went through a similar phase the summer after he turned two, but since he’s bigger and older now he can do more interesting things and do even more damage.

Example: a week or two ago, while Unfocused Girl was at a class at the Y, the Mrs. took Junior to the playground. When she told him it was time to go pick up UG, he begged to be pushed on the swings before they left. The Mrs. relented, and agreed to push him four times on the swing. He climbed onto the swing — the big kid swing, not the baby swing — and with each push, they counted together: “One!” “Two!” “Three!”

On “Four!” he waited until he got to the highest point of the arc and let go, spreading his arms wide. If you had seen him at that moment, Mrs. Unfocused said, you’d think the kid could fly. Until he belly-flopped onto the rubber tile.

He was lucky, and got up laughing.

We hosted an Independence Day barbecue yesterday, not huge, just family. At one point, Junior was lying on his belly on one of the swings on our backyard playset, when he tipped over and landed on his face. He didn’t have anything worse than a scraped nose, but it shook him up and he cried for a while before we could get him calmed down.

He cried less than that an hour later when he broke his arm.

He was on the playset, at the top of the slide. He was Spider-Man, and he said that I should be the Joker, and come up the slide, so I did. He pushed me down, and I slid down the slide. As I reached the bottom, he started down the slide after me — on foot, not on his bottom.

If that sounds unstable, well, duh. Still, even though I was standing a few feet away and saw it happen, I don’t have any idea how or why he went over the side, but he did. He landed on his front, then rolled over and started yelling; it took me less than a second to start yelling too, because his right arm was bent at a 60-degree angle about two inches up from his wrist. We put a dishtowel over his arm because the sight of his arm bent that way really bothered him, and it bothered me, too.

I’ll spare you the details from the rest of the evening, except to say that (1) he stopped crying before we got to the car, and did not cry again for the rest of the night except when the nurse stuck the IV into his left hand to give him morphine, a drug I associate with addicts in Agatha Christie novels, not pediatric medicine, and (2) Children’s Memorial Hospital is, as you might imagine, the place to go with a child injured for any reason, but certainly it’s the place to bring a child with a broken bone on a major national holiday. We checked in at 6:50pm, and walked out at 10:30, with Junior — awake and yammering away, just like normal — wearing a plaster cast from his elbow to his thumb.

Today was a little rough. Junior watched a lot of TV, and had good moments and bad. One of the bad moments came around four o’clock, when he told us that his arm was straight and didn’t hurt anymore, so it was time to take the cast off, and we had to explain what “4 to 6 weeks” means. He cried then, and asked about our trip to the beach later in the summer; we told him we didn’t know, but we thought there was a cover we could put over his cast to let him go to the beach.

There were good parts, though. After some coaxing, he agreed to walk around the corner to Starbucks at around 5:30, but only if I carried him down the stairs from our front porch (a compromise from his original negotiating position that I should carry him all the way to Starbucks and back), and he really enjoyed the distraction. We spent an hour or so outside after that, chatting with neighbors and using up the noisemakers and poppers we didn’t get to use last night.

Now he’s finally asleep, and I’m falling asleep at the computer. The Mrs. says I was more restless last night than I’ve ever been. I’ll post some more about it, and an update, tomorrow.

M Is for Her Many Falls on Her Head.

Back in January, the whole Unfocused Family signed up for a family Tae Kwon Do class at the local YMCA on Saturday mornings. After a few weeks, it was clear Junior wasn’t ready for it (he had just turned four), and he and Mrs. Unfocused dropped the class.

Last weekend, after Unfocused Girl and I were working on her white belt form in the backyard, to prepare for her yellow belt test later this spring. Junior said he wanted to take the test, too, and after I explained that the test was part of the class, he said he was ready to try it again. The Mrs. and I were reasonably certain that he would forget all about it, but if he decided he wanted to try again, we’d be happy to start him back up in class.

On Friday night, Mrs. Unfocused and I went out for the first time in weeks months quite a while, to see Don Giovanni with some friends. It is possible that the Mrs. had a couple of drinks at dinner. It is also possible that she woke up with a bit of a hangover.

This made it extra special Saturday morning when Junior announced that he wanted to go back to Tae Kwon Do. I offered to take both kids and let the Mrs. stay home, but she insisted on coming along so I wouldn’t be outnumbered. Unfortunately, because we hadn’t planned on her or Junior going along, she didn’t have time for breakfast or even coffee.

It was the perfect class for them to start back up with, because instead of practicing kicks or punches, self-defense moves, or even forms, yesterday’s class was all about falling. Falling forward. Falling backward. Best of all, we worked on falling sideways, which involves throwing out your arm as you hit the ground and bouncing your head off of it.

But it worked: Junior paid attention, and participated in most of the class; he wants to go back next Saturday, which is great (especially considering his swimming lesson later in the morning consisted largely of holding onto the side of the pool and screaming “Mommy! Mommy! I want Mommy!” over and over again, but that’s another story).

So here’s to Mrs. Unfocused, and all the other mothers out there who hurl themselves head first into all sorts of things for the sake of their kids. Happy Mother’s Day!

P.S.: Just to avoid Mrs. Unfocused having to comment about this herself, I will disclose that the rumors are true: she did buy her own Mother’s Day present this year. But five years ago, I did buy her a red Kitchenaid stand mixer for Mother’s Day, and she’s still using it, so I figure I’m covered.