A Very Short Story About Eighteen Stickers


In no particular order:

1. Caroline and Patrick and I all caught the virus that made Edward's recovery from surgery much more annoying than it might otherwise have been. Caroline spent some time dabbing at a stuffy nose and hiding a delicate, ladylike cough behind her hand. My throat hurt for a weekend and then I sounded like Phyllis Diller. Patrick had a little congestion and a bit of a cough but it wasn't too bad and I thought he would rally like a Kappa. Three weeks later, however, it became obvious to even the worst observer (me) that far from rallying he has developed a sinus infection. Or perhaps I should say he has developed another sinus infection in the hope that italics will better convey my concern and frustration and DIDN'T HE JUST HAVE HIS FACE EXCAVATED TO AVOID THIS?

I called the ENT and she said she'd see him for his second follow-up (as scheduled) in two weeks and in the meantime we should take him into his pediatrician as soon as possible. So I did and the on-call doctor clucked and pressed on his face and read his chart and clucked some more and said, "Wow he really has been on everything hasn't he?" and I said yep.

She asked him if he had really taken the clindamycin - twice! - and he said he had. She told him that he was the first kid she had ever met who had managed to get that stuff down and Patrick looked gratified.

"I did it for the sweettarts," he said, giving credit where credit was due and she said whatever his motivation she was still impressed. Then she wrote him a prescription for omnicef which tastes about 4500% less like rancid ass and which has been effective for him in the past. He's on day three of that and I think he seems much better but it is really really really hard to tell with Patrick. He has had a bacterial infection more or less constantly for three or four or five years and thus doesn't have a great sense of what normal feels like - like, doesn't everyone feel as if their head is a bowling ball filled with glue and pudding?

My poor baby. I am beginning to feel like one of the those Washington Post articles in which they recount the story of some family who spends years going from doctor to doctor until someone finally diagnoses Hedgehog fever or whatever. Obviously we are seeing physicians and obviously you are just casual bystanders but if you have any ideas on what we might be missing with him - what could be causing his seemingly nonstop bacterial sinus swampitude - I'd love to hear them.

2. Despite the infection Patrick has been in high spirits. He loves the new school and I am trying to ignore the fact that I think he likes it so much because they seem to have recess five times a day, he gets to take art, his first book report was a diorama, they have already had a fossil hunting field trip and this week the entire fourth grade was pulled out of their classes all week to stage a play.

He was cast as a bird. No lines but he got to dance. Dance. Patrick. On stage. HA! I loved it.


Best of all he has two new friends he seems to really enjoy, one of whom he talks about more than I have ever heard him talk about anyone, um, ever. I asked him to describe her to me so I could pick her out during the play and he said, "She has long blonde hair and she thinks I'm really funny."

Ohhh! THAT one.

I figured out which one she was despite the rather, may I say male, description he gave and when I saw her pose for a group photo I knew exactly why she and Patrick like each other. Clearly they have similar senses of humor (click here for her picture.) We're having her over to play soon and I look forward to meeting her.

It's funny. Once upon a time Patrick was the kid at preschool who sat in the song circle with his back to the group. He would still sing and climb his itsy-bitsy spider, he just did it facing the opposite direction from everyone else. Slowly over the years he has gotten a lot more... overtly silly? Or maybe just less self concious? These are from a few weeks ago and he abandoned his usual glower. Caroline never needs any encouragement to get funky. Edward is obviously wondering how long he is supposed to hold the damned smile.




3. Edward. Edward has been driving me bananas. I knew the transition from invalid to preschooler #24601 was going to be difficult but I had no idea it was going to be so. very. difficult. For the past two weeks any mention of school (or swimming. or errands. or my taking a shower - pretty much anything that doesn't involve him sitting on my lap, preferably curled up with a piping hot bowl of TV) has resulted in atomic tantrums. He has screeeeeeeaaamed the entire way to school. He has fought me as I carried him into the classroom. And then he has wept and shouted and all but rent his garments when I left.

I tried to encourage him to use his words and he said, "I don't yike cool. I don't yike my teachers. I don't yike the toys or the payground. There is no fun for me there. I want to stay with you."

Which, ok, good. Got it. I understand. However, um, how to say? I understand that you prefer to eat popsicles and watch Disney Junior while I rub your back (who wouldn't?) but I need you to go to school so that I can balance the checkbook, pick up my library books and organize the shoe cubby for winter. It's not that I don't understand, Edward, it's just that I don't care all that much.

Since it is impossible to explain this to anyone (I love you, my darling, but I shall continue to place my needs above your own) let alone a three year old without having them sharply draw in their breath we have continued to exist at a screamy impasse. I mentioned to my mother that I was beginning to dread interacting with Edward and she tsk'd and thought for a bit and finally suggested a sticker chart.

"Sticker chart?" I thought but I am a dutiful child (unlike Edward) and this morning I used a marker and some of Patrick's card stock and put together Edward's Smile Chart. I thought "smile" was a nice, positive euphemism for "no more tantrums you little horror" and I told Edward that if he managed to make it all the way to school without screaming etc he would get a sticker on his chart and after ten stickers he'll get something special (TBD.) Imagine my surprise when it actually worked. He was a little teary when I walked out the door but all told it was pretty amazing.

Caroline, of course, played her twin card and got in on the Smile Chart action as well although the idea of rewarding Caroline for cheerfully going to preschool is ludicrous.




She started tumbling a few weeks ago and she loves it. She takes her practice very seriously and god knows we want to encourage her but I would like to point out that these pictures were taken as I was trying to park the car. In the garage. Right there. As in: she asked me to stop the car and let her out so I did and she raced in front of me and started stretching in the exact space I was about to put the car. Then she looked indignant when I tried to evict her from her studio space. It was kinda like the beginning of Rent.


Three pictures of me and Edward playing with the self-timer just like an olde photo boothe.





I have started running again and I need new music. Mumford & Sons and the Decemberists are just not cutting it. What do you listen to when you exercise?