Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuesday 5: It's Wednesday and it's about WORDS!

Yes, I am aware that it’s not Tuesday. It’s been sort of a long weekend, as my last post explained. Today Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell were back in school and I took a minute to catch up. I actually did a bunch of things on my New Year’s Resolution list- The Little Explorers and I went over our memory Bible verse on the way to school, I helped Arthur Dent put together his birthday Legos, and I squeezed in a workout, even with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s short naps today. And, I’m going to pretend I’m not 24 hours behind and riff on today’s theme of “words.”

1. Arthur Dent says this thing I really don’t understand. After he’s said “Pleeeeease, Mama!” and begged for a while, then says, “Pretty please!” and finally, when he’s exhausted all his options, he starts saying, “Pretty Butter Please!” I have no idea where it came from, and, honestly, it isn’t inclined to work for him, although it is cute.

2. Have you ever heard of a Mondagreen? If you think you haven’t, you just don’t know what it is. Apparently, it’s the term for a misheard song lyric. It’s from some old Scottish song whose lyrics said, “…and laid him on the green” but many people misheard as “Lady Mondagreen.” Ah, the things we learn from NPR! What is your Mondagreen? Mine is from that song, “Big Old Jet Airliner.” I always thought it said, “We Gonna Leave the Light On!” My little brother thought the song “Under the Boardwalk” was “Under the Aardvark.” Granted, he was probably about six, but I still think it’s my favorite Mondagreen.

3. We have a saying or poem in our house, “You can close the door/when you're four.” It’s basically our measure of when they’re old enough for a little privacy without getting into too much trouble. Arthur Dent turned four recently. He is now constantly shutting the bathroom door behind him with great relish. I’ve also heard him flush about 7 times in one trip. Sigh. 

4. Our neighborhood has several pages- a garage sale page, a neighborhood watch page, a mom’s page, etc. Sometimes topics overlap and get posted on both pages. Today was one such day- there was a post about some people hitting golf balls where they shouldn’t have been and hitting both a playground and someone’s house. A person commented on one of the posts, “They high-tailed it outta here, knowing they were in some trouble for darwinism.” I thought, That’s weird. She must have mistyped or got some weird autocorrect. Then, I saw this statement from the same person on another page, “Dangerous! Nothing short of Darwinism.” I was so befuddled. All I could think of was the quote from the movie “The Princess Bride,” which says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Turns out, another of my friends thought the same thing. So now I randomly replace words in conversation with her with the word “Darwinism.” 


5, One of the real buzzkills about having kids is having to subdue your “colorful language” and basically having to quit cursing. I enjoy a good swear word now and again. To that end, we’ve come up with some alternatives as our kids have grown up. I know our friends have done the same. My favorite? Once we were driving somewhere and The International Man of Intrigue was talking about someone at work and calling him the first word in the term "d—— bag". Amelia Earhart was about 3 and piped up from the back of the van, “Why is he a juice?” From that day forward, we call people who are acting like d—- bags “juice boxes.” For example, “Some juice box cut me off in traffic and then flipped me the bird.” So, do you have any substitute swears?

Monday, January 19, 2015

In Which I Save Someone's Life


Did the headline get your attention? That was my intent- I don’t want to brag (or humble brag), but I want to get your attention and tell you my story.

When the older three Little Explorers were small, I occasionally considered taking an infant lifesaving course. Once, Gertrude Bell was eating a hotdog and started choking. Ironically, it was the bite of soup I’d given her that she was choking on, but she was choking all the same. She also started choking on a piece of hard candy out front of a restaurant, which ended up coming out of her mouth with such force, it shattered on the sidewalk. Scary, but still not enough to spur me to action. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder spent a total of six weeks in the NICU, three of which were after I arrived to adopt her. The head nurse offered me an infant CPR course. I agreed immediately, worried about bringing home such a tiny little baby. The next day, the instructor wheeled a cart with a dummy baby into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s room, and I got a private instruction while my tiny daughter-to-be slept. I said a silent prayer I’d never have to use it, and that I’d remember what to do if I did.

Today, that prayer got put to the test. We were at the mall food court and getting ready to clean up the mess of four kids and four adults. (The International Man of Intrigue’s parents are visiting.) I put some stuff in the trash and came back over and told the International Man of Intrigue not to go back that way, because there was a kid puking. By the time I’d finished telling him that, we turned around, and the kid was clearly no longer puking. He was choking and bleeding from the mouth. The International Man of Intrigue walked over, with me behind. We asked if they needed help. The International Man of Intrigue dialed 911 and I asked if the little boy needed the Heimlich Maneuver (although I’m not sure that’s exactly what it is when done on a kid). The parents were crying and saying yes. I turned to The International Man of Intrigue and asked if he would do it. He said, “No, I can’t. Not on a kid.” I said those words that call up a super hero in every woman, “I’ll do it. Hold my purse.” I squatted down, grabbed the two year old and tipped him over, face down, and started hitting him in the back with the heel of my palm. After a couple of hits, I found out that he was responsive, but still choking. His dad kept saying his name, “Are you okay, Tommy? Tommy?” I also realized that he was still choking. I tilted him again and started the procedure, all the while thinking, “Surely there is someone here who knows what they’re doing. Oh, God, okay. That’s me.” I realized then that the little guy had become unresponsive. I yelled, “Ok, he’s not responsive.” I realized I was so scared to hurt this baby that I was causing him more pain. I needed to tilt further and hit harder. I said, “Ok, Buddy. Ok, Mom, I have to hit him harder.” I titled further and used the heel of my hand, hard, between his shoulder blade. Suddenly, there was so much more blood, and the offending piece of chicken. The mom grabbed the little boy and The International Man of Intrigue picked me up off the floor. I started crying as the little boy’s dad hugged me and thanked me. He was crying, too. The International Man of Intrigue was finally on the phone with 911, after it ringing about 30 times. I looked over and saw my father in law and the Little Explorers pale faced and mouths open. I expected to be surrounded by people, was praying there was an emergency responder or off duty nurse somewhere. I looked around and realized it was just us. The people around us were still eating and carrying on conversation, even the ones staring. I found out my father in law had tried to stop someone for help and the person had walked off. 

In the end, despite the request from the dad for our contact information so he could treat us to dinner or something, I hugged him, hugged his wife, and kissed Tommy on the head. I walked away and started crying. It was part adrenaline, part relief, and part fear of the thought of the consequences of failure.

If I’m not bragging, why am I telling you this story? There are three reasons. The first is simple. The International Man of Intrigue already posted it on Facebook. The second is just to beg you, please, please, if you have children at home, make the time to take that first aid course. I can’t imagine having had to watch this little boy die, let alone one of my own children. Lastly, remember not to be a bystander in an emergency. It’s so easy to defer responsibility. Even if you don’t know how to render aid, you can call 911 or run for assistance. 


That’s my story for today. Just remember that next time I tell you, “Hold my purse.”