Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing Doctor

The 6 year old had a friend over; let's just call him Justin. They wanted to play Spiderman. They needed lots of space to run around, climb walls, sling webs, etc, so they’d claimed the basement as their lair. They were out of my sight for, oh, 4 minutes. I noticed the door to the basement was closed. That voice in my head said, “Go check on them.”
I tried to sneak down the stairs, but those are basement stairs and our house is really old. The guestroom door was closed. I opened it. And there, on the bed, in all his 6 year old glory, lay Justin, sweats and whitey tighties around his ankles, with my sweet cherub pulling his pants. Couldn’t tell if she was pulling up or down, and it didn’t seem to matter at that point.
I believe her exact word, when she saw me, was, “What?”
“Go upstairs now, please,” I intoned, channeling all the Dr. Spock I never read.
“Justin, pull your pants up and go sit on the couch, please.”
Following my child, I pulled her to a quiet spot and requested, “Tell me what was going on downstairs.”
Now, keep in mind, I’m doing my uji breathing and controlling my blood flow. I was so Yoga I scared myself with my calmness and clarity of mind.
“He said his bum hurt and he needed my help.”
“Please wait here while I talk to Justin.”
I journey to the couch.
“Justin, what was going on in the basement?”
“She pulled my pants down.”
“Please wait here while I talk to her.”
I offered the child a chance to change her story. I told her Justin had told me something different. She wanted me to tell her what he’d said. Oh, no, I’ve seen more episodes of Law and Order than that.
“Tell me the truth, child.”
She wouldn’t change her story, so I sent her to her room to consider how much she wanted to disclose.
And then I prepared myself to call Justin’s mother.
This was a first playdate. I’d never actually set eyes on either the mom or dad. (Personally, I wouldn’t let my kids go play at someone’s house without having met the parents, but whatever.) And here I had to call her and say, “Hey, so they’ve been together for about half an hour and my daughter saw your son’s dangly. How do you feel about that?”
It gets worse. The whole truth? In true doctor fashion, they had swapped. Yup. She showed him her yah-yah and he showed her his woo-hoo.
Now, I’m not so upset about that. We’ve talked about private-bathing-suit-area-no-look-no-touch before, but kids are curious, they like to get a hand’s on experience, not to put too fine a point on it, so I get that. But they both knew better, as evidenced by the whole “lie for all you’re worth” method of convict behavior they chose. And the lying! If they’d said, “Oh, we were curious,” we could have had a lovely discussion about how special body parts are, how we’re different and beautiful, all that granola stuff. As it was, by the time I got to the bottom of the story, my head was so drained and I had no Gaiam breath anymore, so I left them with a simple, “Bathing suit areas are off limits. Go apologize to each other.”
Right now, they’re putting glue on paper and chasing each other around the kitchen. Oh, yes, Justin is still here. Turns out his mother is a preschool teacher. Enough said.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Aurora Borealis Comes in View

Hal ran a marathon on Sunday in Phoenix. My personal thought is that bodies weren’t meant to move 26 miles without a motorized vehicle under them and chocolate next to them. But, we all make personal choices and his was to torment his body like that. And of course, I fully supported him by mocking his outfits, his now-smooth upper legs and his nasty recovery drinks that smell like, well, like a man who’s just run for 4 hours. Anyway, being the sweet and dutiful wife that I am, I meekly agreed to travel 16 hours, one way, to a marathon because he wanted me to meet him at the finish line. Full disclosure, we have friends in Mesa and I really, really wanted to see them. But it makes me look like a good wife, eh?
Now that you know he ran, let me back the story up 6 weeks. He goes out for a long run in a remote wilderness area in the snow. In other words, not a body around except mule deer and coyotes, none of whom have cell phones, or at least won’t let you borrow it if they do have one. And 4 miles from his car, his leg freezes up. Not in the “wow-isn’t-it-cold” sense, but in the “oh-my-gosh-it-won’t-move” sense. Stretching doesn’t help. Crying like a baby doesn’t help. So he hobbles back to his car. It takes an hour. When he finally arrives home, he gimp-legs it up to a hot tub, which does nothing to alleviate the pain.
Fast forward 3 weeks. He sees a physical therapist who tells him to order special inserts for his shoes. And to stop running for a while. What? He’s only 3 weeks away from the Rock N Roll Marathon! So he rests—for a couple of days. And then he runs a little, on a treadmill, in a gym where there are lots of people with lots of phones (thanks to my “Now Is Not a Good Time To Die” lecture.) And his leg is stiff but not horrible.
But he stops doing long runs. In other words, at the time of the marathon, Hal had run 20 miles, once, 2 weeks prior to the marathon. And he had an injury. But he had the clothes, and the registration, so we went to Phoenix. By car. 16 hours one way (did I mention that?) With all the kids. But not the dog or the bunny. Lucky, lucky bunny and dog.
Start time: 7:40 AM. End time: 12:35 PM. Normally, Hal runs 8:30 minute miles. Doing the math, you can see that the poor guy felt the old football injury almost right away. Like mile 8. He ran in pain. He stretched in pain. He met Gorp Lady in pain. Gorp Lady had a stand at mile 17. She had Gorp and bananas and Hal thinks that she’s the Good Fairy and Gabriel and Mother Teresa all in one. On the way home, between moans of pain, (car ride + post race = bad idea) Hal extolled the virtues of Gorp Lady, blessing her name and sending her pink thoughts. We now have a shrine to Gorp Lady.
At Gorp Lady’s station, Hal met Swearing Lady. She walked with him a bit, then told him it was time to run. Ah, she thought she was doing him a favor. In reality, she was doing his physical therapist a favor. I can’t repeat their conversation because my lips never repeat swear words.
Okay, so I could tell you that this is a lesson in endurance, in setting and achieving goals in spite of enormous odds. And it is. Hal’s a stalwart soul, very reliable, and he does what he intends to do. All of which makes him very lovable and very unlike me. In my world, I would have felt the first twinge of pain, sat down at the first medical tent, and ordered up Jolly Ranchers, ice and a stretcher. I’m proud of Hal for running/walking/crawling to the finish line. I, personally, would have given up and had a Hershey’s bar to console myself.