The reply from my Facebook friends was swift: “Savvy can NOT wear a swimsuit to gymnastics class.”

Well, I should say that the responses from my female friends was swift; I’m not sure my guy friends even had an opinion, and one or two may have sided with me. But fair enough. I know when I’m outnumbered. But if BuyMart didn’t have them, I was screwed. It could turn into a whole long ordeal of shopping, driving from store to store… BuyMart had to come through for me. But there were problems with going to BuyMart.

 Not like the problems we’d had going to Publix; those scars have yet to fully heal, but BuyMart is a different animal. Going to BuyMart used to be easy. And fast.

 There was a time when I was able to run right in, get my stuff, and leave, no muss, no fuss. I was probably single back then, when I could do that.

 As a married guy, it became only slightly more involved. I would usually text or call the wife and say, “Hey, I’m going at BuyMart; do you need anything?” Usually she would reply with a simple “No; thanks for asking,” but that call might also result in a few items being added to my shopping list, or maybe a bunch of stuff.

 If it was a bunch of stuff she wanted and I was in a rush, I just lied and said they didn’t have it. Don’t judge me.  But since becoming a parent, or more accurately, since becoming Savvy’s Dad – my new identity; I’m no longer Dan, I’m just Savvy’s Dad. I’m Savvy’s Dad, her chauffer, her chef… her butt wiper… some identity.

 Well… she has two chauffers and butt wipers…

But as Savvy’s Dad, it is a longer trip around BuyMart, and it doesn’t often go as planned. Stupidly, I keep planning on running in and just getting my stuff and running out. I haven’t been able to do that since, oh, three and a half years? You’d think I’d wise up.

 It’s like my joke about being punctual. I like to say that I was usually on time when I was single; when I got married, I ran about 15 minutes late all the time. Add a kid into the equation and all bets are off. I may not show up at all, and I won’t have a good explanation. When you see me a few days later, don’t ask me what happened; I won’t have any idea. I had a plan, I started to execute the plan… then something happened with the baby. Next thing you know, it was four hours later. With kids, stuff just happens.

 When Savvy was little, the interruptions – train derailments, really – were things like unscheduled bottle breaks or diaper changes. We’d be on our way out the door, about 15 minutes late, and Savvy would start crying for a bottle. Well, ya gotta feed her. So that takes a few minutes. We didn’t usually do it in the car because those car seats are crazy difficult to remove when a kid throws up on them. I’d rather be another 15 minutes late than spend the rest of the day hosing down the inside of the car. Then, we’d get her fed and be almost out the door, and she would need a diaper change. Can’t have her sitting in that uncomfortable mess for our drive, so we’d change her. Sometimes a diaper change necessitates a clothing change – maybe for the baby, maybe for you – so there’s that. Things can get messy for all involved, with some of those diaper changes. And about that time you really start to weigh whether you want to go to this party or whatever anyway. A nap is starting to sound pretty good… But you regroup, pile into the car, and start driving – and the kid zonks out. When you finally arrive, everybody wants to see the baby and, well, the baby is asleep for the next 2 hours.  Around that time you realize, you spent a lot of time getting ready, but nobody would have even noticed if you didn’t shower. You could have showed up without your pants, nobody would care. You are just the baby’s driver.

 And that’s okay. There’s a lot of freedom in realizing that.

 Pants are overrated.

 

There’s No Such Thing As A Quick Trip To BuyMart

“Savvy needs a leotard for her gymnastics class.”

I wonder if every conversation between a husband and a wife starts with a statement by her, followed by a question from him.

“What?”

“A leotard,” my wife explained. “Savvy needs one for her gymnastics class tomorrow. Can you pick one up for her?”

I wonder if every family task starts with the wife procrastinating until the last minute, followed by a frenzied panic for the husband to complete the task before the looming deadline. And taking the blame if the task fails.

I had absolutely no idea, zero, as to where to buy a leotard, and I said so. I figured Savvy would go to gymnastics class in a t-shirt and shorts. It was good enough for our backyard.

“I’ve been looking at some online,” Michele went on, “but they are pretty expensive. I thought maybe we’d get her a cheap one for a while, to see if she’s going to stick with this gymnastics thing, before dropping $40 on a leotard she’s going to outgrow in three months.”

“What am I supposed to get, and where am I going to find it?” I asked, secretly hoping the emphasis on my lack of leotard knowledge would get me out of this errand. I didn’t want to go shopping, and I definitely didn’t want to go leotard shopping. That sounded like it would involve lots of trying on things in dressing rooms, standing around in the women’s department… These are just not fun things for a guy.

But the deadline was looming and my wife was unexpectedly called into an all-day meeting across town, so she couldn’t do it. It was up to me.

Now, I have no expertise in leotards. I have seen some on the Olympic gymnasts on TV, but that’s about it. And having seen them on TV, I thought that leotards look a lot like… bathing suits! Which we have!

“Can she just wear one of her swimsuits?” I offered, preparing my list of good reasons: we already have swimsuits, they look a lot like leotards, just less sparkly; the other little girls in the class won’t notice… That question was barely out of my mouth when it was immediately shot down.

“She can not wear a swimsuit,” came my wife’s immediate reply, like I was from another planet. “I was thinking BuyMart probably has some sort of Danskins, and that we could probably skate by with that for a few weeks until we see if she’s going to stick with it…”

She went on, but I had tuned out.

I would be taking my daughter shopping.

TO BE CONTINUED…

.

For more amazing cuteness from my 4 year old daughter and the rest of her hilarious family, check out my Savvy Stories book series here. (Book two is on sale today) http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Hugs – an excerpt from “Fourthcoming,” the 4th Savvy Stories book

 These days, whenever my daughter Savvy scampers off to the bathroom, my wife and I pay attention. At age three-going-on-four, she can pretty much handle a trip to the potty without assistance from us, but it’s still a good idea to keep your ears alert. She still needs help wiping her rear end after a poop, and she’s been known to …use the restroom without washing her hands… (Sometimes a kid just has to get back to playing).
“Did you wash your hands?”
“Yes!”
“Can I see them?”
She holds up her hands, which are completely dry.
“Hmm… Let’s go check the bathroom.”
“Okay.” I note the drop in her enthusiasm.
A quick inspection shows that the sink and countertop are both completely dry. So is the towel.
“Honey, it’s just not possible for you to wash your hands in here and have the sink not at least get a little wet.”
Long pause from my daughter as she contemplates a crafty reply that accounts for the lack of water anywhere on the sink or counter top.
“Wash your hands, sweetie.”
“Okay, Daddy,” she says, surrendering.
After a few rounds of those types of inspections, she took to running up to me after she’s used the bathroom and gleefully shouting “Look Dad, I washed my hands!” being sure to let me feel her outstretched, wet fingers.
On rare occasions, she would get tangled up her clothing, rushing to get out of it in order to use the toilet. That doesn’t happen as much in summertime, when her attire is a steady parade of t-shirts and shorts – no shoes, ever. You can make her put them on, but they are off again as soon as you look away. On any given day you can find half a dozen tiny pink sneakers under our living room sofa. In winter, even in Florida, it gets cold; and that’s when more clothing tangles occur. Leggings, jeans, long socks, or 1-piece footie pajamas; those all tend to come off fast enough to use the bathroom, but once they’re off, if they get tangled in the pre-potty rush, they don’t go back on as quickly. It’s kind of like her Barbies: the clothes come off but just can’t seem to get back on. But while she will leave naked Barbies all over the house, she gets frustrated when she can’t get her own clothes back on. I’ve heard her crying because she simply cannot untangle a pants leg. That always struck me as strange, too; she can spend 20 minutes trying to get the new Angry Birds cartoon downloaded onto her iPad, but if her Levi’s don’t miraculously turn right-side-out in 10 seconds, she loses it.
Those kinds of those problems are annoying (Crying over a pants leg? Really? Okay, here’s how you do it… again…), but they are usually not as bad as what can happen when she’s done using the bathroom and is still having a good time in there. You can get quite a surprise. I’ve walked by and seen water everywhere, while the kid is apparently still getting ready to wash her hands. Water on the floor, the walls, the mirror, and all over the sink, while she stands happily on her little stepstool smiling back at me in the mirror. That’s something else she can do for 20 minutes, now that she’s figured out how to use both faucets to make the water warm. Her hands may or may not actually get washed in the process, but the rest of the bathroom sure does.
She hasn’t figured out that she can flush things like toys down the toilet yet, thank God. I have a secret bank account just for that future plumber’s bill.
These days, the bathroom has turned into an occasional source of surprises, so it is a wise parent who pays some attention when their child jumps up and runs off to use the bathroom, as is Savvy’s method. Once in a while, she’ll make an announcement to us: “I need to go potty!” like she is waiting for permission. She has carte blanche for that; potty requirements trump all else. But usually she just quickly disappears, and we will notice her running down the hall.
That was the case yesterday. She scampered off to use the bathroom, while Michele was on the phone and I was on my computer. When I stood up to stretch and get some more tea, I noticed my daughter’s socks from the day before, discarded on the living room floor. I picked them up and walked over to the laundry room, passing the bathroom on the way.
Savvy was sitting on the toilet, and called out for Mommy.
For most tasks at this age, parents are interchangeable. I put my head in the door.
“What’s up, honey?” I asked.
She looked at me. “I want Mommy.”
“Mommy is on the phone,” I replied. “But I’m here; what do you need?”
“I want Mommy.”
I can’t think of anything that specifically requires Mommy during a routine trip to the bathroom. It certainly isn’t modesty; I still give the kid baths. So it was a little strange for Savvy to be so insistent that she needed Mommy. I persisted one last time, hearing Michele wrapping up her call.
“Why do you need Mommy in here? What for?”
There was a long pause from Savvy.
“Because I want to give her a hug.”
Then there was a long pause from me. I hadn’t anticipated a toilet hug request.
Surprise!
“Oh,” I said. “Okay.”
My wife was coming down the stairs. She had heard herself being summoned and had wrapped up her call. I let her take over.
I don’t know if she got a hug or not, and I was happy to let Michele assume whatever other bathroom duties needed to be attended to. I’m not sure if it was a warning shot across my bow; I don’t think so. But it woke me up, a little, to the fact that one day there will be Mommy moments that Daddy can’t help with, or isn’t wanted for. I’m okay with that. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
But that’s always the case for us Dads, isn’t it?
..
..

For more amazing cuteness from my 4 year old daughter and the rest of her hilarious family, check out my Savvy Stories book series here. (Book two is on sale today) http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Have A Box Of Tissues Ready When You Read This

Last year around New Year’s Eve time, my daughter got sick and ended up in the hospital. I posted about how that happened on Sunday and Monday; here’s the finale.
The next morning, Michele stays with Savvy and I head home to get some fresh clothes for everybody and a nap. I grab a bunch of toys and stuff for the kid, too, and a few snacks (they don’t care what she will be eating). The oxygen level…ls getting better and we move to a non-intensive care until room (no gloves or gowns or masks – hooray!).
The tests come back positive for rhinovirus, which is basically a big head cold. Nothing fatal or life threatening, usually, but with kids it can cause so much congestion that it begins to block their little airways, and this is the result.
All day Sunday, the kid is playing like wild. Very energetic and VERY happy. She still has the EKG sensors on, but somewhere overnight Saturday she rebelled against the oxygen nose hose, and since her levels were pretty good, they decided to let her leave it off. Every few hours they check her O2 and she’s fine, and so a release is scheduled after one more treatment, and then we can leave.
We depart with a prescription for twice a day medicine, designed to keep her airways open. She gets one before bed and one in the morning, basically to help her until the virus runs its course. Other than that, and a slight nagging cough that they told us isn’t contagious, she’s fine.
We spend that evening, New Year’s Eve, at home resting. I woke up from some fireworks and saw the ball drop in Times Square, then I rolled over and went back to sleep. The activities of the prior few days were very regimented in my head, as far as what happened and when, but as far as actual time, I had no idea what day it was. As I have said before: sleep first, details later.
Rhinovirus, not RSV or anything worse. Not the flu, not some supervirus. It just overloaded her system and she was so congested that she started having trouble breathing – as in, very labored, whimpering with every breath – and as much as I didn’t want to go to the Emergency Room on a Friday night, it may have been for the best that the After Hours place was closed because the ER folks were VERY concerned about a 2 year old that can’t breathe and they went to work on her FAST. A little Hand Of God action there? Who knows how things would have gone if the After Hours place HAD seen us just minutes before closing time. Maybe it would have been a diagnosis that sent us home and we’d have had a worse ordeal to handle then. I’m happy to think of it that way, that maybe God was steering things a little for me at that moment.
I remember my wife asking me in the ER if maybe we were overreacting. “What if this is just a mistake?” she asked. I said, “I look forward to being embarrassed over this. I hope it IS a mistake. That would absolutely be the best outcome to me, instead of our little daughter needing to be here.” No need to second guess now, but in the heat of battle, you think these things. And worse. You wonder what if she’d have slept a little better on the couch and we put her to bed and she didn’t have the energy to cause all the commotion… well, those things are better off not being thought of.
In the end, I think it was kind of a fluke and I doubt we’ll have any of those issues again.
I took a picture of my daughter while she was in the hospital. She was well on the way to recovery and was feeling much, much better, and she had been playing with some of the toys I brought her.
She looked beautiful.
I’m sure it was more the feeling of seeing her feeling healthy again as opposed to actually looking the best she’d ever looked, but I can’t be positive.
When we were in the original emergency room, the nurses gave my daughter some stickers to play with, to distract her from all the needles and sensors. She picked a few Disney characters: Donald Duck, Goofy, and the third sticker was Mickey Mouse and Minnie. Somehow, during all the melee, she stuck them on the front of my t-shirt, and so the whole time we were doing everything in the hospital, I had these Mickey Mouse stickers on my chest. She got more stickers later, mermaids and princesses, so I never noticed that she’d lost the Goofy and Donald.
Turns out, she didn’t. When I went home the next day to grab a nap, there they were on my shirt.
Her gift to me.
The nurses gave them to her to calm her down; she gave them to me.
Don’t worry dad.
I carefully stuck them on my nightstand and took my nap. On the nightstand are two framed pictures, one of my wife and my daughter the day she was born, and the other is about 6 months later, a picture I took of my daughter playing on the floor of our master bedroom, smiling from ear to ear as only a 6 month old can.
In a few days I’m going to put that picture of her in the hospital bed into a frame, and stick those three stickers on it. I don’t know where I’ll put it; it’s probably not a proper way to remember things, and it may be a long moment in time that I’d rather forget, but I really like the way she looks in the picture, even if it does show her IV arm bandages and hospital pajamas.
The stickers will go on it to remind me of those rare, special moments between just me and her.
When everybody was worried about taking care of her, she was worried about taking care of me.
How do you not frame that?
– from “Savvy Stories 2: The TERRIBLE Two’s” available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/TERRIBLE-Twos-Learned-Toddler-Daughter-ebook/dp/B00F245L0I/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Around last New Year’s eve, my daughter caught a cold that turned into something much worse: difficulty breathing. Yesterday I explained how the cold evolved, and we ultimately headed out to the after hours pediatric care place – right before closing time.
Sure enough, we pull up at 11:01 despite my best efforts to race there, and I unstrap the kid and bolt to the door and – it is locked.
The pl…ace is full of staff members and they see my dilemma but they are not budging. I am standing there in shorts and a t-shirt on a cold night with a 2 year old wrapped in a pink Pooh bear blanket. My cell phone rings. My wife says the staff at the After Hours pediatric told her to take the kid to the emergency room.
An emergency room on a Friday night at 11pm. Imagine every drunk and fistfight and college kid (we are by USF) who got a bloody nose is packing the ER and we watch my daughter suffocate while we wait in line. Horrors. But, we are out of options and it’s 5 minutes away, so off we go.
As luck would have it, they are working on the parking lot of the hospital, so there are 50 cardboard “Detour” signs all over the place. We navigate that and get a spot right up front, which surprises me until I realize that school is out for the holidays.
The place is almost empty. Lucky us.
I head over to admitting and one of the nurses immediately comes over before I can even get there. While they have seen it all and know when not to get excited, she is expressing some concern. They are doing three things at once – admitting, examining, asking what happened – and we are seeing a doctor in minutes.
“I don’t like her color.” Somebody says. “Is she always gray like this?” Heck, we’d been keeping the lights off to let her rest. It’s the first time I’m looking at her color, and under the fluorescent hospital lights, she looks like hell. So do I.
Commands fly: get a blow by oxygen going and start an IV for fluids, plus draw blood for tests.
We’re trying to diplomatically explain to – well, to everybody in hospital scrubs – that my kid has condition called Long QT which means certain drugs like epinephrine can cause a negative reaction, so we’re supposed to be careful…
You get that stare. She was nice about it, but the doctor basically said we can watch your kid suffocate to death RIGHT NOW, or we can give her drugs that MIGHT cause a heart attack LATER.
Okay, I’m in. Drug her up.
Calls go out to my daughter’s EP, the guy who would advise on which drugs she can or can’t have; even though she’s asymptomatic, we want to be cautious, but he signs off and says give her the meds. It’s an albuterol aerosol, administered with oxygen through a mask. Simple but effective.
If you can convince a 2 year old to let you put a mask over her face.
By now she’s got an IV in her arm(that was fun; the guy practically had to lay on her to hold her down after I bragged about how good she was with needles), she has EKG sensor stickers all over her chest (they don’t stick because of the Vapo Rub. Oops.), an oxygen monitor wrapped around her big toe, and they’re trying to strap a mask onto her face. She’s had enough and is flailing.
Personally, I was impressed with her tenacity. Kid’s a fighter. But her mom and I eventually convince her that she has to wear this mask to help her breath, and so she hold the mask in place herself, which helps. The oxygen readings get close to around 95%, but when the albuterol treatment stops, she starts labored breathing again and it drops to 85% or lower. A second albuterol treatment is done, and eventually a third. Over the course of a few hours, I think, she stabilizes enough for a transport to St Joseph’s hospital, about 15 minutes away, where her specialist works and where they have better facilities for pediatric respiratory illness. Right now, everybody is thinking she has a virus, but they also agree that it’s the heavy congestion blocking her airway. X rays are done to look for pneumonia.
A transport will be an ambulance, non emergency. Since she can breathe, Savvy is excited about riding in the ambulance but disappointed that there won’t be sirens. I’m pretty elated that there won’t. We flip a coin to see who’s riding along with her; I win. The EMTs have given Savvy an iPad with several kids movies, so she’s oblivious as to whether one or both of us even come along. They strap her into a gurney with a baby seat attachment and haul her away. She’s loving it.
The ride goes smoothly and I start to realize that I’m tired. It’s about 1AM, maybe later. The driver and I chat on the way to St Joe’s, and when we get there we are whisked into a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU.
Everybody there is wearing masks and gowns and rubber gloves to meet us, and we have to dress up, too, every time we come into my daughter’s room and take it all off every time we come out. They are afraid of some new super virus and these are precautions, but it means if you need to use the bathroom, you take all the gear off, throw it away, and re-dress back up to re enter the room. For however long she’s there.
And while the paper gown looks silly and the latex gloves can make your hands sweat, the mask over your nose and face have several perks. First, they make your kid even less likely to relax since everybody looks like we’re heading into a contamination zone, and second, you get to deal with whatever breath freshness you arranged; as in, French onion soup and garlicky escargots.
Don’t worry; I bought mints at the vending machine.
Okay, then what? We get some diagnoses: no pneumonia, lungs are clear, it’s massive congestion that is/was cutting off her air supply. The doctor says that an adult can get this and shrug it off, just get some extra sleep and it runs its course, but since kids are smaller, they have smaller airways, and this can be the result. The albuterol is doing its thing, and together with the oxygen mask she is getting enough O2. Problem is, when they take it off, her O2 level drops like a rock to mid 80 percent or lower. Daddy ain’t happy about that.
The doctor agrees and says that we really just need to help her while the virus runs its course. She stays in PICU over night and we reassess tomorrow.
So, mom crawls into bed next to Savvy, and dad takes the chair. Somewhere in there, the grandparents came by (Michele’s mom and dad).
Come back tomorrow to see how the story ends!
– from Savvy Stories 2: The TERRIBLE Two’s, available on Amazon and also at Smashwords at  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/355616

I have no doubt that I will enjoy THIS New Year’s Eve a lot more than last year’s.

I have no doubt that I will enjoy THIS New Year’s Eve a lot more than last year’s. Here’s a selection from “Savvy Stories 2: The TERRIBLE Two’s”
December 29, 2012, I wrote on Facebook: I was upstairs folding laundry because the two of them… were downstairs having a coughing contest. (I think whichever ones gets me sick wins a prize.) Makes for a loooooooong weekend.
A few days later, I wrote: Remember that cough I mentioned? That evolved into a trip to the ER, and now pediatric ICU. Kid was having difficulty breathing , may be due to a virus. Fun times. Plus I get to wear a cool gown and mask. Probably gonna be ok in a day or two but maybe no posts for a while.
What happened? Well…
My wife was sick with a head cold and my daughter got one, too, but not from my wife we don’t think. Savvy was fine at swim practice and played with some other kids that day at her grandma’s. None of them were sick or ended up getting sick. But some of the kids’ parents at the pool were discussing this lingering head cold that was going around and one of their kids either currently had it or recently had it. Nobody seemed sick at the time.
Friday afternoon rolls around and the kid has a runny nose and is coughing, but she’s also being fussy, which isn’t really like her. However, if you have a head cold, you might be fussy, so we didn’t pay much attention to it. Also, she hadn’t had a bowel movement in about 24 hours, which is also not like her.
I have never concerned myself so much with another person’s poop.  But after a whole day and a half of not pooping, that could make her fussy, too. Gas pains have been known to make her cry, and it will be a long night. Michele and Savvy had gone shopping in the afternoon, and when they returned, Savvy was whiny and asking for her daddy. Nice, but unusual.
Since both my girls aren’t feeling good, I decide to make a special dinner for them. Well, for my wife. The kid is on Spaghettios, a known laxative, until things loosen up. When you don’t feel good, soup is the thing to have. So I make homemade French onion soup, homemade bread, and homemade escargots, which we really like. This is received well. My daughter eats her Spaghettios pretty late, about 8:30 (late for her, anyway) and there’s not much of an issue. She gets some Tylenol for a persistent, on and off low grade fever, and for her general discomfort and sore throat from the coughing, and she falls asleep on the couch next to us as we watch some TV in the warm glow of the Christmas tree lights.
She naps for about an hour, but wakes up really irritated and fussy. She’s coughing more now, and the low fever is back, so we give her some TLC. Michele holds her on her lap.
No good. She relaxes fox a few minutes but them wants down and starts crawling across the couch to me, and she’s really fussing now. Although she’s soon to be 3 and is pretty articulate, she isn’t being so now. I ask her what’s wrong and she won’t tell me. So I ask her where it hurts and she points to her whole chest and neck area. Okay, she’s got a cold and has been coughing; that will make you sore in your chest, back, throat… We’ve been trying our best to get her to drink lots of fluids but if you have a sore throat you don’t wanna drink much. Also, if you’re constipated, fluids are helpful. But she’s resisting. But there was something in her eyes when she crawled over to me that said “help.”
All this time we’ve been keeping the lights low so she could sleep, but now we turn on some bright lights to have a look at her throat and see what’s what. I don’t remember her facial color being off, but her throat was NOT red as far as I could tell. I went upstairs to get a stethoscope and listened to her lungs, and they sounded clear to me. So I’m thinking she’s okay and it’s just a cough. She needs rest and fluids, plus whatever we want to do for the irritations: sore throat spray (cherry flavored), Tylenol, tea…
But her breathing is now somewhat labored. Now, remember, we’re thinking she has a runny nose and a cough, not emphysema; not being able to breathe isn’t occurring to us. At least not to me. Anyway, this goes on for a while and I know there’s an After Hours pediatric center nearby, so I start looking up their number. I call, and they close at 11pm. It’s about 10:45 and they are about 15 minutes away.
“If you get here at 10:59, no problem, they will see you; they will take as long as is needed to treat you,” the receptionist on the phone tells me. “But at 11 o’clock, they lock the doors.”
You know, you can excite your kid if you act excited. You get ramped up, they get ramped up. So if you are dealing with them and their condition, and you act like it’s a crisis, you can freak them out. So I quickly but calmly tell Michele to load the kid into the car and I’m getting my shoes and heading to the after hours pediatric place. I know it’s over by Chick Fil A but can she text me the address so I can put it into my GPS (it’s in a park full of medical offices and I’ll waste time driving around looking for it). She also throws a blanket on the kid and says she’s going to follow in her car momentarily.
It’s cool out, which might feel refreshing but might not help the kid’s breathing. Even though I’m playing it cool my daughter knows something is up. I guess we don’t dash off in the middle of the night at high speeds very often. Clever girl.
I get the text and at a stop light I put it into the GPS.
Arrival time 11:01. No kidding. I tell my wife to call them and tell them that I’m already in the parking lot looking for their location and will they hold the door open for me because the kid is having trouble breathing.
Meanwhile, the kid has picked up on the fact that something is wrong and is now talking to me and asking questions in a calm but measured tone, with a nice gasp for air in between each word: Dad. Gasp. Where. Gasp. Are. Gasp. We. Gasp. Going?
That’ll get you to ignore a few speed limits.
Tune in tomorrow and Tuesday for the rest of the story! “Savvy Stories 2: The TERRIBLE Two’s” is available at Amazon and also at Smashwords at  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/355616

Holiday Memories: Grandma’s Christmas Presents

Our grandmas knew some stuff we didn’t, and they did things in a different way.

When I was a kid, my grandma always bought me underwear as a Christmas present – which, considering we would have all our cousins, uncles, aunts, and brothers and sisters over at our house on Christmas morning to open presents, meant I got to have about 50 people in the room as I tried to smile about grandma buying me tightie whities.

The mere thought still gives me quivers.

She was a practical woman who lived through the Great Depression and I guess she figured an active boy needed good underwear. A few years later she switched to giving each of her grandkids $100.

That was much nicer.

My cousins and I would joke that it was always good to see “Ben” – Benjamin Franklin, who graces the $100 bill. Clean, crisp, and tucked safely into a currency card envelope, it was definitely a nicer present.

But there was always a semi-nervous time waiting for the present to come; you never knew what the old lady would actually do on Christmas morning.

One year it was rubber coin purses that she got for free during a Las Vegas trip. I think we still got a hundred bucks or underwear WITH the coin purse, but it just goes to show – it was a different time with her around.

A Night Without Hope (a current Savvy Story from a few nights ago)

 

 Savvy has spent several nights this week going to bed and NOT clamoring for her stuffed baby dolphin toy “Hope.” It’s another possible milestone at age 3 1/2, and it’s good that she is growing up and doesn’t need them, but it’s disturbing how much she needs something one day and then the next day she just abandons it and never looks back.

 Trust me, I’m grateful as I think about my wife and I not having to look around for that stupid thing in the dark when our daughter wakes up in the middle of the night, or both of us trying desperately to locate it so she will calm down and just go to bed at a reasonable time. But to just suddenly one day not need it, not mention it, and just move on… I am equally impressed and unnerved by that.

 Nothing moves in a straight line with small children, so we will probably be looking for Hope tonight so Savvy will go to bed, but in a month or two we’ll be talking about how it’s been so long since she needed Hope to go to sleep.

 A few months ago, she would make us tear the house apart to find it before she would go to bed.

 Last night, she couldn’t have cared less where Hope was, and it is possible that she won’t ever ask about Hope at bedtime again.

 There’s just something not right about that.

 It’s not the underlying fear that she will disregard her parents one day, the same way that she disregarded the Shamu breakfast bowl or the Monkey Pillow Pet – aptly named “Monkey” by her – that she HAD to seep on every night for over a year. We ended up with three Shamu bowls in case one was dirty, we got 2 large Monkey Pillow Pets and a small one, so she could have one upstairs for bedtime and naps, one downstairs for other naps, and one in the car. They were a fave for well over a year.

 I have a picture of her in the shopping cart at WalMart hugging the Monkey Pillow Pet, the first time they ever met. It was love at first sight. Best 20 bucks we ever spent. (Well, it $20 for the first one…)

We accumulated three Hope’s, too, because she took it everywhere in the house but would leave it everywhere in the house, too – making for a bedtime disaster. When I’m sleepy and ready to crash, that is no time to start a hunt for a stuffed dolphin that is just as likely to be under a couch as it is to be in a toy box or in the pantry. We got a backup so we could get her to go to bed with the substitute, and the 3rd one was in case one wore out (which one was doing).

 Yes, it sounds extreme; I need my sleep!

 She even got to the point where she could tell we’d given her a backup. She named #2 “Blackie” because his plastic eyes weren’t worn out like Hope’s. Constantly being carried around the house will do that to a toy. The wear begins to show, and stuffed animals aren’t really made for too many washings. #3 never go a name. He mostly stayed in her pajama drawer for emergencies, like when we’d lost the first two – which we did.

 Before, Blackie could stand in for Hope; then, when she figured things out, Blackie could occasionally fill in at bedtime while we promised to go find Hope. Savvy might actually wait up, awake in the blue glow of the night light in her room, waiting for the final report – but usually Hope was just someplace where turning on the living room lights would find her, and all was well. On a rare occasion, Savvy would agree that we would find hope in the morning, and she would go ahead and fall asleep hugging Blackie.

 Then, as I say, one day no dolphins were necessary. It happened twice in a week. Maybe more than that. I almost don’t want to count them and jinx myself.

 We had a garage sale last weekend. We went through a pile of Savvy’s stuffed animals and she opted to give many of them away. It didn’t bother me; I knew which ones were her favorites and she kept all of those. The others were, mainly, ones that I had bought for her first Christmas: a variety of jungle animals, of high quality. But even then I knew that a kid can’t have 10 favorites. She liked them, and she learned each of their names – that is, what kind of animal it was – but she never played with the gator or the rhino, or some of the others. It was a swing and a miss. I got too many.

 But we also learned that first Christmas that Savvy might like a toy at the toy store, leading us to believe it would be a good Christmas present, and then a few weeks later at the house on Christmas morning, it was a dud. It was an expensive lesson to learn, but I only needed to learn it once. Crag’s list and garage sales then became my forum of choice for presents for my kid, and it worked well for me. But I didn’t know that on her first Christmas, and I’m not sure it would have mattered. I wanted a big pile of stuffed animals for my little girl, all sorts of jungle animals, and she got them.

 I really liked them; she only liked a few. At the time, I was disappointed, but I became okay with it as I realized that she wasn’t going to fall in love with every single thing I ever bought her, and she certainly wasn’t going to fall in love with every one of those stuffed jungle animals. Kids just don’t do that very often – Barbies excepted.

 She fell in love with a few of the jungle animals, though, and that was good enough for me. I wanted her to have a big pile of stuffed animals on her bed, and she did. I wanted her to enjoy playing with them, and she did. I thought she’d eventually settle on one that was her absolute favorite stuffed animal ever, and she did. First, it was a monkey Pillow Pet that her mom bought here, and then later it was a stuffed toy dolphin named Hope – also that her mom bought her.

 The jungle animals I got just never really did it for her the way the monkey and the dolphin did.

 And when it was garage sale time, I knew they would go, a lot of them. And what didn’t sell would go to Salvation Army as a donation.

 And one day it might be Hope and Blackie in that pile.

 I’ll probably pull Hope aside and stick her in a shoebox or something, and place her in the top of my closet. There are a few other memorable things packed away up there, like a pair of monkey slippers that my kid wore every day, 24/7, for about two years… Her first USF onesie, we framed and hung on her bedroom wall. I’m sure she will wake up one day and ask for that to go somewhere else. It’ll go into the closet, too, next to her first pair of baby booties.

 Some new thing will take Hope’s place, whatever it is; I don’t know yet. It may not be an obvious transition, as it was when Hope gave Monkey the boot.

 I’m not sure it matters.

 Because even though Monkey got replaced, she was completely devoted to Monkey for a long time – two years; literally about 2/3 of her life. That’s pretty good, considering the Christmas presents from year one were enjoyed for less than a week.

 Hope’s realm has lasted quite a whole, too. Way more than a year. The kid is steadfast and faithful to her favorite toy. When she makes a decision, she sticks by it. I like that, even if it wasn’t my toys she liked best.

 I like to think that people’s personalities and lifetime qualities begin when they’re young. Impatience, unfortunately, is one; but so is a good sense of humor. She has both of those things in abundance.

 This thing with the toys makes me think she’ll be a loyal friend, and that’s a good quality. Maybe even a rare quality.

 And it makes me think she will be a good and loving and devoted child to her parents all of her days, which is a good thing to hope for in a child.

 After all, she didn’t let Monkey go to the garage sale. He’s still up there in her room quietly carrying out his duties. I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon.

11292013 A Night Without Hope

Savvy has spent several nights this week going to bed and NOT clamoring for her stuffed baby dolphin toy “Hope.” It’s another possible milestone at age 3 1/2, and it’s good that she is growing up and doesn’t need them, but it’s disturbing how much she needs something one day and then the next day she just abandons it and never looks back.

Trust me, I’m grateful as I think about my wife and I not having to look around for that stupid thing in the dark when our daughter wakes up in the middle of the night, or both of us trying desperately to locate it so she will calm down and just go to bed at a reasonable time. But to just suddenly one day not need it, not mention it, and just move on… I am equally impressed and unnerved by that.

Nothing moves in a straight line with small children, so we will probably be looking for Hope tonight so Savvy will go to bed, but in a month or two we’ll be talking about how it’s been so long since she needed Hope to go to sleep.

A few months ago, she would make us tear the house apart to find it before she would go to bed.

Last night, she couldn’t have cared less where Hope was, and it is possible that she won’t ever ask about Hope at bedtime again.

There’s just something not right about that.

It’s not the underlying fear that she will disregard her parents one day, the same way that she disregarded the Shamu breakfast bowl or the Monkey Pillow Pet – aptly named “Monkey” by her – that she HAD to seep on every night for over a year. We ended up with three Shamu bowls in case one was dirty, we got 2 large Monkey Pillow Pets and a small one, so she could have one upstairs for bedtime and naps, one downstairs for other naps, and one in the car. They were a fave for well over a year.

I have a picture of her in the shopping cart at WalMart hugging the Monkey Pillow Pet, the first time they ever met. It was love at first sight. Best 20 bucks we ever spent. (Well, it $20 for the first one…)

We accumulated three Hope’s, too, because she took it everywhere in the house but would leave it everywhere in the house, too – making for a bedtime disaster. When I’m sleepy and ready to crash, that is no time to start a hunt for a stuffed dolphin that is just as likely to be under a couch as it is to be in a toy box or in the pantry. We got a backup so we could get her to go to bed with the substitute, and the 3rd one was in case one wore out (which one was doing).

Yes, it sounds extreme; I need my sleep!

She even got to the point where she could tell we’d given her a backup. She named #2 “Blackie” because his plastic eyes weren’t worn out like Hope’s. Constantly being carried around the house will do that to a toy. The wear begins to show, and stuffed animals aren’t really made for too many washings. #3 never go a name. He mostly stayed in her pajama drawer for emergencies, like when we’d lost the first two – which we did.

Before, Blackie could stand in for Hope; then, when she figured things out, Blackie could occasionally fill in at bedtime while we promised to go find Hope. Savvy might actually wait up, awake in the blue glow of the night light in her room, waiting for the final report – but usually Hope was just someplace where turning on the living room lights would find her, and all was well. On a rare occasion, Savvy would agree that we would find hope in the morning, and she would go ahead and fall asleep hugging Blackie.

Then, as I say, one day no dolphins were necessary. It happened twice in a week. Maybe more than that. I almost don’t want to count them and jinx myself.

We had a garage sale last weekend. We went through a pile of Savvy’s stuffed animals and she opted to give many of them away. It didn’t bother me; I knew which ones were her favorites and she kept all of those. The others were, mainly, ones that I had bought for her first Christmas: a variety of jungle animals, of high quality. But even then I knew that a kid can’t have 10 favorites. She liked them, and she learned each of their names – that is, what kind of animal it was – but she never played with the gator or the rhino, or some of the others. It was a swing and a miss. I got too many.

But we also learned that first Christmas that Savvy might like a toy at the toy store, leading us to believe it would be a good Christmas present, and then a few weeks later at the house on Christmas morning, it was a dud. It was an expensive lesson to learn, but I only needed to learn it once. Crag’s list and garage sales then became my forum of choice for presents for my kid, and it worked well for me. But I didn’t know that on her first Christmas, and I’m not sure it would have mattered. I wanted a big pile of stuffed animals for my little girl, all sorts of jungle animals, and she got them.

I really liked them; she only liked a few. At the time, I was disappointed, but I became okay with it as I realized that she wasn’t going to fall in love with every single thing I ever bought her, and she certainly wasn’t going to fall in love with every one of those stuffed jungle animals. Kids just don’t do that very often – Barbies excepted.

She fell in love with a few of the jungle animals, though, and that was good enough for me. I wanted her to have a big pile of stuffed animals on her bed, and she did. I wanted her to enjoy playing with them, and she did. I thought she’d eventually settle on one that was her absolute favorite stuffed animal ever, and she did. First, it was a monkey Pillow Pet that her mom bought here, and then later it was a stuffed toy dolphin named Hope – also that her mom bought her.

The jungle animals I got just never really did it for her the way the monkey and the dolphin did.

And when it was garage sale time, I knew they would go, a lot of them. And what didn’t sell would go to Salvation Army as a donation.

And one day it might be Hope and Blackie in that pile.

I’ll probably pull Hope aside and stick her in a shoebox or something, and place her in the top of my closet. There are a few other memorable things packed away up there, like a pair of monkey slippers that my kid wore every day, 24/7, for about two years… Her first USF onesie, we framed and hung on her bedroom wall. I’m sure she will wake up one day and ask for that to go somewhere else. It’ll go into the closet, too, next to her first pair of baby booties.

Some new thing will take Hope’s place, whatever it is; I don’t know yet. It may not be an obvious transition, as it was when Hope gave Monkey the boot.

I’m not sure it matters.

Because even though Monkey got replaced, she was completely devoted to Monkey for a long time – two years; literally about 2/3 of her life. That’s pretty good, considering the Christmas presents from year one were enjoyed for less than a week.

Hope’s realm has lasted quite a whole, too. Way more than a year. The kid is steadfast and faithful to her favorite toy. When she makes a decision, she sticks by it. I like that, even if it wasn’t my toys she liked best.

I like to think that people’s personalities and lifetime qualities begin when they’re young. Impatience, unfortunately, is one; but so is a good sense of humor. She has both of those things in abundance.

This thing with the toys makes me think she’ll be a loyal friend, and that’s a good quality. Maybe even a rare quality.

And it makes me think she will be a good and loving and devoted child to her parents all of her days, which is a good thing to hope for in a child.

After all, she didn’t let Monkey go to the garage sale. He’s still up there in her room quietly carrying out his duties. I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon.

.

.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit my Amazon page where you can get a whole story about Savvy and Hope and some funny stuff, in “A Day For Hope” http://www.amazon.com/Day-Hope-birthday-stuffed-animal-ebook/dp/B00N1CFT78/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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