Sep 16, 2010

The third child

Mr. Wigglepants got a haircut this morning.

Looking at this picture makes me smile. I love this boy. Really...a lot. I do. While he sits quietly in my bed, watching cartoons without a care in the world, it's easy to love him.

But I'm still not sure we are going to survive his childhood together. Oh, this boy!!

Yesterday I hauled my sorry self to the doctor. I have had a heinous cough, sore throat, fever, congested head and chest, and debilitating fatigue for nine days now. For most of those days I haven't had a voice. Sometimes I cough so hard that I throw up. Despite my belief that I have been suffering from a nasty, untreatable virus, I woke up Wednesday morning with the thought that I owed it to my family to make sure I couldn't be doing more to heal. With a big push from an out-of-town friend, I made an appointment for 9:00.

Gavin and Lexi accompanied me. I knew this was a bad idea but didn't feel like I had a choice. (Asking for help isn't my strong suit.) While in the waiting room, Gavin kept running out into the hall. He grabbed magazines from the rack and threw them around the room. Despite my ample bag of snacks and activities, he would not sit down and enjoy them. In the exam room, things got worse. He pinged off the walls like he was high on speed. He ripped the paper cover off the table. He tore the pillow into shreds. He emptied the pamphlet display case. He banged his fists on the walls...and me. He dumped my purse and my diaper bag. He yelled and screamed so that I could barely have a conversation with the P.A. who was trying to help me. I lost control of my emotions and left the office in tears. We made such a scene that the P.A. called me later in the day to check on my mental health.

Because I have been so sick (and the extreme household upheaval that the carpet installation caused at the same time), our routines at home haven't been as comfortable and consistent as usual. I think this is contributing to Gavin's heightened mischief. He has dumped ketchup and Bisquick and powdered sugar onto our new carpet. He has raided my cough drop stash and eaten dozens of them in one sitting. He has eaten an entire batch of "puppy chow" (Chex cereal covered with chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar). He has gotten into the medicine cabinet again. He has microwaved random things (while standing on the stove). He has ripped a giant hole in the front window screen and nearly broken the rod that controls the blinds. He has been mercilessly rough and mean to his little sister.

Then, yesterday, he almost died.

I was watching the kids play in the front yard. Gavin was pushing his tricycle, which has a big handle behind the seat. He ran up the driveway and crashed into the closed garage door. I was at the end of the driveway and watched it happen. I actually laughed at how hard he bounced back. I thought he must be a pretty tough kid to not even cry at that kind of an impact.

When he turned around, I realized he was in trouble. He was screaming a silent scream, and even though there was no blood, I knew he was hurting....and not breathing. He stumbled toward me. I ran toward him. Just before we reached each other, he crumbled to the ground, face first. I caught his head before he hit. When I turned him over, his face was gray.

In my raspiest voice, I yelled, "Gavin!!" I smacked his cheeks and blew air on his face. He made a gurgling sound, his eyes rolled back in his head. I repeated my efforts, yelling his name over and over. The seconds that ticked by seemed eternal. Finally he took a breath. He moaned and shuddered and rolled over. I knew the crisis had passed.

As we both sat recovering on the driveway, both hearts pounding out irregular rhythms, gratitude rolled over me in waves. I am so glad I was in the right place at the right time to help Gavin in his moment of peril. What if I hadn't been there? Breath-holding incidents like this have happened before, and I am sure they will happen again. Gavin does everything with such intensity!

Despite this adrenaline-fueled moment of gratitude, by bedtime Gavin had driven me to the brink of insanity again. When I attempted to sing him bedtime songs with my crackly voice, he told me to stop -- I was hurting his ears. We called Daddy on the phone for bedtime songs instead.

This morning Gavin threw a huge fit about wearing a diaper. He thinks he needs to wear Diego underpants without responsibility for his bodily functions. Once again we have agreed on the undies-over-diaper compromise, only the undies have to be worn backwards so the big Diego picture is on the front.

I think I can live with that. I have more pressing matters -- like keeping Gavin alive -- to worry about.
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