Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Rules Of Tajweed

Usually, Sam ends up in the hospital. I do too, sometimes, but not nearly as often as the boy. Lily and Sara seem to have been spared whatever gene it is that causes the two of us to injure ourselves in spectacular and life altering ways, and they just seem to get hurt like regular people. I know, deep down, that Sam’s injuries are some sort of karmic retribution for all of the times I
made my way back home covered in blood and turned my parent’s downstairs bathroom into a triage unit. I’m OK though, I’ve accepted it as something that the universe wants, and I have gauze and splints at the ready. The dog injuries are a bit unexpected though, and it seems like they’re a bit more than I deserve. When we had kids, we found a good pediatrician and a nearby hospital, we stocked up on medicine and band-aids, and we always have plenty of ice. When we got the dogs, we got chew toys and a bed – when we should have been shopping for things like those head cones so they can’t chew on themselves. We’re on our third and fourth dog though, and we should know something will happen eventually. This time it was Steve… we had a regular day, filled with regular stuff, but after the kids went to bed Steve swelled up to twice his original size. Why? Who knows. I thought it might have been the bit of sea bass he had with his dinner, but the vet seemed to think it was a reaction to some sort of bite. I didn’t go to the vet, mind you, I know better. I called the after-hours line and had him call me back, because our emergency 24 hour vet service looks at your net worth before they agree to treat your pet… it’s cheaper to get counseling for your loss, have a taxidermist preserve your old pet, and buy a new dog… Anyway, our vet called back, and from the sound of his voice I could tell he was in his pajamas. I described what was going on, and he hemmed and hawed for a minute, and said, “How much does Steve weigh now?” "
“180 pounds”
“Did you say 180 pounds?”
“I did. I mean I guess, last time we weighed him he was 170 pounds, and he’s
a lot bigger…”
(slight pause in the conversation)
“OK,” he said, “ give him 200mg of Benadryl tonight, and let me know how he
is in the morning.”
Do we have Benadryl? Of course we do. Can I find it at 10pm? Of course I can’t … so I look in every cabinet. While I’m looking, Steve keeps getting bigger. His eyes are swelling shut, and his jowls (which hang down as it is) look like two porterhouse steaks attached to the side of his face. Finally, I find a bottle of liquid bubblegum flavored Benadryl, which I’m sure he’ll eat because
he eats everything… Everything, it turns out, except bubblegum flavored Benadryl… Luckily, I finally find a stash of pills - so I count out eight of them, put them inside a piece of bread with some peanut butter, and hand it over. At this point though, he’s either too swollen or too distrustful to eat it, and I spend the next 10 minutes prying his mouth open and shoving little
satchels of Benadryl sandwich down his throat (which, conveniently, is the same size as my arm). All the while he’s conveniently ambivalent to the whole situation, and when the Benadryl kicks in, he lazily rubs his paws on his eyes and walks in circles around the living room.
Since I'm up all night, I'm mulling things over, like how Sam is finally embracing his injuries. He’s still getting hurt as regularly, but he has seemed to accept it. Lately he comes home from school with some bruises and cuts, shows them to me, and moves on with his day… as opposed to asking for band-aids and ice packs. It’s been sort of a gradual change, and I didn’t really notice until basketball season started. He isn’t the best basketball player, but he’s good. Plus, he plays hard. Hard enough to get in the middle of things, to dive, to wrestle for the ball, and to hit the floor if he needs to after he takes a shot. During a rough game last week he tore a chunk of skin off the underside of his arm, and got a bruise the size of an orange on his hip when he was in the middle of a scrum. I saw him get slammed onto the floor, saw him slide, and winced… but he got up running, and just kept going. After the game he was pretty sore, but during the game, he was relentless. The thing is, I’m not sure what the proper emotion for this is… pride? I was proud of him. I was. It felt sort of wrong though, like I should have told him to go to the bench if he needed to, should have gotten him some ice…
But it makes sense, in a weird sort of way. Sam is intense. Lily is dramatic and hilarious, but Sam is driven. When he wants something, he makes it happen…. When he wants to learn all the words to a song, he listens to it over and over, Googles the lyrics and prints them out, and memorizes them. When he wants to learn something, he learns it – and when he wants the ball, he gets it. It's like he has a set of rules for himself, and once he decides there is something he has to do, it's hard to peel him off track.
Lily, on the other hand, lives to be peeled off track. She has this thing that I don't think many other people see, this sense of humor that she doesn't share with everyone. I can't really figure out why though... maybe she's self conscious, or maybe she doesn't think she's funny, I have no idea. But she has it, more than most people I know. She has good timing, and really honest delivery. There have been times when she has made me laugh so hard that I can't breathe, and there aren't many people that can do that. On purpose, anyway.
... so I'm up all night with Steve, and he's alternating between rubbing his face, pawing at me to pet him, or pacing anxiously around the room. All the while I'm thinking about the kids, Steve, and the blog. I'm thinking about how much I dread writing a post when I feel like I have to, and how much I miss being in front of the computer when I have something to say. I think about how nice it would be to gracefully close Tickle, Cook, Breathe since it's lived a long life. And after a long night of fits and spurts of sleep interrupted by the dog, I'm sitting on the couch when the first rays of sunlight spill over the windowsill and I think to myself "the first rays of sunlight spill over the windowsill. I should write that down."

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