Monday, August 23, 2004

"Not only does God play dice, but... he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen."
- Stephen W. Hawking

My 10 year old son has been given orders to gain weight by his pediatrician. I've informed him that he no longer gets to fill his tummy with liquids, especially soda, before he eats his meals. My explanation goes: you drink soda before you eat, it fills up your tummy, you don't eat enough. Tonight he asks me whether I've cooked things that will make him gain weight, and I point out that any wholesome food will help him gain weight if he eats enough of it. We reach the end of the meal, he has eaten a lot, and he asks if he can have a soda for dessert. I accede this request.
Then he asks why I haven't eaten any of the potatoes, and I explain that while he needs to gain weight, I should lose it. So he offers me the soda. In fact, he tries to force it on me. I ask why he's so adamant that I drink his soda, and he points out that I've told him that drinking soda has kept him from gaining weight. So all I have to do, he explains, is drink soda to lose weight.
I hate logic, so often it gets me in trouble.
My daughter, 12, enters my room at 2AM after an infrequent bad dream. She crawls into my bed, continuing to call out in her sleep on and off. This morning she awakens, groggy and out of sorts, but once she has played with the cats a bit, she explains the bad dream to me.
She is on an island, and in a forest where there is a couple who are (she says she knows this, although they have said nothing to her) supposed to be together, and trying to run away. But suddenly, a huge Trojan Horse is pulled up to the forest, pulled by Trojans in white togas and helmets of course, and lo and behold President Bush and a bunch more Trojan soldiers jump out, and President Bush orders them to attack the couple. My daughter says in the dream she is sure this is wrong, so she starts to fight the Trojans, and the lovers get away, while she has gotten the bad end of the fight, and is badly injured. Why, she asks me, did she dream President Bush in the Trojan Horse? And I am wondering, how did she unconsciously arrive at such a perfectly apt allegory?
There are few things that upset my son. "Ah well, we lost the game, no big deal, I still had fun."
When I arrived home from the wood carving workshop, the dog was acting a bit off, not eating right, and stumbled twice, and I came to the conclusion we needed a trip to the vet. Unfortunately, it had to wait until the plumber fixed toilet seal which was leaking water down through my newly painted kitchen ceiling and onto the stove, a pretty disgusting issue to start the week with. So finally, at about 3PM, we leash up the dog and start to head downstairs to go to the vet. Joey stumbled and fell again, into the closed entrance door, and then, within seconds launched into a full scale epilepsy seizure. My son had been leading Joey out, so I grabbed the leash, undid the collar, and asked for towels. My son is usually the "can do" kid, quite practical and logical in a crisis, the one you rely on to come up with a better solution than the adults. But he was asking questions at a rate that I couldn't deal with while taking care of Joey, and I got a bit too brusque, and a minute later my easy going son was in a full scale tantrum in the next room. My knee jerk reaction is, "Shouldn't he KNOW that I have to take care of the dog right now?" When the dog is in a seizure, you have to sit with him to keep him from thrashing into a wall or furniture, for what seems like an eternity, my son now also kicking, screaming, as best I could tell in a pretty destructive state. I am sitting on the floor a room away trying to talk calmly to the dog and explain to my son he's really out of line. This went on for a good 5 minutes before it finally occurred to me that my son was actually scared and it was coming out as anger. A few minutes more of looking at it as I massaged the dog's ears, and I realized that he thought he had caused the seizure when he led him down the stairs and he crashed into the wall, that he was to blame for what was happening. Ah. He tearfully confirmed this, and I yelled over that it was about the dog's brain chemistry, and that Joey was coming around and doing better, and he had nothing to feel bad about. Suddenly he's able to talk normally again. And I think, who wouldn't be upset? A few minutes of reflection can shed a lot of light on things.
A trip to the farmer's market was on the agenda for Saturday morning, and we are lucky enough to have several options in the area. Traditionally I go downtown, about a 20 minute drive, because it has the most variety, but there was terrible traffic this week and we didn't really have time to spend an hour to get there and back. So I chose the closer one, knowing there was a very tiny chance that this would turn out badly. It runs from 8AM till 1PM, five hours, and what is the chance that you will run into someone in the 30 minutes you happen to be there, someone you don't even know for sure will go that weekend? But sure enough, we are just leaving, after a terrific time tasting fresh tortillas and late raspberries and yellow cherry tomatoes and loaded down with all kinds of produce and huge bunches of dahlias, when I spot him. Of course, he is there with a woman, presumably the person he had "sparks with" the night after our first date, such that there wasn't a second date for us. Should I admit that I was pretty crushed that there wasn't a second date? Anyhow, I had dreaded the idea of seeing him within a week of this icky situation, but there he was feeding this lovely woman a piece of fruit. The kids and I made a beeline to the car. First I conclude, this is just another streak of bad luck to go with the whole chain of events, and then suddenly I realize, that the glow from spending such a good time with my kids at the market has totally obliterated any bad feelings I thought I'd have seeing him.
I sometimes wonder how I learn anything the weeks my kids are with their Dad.

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