Wednesday, April 7 2021

a pterodactyl, stranded on the toilet, and a medicine smoothie



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. I imagine you and I are having very different Wednesdays right about now, and this journal entry is like a wormhole connecting those two different worlds. On your side of the wormhole, it's a regular Wednesday. You're well into the work day now, probably using a background thread in your brain to plan lunch and dinner. On my side of the wormhole, it's my spring break and I don't have a care in the world. Work is a distant abstract concept, and the weekdays and weekends meld together like... an ice cube? Two different clumps of play-doh? I just had a big breakfast - I think my body is borrowing energy from my mental metaphor machine to help with digestion.

Let's set the scene here. This morning I'm posted up in the living room. Miles is piddling around in his crude living room "baby cage". Rodney is planted on the couch, letting his attention drift between YouTube and fiddling with his latest k'nex creation, Pterodactyl.

"What's his name again?" I asked a minute ago.

"Just pterodactyl," replied Rodney.

"Maybe we can call him 'Pete'? How about 'Pete the Pterodactyl'," I suggested.

"No," said Rodney waving away my suggestion. "He is a pterodactyl, and his name is just pterodactyl." I can take a hint.

I met ~Pete~ Pterodactyl yesterday morning while getting Rodney out of his room. He has long red boxy wings that kind of remind me of the Wright brothers' airplane. He has a long jagged neck and head, and of course he's equipped with Rodney's signature splayed chicken feet. Welcome to the crew, Pterodactyl.

2021 04 07 pterodactyl

To hell with him - I'm going to call you Pete. It will be our little secret.

While I escorted him down the stairs for breakfast, Rodney solicited some suggestions for what he should build next. I pitched him some animal ideas while he climbed into his chair at the table.

"How about a lion?" I asked.

"I don't know how to make that," replied Rodney.

"OK, maybe you should make a snake," I answered. Rodney shook his head.

"I don't know how to make that either," he said. "I'm going to make you a dragon."

A dragon? If you ask me, that's more complicated than both a lion and a snake. Not to mention that within the realm of k'nex, a snake is basically a subset of a dragon. What is a snake if not a dragon without the wings, legs, and beefy arms?

Sip. That's enough trying to reason with Rodney. I had a wonderful day yesterday. Marissa was gone all afternoon getting her first COVID shot in beautiful Racine Wisconsin. Before leaving, she puzzled over the vaccination site while eating her lunch.

"I don't get it," she said. "It's just the address to the Racine mall. Am I supposed to just wander around until I find it?"

"It's probably set up in the parking lot or something," I said.

I'd get a text from her two hours later. "Nope, it's literally just in the mall."

2021 04 07 mall

The CENTER of the mall, to be exact.

My turn is this Thursday. But since the vaccine isn't available for anyone under sixteen, we wondered what to tell Rodney. After all, the medicine has become kind of a big deal to him. For over a year now, we've told him that once people get the medicine, we can go back to the water parks. If he didn't get the shot, where was his sense of closure with this whole thing?

"Momma will bring your medicine home," said Marissa. "I'll get the kind that you eat, and I'll mix it in a mango smoothie for you."

While Marissa was en route to racine, I got on with the work day. I had a few 1-on-1's, some last minute work, then I finished the day listening in an all company meeting in the kitchen while I did some dishes. After the hour long meeting, I went back upstairs to plug my laptop in. To my surprise, Rodney was waiting on the toilet.

"I'm all done pooping, dada," he said quietly. "Can you wipe me now?"

My heart sank. I realized that Rodney had likely been stranded on the toilet for, at most, the last hour.

"Were you stuck here, dude?" I asked.

"Yeah," said Rodney. "I kept saying dada I'm all done pooping wipe me louder and louder but you couldn't hear."

"How long were you waiting?" I asked.

"About twenty seconds," he said with frustration in his voice. Rodney doesn't have the most acute sense of time yet. Who knows what twenty seconds really was.

I felt great shame for leaving a comrade stranded in his time of need. So I bought his forgiveness with a chocolate coin from our easter candy stash. Rodney and I ate it outside on the deck. While we waited for Marissa to return, we played with some bubbles.

2021 04 07 bubbles

We transitioned to some sidewalk chalk. Rodney put on an impromptu art clinic showing me how to draw myself and Marissa as well as his cousins Alice and Frankie in stick figure form. You'd be surprised how nuanced stick figures can get.

2021 04 07 chalk

Marissa returned home shortly after. She bore a bright orange mango smoothie. We explained to Rodney that the doctors crafted a special batch of life saving medicine for this smoothie, and for that reason it was crucial that he finished the entire thing.

"Give me a sip, dude," I asked.

"No, dada," said Rodney. "This is my medicine."

Dang it. I didn't think of that tradeoff. Thanks for stopping by, have a great Wednesday everyone.