I have been feeling that if we can get through this week, we can start to enjoy the fact that it is summer a little. Charlie's dental surgery is scheduled for this Thursday at 7.30am; we have to be at the hospital at 6am. Getting him (and, um, us) through this—and pre- and post- surgery jitters—is our biggest task this week and does make the other big challenge of this week—record high temperatures in New Jersey to the tune of 103 degrees Tuesday afternoon in some places—something just to slog through.
That is how Charlie and I felt on an early morning walk. Eager to return to school, he had woken at 6am. We went out for our customary walk; it must have already been in the 80s at least. Jim drove Charlie to school and he had a good day until 1.30pm. I don't want to blame the hot weather (it certainly affected Jim and me, and Charlie's school is very well air-conditioned), but I'd be willing to give Charlie and every kid at his school a bye yesterday and for the duration (week-long, though temperatures should be in the 90s the rest of the week—that sounds good after the mercury rose into the three digits) of this heat wave. An aide told me that another child had been very noisy and that Charlie had gotten upset. He was sweaty and his face troubled when I picked him up, and he was so insistent about putting the driver's seat back to where Jim puts it that I pulled over for several minutes in the school parking lot.
Once I drove out, he only asked a few more times to move the seat and that was that. I drove at a steady pace as we had a 3.20pm 'preop[eration]' appointment at the pediatrician. With any potential jitters before Thursday's surgery and the wearying heat in mind, I stuck to Charlie's preferred routine of getting him a snack along the way.
Thanks to a little local street knowledge, I got us to the pediatrician just around 3.23pm. Jim was waiting outside the office and Charlie was able to go right in. A nurse measured and weighed him and took his vitals. Then the three of us waited in a not-so-well-but-partially air-conditioned room—the pediatrician's office is located in a large old Victorian house—and Charlie sat on the exam table and stood, and didn't seem too bothered by the crying baby in the next room. The nurse practitioner (he usually sees her) by soon appeared.
She first stood opposite Charlie and explained that she had to examine him, speaking clearly and directly to him (rather than to Jim and me). When she asked him to inhale and open his mouth wide, I caught Charlie's eye and did exaggerated versions of those gestures, and Charlie followed suit. Jim stood by while the nurse used her stethoscope and checked Charlie's ears and then he and Jim went back to the white car while I stayed to talk to the nurse and watched her fill out some paperwork which I then brought over to Charlie's dentist.
Soon as I walked in I heard a 'hi!': Some friends of ours, and their 13 1/2 year old son, were sitting in the window seat and we couldn't help but to swap 'now what brings you here' stories. Our conversation drifted into how both of our kids would have preferred to have been in school Monday (I related how I only put Charlie's lunch boxes into the refrigerator in the late afternoon as their presence therein is code for 'school tomorrow'), and how we plan to get through August after summer school is out. The dentist appeared and, yes, I did say, 'see you on Thursday.'
Jim and Charlie were out on a bike ride—yes, in said heat—-when I got home; once back, they both took turns drinking directly from a big container of lemonade. (Straight out of it.) I needed to make a trip to a library in another town to get a video for my summer school class (which starts today in about 9 hours, or may well be going on as you read this!). Wanting to keep Charlie in the cool of the car (rather than calling for walks and bike rides on sizzling sidewalks and streets), Jim had suggested going to a firemen's carnival located near where he and Charlie rode bikes on Monday. Charlie started calling 'ferris wheel' from just about the time we left the driveway (and we had to go back as I had forgotten my phone) and he and Jim waited ultra-patiently (if a bit noisily at one moment) for me to return back with a booty of videotapes about 'Greece the cradle of civilization' and archaeology.
(I was hoping for something more like The Gospel at Colonus—just rejoined Netflix.)
We had been to the carnival years before and stopped going as Charlie's fascination/obsession with rides became to overwhelming that he no longer enjoyed the rides, asking for the next ride before the one he was on had even finished. Last night he stood in line with a super-big smile for the ferris wheel. He didn't want a hamburger but was game to try the giant slide. As Charlie went up the metal steps I thought about how I used to go up with him and how Jim and I used to rush to the bottom of the slide, as Charlie always tried to run up it (right into down-coming slide-riders). Charlie hesitated at the top of the slide and we saw the man posted there help him spread out a burlap sack and sit on it.
Then Charlie knew what to do.
Afterwards, he pulled himself up on a merry-go-round horse too all by himself. It was a bit of a sight to see him riding by a little girl whose mother was not as tall as Charlie.
Charlie wanted to go to bed shortly after coming home. But then, after a few minutes, he started crying and wailing and Jim and I sat and said quiet encouraging things and exchanged glances. Charlie came down and asked to use the computer, requesting his favorite videos and songs, and making me think, he was in need of a little comfort. He kept looking at me and saying 'ferris wheel' and then 'no ferris wheel' and I tried to respond that he'd had a great time riding it, we would do it again, we were home now.
And Charlie was looking for some comfort and therefore familiarity: As it turned out, he had a stomachache (exacerbated by the, yes I am mentioning it again, heat), got over that, and fell asleep almost instantaneously. I'll also bargain, he has a few nerves about Thursday.
One more day!
(But alas, a whole more week of dastardly 90+ degree days—ok, if I had to choose, I'd rather have these than doctor's appointments and dental surgery to deal with.)