Frank’s Place: Best of 2013

Best of the best of the best... with honors

Best of the best of the best… with honors

Ok, it’s that time of year again. Time to recount the posts with the most, the stylings that got you smiling…or something like that. Man another year that just blew by. I guess it’s always like this when you have two or more. Didn’t seem to go that fast when it was just Frank, but now that he has a partner in crime the space time continuum just hasn’t been the same.

Speaking of time, lets stop wasting it. There are trays of pigs in a blanket with my name on it so here goes. I give you the top ten posts at Frank’s Place for 2013, in descending order by total views in a single day.

A Girl Stands in Knoxville! A lot of people clicked on this little gem. And why not. It had everything: a feel good story about a premie standing before she should have, some great before and after pics, and exploitative gambling. That’s right, guesses were made as to when AM would walk, now that she was vertical. The eventual winner was May524 who guessed it to the day, but she failed to reply. Susan Hupp and Andy Traugot tied for next closest at 13 months, 15 days. Hupp took an unedited version of the manuscript of my soon to be book and Traugot failed to claim his prize. Still here if you want it Andy.

Anne Marie Year 1 Few words and lots of pictures vaulted this one to the top of the charts. Not sure how I should feel about that. A momentous year non the less as we went from a weighing 1lb 12oz to eating a 1lb cake.

It was a Hairy Bear This was a little weird. When visiting AM’s twin sisters’ grave on their birthday we noticed a small bear my nephew Sean had put there during the funeral was still there. I mentioned it in a post about AM’s birthday. It got a lot of attention. So much so it became it’s own post. I can report that on this Christmas Eve the bear was no longer there. Although we still have the bear’s twin sitting with a picture of Linda Claire.

This is not a Rock Kicking Contest Mr. Linardo! A sad one for sure. This is what I wrote about my brother-in-law Bill, my sister’s husband, who died way too sudden, way too soon. The title of the post comes from what Bill, or Mr. McClory as I knew him then, would say to me when I was kicking rooks in the school parking lot waiting to walk down to the bus to go home. He said it a lot. I was dense back then. Or should I say denser? Can I say denser? Who knows, it’s late.

A lot of fish died to get this shot. I'll miss them.

A lot of fish died to get this shot. I’ll miss them.

It’s Always Hurricane Season! Hey she can walk. Great. She put her walking to good use, moving around the house destroying everything in her path. Busted up a few things with her wake too. This one got a lot of attention because you people like to see me suffer. I get it. I’d be laughing too.

Is there a Doc in the House? More suffering. Mostly mine. Not really. The whole house took sick and Frank had to evacuate to Grammy’s house with Mrs Frank’s Place as AM’s immune system would not be able to cope. It was a weird 4 days. Frank loved it. Had his mom all to himself. What’s not to love?

Running with Scissors  This is my personal favorite. Coming around the corner to find my 19 month old daughter using a pair of scissors in an attempt to pry open the fridge made me proud. I spent ten years working on an airplane that required serious improvisation to get things done. I was mediocre at it to say the least but to see my girl already developing those skills brought a tear to my eye.

No touch? Yeah no problem, I won't touch the gate. I'll jump over it.

No touch? Yeah no problem, I won’t touch the gate. I’ll jump over it.

Coming in to her own!  This was a post about AM building a ladder out of a diaper box and my wife’s work boxes to jump the child gate on the stairs. But really it was just me bragging on my daughter who turned 17 months old that day. Coming out of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, her brain pan was the only thing that had me worried. My fears were apparently unfounded.

What a Year a Baby Makes We celebrated her one year birthday in March. We celebrated her actual due date at the end of June. So one full year home from the hospital on July 29th, sure we’ll celebrate that too. Another extremely popular post with a lot of pictures and not much of my thoughts or words.

Yeah don’t think I’m not seeing the “just shut up and show us pictures of your kids” trend.

Making his shadow hand touch his shadow forehead

Making his shadow hand touch his shadow forehead

Dancing with Squirrels  The ever popular sequel to Dances with Wolves, this was a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons. Mostly because it was fun to watch Frank make shadow puppets while he was playing in a live soccer game. But it also gave me a little insight into the kids psyche. And I liked what I saw. Apparently y’all did too.

On a side note, I did have a top ten moment myself the other night. At a wedding reception featuring some of the who’s who in Knoxville, including the mayor and a local doctor who has a TV show here in town, my wife introduced me to an avid reader of Frank’s Place.

It was great to meet you LT. I appreciate all the nice things you had to say about the blog. You made my night. It was a humbling to say the least. Especially considering you walked right past Mayor Burchett and Dr. Bob to talk to me.

Of course most of the credit goes to my kids. They really write the stories, I’m just their interpretive stenographer.

So that’s it for 2013. These are the ten top posts for the year, as decided by you, the people who support Frank’s Place. Without you my ego would almost be non-existent. Well, that’s probably not true.

Anyway Happy New Year to LT and all of you from all of us here at Frank’s Place.

 

hdwallpapersinn.com

hdwallpapersinn.com

 

 

 

 

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Diary of a SAHD: Zero to Holly Jolly in 8 hours.

We dig the Christmas season just as much as the next family. We just don’t do a whole lot about it from Thanksgiving to Christmas day. We’re not grinches as much as we are lazy. I put up lights but that’s only because the neighbors went all Clark Griswold and I had to respond. That’s really an exaggeration. The Sac was a little subdued this Christmas. I know one thing, Frank’s Place is copying the next door neighbors and going all color lights next Christmas. You’re a trend setter Mike, and have delivered me from these awful energy saving dull white lights. But my meager light display was about as much as the yule tide spirit we were willing to imbibe.

Frank’s unwillingness to see Santa this year played right into our laziness. Scribing the letter was easy, no fuss no muss. Shopping was even easier. Wait in lines? Get up at 3am the Friday after Thanksgiving? Who does these things with the advent of internet shopping? It’s cold out there man. Ain’t no way I’m getting up that early to put on 3 layers of clothes just to wait in line so I can duke it out with Ma and Pa Kettle over an leopard print iPad cover. I’m not ashamed to say there were some days I was Christmas shopping at my computer without wearing pants. Not sure why I never got a picture of that. Ah well, opportunity lost.

A Santa only a homeless shelter could love.

A Santa only a homeless shelter could love.

Anyway, Christmas Eve rolls around and Mrs Frank’s Place gets the holiday spirit. Lets take the kids to the mall and get a picture with Santa she says. Eh ok, what the heck. So we dress them in their Christmas PJs and off we go. Line is short. This can’t be good. Annnnnd potty break for Santa. A mere 25 minutes later Santa’s bladder is right as rain and we’re making pictures. Result to the left. A Christmas Miracle!

Look man, I don’t mind sayin the Santas were all pretty damn creepy this year. Look at that dude. If I ran into that guy in a parking garage in broad daylight I’d crap my pants. It took all my will power to keep it under control for that picture and it was 11:30 in the morning. His eyes haunt me even now.

No matter we got the shot, Frank asked for a snow ogre and we headed out into the mall for some shopping and then out into the world for lunch, on Christmas Eve no less.

A Bond Unbroken 

After lunch we decided to pay a visit to Linda Claire’s grave with some flowers. If you are unaware, Anne Marie is a surviving twin. Linda Claire was her sister and she died five hours after being born. Neither Frank nor Anne Marie have ever been there so it felt like a risky proposition, but we pressed on and told Frank to ask any question he wanted.

Tracy showed Frank Linda Claire’s grave and I put Anne Marie down and let her walk to Frank. Except she didn’t walk to Frank. She walked up to the grave marker which is a flat stone, flush with the ground. AM stood there for a second, then crouched down a little and stared at the stone for what seemed like forever. It was somewhere in the 5 minute neighborhood, maybe 6  or 7. I was having a hard time processing. AM never made a peep. She just stood there slightly crouched, staring. Then she reached down, touched the plaque, said “baby, baby”, turned and waked back to the van. Cemetery trip concluded.

I question my own sanity even typing that last paragraph. I have absolutely no explanation for what happened. As my father said, why waste time trying to figure it out, just enjoy it. Well said Pop, well said.

Frank broke the silence by asking how would we get LC the flowers. Great question. We had no answer other than to say she could see them from where she was, in God’s house. Ten minutes later he asked “What about all the other names on the ground?” What names Frank? “All the other names on the ground in God’s house? Do they get flowers too?” LC is buried in the infant section of the cemetery. Most of the graves are marked with stones that lay flat on the ground. Kids pick up on the craziest things and then ask about it in a way that makes their parents start crying all over again.

Then it was cookie baking time. AM and Mrs Frank’s Place went off for a nap and that left me and Frank in the kitchen to get our Christmas cookie on. I gave the orders and Frank did all the work, short of putting the cookie sheets into the oven. He plays the mixer like a member of the Philharmonic. We cleaned as we baked and fun was had by all. All two of us. Cookies were out and cooling and it was time for church.

This was going to be the biggest test of the day. The picture below should give you an indication of how it went.

Running laps in the church basement. Baby Jesus better put on some track shoes.

Running laps in the church basement. Baby Jesus better put on some track shoes.

My theologically versed sister maintains that you receive grace even if you sleep in church. So running a half marathon in the basement should be worth a “double portion”, as Benny Hinn would say.

Church was OK for a first try in a long time. Thanks to an amazingly large basement the kids were able to run laps for the entire service. But we had to git on home, there were cookies to decorate.

But first we had to throw reindeer food on the lawn. Down here they call it bait, but it’s really food for Santa’s team when he comes to the Sac. Then it was cookie decorating time.

Frank’s cookie decorating style could loosely be described as a cross between the great cubist Pablo Picasso and a drunk of his ass Andy Warhol. Ultimately it got the job done. We put four masterpieces on a plate and put them under the tree.

Kids went off to bed and thus ended our first family Christmas Eve-a-palooza. We crammed more Christmas into this past Christmas Eve than we have the last 5 Christmases combined.

Not sure what got into us but it was a good day from start to finish.

By golly it was a holly jolly Christmas indeed.

Diary of a SAHD: Dear Santa – you terrify me.

I’m not sure when this happened exactly. Last year the kid went to see Santa no problem. Sat in the dudes lap at the mall, got a great picture with a big smile. He even asked Santa for a soldier and candy cane. That’s it Santa asks, that’s all you want for Christmas? Frank says “yeah”.

Well mall Santa’s practically crap candy canes so that was easy. But then the dude produced a plastic bendable toy soldier dressed like the soldiers from the Nut Cracker. Frank almost had a baby right there. He stared at Santa with a big grin on his face. It was pretty cool. Although Santa raised the bar on me to heights unimaginable. It’s not like I can just pull toys and candy out of my rump. That would be awesome though.

To top that the freaking guy remembered Frank’s name from the year before. Called Frank by name before we could tell him what it was. Not making that up. I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed or a little creeped out or I should just call the cops. Probably all three.

For whatever reason this year Frank want’s nothing to do with Santa. He didn’t want to get his picture made with Santa at school. That was fine by us. The school santa is an arm and a leg and the guy last year looked a little “rugged” if you know what I’m saying. I’m not saying they grabbed the first hobo they could find peeing on the side of the Qwiki-Mart and crammed him into a Santa suit, but I’m not, not saying it either.

Alright so school Santa was out. No biggie. That put mall Santa at the top of the list. I was sorta looking forward to that if only to see if it was the same guy and could he remember Frank’s name again. But no go. Frank doesn’t want to see Santa this year. He says he’s not afraid he just doesn’t want to go. Not really the end of the world. We were hoping to get a picture of Frank and his sister together with Santa. AM was out of the mix last year as she was still on house quarantine for her immune system. So it was kind of a bummer. Plus I’m really dying to know if this guy can come up with Frank’s name again. Still one day left, maybe a Christmas miracle is in the air.

It ain't Shakespeare, but it'll do.

It ain’t Shakespeare, but it’ll do.

Since he’s wasn’t going to see Santa this year, I suggest to Frank that we should write a letter and mail it to Santa. That way the big guy will know what you want and he might bring you something. Once he realized we would be mailing it from our house he was down with it. So we penned a letter. He dictated and I wrote it out, word for word. Then he signed it. Exhibit A to the left.

The Snow Ogre to which he refers is the Abominable Snowman from the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer cartoon. We were ready for that. He has been talking about a stuffed snow ogre for two weeks. We had no idea at first but when we decorated the tree he found the Abominable Snowman ornament and yelled out, this this is a snow ogre! Alrighty then, no problem. He’s actually a Yeti who goes by the name Bumble, but you know, he’s fictional. And he arrived in a day. Amazon Prime I love you.

No clue why he wants this.

Pretty cute as far as Yeti go.

The snowboard has put us in the trick. He caught us by surprise, no snow in Southtown, he’ll be deathly afraid of it, and it’s Christmas Eve. Snowboard ain’t happening.

I was also unprepared for him asking for things for the rest of us. Got “a little choked” as Frank says when he sees someone getting a bit misty eyed.

Golf balls for me is a no brainer. Although I wasn’t sure if I should take that as an insult. You know, “Santa please bring daddy new golf balls because he has hit so many in the lake the water level has risen two inches this year.” I decided I may be over-thinking it and kept scribing.

The dolly for his sister won’t be an issue. Why he asked for a farm for his mother is beyond me. We got him a farm, but no idea why he thinks she’d want one. Probably trying to slip an extra gift in for himself.

But he only asked for two things so if he thinks a third item for himself is a bridge too far, I’ll take that as a good sign. Maybe the kid has some understanding of moderation. Or maybe he’s just a conniving little chooch. Close call. But he always shares his candy with his sister so I gotta believe his list for Santa was done with pure intentions.

I can’t imagine his wish list will always be this spartan.

But if I can get away with a two foot high stuffed Yeti, that’s just all right.

Merry Christmas from Frank’s Place!

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Diary of a SAHD: Beach Travel Time – a new standard of measure

The hoarder on the long  voyage to a land far far away.

The hoarder on the long voyage to a land far far away.

I may have mentioned a time or two our beach trip back in August. Read here if you dare: Toll Booths, Traffic Jams and Torrential Rain. A good time was had by all but it was a long drive to and from. I mean looooooong. Turns out it was so long some of us have not fully returned yet and because of that we have to recalibrate how we describe time as it relates to travel in the car.

Anyone who has ever taken a beach trip knows you’ll be finding beach sand for weeks in all kinds of places. Usually the biggest spot is the car, but it turns up in shoes, clothes, luggage, etc… It’s like bringing a little bit of the beach back with you. Actually it is bringing the beach back with you, but I was talking more the spirit of the trip. So every time you dump out a canvas bag full of clothes you found in a closet somewhere and a pound or two of sand hits the deck you get to take a little trip down memory lane.

Well it’s mid December, the trip was the end of August and Frank is still finding piles of metaphorical sand. His sand comes in the form of trips in the car. As I said the ride to and from Jersey is long. I had no Idea it was so long that Frank would now apply that distance to every trip we take. When we got to Maryland on the way to the beach Frank declared “The beach is too far away and I want to go home.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him we were two hours from Jersey and more than ten hours from home.

So worried about another long car ride, now whenever we go anywhere he asks, “Is ____ as far away as the beach?” It matters not where we are going.

His school is 1.3 miles from our driveway, Kroger is 2.1, the golf course we play most is 5.something, and every time we mount up to go to anyone of these places I get, “Is school as far away as….” He mixes it up too. Once in a while he won’t ask that before we go, he’ll just point it out once we’ve arrived. “That was as far as the beach.” No Frank, Kroger is not as far as the beach.

Hobo sleeping - it's what he does best

Hobo sleeping – it’s what he does best

He just went to Dollywood with his Aunt, Uncle and three cousins. That’s about an hour from here. I’ve not heard if he introduced them to his new space time continuum. He must not have because I think they would have mentioned it. Plus he was asleep before they got to the car for the ride home and he never woke up as I undressed and then dressed him for bed. The kid gets his snooze time.

We just walked our Sac putting Christmas cards in neighbor’s mailboxes. One box was around the corner and down the road a bit. Frank says, “Daddy that’s a long way.”

“Don’t say it Frank.”

“Daddy that’s as far as the beach.”

Although not so far as to keep him from running the entire way to the mailbox and then back to the house. All of a sudden it was as far away as the beach for me and I felt like I was running in sand. May be time for a fitness blog.

Anyway.

Of all the memories I would have liked him to bring back from the beach, the mind numbingly long car ride was not one of them. I mean he still remembers the hole in one he dropped on me at the miniature golf course. He clearly remembers me getting hit in the face with two blasts from a water cannon when our shots on 18 missed the mark. An event he brings up often, although he leaves out the part about one of those blasts being meant for him. Speed kills but short stays dry I guess.

Unfortunately the memory permanently saved to his hard drive is the long ride to the beach.

I’m not sure the people at The Kroger realize how far away their store has become when measured on beach travel time or BTT.

I can’t wait to see how he reacts to the two hour plane ride next year.

 

 

 

The Night before an Obamacare Christmas

This is the work of my broadcast partner. We host apolitical blog called Unfiltered & Unfettered. I don’t care what your politics are, this is pure genius and funny as hell to boot. Read this and you will be smarter.

Unfiltered and Unfettered

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Obamacare soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of check-ups danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When on my laptop there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the desk I flew like a fiend,
Hit the on button, and threw up the screen.

The view on my screen looked like new-fallen snow
Which gave the lustre of disfunction to the browser, you know,
When, to what to my wondering eyes should appear,
It was healthcare.gov, but it didn’t look very clear.

My…

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Diary of a SAHD: So this is Christmas

Growing up in a big family made holidays a lot of fun, especially Christmas. With 5 sisters and 2 brothers, there was always something going on. It really was a blast and I have some great memories of Christmas as a kid.

Mays Landing NJ Christmas  1967

Mays Landing NJ, Christmas 1967

Here we all are, Christmas 1967. Well not all of us. I was born that August so my little sister, The Warden, was three years away. We were/are just what you’d expect. A big Italian, Catholic family.

My Grandmother (dad’s/Italian side) usually stayed with us for a few weeks over Christmas before she eventually moved in. That always made for some fun in the kitchen as she would try to teach my older sisters how to bake. I remember a few older great Uncles or cousins around too.

The house was jumpin from early December right through New Year’s day. It stayed that way even after we all started to move out.

Mays Landing NJ, Christmas 2004

Mays Landing NJ, Christmas 2004

Here is a shot from 2004. Seven again as The Warden is here but my oldest brother is missing from this picture. Don’t ask. I’d have to start an entirely different blog to deal with that.

No matter, Christmas is always at the house.

Until now. I live in Knoxville TN, some 660 miles away. Christmas is still at the house in Jersey, I just attend by Skype. The place is mobbed too. A whole new generation sprang up. My new generation sprang up in Knoxville. Both kids born and likely will be raised in the south, hundreds of miles from the house where I grew up. Light years from all the memories.

One of the conditions of having children was they would do holidays in their own house. I was hoping Christmas would be fun for Frank, that he would get something similar to what I had. It’s been fun. I mean, he’s just one kid, he plays quietly for the most part. He’s a little weird. Goes very slowly with the opening of presents. Any candy he gets he passes around the room before he takes one. Freak.

But still, he was an only child. The effect of not having siblings became obvious when he started pre-school at the age of two. Something I was completely against, and consequently completely wrong about. The boy needs to be around kids his own age more than he needs to hang with me all day.

Now it's Christmas Season

Now it’s Christmas Season

Here he is at the school Christmas program. That big smile is the norm. The goofy dress with the bow isn’t the norm, regardless of what the Sac moms say.

Anyway, it looks like the memories will be a bit better this year. In fact they already are. He has a sister now, a sister who can run and yell and tear up his stuff. Christmas morning should be a lot more fun this year.

The school program was just the start. AM got to come to that and for the first visit to a church since her baptism she did great. Literally sat quiet for the whole program, about 30 minutes total.

The matching dresses is a little disconcerting.

The matching dresses is a little disconcerting.

Turned out edible too

Turned out edible too

Mrs Frank’s Place has also had them in the kitchen baking. They really look like they know what they’re doing. Frank only kicked AM off the step stool once. That’s a win folks.

They did pretty well for their first attempts at a pie made from scratch. While they bake like their mother, dirtying every freaking baking utensil, pan, measuring apparatus, etc…, the overall mess was much less than I expected.

Crucial, because I’m clean up crew.

We’ve even been to this fantasy of trees thing-a-ma-bob at the convention center in Knoxville. Snowed like crazy that day too. Really got the old Christmas blood pumping.

Frank wasn’t a fan, but Anne Marie was.

Wait, you mean I can't touch any of it? I don't get it.

Wait, you mean I can’t touch any of it? I don’t get it.

The place looked a lot like a hotel lobby until you got into the main hall. That caused Frank to go looking for the pool. We’ve taken him to Jersey quite a few times. He knows hotels have pools and he gets to swim in them.

So he was a little out of sorts for a bit, once he accepted our hard truth about the pool, or lack there-of.  He warmed up eventually, but AM was eyeballing the place from start to finish.

We were feeling pretty good about the convention center thing. We decided to tempt fate and let them both help put the tree up.

The reality is this, it could go 99 different ways and only one of those ways is good.

So it was either dumb luck or a Christmas miracle that both kids played nice and obeyed almost the entire time and the tree never went horizontal. I handed them an ornament, they ran to the tree to put it on. Then they ran back for another one. Tracy was at ground zero making sure all the ornaments didn’t end up on the bottom foot and a half of the tree, but for the most part they did it all themselves.

I’m not kidding. I have pictures.

Look.

The traditional pre-tree trimming pizza.

Going two fisted.

Going two fisted.

Trump could learn a thing or two from this kid.

Trump could learn a thing or two from this kid.

 

After a quick wardrobe change to their jammies it’s on to the tree!

Hat and all, just like a little Kringle.

Hat and all, just like a little Kringle.

Hip check by Frank...

Hip check by Frank…

...hip check has no impact. She's still on her feet!

…hip check has no impact. She’s still on her feet!

 

After the hip check incident of 2013 it was oddly civilized the rest of the night.

Mrs Frank’s Place threw on some music and we were all moving like a well oiled machine.

Well they were, I was just laying by the ornament bin like it was the company water cooler. My traditional position when work is occurring. Someone has to be the anchor.

I don't care if you're trying to beat Frank. One ornament at a time.

I don’t care if you’re trying to beat Frank. One ornament at a time.

Nice try bro. One to a customer.

Nice try bro. One to a customer. Note 2nd wardrobe change for midget 1.

 

So the second midget has been a much needed addition to the Christmas festivities. The first midget may push her down a lot, but he’s awful glad she’s here.

It will be interesting to see if Frank picks up the pace unwrapping gifts when he sees the Tasmanian Devil shredding hers.

And she will. She already found one by complete happenstance. I only know because I heard the ripping of paper.

It’s not an official time, I think it was wind aided. It was laying near the vent and the heat was blowing on it. But she skinned that cat somewhere in the 4.6-5.1 sec time frame.

Christmas morning should be a lot more fun when she finishes her stuff and goes to work on Frank’s.

This is feeling dangerously close to “Careful what you wish for” territory.

Ah well, here’s to memories in the making.

 

 

 

Diary of a SAHD: Pain don’t hurt

I think I may have alluded to Anne Marie’s very weird pain threshold. We first started to notice it this summer. Once she got her gallop on and could run the street with her big brother and his friends she would fall down, as most of them would. Our Sac* is not breeding the next Baryshnikov, that much I’m sure of. Anyway, as Anne Marie would hit the deck and invariably take a chunk out of her knee she would pop back up and keep running. The blood running down her leg was apparently only a concern to her parents.

Mrs Frank’s Place is an over-reactor. I can be one as well, but in the Sac I play it cool. You know, retired military and all that. Don’t want to ruin my rep as a efficient killing machine/defender of freedom and what not. In this particular case I think I noticed it before Tracy did. It wasn’t that Anne Marie didn’t cry, it was that she appeared be unaware she had cut herself at all.

The hand is not the injury.

The hand is not the injury.

Man if Frank had cut his knee like that we’d still be changing his bandage and the neighbors would be tired of looking at his “boo boo” every ten minutes.

I offer this photo as proof of my son’s drama-itis.

This was Frank after surgery to remove a cyst on his right ear lobe. He was two I think.

Don’t get distracted by the look on his face. He’s trippin on the after effects of Versed or silly juice and his fourth banana popsicle. Note the bandage on his left hand. It was to hold the IV in place during surgery. It was supposed to come off when we got home that day. He wore it for a week. His left hand was immobile for some reason. He held it out like a wounded claw – for a week. His hand magically returned to normal when we finally coaxed him into taking the damn thing off.

I know for a fact Anne Marie wouldn’t react like this. I watched the docs and nurses poke, stick, and prod her for months. They took blood a lot. When they did, the dude in the red scrubs would slap a warmer on her foot to get the blood flowing, making it easier to draw. The blood people wore red scrubs, that had to be an on purpose ironic choice. After a while she would get worked up when she felt the warmer on her foot. After a few months she would get worked up when she saw the red scrub guys. But towards the end she didn’t react much when they stuck her.

I didn’t think much of it and I may be remembering it wrong, it was a bit of a blur. But when I watch her close her hand in the accordion door on the hall closet and calmly open the door and run off, it makes me wonder. When she slams her hand in the drawer on the coffee table she doesn’t cry, she looks pissed because she’s stuck.

The speech therapist and OT, and some other mom type experts in the Sac, feel like it’s something she will grow out of. The doc all but confirmed this yesterday when she went for her 18 month check up, 3 months late. Kids have a switch she says, at 6 months they have no fear then a switch flips and everything hurts. That’s true with Frank. He got the flu mist when AM got a needle in the thigh. She didn’t blink, he acted like he’d been hit with a taser. So maybe AM’s switch is a little delayed. OK I can buy that. That’s what the Sac moms said anyway.

It’s possible, the doc says, she did build a tolerance to pain while in the NICU. Sac moms offered this up as well. Maybe I’m paying the wrong people for pediatric care.

I am having a harder time with the pain tolerance theory. I always thought pain tolerance had to be a conscious effort. But what do I know, I’m a soft, middle aged, retiree.

The doc is explaining all this as she readies a pin to stick AM in the finger to get blood. Yeah, not a peep. Not during the stick, not during the squeezing of the finger to get blood to flow, not during the continual wicking type maneuver they use to get blood into the little midget container. I usually am proud during these moments because the place is filled with screams from kids being tortured. But her lack of response to any of it is starting to creep me out.

Of course I say all that but when laid on her back for inspection she freaks out. Needle in the leg, no problem. Nurse lays her down to check stuff out where there is no pain involved at all, not even a cold stethoscope, she acts like she’s being deep fried.

After the nurse laid her down to do the cursory exam, we waited for the doc. During that time AM gets my wallet out, pours it on the floor and comes up with my drivers license. Then goes to her bag and gets the keys to the van and heads for the door. I asked where she was going and she said, “Home!” She was done with laying on the exam table. So I watched. Just as I’m thinking no way she gets the door open, she gets the door open. Rachel who is a nurse practitioner really but doc is easier to say, intercepted her in the hall way. AM came into the room backing up the entire way, looking up at Rachel. I expected them both to be holding six shooters, the stand off was that epic.

Can't a sister just eat some ice in peace?

Can’t a sister just eat some ice in peace?

We are taking her to see her developmental pediatrician in a week. The lady has a fancier and more accurate title but I can’t think of it. Mrs Frank’s place will yell it out for the 100th time as soon as she reads this.

For now, aside from AM not knowing when she’s really injured and thus endangering herself even more, it could be a pretty cool super power. Especially in a cul-de-sac full of boys.

Frank, Bennett, Jack, and Grant, you fellas better toughen up.

Might be a new sheriff in the Sac.

*Sac – the name all of us on our street gave our cul-de-sac. We have t-shirts. Yes we are that cool.