My son was a hero when he had his tonsils out.
I did my best to make it more interesting than traumatic and even got him an early Halloween Superman costume to wear when he came back from the recovery room.
He was actually looking forward to the surgery (first and last time I was ever able to use that ruse!) He knew what a hero was because he watched Superman on TV.
The doctor and nurse who came to talk to me after his surgery were laughing so hard as they approached that they could only choke out their story.
Apparently, it went this way in the operating room as the gas mask was lowered onto my son’s face. He reached up, sedated and bleary-eyed, and gently pushed the mask and anaesthetist’s hand aside. He was so very clear and serious, they reported, when he said, brow furrowed deeply, “do we have to do this … today?” and that was all before the medications took effect and “out” he went … He came home that day flying … in his Superman costume and his heart.
In another story of my son’s struggle for understanding, I got a frantic call at work one day from his daycare worker asking “what in Heaven’s name” he might want — he was running around so concerned and asking to have a “B.M.”!
He was only three and no one really thought such a term would be used properly by him and they have no idea to what extent he had, apparently, absorbed my health care jargon in his short little life.
In any case, poor guy, I had not taught him any other term except B.M. for toilet events of that type (a bowel movement) — he did not know any of the more frequently-used references like “No. 2” and “poo” and the workers did not recognize his term.
Yes, he was a dangerous combination of adult language skills and an excellent understanding of medical terms!
My son was (and is) always comfortable talking to anyone, of any age, at any time. He was in French Immersion in most of his school years and, to my delight one day, he started talking in French to a couple of teenagers sitting near us in a restaurant.
They reported afterward that his French was very good and more Parisian than French Canadian. That was interesting.
Oh, and another splash he made in his youth was to call 911 from a pay phone as he had been instructed to do if he has a serious problem and/or feels scared.
The problem was … his problem — “well, it’s raining hard and my mom said she would be here to pick me up and she isn’t and I’m scared so will you come and get me?”
It was a problem, indeed, when the RCMP showed up at the cub camp he had called from looking for an abandoned child!
“That’s my boy!”
Colleen Crossley is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.