Friday, October 17, 2008

Life in My World—Weaning

First, a short rebus story:

Today Cali, Calvin and I went to lunch where Cali ate a


went to WalMart so Cali could buy

When we left WalMart, the nice lady gave us

then we came home and Cali

The end.

In child psychology Dr. Price said that weaning children slowly is like chopping a dog’s tail off an inch at a time. He said you should do it all at once, quick-like, and not prolong the agony. Having heard for many years out my bedroom window the calves and cows freshly weaned from each other bawling steadily for two days and then adjusting and moving on, I thought his advice made sense. So though I had no children, I carefully took notes and when it came time to wean the kids did as he suggested. I have no idea if I still agree with that theory as far as bottles go, but as you know we’re weaned from more than milk . . .

The last three years have been bonus years for Calvin and me as far as Cali is concerned. Cali has been semi-living with us for those years. She graduated in biology because the school she attended didn’t have a bachelor of nursing program. Then she returned to Washington and enrolled in a nursing program. After she graduated, she continued to work in the hospital where she had while going to school. The hospital was 70 miles from here, so she lived with my cousin’s family who lives in the same town as the hospital on the days she worked and here on her days off. After painfully weaning ourselves from constant interaction with her while she went to school in Hawaii, it has been really fun having her close again. Even when she calls me Roommate Jane when she thinks I’m being too bossy.

We’ve always enjoyed Cali’s point of view, even from the time she was little—she sees things very realistically. I learned early on that she usually prefaced her most blunt comments with a large sigh before she spoke them. I also learned to act quickly if I heard that sigh in public. One typical time we were at church. She was probably four years old and sitting a few spaces down the row from me. She had turned around in the bench to watch the teenagers behind us. It was the late eighties and the bangs that reached the ceiling were in style, consequently if you had acne problems they were as visible as your forehead. The meeting had not yet begun and Cali sat staring with her chin resting on her hands. She sat quietly listening to the girls giggle and talk. And then, I heard it. She sighed. A big sigh. I reached for her, but she was out of arm’s length. She said to one of the girls, “Ouch. It looks like your face hurts. I had the chicken pox once like you.” The girl was embarrassed and the others fidgeted. I quit reaching for her and temporarily pretended she wasn’t mine. Acne was the least of personal things that she found to comment on (telling my good friend she had crooked teeth and publicly commenting on the size of people’s backsides were uncomfortable moments as well). She has always been inquisitive and though human behavior fascinated her when she was little, her curiosity has only expanded as her brain has grown. On every walk, even today, she wants to stop and observe a bug or a plant or something floating in the air. She studies e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

Now, having recently paid her school loan, Cali has more mobility and is moving to a bigger hospital to work in their critical care unit. Actually that is only half the truth, the other half is that she has a wonderful friend that she is moving to be closer to. Calvin and I are happy, happy, happy for her and her opportunities, but we have really enjoyed having her home so often the last few years. I thought I was weaned when she went to college. It was painful, but recoverable. I've discovered that was only the first cut. Tomorrow comes cut number two. I'm glad I have a long tail, but my throat is still hot tonight thinking about it.


Lucy said...

The way you see and enjoy your children is such an example, Jane. Way to go, Cali! Bright lights, big city - here you come!

You're right about the bawling cows. The mamas make just as much (o.k....more) noise weeping and wailing as the babies. It's one of those times, I guess, that I'm glad the internet is sound proof:)

Julie said...

We are happy for Cali and her new opportunities and sad for you. I think the "pulling off the bandaid" method is much better fast than slow. Good thing for you there are planes and telephones. Not quite the same but it helps a little.

Anita said...

Oh Jane, you'll be okay! Just think, you'll have 35 of us to hang with in a few weeks! And don't forget it's only about a 3 hour drive to go see Cali!!!


Kim Sue said...

taking notes

Elizabeth said...

You noted this great change so beautifully. How great to have had this bonus time with her.

Carolyn said...

Haha. I was teaching Primary a couple of summers ago and one of the kids asked me if I had chicken pox too! It was at the very start of class and it was terrible!

Cali said...

Thank you Mom,

Thank you for being such an amazing mom and friend. Thank you for your support. Thank you for making it so hard to leave you.

I love you.