Viking Fun

Fifteen Dollar Happiness Only Lasts So Long

At this point, C.J. isn’t exactly athletic. He’s good with rhythm and movement and loves gymnastics. He especially hated (or hates, depending on the day) riding his bike. He’s more Paul Hamm than Lance Armstrong (doping or not).

Last week we were outside riding bikes with the neighbor boys. C.J. is new to riding his bike with training wheels and just recently agreed to get on the thing without yelling “Too high! Too scary!” in rapid succession until removed.

The four boys were enjoying the freedom of the open road when C.J. crashed (it was more of a tip, but we’ll call it a crash here for dramatic purposes). I ran over to him and he lay, on his side in the same bike-riding position, hands on handlebars, feet on pedals. He did not try to break his fall. The thought, apparently, didn’t even cross his mind.

I got him and his bike to the curb as the tears stopped and he told him that he needed to lie down on the couch. Okay, easy enough, I laid him on the couch, turned on the T.V. and went to check on his brother. A few minutes later C.J. came out of the house with his right arm hanging lifeless at his side looking like Bob Dole. I joked with my neighbor that for preschool the next day I would dress him in a suit and put a pen in his hand.

An hour later we were at the hospital. And me, the wise-cracker, was being told that my son, Bob Dole Jr., had a dislocated elbow that needed to be popped back into place. Jokes over I guess.

Three hours of specialists, x-rays and C.J. strutting his stuff around the hospital in his favorite Viking hat with long blonde braids and an unzipped hoodie (I couldn’t get his t-shirt back on him after taking it off to evaluate him at home). We got lots of stares, as usual. And, C.J.’s brother’s irritability was increasing. The combination of seeing his brother in pain, waiting patiently in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end and people staring at us was more than he good take.

As we walked to the x-ray department, C.J. thrust his hips and head from side to side excessively to get his braids in full swing. He was wearing a hospital gown because I couldn’t get him to take it off because it was, after all, a gown. A mom in the x-ray department waiting room nudged her two children, pointed C.J. out to them and the whole family started laughing together. I saw red. I looked down and C.J.’s Brother was giving them an evil look that I didn’t know he had in him. They didn’t even notice. We sat down.

“Those people were pointing and laughing at C.J.,” he said as he went back to playing his Nintendo DS. “He’s so embarrassing sometimes.”

“Today isn’t a good day for us,” I said honestly. “But what is worse, C.J. being himself or those people being rude?”

“Both,” he mumbled without looking up.

I was thinking about how I usually try so hard to balance the wants and feelings of my two very different children but that that was hard to do with one in pain and needing some extra attention. The x-ray technician called C.J.’s name.

May you never have to hold your child as they pop one of his/her dislocated bones back into its socket. They gave him an ibuprofen; I needed something stronger. After the cute, I mean qualified, doctor got the bone(s) back into place, he needed to test the range of motion. He grabbed a handful of superhero stickers and held them at different heights for C.J. to grab. C.J. was not about to exert effort for a superhero sticker.

“He doesn’t like superheroes,” I said. The doctor got up to leave the room in search of different stickers. “Get girl stickers,” I shouted after him.

“Who’s he going to give them to?” he asked as he turned back to me, like I thought that now was a good time to collect free stickers for the girls in our life.

“He likes girl stuff,” I said and motioned for the doctor to continue out of the room to get the stickers.

The next day I took C.J. to Target to get some meds and splinting supplies.

“Can I get a toy?” he asked, as he does every time he gets into the red shopping cart.

I usually say no, but, hell, this time the kid deserved a toy. After careful consideration, he selected a pink satin cheerleader uniform with silver sequins and a pink and white pom-pom. If C.J.’s brother thought that the blonde braids and hospital gown were embarrassing, he might not want to come home from the second grade today.

If you were to ask C.J., he might say that the cheerleader uniform was worth the dislocated elbow. He wore that uniform every minute that he was in the house for four days straight. Then it ripped and fell apart, because 15 dollar happiness only lasts so long.

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  • dazzer

    Totally charming.

  • David Gervais

    Note that the dress says “All Star”, a sports phrase. Blended messages. I assume that the manufacturer had in mind moms who wanted their sports minded girls to wear pink, but I think this is a great way to re-interpret that.

    To Mom about Targét: It is never too early to teach ethics. Please explain to C.J. the choices he has to make if he chooses to shop there. You will be surprised (I hope) at how strong a sense of fairness kids have.

  • alienmindtrick

    Here’s to CJ! Wave your Weird Flag proudly! (It’s like a Rainbow Flag, but it has colors that normal people can’t see). I fly mine high, I fly it proudly, and I fly it often.

  • Eric

    @David Gervais:

    While you’re at it you might want to explain the evils of capitalism and our world economy and how it creates a slave labor class. Or how that pink cheer leading uniform was made in a sweat shop in Malaysia, where the little queer kid who made it will grow up to be imprisoned for being gay, and how the US’s capitalistic need for cheap crap keeps trade relations open with countries with horrific human rights records. Or how the gas you used to drive to Target supports a world-wide dependency on oil that relies upon colonialist actions in the Middle East that has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Or how short term losses incurred to giant company (such as a boycott) are absorbed not by CEOs or share holders, but by hourly wage earners (see aforementioned slave labor class). Donating $150,000 to a Republican just seems SO unfair, doesn’t it?

  • David Gervais

    Eric: I deliberately did not say any of those things because it is up to Mom to take my suggestion if she chooses and apply as she sees fit within her own ethical choices and C.J.’s understanding.

    From the columns, I think C.J. would understand about sweatshops, and maybe some others of the points.

    I also want Mom to think about her own choices and what that teaches hers kids. I don’t know their economic circumstances, Targét might be necessary.

    Although we read the stories and care about C.J. and his family, it is not really our place to tell them how to live, even though I couldn’t resist dropping in my two cent’s worth.

  • Jeffree

    Time to bring on the Capri pants and bejeweled shorts— because eventually CJ will need to get back on that bike. When he does, he’ll discover that his longer skirts & gowns aren’t so easy to pedal around town in.

    No one looks attractive with their garments stuck in the chain and torn by the spokes. I’m so Sorry to have to be the one to voice the truth here.

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