Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Dandy One

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dandy One

(My father helping Erik blow bubbles. Erik calls the large bubbles "dandy ones.")

I had a good day today. I don't seem to have many these days. It was rather lovely.

Despite the heat, autumn is in the air. There is the scent of earth and ailing foliage baking in the hot sun. This warm mixture of death and life fills my nostrils. I roll down the windows in my vehicle and let all of it into my lungs. I drive past my old schools, one of which has recently been razed to make way for a new one, and feel more than a little nostalgic. Last week I drove past the ancient brick building that housed my fourth grade physical education class and had flashbacks of running laps over the glossy wooden floor. My gym instructor sometimes wore paint on her face that make her look like a rather fetching version of Gene Simmons. If the boys didn't behave, she would kiss them and leave black and white smudges on their cheeks. These days that kind of stunt would trigger a multimillion dollar lawsuit. Now that I think about it, she was probably the last gym teacher I had that was remotely interested in kissing boys, anyway.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Erik continues to do well off dairy. He refuses to consume soy milk but will eat soy yogurt and cheese. His bowel issues have almost completely resolved. He has discovered the joy of asking more complex questions. He has queried, "Are you ready to go now?" and "Do you watch Elmo?" He seems to be realizing that these kinds of questions start conversations much more effectively than random words (Boppa! Monster trucks! Wheels!) or rumbling engine sounds, which previously made strangers squint in confusion and look to me for translation. He still tells jokes that make sense only to him, and he laughs hysterically at them. He is amazing. His motor skills are still horrendous, and he doesn't show signs of substantial improvement in this area, but he gets around quite well if he is not distracted. Once he is outside in a bustling environment, he tends to stumble and fall more. Amazingly, it looks like soccer comes naturally to him. While he can dart about kicking a ball, he seems quite annoyed when the concept of passing it back and forth is suggested.
He has finally mastered the stairs in our house. I will never forget his therapist walking him up and down our stairs over and over. His legs just didn't seem to work the way they should, and I dreaded this exercise because it seemed hopeless to me. When her Subaru used to pull out of the driveway, I would burst into tears. I still remember this well and detest our stairs, although Erik now races up and down them at light speed, sometimes not even bothering to use the handrail. He has only fallen once.
I got his little plastic blocks out the other day, bracing myself for yet another disappointment, and he actually stacked the dang things for the first time. He was shaky, but he did it and seemed annoyed when I tried to help, which I was pleased to see. He obsesses less about wheels and more about sprinklers, talking about sprinklers and sprinkler-related paraphernalia each time we leave the house or drive past a park. He wants to go next door to see the neighbors' sprinklers and asks me over and over if they will be on, sometimes as soon as he opens his eyes in the morning. The last time we went to a playground, he was merely interested in playing with the drinking fountain, using the slide and equipment only to humor me.
Erik's echocardiogram is scheduled for the 18th of November. There is no way we will be able to get him to lie still for the study, so sedation will likely be necessary. I will be fine after the study but will feel intermittently nauseated for weeks until that date comes and goes. If all goes well, we only have one more year of annual heart checks. Hallelujah.

Tonight we just finished my father's birthday dinner, and the house smells like meatloaf and potatoes. I stuck a candle into the glistening crust of a freshly-baked apple pie my mother made, and we sang "Happy Birthday." Erik sang the loudest. He loves birthdays. If you ever want him to sing to you on yours, just give me a call, and I'll put him on for you.

All in all, it was a very good day.

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Blogger Laura said...

Love the picture!!
I'm glad he's doing better off the dairy.
That's funny about the soccer. Michaela was amazing to watch play, she really had great skills and would have done wonderfully if it were an individual sport.....she didn't want to give up the ball, ever!
I will be keeping you in my thoughts for Erik's echo in Nov.
A big Happy Birthday to your dad!

I'm definately calling Erik on my birthday....I'm sure Michaela would get a kick out of him singing to her, too!!!!!

2:46 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

It is so funny, the similarities. Noah loves birthdays too. He sings "happy tuesday" though.:) I would kill for him to greet people with "boppa" or "monster trucks" instead of cracking them a good one. This is how we currently start conversations. Nice huh? You leave me such hope for the future especially where the stairs are concerned. I do think some of the problem is his height too. Sounds like Erik is doing great, and so are you. Glad to hear it.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I dandy day I would say(:Try rice milk, I rather like it, especially in coffee. I use it on Avery when she is having tummy issues and she drinks it. Hey if I have time I am gong to compile a new cd for you(: You da best! YAY on steps and blocks!!

7:03 AM  
Blogger jbgrinch said...

progress, mesured in inches niot feet but still progress. This is what my daughters teachers says when she speaks of Hope and her ability to sit still and work in class. yet she still seems to be able to learn and keep up with the class. Eric is growing up and he will make progress. Breath and enjoy the small things.

with love and prayers

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Auntie Cinnamon said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo!!! Happy Birthday too Boppa, I can hear Erik singin away! So precious that Erik has his Boppa and Gua! Your parents are gems girl!!!

BIG hugs to you all!

And a BIG Happy Birthday to Boppa from all of us here! :)

11:44 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

That post was "a dany one" - the gym teacher thing totally made me laugh out loud! I am glad he is making so much progress...that is fabulous! I understand the anticipation of the cardiology appt. - no words of wisdom there. Ari loves birthdays too, the singing, the balloons, the's heaven to her!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

That post was "a dany one" - the gym teacher thing totally made me laugh out loud! I am glad he is making so much progress...that is fabulous! I understand the anticipation of the cardiology appt. - no words of wisdom there. Ari loves birthdays too, the singing, the balloons, the's heaven to her!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gua said..
Omigosh he's great! We really, really enjoyed Erik today.. as we had the last of the birthday pie (who needs a cake every year), and Erik was ready to jump into his piece, Boppa asked Erik if he was going to sing Happy Birthday Dear Boppa. Erik said, "No." and was into his pie with both hands. What a guy!

Love, Mom

8:33 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

I, too, loved the picture. I'm thrilled at all of Eriks progress, and that YOU had a good day.

I am a tad jealous that you're getting the fall already. It's but a dream here. :)

11:01 AM  
Blogger camille said...

hi friend :) glad you had a good day, i love when they come around too. the picture with those dandy bubbles is amazing. very frameable. i love that erik is racing up the stairs and starting to ask more in depth questions. and you know what, i might just call you on my birthday to hear his sweet little voice. thinking of you :)

1:06 PM  

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