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June 27, 2002
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago
four years ago

Short Flight and a Brush With a Cactus

Another stuffed day. It started with two meetings on my part, and then we had to finish packing, cleaning the house for the housecleaners and then we headed out to DIA.

Jet got to stay with Joan for the morning, though they had a morning appointment and since we were leaving at noon, they had to drop Jet off before they left. I was in the midst of my meeting when Joan came with Jet, so John took care of him. I also had a few documents that I had to get out and John had some emails he had to do so the morning was really fast.

I did packing between meetings, as the first was only half an hour long. So I got to get everything out that I thought should go with me. John did the packing while I wasn't busy. Jet came home and sat in the sling with me while I got him a smoothie. He drank a good four ounces of it, and then started in on some cookies and fruit snacks. So he got a huge lunch. I'm glad of that, as he didn't eat at all for dinner.

We did the usual drop me and everything including Jet off at the skycap. I got everything checked in while Jet watched from his chair. He'd slept the whole way over, so had a good, hour-long nap. We then went into the terminal and sat to the side. Jet was very quiet, so I just left him strapped into the seat, sat behind him and let him watch the foot traffic along the ticket counters. He was quiet and seemed perfectly content and I read my book for a while.

John showed up and greeted Jet in his usual enthusiastic manner, and Jet yelled back a greeting as well. John then let Jet loose and the man who'd been sitting next to us chuckled as Jet immediately started running away. Hee. I picked up everything else in the car seat and headed off after them. That was pretty cool.

Since we were on the A concourse, we headed towards the bridge. This time the security stations were so efficient that there was nearly no one in line. It was a good thing, too, as we had a lot of trouble getting through. Jet's car seat had to go one way. His diaper bag caught an alert going through the x-ray machine and then the sniffer wouldn't let it pass, either. I imagine that some of the... uhm... organic compounds involved in a diaper bag might have made the mechanical sniffer suspicious. So some poor security guy had to go through every single thing in the diaper bag. He turned up stuff I didn't know we had in there. Wow.

He found a pair of nail cutting scissors in the baby medical pack. They had rounded tips, so they went through, no problem. The security guy looked very relieved when we said that we'd pack everything up for them.

By this time I was shaking a little, and I needed lunch. So we headed to the Quizno's and had lunch there. It was good to sit down and eat something substantial. Jet, of course, ignored the sandwich completely and had some chips and pop. But after his substantial breakfast, I didn't really worry too much about it. So we got on the plane refreshed and ready.

It was only an hour long flight. That's what John kept telling me, as the flight itself was filled with turbulence, and Jet didn't like getting stuck in the seat after being able to run around like crazy through the terminal. He'd run and run and run, and the plane shook hard enough that he had troubles going to sleep and there was no way we could let him out of his seat. So Jet did get fussy. We distracted him with goldfish, fruit snacks and finally at the end of the flight, we just took him out of the seat and I nursed him. He promptly fell asleep.

We carried him out of the plane and Emili and Cathie met us at the security area and went with us to baggage claim. Jet just slept quietly through most of the drive to their house. We stopped for ice cream and when everyone piled back into the car, Jet opened his eyes and looked at everyone. It was a very different place than where he went to sleep. But he took it all in quietly. When we got to the house, he clung to me, and I hung onto him.

New places, new people, and lots of new things, so it took him a while to feel comfortable and courageous enough to let go. When he did it was because Emili and Yuri were really cool with him and tempted him out. Eventually he was bouncing with them on the hammock, running around them, and talking to them, a sure sign that he's more comfortable. He didn't let anyone else pick him up, though. He did start exploring more and more while John and I talked with David, Cathie, Emili and Yuri. John and Yuri started playing a chess game.

I saw Jet had decided to be exploratory and he way out on the gravel and I thought he was picking up stones and studying them. Suddenly, Jet started wailing, "Owie! Ooooowwiieee! Owwwiiieeeeee!" I didn't have any shoes on, and so I called him over to me, but he was so distraught with his hand that he refused to come over. Finally, I walked along a concrete retaining wall and got to him and picked him up. He immediately rubbed his hands against my shirt and I caught the hand that he was grabbing with his other hand and looked at it.

Jet's right hand was completely covered with tiny, hair-like cactus spines.

Oh, shit.

Cathie came up with a couple of rolls of tape and John and I got a good hold of Jet's hand and applied the tape and managed to pull out a good number of the tiny pricklies. Jet was still crying whenever he touched anything, though, and we tried doing it some more, but he would scream and pull away every time we applied the tape. Finally, John got a pair of tweezers out and we went after the few that were left. First, he cleaned up the back of Jet's hand.

Then we let Jet play a little while and when it bugged him again, we'd catch him again, and hold him still while we got a few more out. Of course, Jet would scream and cry as we did it. Then we'd let him go again, comfort him with some of the ice cream we'd bought (quote of the day, "And we wonder why, at 30, we go to ice cream for comfort..."). Jet would run off to play with something, pick it up and then start crying again.

This time Jet didn't cry simply when I took his hand. He did still have a few in his hand, but not so many that any touch hurt. I was able to get another dozen stickers out before letting him go again. The next time Jet yelled owie was at the dinner table. Yuri, with his good eyes, gently took Jet's hand and pulled another half dozen stickers out and that seemed to do it for Jet. There weren't any more outbreaks of general crying. Whew.

Of course, my chest and my side and my arms started itching, aching and hurting whenever something brushed them. I finally had to shuck my shirt, change to another one, and even change my shorts. I also used the tape on my arm, side, and chest. It helped, but I finally ended up getting the tweezers as well and pulling a bunch of the little suckers out of my skin, too. I am extraordinarily glad that Jet didn't get any into his eyes when he was rubbing them while crying and he didn't think to try and taste on of the things.

It turns out that there was a cactus that Walt and Cathie got rid of and these were the last pieces of it that were just lying in the gravel. Poor Jet. He probably thought they were a new kind of rock or something, and he loves picking up rocks. He just picked up a really nasty surprise. Both John and I had thought there were just rocks there and that Jet would easily avoid the needle-like cactus pricklies. It was the hair-like, fuzzy ones, though, that weren't obvious that got us and him.

I hated having to hold him down to hurt him to get the pain to stop. There's no explaining that to a toddler. Jet just struggled as hard as he could and we just couldn't let him go, completely. Just do what we could, test to see if it was enough, and if it wasn't, do it again. Yuri later went out to see which ones were the culprit and got a fingerful of the things as well. He, too, was able to use the tweezers to clean them out of his skin.


Dinner was good. Jet cheered up considerably after Yuri got the last and worst of the hair-thin stickers out with a pair of tweezers. Jet didn't eat all that much, but he really enjoyed the attention of Emili and Yuri and David during dinner. He crowed, laughed, bounced, played with his food, and ended up his usual cheerful self. Debbie, who isn't noted for baby love, said that she actually considered Jet to be pretty cute. *grin* I considered telling her that Jet's a Sucker Baby, the baby that's so cute and good he suckers other people into thinking that more kids or other kids are going to be just as great... But Jet had had a very hard evening, and it seemed wrong to belittle his good mood.

Jet had a great evening. He ate much ice cream, danced to "Hamburgers in Paradise", and basked in the cool flow of air from the swamp coolers. David encouraged him to start stacking chess pieces from Yuri's chess set. The rooks made good bases and Jet cheerfully stacked pawns, kings, and queens on top of the rooks. David stacked a VCR case on its side on some pieces and Jet cheerfully put pieces on the top edge of the tape.

Jet's hand control and sense of balance has improved considerably. He was stacking pieces on pieces and moving them around a bit to get them to balance before letting go. His hand is very steady. With all the practice he got, he got even steadier just in the one session with the pieces. By the end of the hour he was doing this, he was plunking kings on rooks without hesitation. I was pretty impressed.

Eventually he came to me and asked to nurse and went to sleep. We tucked him on a pad on the carpet in our room, and he sprawled out and went right to sleep. Tired boy. He was so tired he just slept while we got ready for bed and went in and out of the room repeatedly. No flushing sounds to wake him up.

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