It’s taken me a few days to post about Eli’s birthday because after celebrating the day thoroughly and well (a party with many good friends and cupcakes; a party with just the four of us and a chocolate layer cake), the wheels sort of came off the cart there for a couple days.
First, there was the dislocated elbow–totally my fault–this has happened to both boys before; I should know by now they are too heavy for their loose ligaments and it doesn’t do to swing them around by their hands. Luckily it doesn’t take more than a minute at the doctor to pop the elbow back in place, and it doesn’t seem to hurt a whole lot either. (Or else Eli is just a big stoic). But still, you know, the guilt…
Then came the disintegration of the lovey blanket, which we’ve been watching for some time now, but couldn’t figure out quite how to address. Well, I bought a spare lovey, but I didn’t think that was really going to be acceptable, so it’s been sitting in the closet. And then yesterday morning the patch, the label that he particularly loves, came off the lovey. I put it in my pocket for safe-keeping, while I tried to come up with a repair plan.
Not an hour later, Eli went to his blanket, as he does periodically throughout the day, and started turning, turning, turning it, looking for the patch. I watched a moment, unsure, and then pulled it from my pocket and offered it to him. He stared at it, wide-eyed, then looked at me and burst into tears. He wailed. He cried the big, gasping sobs of a child whose puppy has just died.
I thought he was going to hyperventilate, or throw up. I have never seen either of my boys cry so long and so hard. He wept for a solid hour, until Ben (bless him, such a guy sometimes) picked his head up from his intricate drawing and came over to assess the situation: Eli sobbing, me ineffectually trying to distract or comfort him.
“Hey, little bear,” Ben said, “Can I read you a book?”
Eli paused, just long enough for Ben to decide that reading was probably a good idea, and so he began, and Eli listened, hiccuping a bit, and slowly calming down.
I kept the spare lovey in the closet. Turns out Tony can sew well enough, and he restored the patch to its former spot on the blanket, with a few extra, reinforcing stitches.
And Eli has had a taste of a couple life lessons (pain, disappointment, loss), but happily just toddler size portions of these lessons. I think the taste of chocolate cake is probably still stronger.