What do chimpanzees, Rory Brookbank and car dealership air dolls have in common? All three seem to always have their hands stretched in the air, reaching for the sky like cowboy criminals, seeking balance in a constantly shifting world. Quinn, always the polar opposite, can be found marching full boar ahead (literally marching….but it’s sort of the way you’d imagine a drunk would march…gut punched out, arms draped at side, barely moving, eyebrows crunched, feet scooting along). It honestly looks like she’s imitating some sort of caveman or Mr. Magoo.
Rory runs around, arms held high, screaming. Quinn shuffles behind him at top speed, arms dangling lifelessly while she laughs. They both turn at the same time and collide, their skulls and faces mashing into one another’s with a clunk and then they both drop to the ground. Jade and I wait a moment….was it bad enough for….the silent scream?…which is then followed by the piercing scream? No. Collateral damage was minimal. Weird walking may commence.
The way they trip over one another, bounce into each other and fall together, it’s like living with The Three Stooges minus one. Yesterday Quinn was sitting on the couch when Rory casually walked up and stared at her. He reached up and Quinn leapt forward and hugged his head like some creature from the Alien movies. She squeezed and laughed and he laughed and she leaned forward and he leaned back and you could see the accident coming. She was going to fall off the couch face first into the hard wooden floors and Rory was going to go down with her. I leapt up, shot across the couch and caught Quinn’s arm JUST as she passed the tipping point. She still tumbled. She still hit her head, though it was on my leg instead of the floor and Rory still just walked away. Quinn looked visibly shaken, like gravity had just had the audacity to give her a slap across the face. Honestly, she almost seemed offended at the thought.
That said, not all accidents in Casa de Brookbank are so clean. One of Rory’s newest tricks is opening and slamming gates, doors, cupboards, cabinets, pretty much anything with a latch. We saw that and went, “It’s only a matter of time before fingers get smashed” AND IT’S TRUE! The rule of horses and motorcycles also applies to twins with a penchant for hinges; it’s not IF you get hurt…it’s WHEN. And “when” was a few weeks ago. Rory was playing with the front door, opening it, shutting it, opening it, shutting it, now you see me, now you don’t type business and then Quinn wanted to get in on it and then…well, I was actually at work when it happened so it’s hard for me to fill in the blanks but I would assume it looked something like this…
Quinn, “Oh, hiya Rory. Whatchya doin’?”
Rory, “Just playing with the door. Wanna try?”
Quinn, “Sure. How do you do it?”
Rory, “It’s easy. Just put your finger right there.”
Quinn, “Right here?”
Rory, “That’s it. Now close your eyes.”
Quinn, “Like th- AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”
From there it’s pretty much bottled chaos. The nail sort of broke in two and looked really gnarly but she gets to keep the finger so that’s good news, I suppose. It’s hard to hit those “E” keys on your keyboard without the middle finger.
I wonder if you all just looked at your keyboard and mimed doing the “E” movement…I did.
A few weeks previous to THAT little incident I was staying up, watching a movie when I started to hear Rory cough, cough, cough, wheeze, cough…silence…wheeze, wheeze, cough….cough, cough. And I don’t really mean “cough” in the traditional sense. Imagine a seal barking…after being kicked in the nuts. It was horrible. I jumped up and grabbed him and find that he’s got a fever and he obviously sounds terrible so I run to Ralph’s to pick up some medication and by the time I get back he’s worse and worse and so we call Kaiser’s help desk. Basically they have this hotline that you call and you can troubleshoot your issue with someone who is neither a doctor OR a nurse and knows very little about very little.
So we give her his symptoms and she asks us some questions and asks us about his temperature and blah blah blah and finally we put the phone up to Roar so that she can hear what he sounds like and she says, in her calmest, most Sunday school teacher voice, “Okay. Well, judging by what you’ve told me and by what I’m hearing from him now, my suggestion would be to get off the phone and immediately dial 911.
Jade and I look at each other and both mouth, “What?”.
“You need to dial 911 and an ambulance will come pick you up”.
Long story short, we tell her that we live right down the street and that we can drive ourselves and it’s probably faster for us to just load up and go. We leave out the part about how worthless / expensive an ambulance ride would be for six blocks. So we rush out of the house, forgetting mostly everything that one would generally need for a proper baby outting. We fly down the street (safely, of course). We charge up to the E.R. and then…….we wait….because at the end of the day, an E.R. is just another waiting room.
Eventually they call his name and they take us into a back room and the nurse says she needs to take his temperature anally and I say, “Oh, do the electronic ones that you brush on their foreheads not work? That’s what we use” and the nurse, she says, “Oh no. Those work just fine.”
It’s 2012, ladies and gentlemen. We HAVE the technology to eradicate anal thermometers but Kaiser just prefers them, I guess. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, I suppose…even if that trick is shoving a glass tube into a stranger’s fart hole.
Jade and Rory go into the back while Quinn and I stay in the waiting room – they want to keep babies as far from “The Sick Area” as possible for obvious reasons. Quinn slowly makes her rounds, making friends with everyone and charming all the people, men and women alike. She finds golfing magazines and tears articles out, presumably to read for later….way later…..like after she’s learned to read later.
We practiced walking, she peed her pants, I realized then that we didn’t have the necessities to change her and I didn’t want to leave, even if we were so close because I didn’t know when they were going to be done. Jade didn’t get reception in the back so my calls were fruitless, my battery was dying and I didn’t have my phone charger. It was the perfect storm.
Finally Jade calls me and says she’s going to be two more hours (it’s about 2am) at this point and says that I should just go home, change Quinn, put her to sleep and then she’d call when they were ready to be picked up. Now, I hated to leave them at the hospital alone but I’ve got a kid soaked in pee and who knows what else and she’s been marinating for about the last 90 minutes – sometimes being a parent is about choosing the better of two evils.
So I pack up and I split out and I get home and I decide that I’ll change Quinn, put her to bed and then hang out – just so I’m suffering alongside the family, mind you. I’ve JUST finished changing Quinn and am getting out a bowl of cereal (I haven’t even put her down yet) when Jade calls and says, “We’re done. Come and get us.” And so I do. I load Quinn BACK up and head out and am back to the hospital within twenty minutes from the point when I left.
I pull up to the curb and Jade exits the building with Rory wrapped in a blanket, wearing no clothes underneath and it’s then that I realize how fragile they are. Yes, they are human and they are resilient and they can fall and collide and run and crash and burn….but a little tiny bug gets in their system and things get very real and very serious and it’s very scary watching your child cough so hard that he begins to gag and can’t breathe and there’s nothing you can do to help. You just hold him and you squeeze him and you watch and you pray. You rub his back because it makes you feel better. Doing something makes you feel better. You rub their back and you pray to God that he’s going to be okay and all the worst ideas go through your brain so you pray harder.
And in the end, you – Rory – are okay. Both of you are okay. You are healthy – save for one wonky fingernail – but you are alive and you are well and you are happy. I can tell because Rory’s hands are held high.
RAISE THE ROOF!