Saturday, June 13, 2009

First memories

When Adriana first brought me the picture of her friend Sam and asked for a story, I was surprised by how much she remembered about last Christmas. I told her about all the children visiting Santa, and she obviously remembered not wanting to be left alone on his lap. And then she told me that Santa brought her a stroller for her baby doll, and that after Christmas, daddy threw the tree off the balcony (better than tracking needles all through the apartment when dragging it out the front door). I was surprised that she remembered so much, but it's obvious that certain things make strong impressions. Brian and I talk sometimes about what will be Adriana's first memory, and it's tempting to think that these fun memories she has of Christmas will be the ones that stick.

Recently we had a borrowed alphabet book that had a picture of an x-ray for the letter X. We read the book over and over, but after a few days, she stopped me from turning to the next page. She studied the picture and said, "Ana get x-ray."

"You did have an x-ray. Do you remember that?" It had been a couple of months since that had happened, and she hadn't mentioned it since, so I was surprised to hear her say something about it.

"Ana sit on table," she reminded me. And then her voice turned worried as she turned to face me, reaching out to grab my arm. "Mom stay with Ana."

I told her that she had been a big girl, and yes, I had stayed right with her the whole time. And I reminded her, just as I had at the time, that Curious George had had an x-ray too. She nodded and let me go on with the book, but as long as we had that book, we had the same conversation whenever we reached that page, and sometimes she would bring me the book just so we could look at that one letter together.

Then we returned the book, and we didn't talk about the x-ray anymore until this past week, when she wanted to read Curious George Goes to the Hospital. We reached the part of the story in which George is getting the x-ray. The man with the yellow hat was given a yellow lead apron to wear, and at that point Adriana said, "Mom wear blue one." She was right. I was given a blue one when she had her x-ray. I was amazed that she remembered that little detail, but it had clearly been an important event, even though she was so good and calm and seemed totally unfazed by it as the time. We went through the conversation about the fact that I didn't leave her several times, and I did my best to reassure her, as she seemed so worried. Later that day when she wanted to read the story again, though, she didn't comment at all on the x-ray. I hoped that she'd gotten the worry out of her system, but on Thursday when an unexplained limp she'd had over the weekend returned, I began to worry. Everything looked fine, but her limp was so noticeable and she was complaining that her leg hurt, so I was leaning toward taking her to the doctor to have her take a look. But I worried that even though I was certain it wasn't broken, the doctor would want to do an x-ray to make sure, and it would be more traumatic this time because this time she would be healthy enough to panic.

Luckily the doctor quickly realized that the pain and stiffness were in Adriana's hip and diagnosed her with toxic synovitis--some inflammation in the hip probably caused by a virus. No x-ray was necessary, and we were sent on our way with instructions to give her some Motrin if it seemed to be bothering her.

But then I ran into another one of Adriana's memories, but this one didn't surprise me at all. On Sunday I had given her some Motrin to help with the pain, and when she didn't want to take it, I promised her that she could watch Elmo on YouTube afterwards. When we got home from the doctor's office, I told Adriana she could have some Motrin for her leg, and she agreed. But as I came towards her with the medicine, she took a step back, and said "Elmo" in a very firm voice, making sure I knew exactly what would come next.

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