Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chapter 2, The Physical Prowess of Sadie

Let's see. She must have been three and a half. Shockingly, what I found in her room, could have killed her, easily. Now, I can be amazed at how her determination, creativity, dexterity, imagination and keen skills of manipulation converged together in this single event.

Sadie had a strong affinity for the Flintstone vitamins we kept on the highest shelf of our tall kitchen cabinets. She was a tiny little thing for her age, but with amazing fine motor skills and physical flexibility.

I entered her bedroom to clean up what was always the Sadie-tornado-induced disaster. I approached the little round play kitchen and saw a white piece of plastic with jagged edges sitting in the play microwave. I picked it up, it was clearly a lid with some of the surrounding pieces of plastic intact. I began to search around for other clues to this mystery. It didn't take long to find it. Hidden underneath her freshly painted white desk was the remainder of the large plastic bottle of vitamins and a very sharp kitchen knife.

Here is what she accomplished sometime in the previous day or so. She had scrambled onto the kitchen counter, stood on tip toes to retrieve the "child-proof" bottle of vitamins (which by the way are chocked full of iron). She then scrambled to another counter to procure a sharp kitchen knife from the butcher block holder. At some point she took both items up the long stairway to her room. Then, she proceeded to use the sharp kitchen knife to completely cut through the very thick plastic bottle and ultimately cut the entire lid off, creating two pieces. She achieved this without a single cut or injury to herself.

In my panicked discovery, I quickly grabbed the phone and dialed poison control. The overdose of iron could be deadly. Because this was the "Costco" version of the bottle, there was no way to tell exactly how many had been ingested. I was instructed to quiz Sadie on how many she took. Sadie calmly answered me, "Mommy, I just took 1/2 pill a day, just like I 'posed to. I used the knife to cut them into two." Of course. The child who goes to all the trouble to obtain the vitamins, breaking every rule in our house, will at least follow the instructions on the bottle.

The operator was very kind and after discussing the time frame of the incident we gathered that she was most likely ok. However, I was instructed to watch her like a hawk, which clearly I had not been doing, and to go to the emergency room if a slew of reactions began to present themselves.

And, where was I when all of this was happening? Who knows, really. I mean, it is not like I left her alone for long periods of time. I best surmise it happened while I was in the shower and getting ready one morning. I am sure there are a few "new" mothers freaking out about now, but seriously, what is the likelihood this entire scenario would play out? We are talking a 3-1/2 year old.

Which leads me to another point...what does this say about my child? That she is persistent, determined and has an amazing ability to not only know what she wants, but can work through the steps on how to achieve it. Granted, this skill was not channeled in a direction I would have chosen, but I am trying to find the positive in what easily could have been disaster.

I have seen this same skill set played out over and over in her brief life. At age 18 months, not yet potty-trained, she took her diaper off. Picked up the poo contained within, and crammed it into the little toy potty in her dollhouse that Santa had dropped off just 5 months previous. At least she understood where is was supposed to go, right?

Sometime when Sadie was around 17 months old, I was cleaning out winter clothes, switching in summer ones. There were a few bathing suits in a box. While I was putting clothes in the drawers, Sadie completely undressed herself and adorned herself, correctly I will add, with a bathing suit. She even reached down and put her own socks back on her feet. At 17 months.

When she was 4, she could shimmy across the monkey bars, the big kid monkey bars, all by herself. She taught herself how to swing her legs left and right to propel her body forward. I recall in the spring of 2007, we visited friends in D.C. and rode the metro. Not content to sit in the chairs, my child held on to the poles that help you remain steady when standing, you know, when all the seats are full. Quickly, she began to "work" that pole, skimming up and down, slinging around, twirling. All I wished at that moment was that it was not an indication of her future profession.

When she was barely 5, she came running into the house shouting, "Mommy, I just rode Ethan's bike!" I grabbed the camera and went outside. Yep, she taught herself how to ride a big kid's bike without training wheels...all by herself.

Recently, at age 6, she attempted to climb a rock climbing wall. Never having participated in such a feat, she was immediately infatuated with giving it a go. She quickly scrambled to the top, almost reaching the bell, and then became stuck. Instead of whimpering and panicking like most of the people before her, she simply lowered herself back down to the mid-way point. She reassessed the entire wall, calculated her new route and headed right back up in a newly determined path to ring that bell.

And, I watched her yesterday at the Great Wolf Lodge, tackling some plastic lily pads floating in the water. There were ropes above you to help you maneuver across the pool on the pads. Picture an obstacle course on water. Many failed before her, and some were challenged. Not Sadie. Quickly, with skill and agility, she made it look very easy. Her mother was not so lucky.

I am sure I could comb through her baby book and add many other stories. I am also positive that many reading this could, too. It is that confidence, that complete lack of fear that scares me, yet allows me to probably give her a bit more freedom than most children her age. I laugh, but with some seriousness say to people...Sadie has the ability to set the world on fire, literally or figuratively. My prayer is for the latter!

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