Nurse Nelly in Surreal Land

The wee geeklet and I are sick with colds. So while I want to tell you of our exploits in the last week, I am currently feeling rather drippy and cotton-headed. However, we had an interesting experience this afternoon.

Geeklet loves Richard Scarry books. He repeatedly brings home from the library those which we do not have here at home. Currently we have What Do People Do All Day? as our fave read at any given time of day. One of the story vignettes inside involves Abby, a wee bunny girl who is going into the hospital to have her tonsils out. Dr. Lion is her doctor, her nurse is Nurse Nelly, and Abby’s mom is pregnant. Yes, Abby’s mom is a bunny. No, there was no subversive bunny joke intended, I don’t think.

So the way it goes, Abby checks in with her toothbrush and mom says that she has to go, but she’ll be back later with a “surprise” for Abby. Any guesses? Yes. Abby looks out the window sometime after her surgery (which evidently went fine, because Abby’s throat was sore but felt better after pink-flavored ice cream, despite her roommate, a dog who likes to dance on top of the television set). Abby looks out the window and sees her mother being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Abby is convinced her mother is in a hurry to see her. Yet though Abby waits, her mother doesn’t come. (This part makes me sad. She just had surgery and no one is there for her afterwards. Sigh.) Eventually Dr. Lion comes for her with a wheelchair, stating that her mother is there and has a surprise for her. So he takes her to the–surprise!–nursery, where her brand new baby brother is being held. The story ends by insisting that not every child who goes in for a tonsillectomy comes home with a new sibling. Methink they doth protest too much.

So, why am I sharing this? Because this afternoon, the wee guy decided that he is Abby (to my consternation, as he had been a cowboy all day up to this point–it was out of left field and a bit of a sharp turn for Mama de DrippyHeadCold). He needs his tonsils out! He needs to sleep in the hospital and eat ice cream!

Aha, I think. I’m no dumb bunny. I can play Hospital with the wee geeklet, sure no problem. I grab a purple sarong from his playroom and wrap it around my head. A magnifying-glass-on-a-cord became my stethoscope. I greeted him as Dr. Lion and invited him into my office for a check-over.

I swear, he was wiggling with excitement. He reminded me of those people in the audience on the Big Spin. I announced, in my best Dr. Lion voice, that he was off to the hospital. “Where is Nurse Nelly?” he demanded, eyes wide. I assured him that she would meet him at the hospital. From then on, I was Nurse Nelly. Nurse Nelly has purple hair and brings the sun.

Nurse Nelly put on his hospital gown (one of Chris’s shirts, backwards) and settled him into bed among his “roommates” and put the gas mask over his face (a wooden bowl) and greeted him as he awoke. Nurse Nelly brought him “ice cream” (“It’s good!”) and tucked him in. Any aspect of the story for which I was off, I was directed gently but firmly into the proper course. Gas mask. Ice cream. A curtain behind which to change, for privacy. Roommates.

And of course, mom in labor.

“Mommy is here in the hospital. She and daddy are in a different room from this one, giving birth to my baby brother,” he announced matter-of-factly on “Day 4” of his two-day stay. Somehow the length of the stay was allowed to be extended, while no other aspect could be changed without scolding. “Really?” I answered. “How strange. Why are they having the baby here in the hospital?” The boy and some of his friends were born at home, so this is a valid question in his experience. He looked at me, thinking, his forehead wrinkly. “They are birthing my little baby brother in another room, different from this one,” he repeated, with emphasis. Oh, I see. “What is his name?” I asked, changing course. He thought. Then he told me the baby’s name was the same as his. I explained that most babies have different names from their siblings (George Foreman aside). He asked for examples. “Um, Samuel, Jacob, Henry…” I listed. “Henry! His name is Henry,” Geeklet replied. “What if it’s a girl?” I asked. “What would her name be?”

With emphasis he replied, “My little baby boy brother is named Henry and he is being given birth to in the hospital!” I conceded. Then I asked again, “Why is he being born in the hospital?” I was informed that that’s the way it is, that’s where his little baby boy brother named Henry was born, and hey, here’s Henry, want to hold him? Then he handed me the cat.

So if Geeklet is a girl bunny named Abby and I’m a nurse with purple hair, certainly I can see the logic in Abby’s bunny mother choosing to give birth to a black cat named Henry in the hospital. I would too, if I were her.

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