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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Dieter



Today, November 8, is my son’s birthday.  How he made it to 33 is a mystery to me.

He was supposed to be a Christmas baby, but eager as he was to get started on life, he decided to make an early  entrance.  He’s been in a hurry ever since. 

Initially he was slow with sitting, crawling, walking and talking, but once he got going there was no stopping him.

Once he had learned how to sit, he wouldn’t lie down anymore.  A nap was out of the question, and when he had to go to bed at night he would scream his head off.  The only way to sooth him was to put him in the car and go for a drive.  
Usually we hadn’t even reached the street corner when he was asleep.

Crawling turned out to be rather frustrating for him.  He went backward you see, and this annoyed him to no end.  Red faced and pounding his little fists on the floor, he couldn’t understand why he never got anywhere.

Eventually he learned how to walk, only he didn’t exactly walk.  He went from crawling straight to running.  Wherever he was going, he couldn’t get there fast enough.

As for talking … it didn’t take him long to say “mama”, “papa” and “cat”, but he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) string a sentence together.  In due time he learned of course and oh dear, then he could have talked a cat out of a tree.

I remember the day when the whole class (grade 4) went to see Jurassic Park in the cinema.  When I picked him up from school that day, he talked and talked and talked from the moment he got into the car, until we reached the house (and then he was still not finished).
What amazed me was, he knew all the different dinosaurs by name.

Being in such a hurry, he had all kinds of accidents.  He frequently tripped over his own feet, resulting in bumps and bruises.  One day he fell and hit his head on the corner of a cabinet.  He ended up with a gash on his forehead, causing blood to stream down his face.  My heart nearly stood still.

Another time he disappeared for a whole afternoon.  One moment he was playing in the front yard, the next he was nowhere to be seen.  My search for him caught the attention of the neighbors and soon the whole street was in search of little Dieter.  Hours later he walked out of someone’s house … he had been visiting a woman because she baked good cookies.

Another day he visited a friend and about an hour later I received a call …

“Mom”

“Yes”

“Can you come over.  I think I need stitches”

Just like that, as cool as a cucumber.
When I got to the friend’s house, it turned out Dieter had done a little carpentry.  In the process, he had used a Stanley knife and cut through the wood, through his jeans, into his thigh.  When I saw the gaping wound, my stomach flipped.

And speaking of stitches … I’ll never forget the day that I went to pick Dieter up from day care and found blood stains on the driveway.  I immediately knew that he was once again in trouble.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” my husband said.  “It could be any of the kids.  Maybe someone just had a blood nose.”

Intuition told me that this blood was more than a bloody nose and it wasn’t just anyone, it was Dieter’s blood.
A short time later, a car pulled up and Dieter and his caretaker got out.  She looked worried, he looked as white as snow.  Angry red marks stained his cheeks, while a big white gauze bandage stretched from the outer corner of his eye into the hairline.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Our dog is in heat,” Linda explained.  “He wanted to get out and Dieter tried to stop him.”

Dieter, 8 years old and maybe 4 feet tall tried to stop a fully grown St. Bernard!

The dog had jumped on Dieter, in the process scratching his cheeks and making a huge gash next to his eye with one of his nails.

Over the years, all kinds of injuries and doctor’s visits followed, including being stabbed in the arm at school and two brain operations.  Dieter came through them with flying colors.

When Dieter was born and he was fighting for his life in an incubator, I was anxious that he wouldn’t make it.  The nurse told me not to worry, that premature babies grew up into stronger than usual adults.  I guess she was right.

Happy birthday Dieter … you made it!



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