Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Squirrelly

One of my favorite parenting blogs is Matthew B's at Defective Yeti, mainly because I enjoyed his writing before he had a kid, and it was amazing to read about him turning into a dad. His good humored and insightful posts about his new family bring back good memories of When We Were There.

Life, however, is a bastard, and throws curves at people it should just leave the hell alone. Every story of parenthood has its hardships. Ours happened before our first was even born. Matthew's is just starting.

Matthew's toddler son, codenamed The Squirrelly, was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I have faith they'll make it through the tough times alright. Because, as much as you can know someone from merely reading their blog, I think I can tell that they're strong people. Strong like this story from DY's post:

For about a decade I didn't eat horseradish. My mother served it to my sister and I when we were kids, but I never touched the stuff after I left the nest. It wasn't that I disliked it, but I'm not much of a condiment man and never felt the need to slather it onto to anything.

Fast-forward to my late twenties, when The Queen and I were visiting some friends. I had just finished telling a story and The Queen had launched into one, so I grabbed something to snack on from a nearby plate of appetizers. All of the food that I liked had already been eaten (undoubtedly by me), so I took one of the salmon fillets. And because I wasn't wild about fish, I decided to mask the taste by loading it up with the accompanying horseradish.

I realized it was horseradish that I was putting on my salmon, and I remembered that horseradish was hot. But there were two other factors in play. First, when you get older you often find that the foods you thought were unbearably spicy as a kid are actually rather bland, so I was compensating accordingly. Second, my friends had served us straight horseradish, My mother always given us prepared horseradish, and I was unaware that it came in any other form. Consequentially, I shoved a horrific amount of the stuff into my mouth and started chewing.

At first it wasn't so bad: just the mildly hot flavor that I remembered from my childhood. But then, at some point, I realized that it was getting hotter, and hotter, and hotter. I stopped chewing. I let my mouth hang open. Suddenly the heat doubled, and doubled again. By this point I wasn't even able do the comical "HA-HA-HAAAA!" hand-waving-in-front-of-the-mouth routine -- the horseradish was so hot that I was paralyzed, sitting there ossified while my friends laughed at the conclusion to The Queen's story.

As the feeling continued to grow I began to seriously wonder: can I die from this? Can this become so overwhelming that my body goes into shock, and I'll just slump sidewise and perish from the sheer enormity of the sensation?

I've been thinking about this story a lot lately, because I have begun to wonder the same thing about my love for The Squirrelly.


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