When my kids were little, Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, and at the time, the best I could do was jot down random notes about things I wanted to remember on whatever scraps of paper I could find.
Today I was going through our Trunk-of-Photographs, and for whatever reason, I came across an old envelope with notes scrawled on the back of it about things I wanted to journal about (at that time, it would have gone into a real journal, not an online one). Or maybe I was fixing to put together a Christmas letter.
Lucky for me, there was a postmark on the other side of the envelope.
So I know it was in 2000, when Jonny was 5. Or, based on context, I'm thinking 4, because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the raisin-in-the-nose story happened on the way to preschool, and Jon went to kindergarten right after he turned 5. I have more confidence in my context memory skills than in my ability to do math with years and ages.
The raisin story is just one more example of what a terrible mother I am. As we were driving to preschool, Jon-Jon shoved a raisin up his nose and began to cry. I told him, "You need to stop crying and breathe only through your mouth!" Then I pulled the car over and positioned myself so that I could grab his face. Holding his chin in my hand, I told him in my sternest, scariest mother voice, "You are going to need to listen to me and do EXACTLY what I say. Do you hear me?"
Wide-eyed, the poor little geezer nodded.
"This is very important," I went on (this is the part that is a Very Bad Mother), "Because if you do not listen to me and obey me, that raisin is going to get stuck really bad in there, and then we will have to take you to the hospital, and the doctors will have to do surgery and cut it out. You don't want that to happen, do you?"
Jonny shook his head in terror.
"Which side of your nose is it stuck in?" I asked him. He indicated the offending nostril. "OK," I said. "I am going to plug the other side of your nose, just like this..." I pressed my finger alongside his other nostril. "Now, I want you to open your mouth up wide, and take a big breath in through your mouth. Then, close your mouth, and while I hold this nostril shut, you blow out through your nose just as hard as you can."
We did. And he did. And that raisin came flying out of his nose like a bullet, disappearing somewhere in the great unknown nexus of car upholstery. We never did find it. (confession: I don't think I looked for it.)
I climbed back into my seat, restarted the car, and delivered him to preschool. We were almost on time.
I do really get a kick out of the Jon quotes I listed on that envelope. In case you couldn't read them, I will retype them here:
Jon at 4:
"Do you know Superman wears his underwear over his sweats? Isn't that weird?"
"I need my way, Mom. I need my way right now."