Jessica and I were in the other room, preparing our joint Halloween effort for tomorrow. (Don’t worry, I’ll post some pictures tomorrow. You’ve been warned.) Namine was in the living room, playing contentedly. In the corner of the living room, on the lowest shelf on one of the bookshelves, we keep a couple boxes of toys, some coloring books, and a bag of pens, pencils, and crayons. Namine ventured into her corner by herself (dragging those pink casts like so much dead weight, what a trooper) to play, so we left her to her own devices, checking on her periodically. Then she discovered a box of Band-Aids that I must have forgotten on the floor.
We came back in the room to discover her with the now-open box of bandages. What is she doing? I thought, walking over to her. She was systematically removing them from their wrappers and placing them neatly over her casts – some on her legs, some on her feet, and some on her toes. She would unwrap a bandage, kiss its non-sticky side, and place it on her leg.
“Namine,” I said, “what are you doing?”
She turned halfway around to look at me. “Em-ay,” she said, lifting the box of Band-Aids so I could see it. How does she know what they’re called? I wondered. I don’t think anyone has told her, “Namine, these are Band-Aids. Can you say ‘Band-Aid’?” And yet, she knew, and she told me as much. She can’t get all the consonants right yet, but she knows the basic sound of the word.
“Do your legs hurt?” I asked, afraid of the answer I knew was coming. She’d gone all day without complaining once of the pain Jessica and I know is there. She has dealt with a lot of pain in her short life, and she has an extremely high pain threshold. Unless the pain is excruciating, she will show no evidence of it.
“Uh huh,” she said, nodding that her legs did indeed hurt. “Ow,” she added, pointing to her legs, just in case I didn’t get the message.
“Do you want your pain medicine?” I asked.
“Uh huh,” she nodded, but then she turned back to her Band-Aids.
She didn’t ask for it again, so I let her play until bedtime. I would never make her go through the night without her pain medicine. But while she was playing, she must have decided the pain wasn’t worth the attention.