My day started out beautifully. I was actually feeling bad about that, because I knew my husband was in for the worst day of his life, but I thought my day couldn't get any better. First I got an email inviting me and JY to go to the beach with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. Then I got a phone call, informing me that I'd been awarded a very competitive library science scholarship! I was jumping up and down and acting like one of those ladies on Oprah when they win free stuff. Except that I won something much more expensive and valuable than a new brand of perfume or an iPad--I won a very large chunk of change towards getting my degree. And, I earned it.
Jedi Youngling got to see the ocean for the first time ever. She squealed with fright when I held her low enough for the cold water to lap her feet. But at one point she started crying inconsolably until she fell asleep. And the pattern didn't stop once we were home. Horrible crying, slipping into exhaustion, starting up again later. Making strange sounds like she was gasping for air, followed by a pushing or straining.
I never got to make Jedi-in-Training the nice dinner I promised him. He came home just as I was really starting to freak out. I was so worried about JY and the weird hiccupy/gasping noises she was making. I was scared that it might be whooping cough--there's been an epidemic lately. He said I should take her to the hospital. I felt torn; I could see that he'd been through a lot today and he still needed dinner and some help and support. But JY was obviously in pain, and the baby's pain has to come first. I took her to the hospital, begging JT to forgive me for leaving him high and dry.
JY was screaming so hard when we got there, and I was so stressed out, that I began to cry myself. Then the problem made itself known: she was pushing out very hard, thick stools. She calmed down a little. I was told to get some infant suppositories, give her more fluids, and we were sent home.
All this time, I'd had nothing to eat but a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Getting her ready for the beach was so involved that I couldn't eat breakfast, and pb&j was all I brought with me for lunch. My arms were sore; I was carrying her a lot all day at the beach and at the hospital I carried her in the car seat across a huge parking lot. So I was tired and hungry, and stopped by for some burgers for JT and me. I put JY to bed, had a burger, and got to hear about JT's day.
When I got home, JT was finishing up the first of seven remedial instruction reports he had to write. He got issued the maximum number of reports for a day: fourteen. Seven of which he has to hand in today, and the other seven tomorrow. On top of that, he's getting a cold. He had snot dripping from his nose while he struggled to scrawl out the letters with the crazy stencil they gave him to make all his letters the same size.
He'd been working on one report for over an hour. I could see at least six papers scattered over the table, all of which looked fine except when he pointed out to me a failure to double-space here, or leave enough room there. I read one of the reports.
"This morning, at 0745, I assaulted Recruit ____ while in formation. I did this because I failed to watch where I was going and lacked common sense. My lack of common sense could cause me to be perceived as unprofessional in the eyes of the public. This could cause me to lose my credibility. In the future, I will not assault Recruit ____. I will use common sense and will watch where I am going."
JT won a kind of award this morning also--he was appointed Recruit Class Sergeant. He fully expected this, given his poor performance on Friday during physical training. So for the next week (maybe two) he is on the spot all the time, having to lead the class and give commands and be the ambassador to the tactical office. What an honor.
A few weeks ago, when the academy was still just a fuzzy dream for him, he told me he would readily volunteer to be Class Sergeant.
Be careful what you wish for.
When approaching the tactical office, there are all kinds of protocol a class sergeant has to remember. You're supposed to take a certain number of steps and then a left-face, then you knock hard on the wooden block by the door (you think a parolee is going to open for you with that knock?).
You request entry, and when told "Enter" you have to step smartly--but watch out, because if a tactical officer happens to be leaving at the same time as you are coming in, you have to stop and say "Sir, by your leave, sir!"
Once inside, there is further protocol. You take two thirty-inch steps (you call that thirty inches?) and make a right-face toward the wall (you just assaulted tactical officer ____'s office with your gun!).
Then you hand the tactical officer whatever papers you were coming to submit--say, the class attendance sheet. He takes it, crumples it, and throws it away. "Not good enough! Do it again."
But every time you make a mistake, you have to drop and give them push ups, squat thrusts, or some other exercise. So a short trip to the tactical office to deliver the attendance sheet becomes a half-hour absence from class--where your fellow recruits are learning things that will be on the test.
JT was especially concerned about all the time he spends away from the classroom. But I really believe that, apart from merely punishing him for his struggles on Friday, they chose him to be the class's first Class Sergeant because they know he will catch up academically on the things he misses. This I will back up with the following incident:
After making a mistake of protocol, JT was asked to give his gun speech. He recited it flawlessly. Then the first paragraph of the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. He said it beautifully. Then the ten-codes, backwards. He aced them.
The tactical officer drilling him said: "Clearly you are not an idiot. But you don't know your way around the academy."
Why do I point to this as evidence of the tactical staff's (dare I say it?) esteem of JT's potential? Because he said that JT is not an idiot!
There's hope yet...