Today I was reminded of this great scene in a very mediocre movie. Sometime in the 80's Goldie Hawn starred in a movie called Private Benjamin. The movie was......let's say......cute at best. There wasn't a tremendous amount to it, but there was a scene in it that did make enough of an impression (even if the movie did not) on me that I found myself reflecting back on it today. In a nutshell, Goldie Hawn's character is a spoiled rich early twenty something that, on a whim, joins the army. Once she gets in and begins boot camp she quickly realizes "this isn't the army I joined...." ......cue the rest of the movie that basically strings together humorous anecdotes about the cultural clash of her pampered existence and the reality of army boot camp. Let the hilarity ensue.......or at least that's what the producers hoped for. The scene that popped into my head happened to be the only real poignant moment in the movie for me. The setting: the middle of the night in the pouring rain in the parade yard of the boot camp.......the scene: Goldie Hawn wearing an army green poncho and a battle helmet carrying a rifle above her head (to be honest with you I can't even remember if there were any other characters in the scene). As a form of punishment for some cultural clash with her superior, she was being forced to march in circles in the rain with her rifle. It wasn't so much the physical scene as it was what she said that I recalled. While marching in a heavy downpour she says "........I wanna get my nails done, I wanna go out to lunch, I wanna be normal again!" I wanna be normal again......this was the phrase that stuck out and beckoned recollection today. You see, every human being, to one degree or another, wants to be normal again. Take for instance a vacation. Who doesn't love to go on vacation......stay in a hotel......eat out every night......go on excursions to do fantastic things.....but at some point a strange thing happens......we begin to yearn to be on our own couch cuddled up in old sweats and a ratty pillow watching mindless TV eating cookies and milk.....to sleep in your own bed.....these are the "normal" things that we love to come back to despite how wonderful a vacation is. Today in the UCD NICU Heather and I had a moment of normal. You see we are two days shy of having spent three long months in the NICU where there really is no normal......oh we've become comfortable to a certain degree......we stroll in and completely recognize our surroundings.....there is a familiarity with physical local, but there is no normal. Just when you get somewhat settled, an abnormal brain scan result, or abnormal eye exam result, or some other test result adds yet another layer of worry or uncertainty to the hill your desperately trying to scale. However, today, there was a moment of normalcy.....as brief as it was, it was normal. Around seven o' clock tonight Parker was fussy.....actually I would describe it as pretty doggone agitated. The fact that he (or Tyler for that matter) was fussy was actually somewhat normal in and of itself.....but it wasn't his fussiness that prompted the brief respite of normalcy.....it was what happened next. Heather and I stood on opposite sides of his crib. We were going through our limited medical knowledge to assess his discomfort. We checked the monitors first to see that he was receiving enough oxygen...check......then we checked him to see if his lips were turning blue or perhaps nose or the tips of his extremities.....check, we saw no physical signs of oxygen deprivation.....check his heart rate to see if he had become tachycardic or perhaps bradycardic.....check.....and so on......you see most of the time you are relegated to simply standing by the bedside, speaking in a calming soothing voice and trying just put your hands on them ( you can't pick them up to comfort them.....too many tubes that could come undone and make the matter worse). So there we stood, wondering what physiological or neurological micro preemie underdevelpemental condition was causing the agitation this time, and what does it mean as far as long term implications. Then it happened......let's check his diaper??? So we did. We found remnants......used food......excrement....call it what you will, Parker's diaper was dirty......so we changed it.......and for the first time in almost three months normal happened. My son was agitated....not from oxygen deprivation, not from one of his two hernias, not from a severe increase or decrease in heart rate, not from abnormally developed optics........no, he was agitated because his diaper was dirty.....this was something we actually had control over......this was something we actually could take action with......and for the first time in almost three months, we were able to do something that caused him to relax and eliminate the source of his agitation. You see we've probably changed a hundred diapers between Tyler and Parker......sure we've changed them, but never before had it been the source of contention. Today, our son was agitated and we were able to do something to quell the agitation......even though it happened in the middle of the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit, with highly qualified medical personnel present and tubes hooked up to him.....today we changed a diaper, stopped Parker from crying and.....for the first time......today for a brief moment, for the first time....things seemed normal......and it felt good.