Are other parents this hooked? Over the weekend, when I could have been balancing the checkbook or saving the world, I sat and watched our year-old daughter Emily read a book.

It was her favorite, the one about the Paint Pig and his misadventures while painting boats blue, wagons brown and so on. Emily always shrieks with laughter when she turns to the green page, and this time was no exception. If you had seen Friendly Frog, you'd understand. He doesn't exactly have the smooth features and bedroom eyes of Robert Redford.

Anyway, I was sitting there thinking how reassuring it is to watch a healthy child in the act of being herself. Then I caught myself imagining how I'd feel if that child hadn't always been healthy.

Laura Noell of Chevy Chase provided the answer. She writes:

"My son, Aaron, was hospitalized twice at Children's, in September, 1981, when he was 15 months old, and again in May, 1982.

"I can't say enough good things about Children's Hospital . . . . In caring for sick children, Children's Hospital never forgets the importance of parents. Beds are provided in the children's rooms, so parents can stay and provide the love, companionship and care that only parents can give.

" . . . Although Children's is a teaching and research hospital, the emphasis is always on the child, not the disease. Only once did I hear someone refer to my son as 'old recurrent cellulitis,' rather than as Aaron. Each new nurse introduced herself to Aaron and learned his name. Everyone treated him as a small, sick person.

"As I look at him now, playing with his Christmas toys, running gaily around the house without the IV that so encumbered him at the hospital, healthy and full of spirit, I cannot be thankful enough for Children's Hospital and its staff."

If you're a parent who loves watching your child at play, as Laura does, and I do, isn't our Children's Hospital fund-raising campaign worth a few of your dollars? Please give today, while you're thinking of it. The campaign has only five more days to run.