Friday, August 29, 2008

Why, Oh, Why...

Every day for the past three days, a little Shakespearean drama has played out (anywhere from one to three times per day) at our house.  It goes something like this.

K. toddles over to the cat's food and water dishes.  

If I am lucky enough to notice before he gets to them, I immediately stop what I am doing and start a series of crescendoing "no, no, no, NO, NO, NO!"'s (although that tactic has been completely pointless to this point).  

He then gives me the sweetest smile any child could ever give his mother, and proceeds to shove his hand into the food dish, grab a fistful of tiny cat food pellets, and fling them across the kitchen floor.

I then proceed to run over to him (still voicing the "No's" with increasing desperation), wrench the remaining pellets out of his grubby little fist and tell him 100 different times how we DON'T throw cat food all over the floor, because Mommy then has to clean it up, and God forbid we should cause extra work for Mommy, but also those $#%^ cat pellets find their way into every crack and crevice of our kitchen and can't you please just go play with your cars in the living room like a nice boy?

Then he proceeds to launch into an interesting little routine that starts with him perfectly mimicking me, shaking his finger and saying "NO NO NO!" Although when he does it, he is saying it to the floor, for some reason.  

Then I pick him up and make sure he is looking me in the eye when I repeat "NO NO NO" at which point he evades eye contact, but usually starts to cry, although only a little bit (seems he can't be bothered by this minor inconvenience) and it's definitely those big crocodile tears that he has become so good at whipping up on demand.

Then I take him into another room for a change of scenery, point out something to distract him, and go back to whatever it was I was doing before.  

On bad days, the scene repeats all over again.  On good days, he gets focused on something else for about an hour, and then walks into the kitchen and discovers the cat dishes again, and then here we go once more...

My cousin, the one with 4 kids under the age of 5, professes to live in a non-baby-proofed house because she believes that if you establish firm boundaries with your kids, you won't have to do things like put cabinet locks on your cabinets or toilet locks on your commodes. Ever since she told me that, I've been trying to live by the same credo.  I mean, it would be so easy for me to just put the cat's dishes up on the counter for most of the day (we probably should do that anyway, since our cat WEIGHS 22 POUNDS and I'm not joking).  But really, it's the principle of it.  It's not a lot to ask, is it, for my son to learn once and for all that WE DO NOT TOUCH THE CAT'S FOOD.  My friend told me she read that it takes about 20 times of saying "no" about something before it sinks in to a toddler.  By that count, we have about 14 more episodes of this to go.  Fun.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Teensy Bit of Worry

So I took K. to the pedi for a follow up this week, in the aftermath of the nightmare stomach flu/febrile seizure/breathholding spell episode.  He seemed to check out okay, except for one thing.  She checked his tummy and observed that his spleen feels enlarged.  

Now, our doctor is the first to say that she errs on the side of caution - and for that, I love her - so this is probably nothing to worry about.  She said it's quite possibly the remnants of the gastroenteritis, making it enflamed -- even though he's been over the gastroenteritis for more than 7 days now.  

She wants him to get an abdominal ultrasound, which we have scheduled for next Thursday. I asked her how worried we should be about this and she said, "Not very" ... although when I prodded further and asked for the worst case scenario, she said, "You don't want to know."  I allowed myself a brief glance on the internet and quickly shut off my computer after I saw the words "blood cancer".  

So ...  I will not think about the dark possibilities and instead stay distracted until we have the results in hand. If his disposition is any clue, K. certainly appears quite healthy and back to his "normal" self.  He's running around, exploring, singing, and talking up a storm.  So I'll stay positive about all of this.  

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ohio Pictures, Continued

More photo highlights from last week, for your enjoyment...

Mugging with Mom in the back yard

Traveling wagon-style with Grandpa

Not having so much fun at the church picnic, with Mumma

Recovered from church picnic meltdown; enjoying the airplane he won in the Ball Toss

Studying something very small (?) after losing interest in airplane

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Favorite Pics from Last Week

Listening to an enlightening sermon with Mumma (and behaving IMPECCABLY during church!)

Retelling the story of walking to the mailbox to pick up the day's offerings.

T-ball practice with Uncle C. (starting him early!)

Running the bases!  Go, Kibi, go!

I'll post some more pics tomorrow.  Have a good Tuesday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nighty Night

Just got back from the airport - finally home after our visit to Ohio.  I'm exhausted and preparing for a busy week ahead.

Here's one of my favorite photos taken at Mumma and Grandpa's house.  

Friday, August 22, 2008

ABC Breakthrough

One of the pleasures of parenting is that moment of realization that comes after you've put in long hours in an attempt to teach your child something important -- where their fingers and toes are, names of household objects, or the ABC's. We stumbled upon this yesterday in the car, when we were absentmindedly singing the alphabet song and K. actually helped us finish some of the letters!

To wit: for a while now, he's been fascinated by the letter B. For example, he'll say it after I say "A" ... but then he used to say it, also, after any other sequence of letters, which was pretty amusing. But yesterday my mom sang the letters up to F and paused... and what did we hear but a little triumphant "G!" from the back seat.

We tried it again, pausing before "P"... and sure enough, a small voice sang out, "P!" with perfect timing. He doesn't know all the letters perfectly, of course, but his knowing a handful of them at just about 16 months makes me very excited.

Now, don't worry, I'm not going to rush out and buy a bunch of alphabet books and start the phonics drills morning, noon, and night (although I'll confess we do have ABC magnets on our fridge at home, and his increasing interest recently prompted me to buy a set of Dr. Suess ABC cards... but really that's just because K. loves to play 52 pickup with any sort of playing card, so why not be learning something as he throws the cards into the air?)

But it is darn exciting to see how my investments have paid off. By "investments" I mean singing the ABC song at every opportunity, whether it's during diaper changes or in the car when I'm trying to get him to stop melting down, or at the end of the day as we wind down before bed. I can sense he's at the age where moments like these will become more frequent, and .... hooray for that!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ohio's Sharpest Corner

It might be a light posting week because K. and I are away from home - yet again, can you believe it? - visiting my parents this week in my hometown.

Fortunately K. seems pretty much back to normal (with the exception of a bad diaper rash incident yesterday, poor thing) and we are enjoying the slow pace of life in the semi-rural Midwest.

Thought I would entertain you with some facts about Conneaut, Ohio:

- It's situated in, quite literally, the northeastern corner of Ohio

- The current population is about 12,000

- The town name is an Indian word meaning "place of many fish" or "place where snow lays in the spring" (so true, judging from the looks of this place in early March and April!)

- It's home to an octagon house that was a location key to the Underground Railroad

- According to Wikipedia, Conneaut Creek has the #1 steelhead trout stream in the country... who knew?

- This weekend, we will be attending the annual D Day Reenactment (on the shores of Lake Erie)which has been going on here in C-town annually for almost a decade. Most excellent! This will be my first. Promises to be quite a scene. I will try to post some photos. Speaking of potential Onion stories, apparently one year there was a huge falling out before the reenactment because .... the guys who were playing the Germans wanted to win.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Getting Way Too Serious In Here...

Thanks to all of you for your kind notes of support after reading my last post. We even benefitted from a homemade breakfast thanks to my friend K. who wanted to see for herself that my own K. was finally, really and truly doing alright. It's so nice to have such good friends to take care of us!

And he is, thankfully, now over the stomach flu (which lasted 7 days) ... so we're pretty much (fingers crossed) back to normal.

Now, for some levity after such a serious topic, here's one of my favorite Onion articles of all time:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

There are a lot of depressing things in this world.  War.  Poverty.  Bad TV.  But something happened to us over the weekend that has redeemed my faith in humanity.

Our trip to Cannon Beach was, for the most part, enjoyable.  Except for the fact that I caught the stomach flu and spent two of the days in bed.  All I hoped was that no one else in the house would catch it, but alas, that was not to be.  

On Friday night, as we were watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics, poor little K. started vomiting.  Our worst fears were confirmed; he was in for a rough night.  Fortunately, my husband's brother and his wife, both ER docs, gave us a drug called Zofran to help take away the nausea.  I took it while I was ill, early in the week, and we gave a baby-size dose to K. when he got sick too.  It seemed to help, although even so, I have never seen him so listless. Pretty unnerving.

But it got worse.  

On Sunday afternoon, we were scheduled to fly back to DC from Portland.  On the drive to the airport (about a 2 hour drive from the beach), we noticed K. was really, really lethargic.  I mean so lethargic that he sat in his car seat and and just STARED OUT THE WINDOW for most of the trip.  I had a generally uneasy feeling about hopping on the plane... it was not good.  We felt his head and, as I had feared, he was warm.  I'm not sure exactly how warm, but pretty warm. Before we got to the airport, I gave him some children's Motrin and hoped for the best.

The Motrin seemed to perk him up a bit, and we made our way through check in, security, etc. with all our gear in tow.  (A huge hassle, but that's another story...)  My mother in law andmy husband's sister and her family were all traveling with us.  We all set down our gear near the food court, a few gates down from where we were supposed to board.  We all grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy's and I gave K. some applesauce... the only solid food he had eaten all day.  (He had been drinking Pedialyte morning and night since the night he first got sick.)

My husband had a meeting he had to make in Seattle, so he left us to go board his plane... a few gates down the corridor. He would be coming back to DC the following day, so it wasn't a big deal.

About 30 minutes before we were supposed to board our plane, something strange happened.  

I was sitting with my mother in law, holding K. in my lap, and he was generally alert but a little cranky.  Not surprising.  He started to fidget and leaned his head back in my arms (like toddlers do when they're trying to look at the world upside down, if you can picture it...)  Then he accidentally bumped his head on the armrest of my chair, and that made him mad.  He sat bolt upright and started to let out a wail, except instead of wailing he held his breath - something he does frequently when he is upset.  (We never like it when he does this, not surprisingly, but usually he starts breathing on his own after what seems like several seconds.) Well, not this time.  

K.'s face froze in a strange sort of half-angry, half-scared look, mouth and eyes both wide open. What seemed like 10 seconds, 15 seconds passed.  I said, "Breathe!" as if that would help.  But he didn't.  

Then his lips started to turn blue.

By this time I was standing up, terrified, watching to see what he would do.  Again I told him to breathe and still his face remained frozen in that horrible expression.  His lips were turning purple.  I panicked.   The only thing I thought of to do was to run to my sister in law, who with her family was sitting about 20 feet away at a table in the food court.

I ran to her, screaming for help.  Out of nowhere a young guy, 20's-ish, comes up and tells me he is an EMT and he would try to help.  The thing I will always remember for the rest of my life is handing my baby -- his face still in this weird, stuck expression and his body frozen -- over to this perfect stranger, thinking, "My son is going to die."  And I will never forget how his body felt as I handed him over: like dead weight.  It was the most disgusting feeling.  I remember thinking, awestruck, "This is how he is going to die...?"  Nevertheless, I was convinced of it. And I couldn't watch.  

Someone said, "Call 911!" So that's what I made myself do, so I wouldn't have to look at what was happening.  I'm not proud of that, but I just couldn't bear it.  So while my SIL and BIL and this man crowded around my son, I called 911.  I can't tell you exactly what I said to them, but it seemed like I was on the phone with them for hours.  

Then, my SIL yelled, "We need a doctor!  Is anyone here a doctor?"  Still on the phone with 911, I started shouting for a doctor too.  (I'm sure the 911 operator really appreciated our choppy conversation!)  But again, another stranger - an older woman - appeared from what seemed like out of nowhere and said to me, "I'm not a doctor but I'm a nurse and I can help."  I directed her to the crowd now encircling K. who was on the floor.  I don't know what they were doing with him but I just waved her in that direction.  Meanwhile, I was talking to the 911 operator, and at the same time motioning for my niece to call my husband and stop him from boarding his plane.  Thankfully she got a hold of him and said he was on his way.  

I couldn't bear to know what was happening to K., but the nurse, and the EMT, and yet another man who said he had emergency management experience, were all working on him.  I'm sure only seconds had passed, but again, it seemed like hours.

Then they told me what was happening.  "B., he's having a seizure," my SIL shouted over to me. Not the best news, but at least it was a concept I was familiar with.  Oddly, it comforted me simply to know what was happening.  

Meanwhile, I remained on the phone with 911.  (I vaguely remember a back-and-forth with the operator, with me saying, "I need help, my son's stopped breathing, I'm at the Portland airport Wendy's."  The operator said, "What Wendy's?" I said, "Near the C gate." She said, "You're at C15?" And I was impressed with how fast she pinpointed my location... I had to have been making it hard for her, having a panic attack on the phone and all...)

Then, the best news of all.  Someone in the little circle around K. yelled over to me: "Honey, he's coming back.  He's breathing."  The best news I've ever heard in my life.  Thank God, thank God, thank God.  After hearing those words, I don't really remember the sequence of things, except that my husband arrived, the paramedics arrived, and the wonderful nurse who was assisting us took over on the phone with 911 for me when I sort of lost it.

I'll fast forward to the end of that awful day.  We were taken by ambulance to the ER, where a doctor checked K. out and determined - to the best of his ability, not having been there - that he had had a febrile seizure.  Horrifying for parents to witness, but fortunately benign and with no long-term damage.  

Afterward, I asked my SIL what she saw - what I couldn't stand to watch.  She said that once they had determined that K. was NOT choking (I was too freaked out to coherently explain to any of them what had happened), they laid him on the ground and tried to find his pulse.  Then she saw his eyes roll back into his head and his whole body start to shake.  Not huge shaky movements but tight little tremors.  Then after who knows how long, she said, it stopped and it looked like he just passed out.  That's how he was when they handed him back to me -- completely limp.  At least I could see that he was breathing.  Otherwise you might've wondered. She said that from her perspective it really looked like a seizure.

Anyway, the ER doctor said that 1 in 20 kids have febrile seizures, and you just can't be sure whether it will happen once in their lifetime, or multiple times.  Most kids outgrow them by 5 or 6 years of age.  The thing is, breath-holding spells, in rare instances, can also look like seizures.  In fact, from my interpretation of the literature that the Portland ER gave me, breath-holding spells can sometimes be confused with seizures because sometimes kids will actually stop breathing and shake.  So, who knows.  It might've just been a freakish breath-holding episode.  I don't know what answer I would be more comfortable with, personally.  All I know is I'm glad it's over.

We ended up being stranded in Portland until Tuesday, which was the first day we could get a rescheduled flight home.  It was probably just as well, because it gave all of us time to unwind - as best we could, with K. still not being 100% over his stomach bug - and let him rest up a bit.  I will say, though, that I've never been so happy to be at my home airport as I was on Tuesday night.

So, that was a pretty long story, but I think I needed to get it all down as a sort of catharsis.  I was pretty wrecked on Sunday night.  After we got back from the ER, I had a good cry and hugged my husband, and K., about 10 million times.

All I can really say is, thank God for the kindness of the strangers who came to our aid, particularly the EMT and the nurse.  I hope I thanked them enough at the time; I really can't remember.  Regardless, it still wasn't adequate to express my gratitude.  I hope that they realize how much they helped us that day.  They restored my faith in my fellow human beings. For all of the crummy things happening in this world, and for all of the cruel things that humans do to each other, our episode in Portland last Sunday shows me that they are capable of doing decent, kind and thoughtful things too.  And that is good to know.

Friday, August 1, 2008

We're Off to the Beach...

On Sunday we leave for Summer Trip #3... to Cannon Beach, Oregon.  About 20 of us will be staying with my husband's relatives in two beach houses.  Thanks Aunt Dorothy for organizing the trip!

Should be a blast, but right now I'm dreading packing for a cross country haul.  Also, it's apparently quite cooler up there than it is in the DC area (how about 30 degrees cooler!?) so it's hard to think about cool-weather clothing that K. and I will need.  When it comes to preparing, I always leave DH to fend for himself because he is notorious for packing at THE very last minute. In fact, sometimes he doesn't pack at all, and buys the clothes he needs when he gets to his destination.  I am embarrassed to report that, but it's true.  Anyway, I digress.  

We return on Sunday the 10th so I'll be taking a break from posting until then.  

Happy August!

About Me

Arlington, VA, United States
Maestro and mom to a wee virtuoso

I'm #1804