Thursday, March 31, 2011

Drawing: what do you see?

I finished quite a bit of this weeks school work done early so I could spend a little time drawing.

IMG_20110331_134616

This is the finished product. Well almost finished product anyway, I’m very rarely happy with anything I draw… I always end up fiddling with them, little changes here and there.

The Man says he really likes it but he saw something completely different from what I ‘intended’ when I set out to draw. That’s fine, art is largely what the viewer sees . Oddly enough the Kiddo sees the picture the same way The Man does, though he invented a long drawn out story to go with it.

So what do you see when you look at it? And of course, what do you think?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life and reality checks...

It's been a long year and a half, almost two years since the Kiddo was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency. For awhile every time we put the Kiddo into a new situation I would tell the adults involved what to watch out for with his AI. Every time he got sick I would wonder how he was going to handle it, if he would sail through it as he always has or if this time is going to be "the time".

But then he made it through the year with hardly a sniffle, he's got my genetics, my families solid constitution. I don't remember being sick much when I was younger, and even now I hardly ever have the flu, and usually only one cold per season. He broke his leg, and slid through that as well. I did the requisite load dosing when he broke it, the hospital loaded him up some more, and he didn't have a single AI related scary moment. After he was released and came home the doc told us to go strait back to normal dosing, nothing fancy, no extra days of extra meds (which I expected) but just back to our regularly scheduled program. I wondered, I questioned, but I did it. And the Kiddo glided right along, no (AI related) problems.

There comes a time when it becomes less real, less immediate. You have an idea of the possibility, but you don't have that reality kicking your door down shoving things in your face. The three times a day pills become just a few more vitamins, just like the extra calcium the kid take with breakfast, or the Flintstones he takes with dinner. Another pill, you try not to forget or miss, but no big deal either way.

And then reality hits and you're suddenly faced with the fact that your child isn't quite like the kid next door who takes fruit flavored bear shaped vitamins and putters through the flu just like any other day. No your kid is the one who could catch that flu, and not have it be "just a flu".

I am a member of a support group for Parents of Children with AI. There's a link on my sidebar to their blog. There is also a Facebook page, it started as 5 people maybe half a year ago and now we have 19 members. One of those members lost her daughter, Annie, this past weekend. Their little girl was diagnosed four years ago. She was diagnosed when, like most of these children, she went into crisis and ended up in the hospital where they were smart enough to run the right tests and found it. A month ago, she caught the flu and strep and landed in the hospital because her body couldn't handle it, she fought for nearly a month. She was 7 years old.

THAT is the reality of AI. My heart is breaking for this family, I didn't know them well, in fact I hardly knew them at all. But I know what they lived with daily, and I can't help putting myself in the "what if" shoes, and I cry for them. I cry for their loss, and their heartbreak, and all that they've been through.

We have been so lucky with the Kiddo. True his start in life was rough (probably due to the AI, with all that time in the NICU, and all those tests somehow they missed the one... but hindsight is 20/20 and there was no other indications of it). Even so once he bounced out of it he did okay, and his diagnosis was easy, almost a side thought... Two pushy parents, one pediatrician that actually listened, a quick Endo visit and voila here we are. And since diagnosis we've only had a couple condition related scares, all resolved quickly.

So this past weekend was a wake up call. A reminder that AI isn't just another vitamin, it's a life threatening medical condition and my six year old son has it. And it reminds me that this is why I nag people to watch him, to understand what to look for, to know how to contact me. This is why I carry around emergency medication, and a shot pen. It's why I have volunteered for the fieldtrip, and why I will forever be grateful the the amazing understanding and support of my family (and my 'parents of' group)... because it's rare, and it's serious, and it's our life every single day.

Several of us from the support group and getting together to send a tree to Annies family, for them to plant in their yard. It's going to be a Tulip Poplar, they have amazing neon green leaves and bright yellow flowers in the spring, and vibrant yellow leaves in the fall. I am really happy with the idea, it is a beautiful tree and it's a longer lasting gift then a bunch of flowers would have been. We are also trying to find out if there is a memorial fund set up for her so we can contribute to that as well (even if all we have to give is a few dollars). There is nothing we can say to them to ease their pain, but we're hoping these little things help lighten the burden of it.

Great job - updates

My class is going well, I think. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had my first paper due a couple weeks ago. I received my grade a late last week and am pretty pleased with it. Turns out I did quite well, this is what the instructor wrote within my review.

"It is very, very rare that I give perfect scores on content, but this one was well deserved! You included research support for your statements and thoroughly discussed every area of the paper as described to the left. It’s even more rare for me to give a perfect100%! You did a FANTASTIC job!"

So far I believe I've earned a solid A- in the class, there were a few other assignments where I received a 9 out of 10 due to formatting or something similar... this week we have another paper due (hope to have it done by Wed) and by the end of next week we have a group paper due. I've taken the leadership role in the group (again) and am pushing my group members to have their portions done by next Monday. With luck they will and I can get the whole thing finished by that Friday (three days early). I'm not holding my breath though.

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The end of last week was rather less then ideal... The worst has been the insurance issues. We increased our income a bit so had to switch the Kiddo's state insurance up a level. Unfortunately the new level requires a 50% co-pay for the growth hormone shots he's taking. That's 600 bucks a month! So he's off the shots for awhile as we figure out how to sort out the mess. The Endocrinologist assured me that the only "side effect" of the Kiddo not taking the shots would be lack of growth. Hopefully things will be sorted by mid April.

In addition we had a few problems with the car we've got on loan from the Man's folks. Long story short there seems to be something wrong with the fuel filter (or pump), though that's just a guess. It's been towed to a shop and we're back down to being a one vehicle household. I've been so thankful to have it on loan these past weeks with the Kiddo stuck in his cast!! We ARE within walking distance of the Kiddo's school but spring weather in Utah is unpredictable and wet, because of that walking is not an option so today we got up at 7:30am and drove the Man to work.

Friday, March 25, 2011

hmm 3D eyes

I have a feeling of guilt when I think about the things the Kiddo wont ever experience. There aren't many of them, really only one I can think of. 3D. Yep, if you can't see out of both eyes then you can't see in 3D. Of course I haven't yet gone to see a 3D movie, and don't know that I'd be sold on a 3D tv either.

The 3D Nintendo DS system though... that could be fun. And for all those parents out there just hankerin to get their young ones the newest and best it's the golden ticket. Except maybe it isn't...

Check out the warning on the system box:

"3D Mode for ages 7+. Warning: Viewing of 3D images by children 6 and under may cause vision damage. Use the parental control feature to restrict the display of 3D images for children 6 and under."

Something about younger childrens vision still developing at that age and not knowing what it'll do to that development to have them staring at 3D stuff all day. Which makes me wonder..., who in their right mind buys an under 6 year old a gazillion dollar hand held game system?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snap

February 15th, two weeks after the Kiddo fell and broke his leg we took him in to the orthopedic surgeon to make sure the his the bones were lined up correctly and hadn’t shifted any since the cast was put on. Everything looked as expected; the doctor said it looked great and that he wanted to see us in two more weeks to check on how it was healing.

broken femer healing 2-15-2011 (2)

This second picture is from that visit, March 11th, one month after he broke it. At first glance it almost looks the same as the first picture don’t you think? But look closer at the ends of the two pieces, can you see the ‘blurry’ sections? The doctor told us that’s the bone healing, and that he’s pleased and a little surprised by how quickly it’s happening.

broken femer healing 3-11-2011 (2)

He said that the Kiddo’s leg would be healed enough to remove the cast by March 25th, if we wanted. Though he said if we didn’t think we could keep the Kiddo calm then it might be a good idea to leave it on for the full two months, removing it April 8th, instead.

We thought about it, oh what a pain in the butt it’s been (!!) *sigh* But realistically, can anybody honestly say that they can keep a six year old calm and moving carefully?? I don’t know that we could; Oh we could try, we could yell at him constantly to be careful and to slow down… but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t help.

As bad as it is to keep him locked down two “extra” weeks, we decided it was the safer plan. For his safety, our sanity, and probably our finances. I mean think of it like this, to keep it on doesn’t cost anything… take it off and have him injure himself again? Ooops there we go, more copays and doctor visits. We’re looking at a slow physical recovery anyway, why risk it possibly being longer?... Good news though is that the doctor did say that the Kiddo wont need a physical therapist, he’ll just need practice and patience while he works his muscles back into form. I’m planning to implement required daily family walks.. the Man probably wont like it much (I wont blame him either) but if we all go then the dog will get her exercise and one of us can pay close attention to the Kiddo and how he’s doing.

This week sometime, hopefully, we’ll be heading to the hospital again. We have a bone density xray that needs to be done before the Kiddo’s next Endo visit. We’ll be going to the same hospital we took the Kiddo to right after he first broke his leg, with a little luck we can get a copy of that xray too. If we do I’ll post it so you all can see.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy St Patrick’s (One week Late)

3-4-2011 last dinner before she left out to eat sushi (4)

St. Pat’s day is one of my favorites, I always loved the green mac and cheese. Of course when I was older it was the green beer. And now that I’m a boring older “adult” it’s because everybody wears green, and green is my favorite color.

3-17-2011 St  Patricks Day (2)

The kiddo was especially lucky this year, with his cast and wheelchair situation he very rarely wears shoes, that means not only did he get to wear his new green shirt (thanks again Uncle P!!) but he also got to wear cool themed sox which EVERYBODY saw and loved.

3-17-2011 st patricks socks

So the big question is, with my long hiatus from regular posting, how have things been going? Well the Kiddo is used to his cast now, his teacher is twitching though and desperately wants the thing to come off. I am exhausted and beyond bored with being at a six year olds beck and call, the constant “moooooom, I need….” is driving me insane. I’ll post more about his leg, with pictures, tomorrow.

I started school two weeks ago. The first week I was stressed about everything, how to do it, what would count, what could I be doing wrong…. But I managed to finish it without having a nervous breakdown. Last week was week two, we had an individual paper (500 words) and a team project/paper due. It was another stressful week, group work is bad enough in person but trying to do it via the internet is torture. Long story short I have an Intrapersonal learning style and not only do I really prefer to work alone (!!) but I tend to be a highly organized over achiever. If you’re a mid twenties grammatically challenged college student, it’s apparently a bit of a stretch for me to expect you to come anywhere close to my standards. Which is saying something considering I don’t really think of myself as the queen of writing. But the project was finished on time (mostly, one girl didn’t bother “showing up” for any of it so her part looks rather like a five year old did it) AND my paper was turned in on time (932 words – proof of my statement above regarding my overachiever tendencies).

Now we’re on to week three, no more group work for two weeks and I can focus again on trying to get into a comfortable daily routine, mixing the school work in with the household, dog, and kiddo demands. Within that I also plan to get back to my "normal" posting schedule... think I can do it?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What is

video

He does have a little more trouble when I give him the small number first (ie 3+7). And if I gave him two large numbers like 7+7 the odds are 50/50 that he'll get it right, he's usually close but he loses track because he counts in his head. I think it might be time to pull out the flashcards! :D

Friday, March 11, 2011

Brilliant

Parent Teacher Conference went wonderfully, as much as can be expected anyway. Mrs. S told us that the Kiddo is "exceptionally bright”, and she has never had a child in her class quite like him before. He can “read almost anything put in front of him” and has a firm grasp of math. In fact she said that she thinks he’s the only child who understood adding the way she tried to teach it. Starting with the big number and adding the smaller (ie 5+3=… the number 5, six seven eight.. the answer is eight. Instead of counting up to eight from one).

Now about that “failing” grade. It was in comprehension. Apparently what happened was Mrs. S read the class a book. It was a bout a shy little girl, and a little old lady, who became friends because of birds. Mrs. S asked the kids to draw pictures to tell the story. The Kiddo drew a completely different story.

IMG_20110311_173531

He drew the first episode from the Astro Boy cartoons. First Astro Boy (beginning), he’s at the front door of a house (note the welcome mat) calling “doctor where are you”. The second picture (middle) is of the doctor in his car driving across town. The third picture (end) is of Astro boy is fighting a bad guy robot to save the doctor.

Mrs. S said that she thinks sometimes he just doesn’t hear all the instructions, like he was so excited to draw a story he didn’t hear the part about WHICH story to draw.

Of course there was the usual conversation about holding him back, she thinks it’s an awful idea. She maintains that the pressure of first grade will straiten him out quickly. We explain our position, and she agrees that it really does seem that there isn’t an easy right answer.

Several friends have reminded me that I should be looking into Charter schools for him. It’s the perfect solution, if we can get him into one I think it will give him an instruction style more suited to his level of learning and our “he acts young for his age” problem will be solved.

I gotta say though, I knew my Kiddo was sharp, but I’ve always told myself it’s a mothers bias talking. It’s a wonderful thing to have others tell you how smart your child is. He gets it from his dad, and his grannie. Maybe he’ll be a doctor after all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Term 2 – How’s it going?

I feel like I’m living in the twilight zone. Mrs. S expresses concern over how the Kiddo does in class, how his focus is non existent and he can’t pay attention or finish his work. When we hand her a form to fill out to assess his behavior she fills it out with mostly average scoring. But she still expresses concern over how he will do in first grade. Then we get his progress report for Term 2.

3-9-2011 Kindergarten progress report term 2  (1)3-9-2011 Kindergarten progress report term 2  (2)

Gotta say it looks like he’s doing pretty well. All of his grades, save one, are set as the equivalent of an A. I’m fairly certain the area he was graded a 1 in was a fluke (the testing for these grades was done his first week back to school after his broken leg). So I have a strait A kindergartener with a reading level above average (he is the ONLY one in class reading at a level C and really those are to easy for him).

I am completely twisted up over what to do about him. Follow the plan or shove him ahead? It feels like a lose lose any way we do it.

This evening is our teacher conference, I wonder what we’ll talk about?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday little one

decorations (5)

Last week my sister came to visit. I keep telling myself she was here for me, to help me take care of the Kiddo a bit so I would feel less overwhelmed with everything. But really she was here for the Kiddo, to play with him and Love him.

She arrived Friday night (the 25th) after he had gone to bed. Saturday was his party so she timed it perfectly. He woke up to Auntie D standing over him and his day just kept getting better from there. He wanted a police themed party, so we had white and blue decorations.

decorations (2)

We made home made ice cream, I really loved that my mom used to do that. We’d take turns cranking the ice cream maker and then we’d take the paddle out to the front porch and lick it off. Well it’s too cold outside for licking the whole paddle clean (not to mention the wheelchair) but I think he enjoyed tasting it anyway. He wanted vanilla with “treats” to go on top, so at desert time we did a treat bar.

homemade icecream (3)……homemade icecream (4)icecream bar (2)

For Cake he requested chocolate with a police car. I did try to make a home made car shaped cake but things went sideways quick with that (long uninteresting story that ends with cake on the floor). We ended up purchasing a last minute cookies and cream cake from the store and decorated it ourselves. He loved it!

police cake (3)……candles (3)

He got quite a few great gifts. Auntie D gave him a couple watches, his cousin gave him a light saber, his Uncle P gave him a super cute green dinosaur shirt, and his Auntie Ph gave him a millennium falcon model (took the Man two hours to put it together).

presents from D watches (2)……presents light saber from jessica (1)

3-4-2011 millennium falcon from ph and carson

It was a really fun day for him, he went to bed exhausted but happy. And he knew that Auntie D would be here for a whole week after that to keep things going. She helped me take him to school every day (it’s SO much easier to do with two people), she even ‘slept over’ with him on two separate nights.

3-4-2011 last day of Ds visit (2)……3-4-2011 last dinner before she left out to eat sushi (2)

I love it when my family comes to visit. There are never any expectations to be “entertained” and they seem to really get a kick out of just hanging out spending time with the Kiddo. I hate when they have to head home, it leaves me wishing there was some way we could move back to be near them.. I hope that someday we can.

Thoughts...

Thoughts Become Things; Choose The Good Ones.