Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We're Losing Our Pediatrician

Very few things can inspire genuine fear and trepidation in the mind of a parent of many children. One of those things is the mere thought of losing our pediatrician. That thought became a reality this past week when we were told that the third parent in our family, Dr. M., is going to be leaving her practice to move on to bigger and grander things. I can't think of many times that I've ever been speechless. (I know. Most other people can't think of a time like that, either.)

It has actually been a really emotional thing for me to lose her as my children's pediatrician. I had always pictured her being there for all five of my kids' milestones, meltdowns, and whatever else comes along in a kid's life. I figured she'd be the one to see them through the "awkward teenage years" and sit down with them to explain all the changes their bodies are going through. I figured she'd be caring for their babies someday. I figured she'd be the one on the witness stand testifying in my behalf when I officially lose my mind and make my boys wear pink ballerina underwear to school as a punishment for whatever it is they do to make me nuts, and then they turn me into CPS claiming emotional abuse. I fully expected that she'd be the one reminiscing with me when the last one of my children finally leaves the nest, and a new kind of emptiness consumes me. I just couldn't ever have pictured anyone else heading up the medical care of my children.

I have special memories of her with each individual child. With Number One, it was the time when he was about three that he came down with something like strep. I had decided to be the cool mom who taught her kids the correct terminology for their body parts. She looked down at him and asked him what was wrong. His response:
"Well, my throat hurts. And my head hurts. And my ears hurt." Then a long, thoughtful pause. Finally, "...but my testicles feel GREAT." said with a very big proud smile. I could see her really wanting to giggle, but she maintained her composure and let him know she was glad those felt good.

It was also Number One that first led me to her office in the first place. Here I was a young mother of just one child. I wanted the best for him and had asked around to find just the right doctor. I put a lot of research into my decision to see her, and I wasn't disappointed. Not even a little.

With the Beast, it was all about his hearing loss. ECI eventually became a huge source of relief for us, but she was the stone we really stood on. She was our comfort zone. I remember her telling me at his two week check that lots of babies fail to pass their newborn hearing screen and that he was likely one of them. When the test came back with a significant hearing loss, I remember seeing her look at the paper work as baffled as I was. She never once pretended to have all the answers. She didn't even pretend to know all the right questions to ask. She just did what she knew how to do best-support us in our new journey. She stood by us and worked with us as we sought out specialists and resources for him. Most importantly, she cheered him on with each obstacle he overcame. A lot of our success in parenting him should be attributed to her. I feel like she is such a key player in the amazing outcome we've had with him.

When Pretty was born, Dr. M. knew just how beyond words delighted we were to finally have a girl. It was no secret that I longed for a daughter. She was so gentle with her, especially since she was such a tiny fragile baby. It just so happened that Dr. M's daughter has the same name that Pretty has. Her name was misspelled on her chart, and Dr. M. noted it. She made sure she made a little stink about it until the office staff fixed it. It's not like it made any difference in the quality of care. It was just that it showed me that she saw my tiny daughter as a real person with a real name and a real life and real stories that she would someday live out.

At about five months old, Pretty had some serious pooping issues. They actually wound her up in a hospital for a while, and resulted in the need for a highly specialized diet. Dr. M. never let it slip her mind that there were certain drugs Pretty couldn't have after that problem. Even to this day, she asks me what I'd rather Pretty be given simply out of respect for me as her mom.

Snort was only four weeks old when he first became deathly ill. We took him to the ER on Christmas Eve and he was admitted for a full week after that. I was devestated because I was missing Christmas with the other kids. Dr. M. came to spend time with Snort every single day that he was there in the hospital. She didn't have to do that. There were other doctors on call, and she has a family of her own. But she was there. She wasn't rushing in and out. She took her time, answered my questions, and just generally made a miserable situation survivable. Snort has a long history of health issues. Dr. M. has been there every step of the way helping to unravel the puzzles he presented to us.

This past February, Snort and Pretty both ended up in the hospital at the same time. Little Guy was just weeks old. I came unglued. I mean completely unglued. Dr.M. came to see them at the hospital and I was just a sobbing mess. I hadn't slept in days, was trying to nurse a newborn while cloning myself to be in two hospital rooms at once, and was feeling deeply responsible for the fact that they were sick. I just sobbed and begged her to make it better. She looked at me, smiled and said "Aimee, you're so tired. You need to sleep. You need to let someone else take that baby home from this hospital where he isn't exposed to other germs. You need to go home. You must sleep." She just said it over and over. "You're so tired, Aimee. I know this isn't really you. You need to sleep. Take your baby home, let others help, and sleep." I really was at the end of my rope at that point, and sleep deprivation had taken over. But her gentle words and simple smile made it okay for me to let someone else take Little Guy from me. That moment is still so vivid in my mind. It's just not something I can ever forget, or ever take back. And she was so key to that moment, and in the recovery of Pretty and Snort.

And then there's Little Guy. Hearing loss, pulmonary issues, and developmental delays are a lot to place on the tiny plate of such a young person. I never worry about Little Guy slipping through the cracks with her. She asks questions and keeps looking until she finds answers. And she listens to ME. She knows that I know my children better than anyone else on the planet, and she values my opinion regarding their care.

All of these things put together create a very emotional me at the thought of losing her. I know there are other doctors in the area. That's not the issue. But, they aren't trained in AimeeTheSuperMom skills. They don't know that I know everything and must be listened to or else. Other doctors don't realize that my children are the sun, moon, and stars and that their care should be the only thing they worry about ever. They don't know how crazy all of my kids are. They aren't privy to stories like the incident where the Beast peed in strange places or Pretty tried peeing standing up. (Hmmmm...seems we have a lot of bathroom issues in this family, doesn't it?) I'm sure they're all good doctors, and the one we've chosen when she leaves is more than capable. But, what it boils down to is that they're just not HER. And they never will be.

I'm really excited for Dr. M. She's moving on to much grander things. She'll be in with a leading Children's hospital, and will no doubt be a huge asset to them. I just hope she's as loved there as she has been here. That new children's hospital has a rare treasure on their hands.

Best of luck, Dr. M! We will miss you greatly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cologne Wars

Saturday morning, Number One came in smelling a bit like he'd been trying to be more like his dad. That's right. Cologne. It was painfully obvious that he'd put just a bit too much on his hands before smathering it all over his face. Within an hour or two....or twelve, the smell had died down. The King and I figured we'd seen the last of that little incident. What were we thinking?! These are OUR children.

Several hours later, I walked into the Beast's room. Unfortunately for me, I also opted to breathe in. Gasping for air, I asked him why it smelled should I say this...manly in here? He and Pretty beamed with pride as they both pointed to the completely empty bottle of the King's cologne. You have to understand. This is the same bottle the King has had since before we were married TEN YEARS AGO. And it was still three quarters full. It's not that the King never used it. It's just that very little is required to have a lasting affect. The whole bottle??? Suffice it to say his room smelled like a strip club full of dirty old men. And garlic. (But that's left over from last month's incident).

I opened his window, hosed him down, and made a really stinky dinner in an effort to destink the house. It didn't really work. It's better now, but he still has a lingering "Man Smell" about him. I can only assume his teacher was just delighted with that.

Hopefully next time Number One decides to try out his dad's smell, he'll remember to put the stuff back on the shelf. Hopefully we can prevent any further cologne wars.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ever Have One of Those Days?

You know those kinds of days where you do everything you have to do because you have to do those things to survive the day? Those days where you are in autopilot for survival sake? Those days where maybe you do make major accomplishments, but everything that has gone wrong that day overshadows what went right? While it's all happening, though, you do everything with a smile and without even realizing how much you're really having to do? And then, at the end of the day, do you just want to sit down in a puddle and cry because you suddenly see clearly just how bad of a day it really was? But you don't cry because you're just too tired. And there are still things to do. So, you just curl up and go to sleep. Do you have those days?

Yeah. Me, too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Bus Driver:

Dear Mr. Bus Driver:

I realize your job is probably less than pleasant. I can only imagine that driving around with dozens of kids who have been trapped behind desks all day and would like nothing better than to hijack the bus and take over the world in Pinky and the Brain style can cause you to be rather grumpy.

Still, Mr. Bus Driver, surely you realize that comes with the job, right? I'm sure you read the job description and understood that you'd also be dealing with parents, right? So, why then, Mr. Bus Driver, are you being such a grumpy bucket to me? After all, I am the one who makes it possible for you to have one less unruly ants-in-his-pants-noisy-running-like-a-chicken-on-speed-with-its-head-cut-off kid. Rather than looking at me like I'm the bane of your existence, how about a smile once in a while? I know. That's a lot to ask. Seriously, though. Whatever it is that has gotten your panties into that much of a wad is surely something that will pass eventually. Problems are like bad gas. They really stink, but eventually it all subsides.

Why am I writing this to you, Mr. Bus Driver? Well, it's about the "yellow form" you needed me to sign and give back to you. Yes, I do know you gave it to me Wednesday. When you came to drop the Beast off Thursday, you asked for it and I told you I had it inside. You told me to just send it to school with him and you'd get it that way. Friday morning, I saw to it that it was in his backpack. Just like you said. Today, when you asked me for it and I said I'd put it in his backpack, you shook your head at me, threw your arms in the air, and drove off like I was some idiot. Mr. Bus Driver, let me just clarify. I am not the idiot in this situation. YOU told me to put it in his backpack. I'm not suggesting that you are the idiot here. I'm just sayin'...well, you get the idea.

So, please Mr. Bus Driver. Dislodge your panties. They're wadded far too high up there. Rest assured that I have read the student bus riding agreement, and I do know that my child may not climb out the roof escape, that my other children may not board the bus at any time during drop-off, and that it's not okay for my children to climb out the window of a moving bus. Rest assured, Mr. Bus Driver. All is well.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Today marks one of America's darkest days. A good friend of mine asked that we look at to find the name of one person we can honor today. This is where we can find a list of those who died on that fateful day. The name I will be honoring today is
Ching Ping Tung
The more I looked for information on this person, the less I found. And really, I'm not sure that knowing the little details really matters, although it would certainly help to "know" the person I'm writing about. What matters is that this was an innocent victim of one of the worst acts of terrorism our country has ever seen. This person, a child of God, was taken from this earth and this life prematurely because of the cowardly acts of another person. That alone is reason enough to stop and pray that we, as a country, can pull together and act as one.
I know our country is in a devisive situation right now. Liberals point at conservatives and scream that they only worry about big business and blah, blah, blah. Conservatives point at Liberals and point out that they're taking us down a socialist path and blah, blah, blah. Let's be honest, though. In the end, none of it really matters. What matters is that we, as Americans, are one people. What matters is that we stand together and remember who we really are. We live in the greatest country in the world. People lose their lives trying to have an opportunity to be here. So, just for one day, can we put the bickering aside and remember that we're all just human? That we all really do need each other whether we like it or not? That we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven who loves us each indivdually?
Just for one day, can we honor Ching Ping Tung and all the others who died on 9/11 by stepping back, loving one another, and standing as one in the battle on terrorism?
In loving memory of Ching Ping Tung.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Even Super Moms Can Be Bitten By a Bad Economy

Yep. You read that right. The bad economy has struck our family. The King's plant announced that it will be closing in about 16 months. I'm not freaking out. After all, I always have that plus-sized pole dancing plan in my back pocket. Surely there is someone out there who thinks watching a fully clothed tired mother of five ride a pole is worth money, right? No? Hmmm...well, then I guess we'll have to just keep looking.

There are some very real possibilities for the King at the corporate office of his current company. It would require us to move across the country to a new place, but it would put dinner on the table and put us much closer to something long-term and more stable. Who can complain about that, right?

So, the King is looking long at hard at numerous jobs, and is focusing mostly on the corporate position with his current company. In the meantime, I'm shining up my pole.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Things You Learn About Others When You've Got a Special Needs Child

Friday was a crazy day for me. I was rushing around trying to get cupcakes to the Beast's class for school and still make it to Little Guy's earmold impression appointment and then back to town in time to get the Beast a cake and pick up Snort and Pretty in time.I went to Wal-Mart first. Since it was still fairly early, I was able to get a handicapped parking spot. Whenever I have Little Guy with me on my own, I use our handicapped sticker because that oxygen tank is HEAVY and bulky. I ran into the store, did my quick shopping, and came out right away.

As I approached my van, an older gentleman sitting in a car parked next to me opened his door and asked me if I needed any help. I get that question a lot, but I think most people are just being polite and are secretly hoping I don't really need any help. I noted that he smelled like an entire liquor store, and smiled at him and said, "Thank you for your offer. I've gotten pretty used to doing this." and continued my business.The next thing I knew, the gentleman was out of his car. "I just can't sit by and watch a lady do all that work while I do nothing.", he said. And without another word, he unloaded my cart, lifted Little Guy's oxygen tank out of the cart, and then took my buggy and put it away so I wouldn't have to leave Little Guy to do it.

I realized at that moment that my judgement of him as a man who just stunk of booze who couldn't really help me was as far from the truth as could possibly be. This was a good man who sincerely wanted to help.

That afternoon, I went to Sam's for the cake. Not one handicapped spot was available. Great! Just what I needed. I took the closest spot I could find and lugged Little Guy and the oxygen with me until I could find a spare shopping cart in the parking lot. I ran into the store, got the cake and some snacks for the Beast's little party, and hurried back to the van.

I was going quickly because I still had to get Snort and Pretty and make it back in time for Number One and the Beast to get off the bus. I was going really fast.Because I wasn't in a handicapped spot, the parking space was a little bit narrower than what I usually had. I had to put Little Guy's tank partly into the vacant spot next to my van so I could unload him, put his carseat back in safely, and then set up the tubing so he wouldn't choke himself. It isn't a lot to do, but even when I'm going my fastest it takes a minute or two.

As I was standing there, a woman who looked to be just slightly older than me pulled into the spot where Little Guy's tank was. She looked at me as if to say "Hey! Move that thing. I want this spot." I moved the tank over a bit, but it was still slightly in her desired spot. (Not that there weren't 300 other spots to choose. She just wanted this one because it was 5 feet closer than the next available one.) What did she do? She pulled her car right up to his tank and parked it there! She got out of her car, tried to be kind, and said "Good thing I have a small car. I don't even need the whole spot." And she walked off.

I stood there stunned. I had misjudged the poor man that morning who genuinely wanted to help as someone who really wouldn't want to be bothered. And, I had summed this lady up as "another mom", someone who would understand what I was trying to do and be patient. I couldn't have been more wrong in either case.I am amazed every day about the things I learn about other people as I go about my life as a mom with special needs children.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Beast!

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Today is the Beast's birthday. He's SIX! Six! Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was holding an itty bitty baby boy in my arms and wondering what I was going to do to parent a child with hearing loss. My, have we come far.
We had the Beast's party yesterday because he believed yesterday was his birthday. And we let him believe that. Why? Because today BYU is coming to Cowboys Stadium to play OU and we have tickets. We're taking Number One and going to the game on the Beast's real birthday. I know! World's worst parents, right?
Yesterday when he woke up and realized he got to take cupcakes to school, he was pretty sure it was his birthday. When he looked up at me with those big beautiful brown eyes and freckled cheeks and asked if it was his birthday, I saw an opportunity to reduce my guilt about leaving him. And I took it. "Yes, yes it is your birthday today". "Am I having a party today?" I didn't skip a beat. "Yes, yes you are." "Wahoooo!".
So, I scrambled. I started calling around to see who could come over just for some cake, ran to Sam's and got him a cake and some grapes (He specifically asked for grapes. Silly kid.), cleaned up the house, and made it happen. I did it! I sent the King to the dollar store for some silly little gifts, pulled out the gift bags from Pretty's party (who cares if they're pink with flowers, right?), and happily greeted his friends. Well, the ones who could come.
He was thrilled! He got a cockroach on a string, some glow necklaces, some rubber lizards from Gary (his lizard he caught and played with a couple weeks ago), and a digital camera. The kids was in 7th heaven.
And the best part? I can go to the game today mostly guilt-free. Well, at least until he's old enough to read my blog and realizes what I did. Then, he'll need therapy to get over it. We can just tack that on to all the other stuff his parents have done to cause him to need therapy.

What is Wrong With This Picture?

Marlene walked into the living room yesterday, and told me I just had to come see what she was seeing. So, I grabbed my camera and made a dash for it. This is what I found. Can anyone else tell what is wrong with this situation? Here's a hint: It would explain why Snort and Little Guy always seem to be sick at the same time.
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