January 27, 2009

Human Sled

My kids were so delighted today that it finally snowed enough flakes to make a snowball out of.

So I did my mothering duty and spent the exhausting hour that it takes to get them all bundled up - making five fingers fit in five finger holes, or helping the little thumbs to find their slot in the mitten, and stuffing legs into snowsuits. Lance took a little more stuffing as he is wearing the same snowsuit that he has had for the past 4 years. I've calculated that to be how long a child has to wear it to get our money's worth out of it in this mild climate. Extra socks were layered on and some unnecessarily clunky snow boots were zipped up and off they tromped to the (barely) white wonderland of our backyard.

I put Bridger down for his nap and went to the front to shovel the driveway and sidewalk. In the moments that I paused in my shoveling I could hear laughter coming from the backyard. Just as I finished, however, the giggling had morphed into bawling. I went around back to find the victim. It was Sadie.

"What happened?" I asked. In between her sobs I made out, "I was. . . sled. . .Lance. . . Eva. . .on top. . . slide. . . BONKED MY NOSE *sob* *sob* *sob*"

Snow time had come to an end. Everyone came inside for the hour of de-bundling, followed by warm baths, some hot chocolate, cuddling under a blanket and watching a movie. I took that time to ask Eva and Lance what had happened. Immediately the darting eyes and defensive excuses started flying out of their mouths. Apparently, the children had decided to "play sled". Sadie (the most vulnerable) became the pick for the sled. They had her lay faced-down on top of the slide, looking down the slide head first. Lance and Eva then sat on top of the "sled" and rode it down the slide where the sled came to an abrupt stop -- into the ground.

I explained to Lance and Eva that that was a very poor choice and a dangerous one too. Eva said that Sadie wanted it. Lance threw up his hands and said that if they could see into the future, then they wouldn't have chosen it. Glad to see that even a 7 year-old's hindsight is 20-20.

In the meantime, if Sadie's nose seems a little bit larger and slightly blueish for the next couple weeks - just don't say anything.

January 22, 2009

Something About Siblings

The range of comments I receive while in the line at Costco or other random places never ceases to amaze me. While most have sincere tones of support, amazement or kindness, some others come flying out of tactless mouths (of both strangers and familiar faces) so fast that I have to blink twice in disbelief over what I just heard. One particular comment made by someone was their thoughts on what a strain a special needs child must put on the other siblings. I didn't even bother with a reply. I couldn't. My explanation to the contrary would have been too long and they probably wouldn't have understood in the end anyway.

I could never imagine a greater gift to their lives than this. And conversely, they are the greatest gift to him. I'll leave it at that and not go into the 100 reasons why. But if you are ever wondering - I would be happy to share.

There is something about siblings that is magical. When Bridger one day crawls, I'm sure it will be to go play with Sadie. When Bridger says his first word, I'm sure it will be to Eva. When Bridger finally eats a doughnut, I'm sure it will be a moment shared with Lance.

Our latest miracle came out of those sibling connections. Bridger, as I have mentioned, is primarily g-tube fed with a menu of about 4 things that he will eat. He has strong oral defenses that we are working with feeding therapists and an outstanding GI team to overcome. Lately, we have had success to stretch his list of acceptable foods to about 8.

Then along comes a brother. With a tray full of cheese puffs that I have had no success with getting Bridger to eat, Lance comes along, sings a little song and *presto* Bridger opens his mouth and eats Lance's cheese puff offering. The next night, I made some homemade pizza for dinner. Bridger had eaten cheese bread at some random moment in the past, so I was working on this food with him. No luck. Lance comes over, does his little game, and pizza was consumed. Two entire pieces to be exact! The next morning, french toast sticks. One sweet big brother just did what a team of therapists and doctors had not found success in after months of strategizing. And they are amazed by this magical sibling connection as well.

Not a chance at all that Bridger would ever let a goldfish cracker in his mouth. That is, until this afternoon, when Eva came along.

January 15, 2009

Winter Blues

So this year started off with a bang.

It started off with a house-o'-stomach-flu, beginning with me and ending with Lance and everyone falling victim between. The miracle of that -- Lance made it to the toilet (I do offer prizes to children that do). It was a close one with Lance. I was sitting with him at church (Alan was home with the two pukers) and I had a speaking assignment that day. A mere 90 seconds before I was to get up Lance announced to me that he was going to throw up. Hmm, timing. I loosened his tie and gave him a program to fan himself with and got up to speak. I'm sure that no one had a clue what was really going through my mind as I raced through my remarks. I left church with Lance and made it home for him with ten minutes to spare.

After the stomach flu we moved on to a hospital stay with Bridger for 4 days. The miracle of that -- I was just saved hours of administrative work by meeting our insurance deductible and out-of-pocket max on the first day of the year.

Upon discharge we thought we needed some more family bonding and so every one got strep, including mom and dad. The miracle of that -- strep is considered fatal to Alan due to his rheumatic heart/kidney transplant and he made it through without incident.

During the course of the first weeks of my fun-filled new year I decided what my problem is (or one of my problems). I have diagnosed myself as having Seasonal Affect Disorder. No blood test needed. I'm quite sure of it. My mood is directly related to the forecast. I think that makes it quite easy for my husband to follow my mood swings. He tells me it is a good thing I don't live in Alaska.

The weather in Orlando was 74 and sunny all last week. Here we are having the coldest temperatures in decades. So to combat my self-diagnosed S.A.D., I started the cloudy, cold day yesterday by making Mickey Mouse pancakes. I packed Disney fruit snacks for Eva's snack that day and put all of Lance's lunch items in Disney baggies. I made Mickey Mouse nuggets for the girls for lunch. For a craft we made cereal necklaces from Disney cereal and the activity was playing Disney bingo. After school the kids went on a Disney treasure hunt where all of their Disney plushes were hid throughout the house with clues. The treasure was Disney sweatshirts and t-shirts. For dinner we had Mickey-shaped frozen pizzas followed by Disney cupcakes. At bedtime I read Finding Nemo and talked about the day with them. Lance announced to me that he was quite embarrassed about Disney Princesses on his lunch baggies. But luckily, he said, no one else saw. Eva exclaimed it was just a Disney Day! I ended the night by telling them that it was going to be a Disney day soon, and that we had planned a vacation to Disney in 2 weeks! Their faces were priceless.
My winter blues are cured just thinking about it. I figure that since I made the diagnosis then I can write the prescription as well. And Orlando is just what the doctor ordered.

Uncle Walt, it has been too long. I look forward to seeing you soon.