Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's come to this

Dear Andrew & Abigail,

Tonight, we reached a turning point. I have said frequently (usually at bedtime) in the last months that I have seriously considered locking one or both of you in your rooms. Your aunt Audra reached that point with cousin Georgia. To be honest, I judged her for it. Well I am paying the price for that judging now. I tried to understand then how things could possibly reach the point where the only way to control a three-year-old child was to lock her in her room, but I just could not imagine the level of frustration and desperation that would lead to that. It seemed so extreme. NOW I understand. I understand the temper tantrums. The hitting. The kicking. The screaming like a caged wild animal. You think I exaggerate. If I could load audio and video here - and had a camera person from Super Nanny's crew to film it all so I could still have hands free to ward off the blows - I would find a way, just so I could have a record later of what happens on an all too regular basis in this house.

And so here we are.

I know that the reason we are here on this specific evening is because of our weekend. As fun as it was to see our friends in Tennessee, I know that the repercussions of disrupting your schedule so drastically are these fits from both of you, but more fiercely from Sweet Abigail. For Andrew, everything is hard, frustrating, unfair. We're hearing a lot of exasperated pre-teen "GAWD!!!" (ooh, I HATE that!). For Abby, living and breathing is just pure torture. The tiredness possesses her little body like a demon, turning my Sweet Abigail into Screaming Mimi. There is nothing to do but wait it out. But an audience of any kind feeds the demon. Isolation is our exorcist. And so, the lock.

I would much rather be talking about how much fun we had this weekend visiting Patrick and Ainsley and the Dinosaur Bounce House. You both did so much better on the drive than I had hoped for -- thanks to our pre-travel purchase:

You had fun swimming, bouncing, digging, sliding...all the things summer should be about. Bedtime in the hotel was okay each night, with only one major fit-throwing incident when we passed the point of no return with Abby. But mostly, you two snuggled in with Mom, Dad, or sibling and fell asleep on your own without major drama. A blessed change of pace. And Mommy and Daddy got to spend some time with our long lost friends. It was one of the most wonderful Memorial Day Weekends ever. But then we came home to reality. And now our reality includes a lock on Abby's door to keep the demon contained. I am sad, and I'm wishing for a Super Nanny fairy to come and fix this. Clearly, your parents are not having any luck. I feel like a bad mommy. That I am failing you both. That I should be able to make this work. But I have resorted to locking Abby's door. And it makes me sad.

Why can't every day be like vacation?
Updated: Daddy wasn't home when I put up the lock. He is not happy with Mommy, but I think he's mostly angry that I put a hole in the door. He is not seeing the problem. And that is making me even more sad. love, Mommy

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yo yo yo check it out - it be yo Mama's day!

(5/15: edited to insert pictures)

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I know that the gifts you give me now while you're young are going to be by far the best ever. I am treasuring these gifts now so that later, when you're teenagers and you give me a piece of gum or worse, an oven mitt, I won't break down into the sobs of a broken woman. Well, I might, but at least it won't be because of the gifts.

From Abby, I got a hand print in Plaster of Paris
and a calendar with original Art by Abby.

From Andrew, I got a beautiful mug

and this awesome Top Ten list (did you know that David Letterman is from Indianapolis?!):

Andrew's been working on his cursive! But that picture is pretty hard to see, so here's the list (the underlined parts are what Andrew filled in himself):

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My MOM, by Andrew
10. I love my Mom because she reads me a book.
9. I love my Mom because she helps me fix stuff.
8. I love my Mom when she makes me laugh by saying funny things. (Apparently, "It's bedtime" is one of those funny things)
7. I love my Mom because she taught me how to ride my bike.
6. I love to hear my Mom sing rap.
5. I love my Mom because she finds time to play a game.
4. I know my Mom cares because she is nice to me.
3. I know my Mom is smart because she knows lots of things.
2. I love my Mom because she works so hard at home.
1. I love my Mom because she's the BEST MOM EVER!
Wait. Did you catch #6? Read that one again. I'll wait.

Yes, Andrew is letting out all of my secrets. Your mommy is a closet rapper. The coat closet, to be exact. That's where I go to let out my mad rap skilz. I keep my bling in there, too. It's big. And blingy. My bling. Blinga bling bling. See, I can barely keep myself from rapping right now.

the Big Mac Mommy (although I really prefer the fries over the Big Mac)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Andrew's staring problem

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Today I'm going to tell you the story of Andrew's seizures.

One night, when he was about six months old, Mommy and Daddy woke up because strange noises were coming through the baby monitor from Andrew's room. We went in to check on him and when I picked him up, he wouldn't look at me. He was making a bah-bah-bah-bah sound over and over and was pretty listless. Mommy and Daddy didn't know what was going on, so we freaked out a little. We took Andrew to the emergency care center where they told us that what we had seen was a febrile seizure. Andrew had a high fever and an ear infection when they checked him out, and the doctor said that the high fever probably brought on the seizure. But not to worry, febrile seizures were fairly common and children usually grew out of them pretty quickly. Many only have one and never have another. Unfortunately, that wasn't true for Andrew.

Over the next two years, Andrew had several more seizures. Each one was different, but most were not full blown gran mal seizures. The worst one happened while we were out of town at Grandma Jamie's for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we knew that one was coming, but couldn't get the Tylenol in time. It was a gran mal. Andrew convulsed and turned blue. I called 911 for an ambulance and had to stand just out of reach from Andrew on the wall phone while I watched my little boy turn very very blue. Daddy was holding him, but I couldn't reach him and it was horrible.

After that, he started taking medicine for his seizures. I still think that we should have had tubes put in Andrew's ears, but your Mommy just didn't know enough to push our very conservative pediatrician at the time. In my mind, if the seizures were caused by spiking fevers (always), and the fevers were caused by ear infections (almost every time - and if it wasn't ear infection, it was strep throat), then we should treat the ear infections. But the ear infections finally went away. Unfortunately, the seizures didn't.

After Andrew was on medicine and he grew out of the ear infections, he didn't have many seizures. But then he grew (always with the growing!) and the seizures crept back in. Also, Mommy and Daddy let you stop taking the meds. Because we're bad horrible parents. We know. The seizures that showed up without the meds were called "absence seizures." It took us a while to really believe they were seizures because they looked mostly like zoning out - and Andrew is VERY good at zoning out. But these episodes were different. He couldn't hear or remember what happened while he was zoned. And then one of his teachers noticed and called us. It was the validation from another adult that finally convinced us that we were really seeing what we thought we were - we're not the most confident parents. But that's probably because we're so bad at it. So we called the neurologist, confessed that we are terribly inadequate as parents, and Andrew is back on his medicine.

This week, we went back to visit Dr. Hamati at Riley Children's Hospital. Part of me will be just a little sad when (if?) we are done visiting Dr. Hamati, because she is just so wonderful. Even when she's scolding your neglectful parents. But you know, not seeing Dr. Hamati will also mean that Andrew is done with seizures and seizure medicine and for that, I will be very very happy. We will be scheduling another EEG for Andrew in October because it will officially be two years since Andrew's last seizure. We're hoping for a very boring reading. If we get a boring reading, we get to try weaning Andrew off the medicine - this time with permission!

I know we could have it much worse. Andrew has not been diagnosed with epilepsy and his seizures are mild and controllable. He suffers from no noticeable side effects from his medicine (Lamictal). But still, Mommy would be happier if you did not have to take two pills in the morning and two pills at night every day.

Daddy and Mommy also take medicine every day, for various things. We're old, that's what happens. Abby has asked why she doesn't "get" to take medicine every day. The day she asked me that, I almost cried. And then I gave her some gummy bear vitamins. Remember, I'm not very good at this parenting thing.

Mommy (hey, I gave birth to you, that counts for something!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our Very Busy Weekend

Dear Andrew & Abby,

I am afraid we are in for a very busy busy summer. I think this weekend was just a taste of what is to come. It's going to be fun, but Mommy is going to be t-i-r-e-d! The good news is that you two might actually get worn out enough to sleep a couple of times. That would be a nice change of pace.

This weekend, Grandma Dottie and Papa came to visit. They got to our house Friday night. That of course meant that Friday evening was when we cleaned the house like little whirlwinds. We really have been doing a little better at keeping the house from looking like it's been ravaged by an army of litter-bugs and mess-makers during the week, but we still don't really get things completely put back together until the weekend. So when we have company arriving Friday night, that bumps the schedule up a bit. And we wouldn't want to plan ahead and try to do extra cleaning all through the no no. That's just crazy talk.

Grandma and Papa came to see Andrew's very first baseball game of the season on Saturday.

So we stayed up late Friday and got up early on Saturday - it's such a good idea. Andrew had to be at the field at 7:45 (yes, in the morning!!) for pictures, so Daddy took him; the rest of us went up for his game at 8:45. Between Andrew's game and the Little League opening ceremonies at 11:30, we went to the garage sale at our church. While we were there, Daddy helped load the walls that they framed in the church parking lot to be transported to the site of the house our church is helping to build with Habitat for Humanity and we watched the duck family with all their little ducklings (13 of them!).

Then we went to another garage sale and chatted with our friends who live on the same street. Daddy and Andrew went back to the ball field for the opening ceremony at 11,

while the rest of us went home to start the grill for lunch and try to get little miss Abigail to take a nap (now THAT's funny!). Whew. Are you tired yet? Of course you're not. Silly question.

So...while we were trying to eat lunch - Daddy and Andrew hadn't made it home yet - Abby fell over backwards in her chair and her tongue helped her teeth break their fall.

There was blood. And more blood. Luckily, Grandma was there and she has experience with this sort of thing. When Daddy was three, he rode his tricycle down the basement stairs and bit his tongue, too. He actually almost bit the whole thing off and had to have stitches! Abby's was not quite that bad - there were no dangling tongue pieces, thank goodness! But it did take quite a while to get her settled down and for the bleeding to stop. And then? She went to sleep! Huh.

Wow, after all of that, the rest of Saturday was pretty boring. We cooked out again for dinner (Mommy's barbecued chicken...mmm) and sat outside. Then, your Grandma told Mommy and Daddy they could LEAVE. When there were baths to give and dishes to wash. Have I mentioned how much your Grandma likes to clean and how much Papa loves to give you baths? They are awesome. Mommy and Daddy went up to church to put away the signs for the garage sale (because they are big and heavy and we made them seven years ago and so it's always Daddy's job to put them out and put them away. That's just the way it is.) and also to finish tilling the church garden so we can plant some things.

Sunday. Church Day. Mommy and Daddy and Andrew went to Sunday school and Grandma, Papa, and Abby came for the service. Mommy was in charge of the nursery and children's church so I did my best to get all the kids excited for Vacation Bible School. Mommy is really excited for VBS and I'm in charge this year, so I want everyone else to be excited, too. After church, we went to one of our very very favorite places to eat (at Abby's request this time, instead of Mommy's), Parky's. Mmm...barbecue. We like barbecue.

And then...yes, there was just a little more...Grandma and Papa went home. I think we probably wore them out. We went to the fun Tractor Supply Store to look for seeds and stakes and string for the garden and you BOTH had big ol' bad temper tantrums. So we took our seeds and went home and you both went to bed! Abby slept, but Andrew didn't. Sigh. Later, there was biking and Dairy Queen for you two and Daddy while Mommy stayed home in the quietness. Bedtime I really need to say it...rough. Abby slept too long at nap time. Of course!

And that was our weekend. And that will be our summer. Next month looks especially busy - Andrew will have baseball games and Cub Scout camp, Abby will have dance class, and we all will have vacation bible school. I'm both dreading and looking forward to it at the same time. I think we're going to have a lot of fun and make a lot of memories. But I also think it's going to be hard for Mommy and Daddy to figure out how to juggle everything and keep our happy voices. We'll be practicing our patience a lot. And you two are going to have to practice your sleeping. A lot.

Mommy - who will be sleeping for the next three weeks in preparation for summer