Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

say my name

Last night, Elliott said all of our names. Well, all except one. Mine. He said Daddy and Ben and Mookie. (Mona was off sulking in the other room.) He even said Elliott, which seems to me to contain more complications and syllables than Mommy. But the good news is, he is talking more and making so much progress. He still throws tantrums and avoids eye contact a lot, but WAY less than before, so that is amazing news. Today, I spent $45 just on special snacks for him because he's suddenly become weird about textures. A small container of freeze dried vegetables alone costs FIVE DOLLARS. His special bread costs about double as well and I had to buy him protein powder to supplement because he won't eat meat now and he can't have any dairy. I'm also going to try to make him baked tofu, and I bought him these special flax snacks which are expensive and smell like mold, but he actually really likes them. Because that's just how he rolls.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Last night, right before I left Benajamin's room and he was about to go to sleep, he said, in a panicked voice, "Mom, I don't want to grow old. I don't want to be 5." I asked him why and in his pre-teenager mode he shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know." It eventually came out. He said he wouldn't get to see his friends anymore and there wouldn't be any paint or books in kindergarten. He was almost on the verge of tears. I assured him that there would indeed be books and paints in kindergarten, maybe even better ones than there were in preschool, and that we'd invite his current friends over when we could but that he'd make new friends too. "I won't like them," he told me. I gently reassured him that he might like them. Ben has never been good with change, so we've been preparing him for kindergarten since last summer, taking him by the school, letting him play on the playground, discussing it with him. He is ready academically but I am nervous about how anxious he will be once school starts in August, and also how anxious we will both be. Because even though he's been in pre-school, kindergarten is a whole new frontier. A whole new level of letting him go into the world and begin to have his own separate life outside of the safety of our family. His preschool is on Ryan's campus and Ryan can check on him at any time. That physical proximity is important, even if it is illogical. It will be hard for me to know that he is in a classroom miles away from Ryan and me, navigating the new friends, the new teacher, this whole new segment of his life. I know he will be teased at some point, that this is normal. But it doesn't feel any better to know this. It doesn't stop me from wanting to hug him every minute he is at school, fending off the mean kids. I didn't realize it before, but I am anxious too. I know he is ready, but it doesn't matter. I won't let him feel any of this anxiety of course, and we have a few more months to prepare. Everyone always says, "they grow up so fast." And it is true. They do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

a big fat thank you

Last week on this exact night, I was crying my eyes out. Elliott wasn't going to get his surgery and nothing was working out. Now, he is all lined up for the services he needs this month, the surgery went splendidly (or as close to that as possible), and even my work is under control, despite the fact that it is the end of the semester. And on Mother's Day, I got to sleep in and buy myself a bicycle and drink pina coladas while Ryan did the heavy lifting with the kids. As a result, so far this week is a wholly different experience thanks largely to one person--Ryan. Even tonight, Elliott was grabbing at his ears and screaming, so Ryan drove him all the way to Fontana for urgent care so we could see if he has an infection. When I can't keep my shit together, Ryan is there to rescue me, and I am so grateful to him for that.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

click click take a picture

Each night after bath, two books, and a discussion of what we did today and what our favorite parts were, Benjamin says, "Click, click, I took a picture." And we say, "What is it?" and he goes into a long-winded story usually involving Diego or Mickey going to an ice cream store and getting poop ice cream cone and then eating the poop ice cream cone and pooping on someone's head. There are endless varieties of this same plot and when Ben is done telling us this story, he makes us tell him another variation of it. If we try to leave poop out of the picture, Ben says, "No" and then adds poop into the story again. I'm guessing this is what it will be like to have two boys and Ryan in the house, so I'd better get used to it. Ben thinks these stories are so funny and he laughs hysterically at each one even though they are nearly indistinguishable from the stories that came before them. Although I don't find poop nearly as hilarious as he does, his happiness always makes me smile. He also has this continuous fixation with Uncle Keith. Tonight, he said Uncle Keith is a tree with branch arms and a leafy head and a trunk for a body. It's been a really long time since he saw Uncle Keith, but apparently, he made a big impression. Ben has this amazing and detailed little world in his head, and I love bedtime because he lets me in. Even when so much poop talk is involved.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

the (minor) surgery

Last night, I had just about had it. Last time Elliott's ear tube surgery and hearing exam was scheduled, he got so worked up that they thought he had a cold and they canceled the surgery, after weeks of waiting. I spent several more weeks waiting and placing weekly calls to annoy the nurses into fitting him in. During my weekly call last week, I got lucky and they told me there had just been a cancellation. Could I take off work and bring him in on Tuesday? Yes, I could. At the pre-op on Monday, they poked and prodded Elliott and made me walk him all over the hospital. He was understandably annoyed with the TWO HOUR wait, and this old man named Uncle Floyd started complaining about him, and about my mothering skills. I was this close to giving Uncle Floyd something to complain about, but his niece was kind and deflated the situation. I am so sick of people making me feel like there is something wrong with my kids. It makes me angrier than anything makes me. Angry enough to punch an old man with a walker in his veiny, red nose. Instead, I cried a little and went to work and taught badly because my mind was elsewhere.

And then last night, Elliott got a small fever. And a little cough. And then Ryan told me this kid at day care had a 104 degree fever and his mom didn't take him home. I was crushed. The stakes are so much higher with Elliott because he is meeting with all of his specialists this month and if we didn't get his hearing squared away, the appointments would be useless. I've been under so much stress writing letters and calling people and carting the kids around to all of their specialists' appointments. I felt like I had worked so hard and it had all come down to this: failure.

So I went to bed defeated but I set my alarm for 5:15 and I prayed Elliott would wake up with out the fever. And he did! No food or drink was allowed for the little man until 9am, so he was extremely agitated. Yet, I couldn't let him cry because they might cancel the surgery again. I felt as though I had this (cute) time bomb on my hands for hours, and each time the nurse took his blood pressure or affixed a bracelet to his wrist or looked at him too long, I winced in anticipation of his screams and head banging. There was a little of that, but I had a bunch of toys and I let him do stuff I normally wouldn't just so he would keep it together. Want to play with the doctor's computer? Sure. Want to grab the blinds on the window? You got it. Play with the I.V. holder thing? Absolutely. Finally, just when I thought he couldn't take it anymore, they took him from me and carried him down the hall. He didn't cry when they did that, which shocked me, and as the door closed on him, he did a little fake sneeze, and I felt sad and nervous for the next 45 minutes.

The surgery went fine, and his hearing is perfect. Which is a relief and leads us to the next step in finding out what is wrong with him. When I went the get him, two nurses were struggling with his red and screaming body. He had been trying to rip the I.V. out of his arm and they were attempting to tape it down. They told me his screaming was a reaction to the medication, but as it kept worsening, it became clear (as I knew all along) that this had more to do with his personality. "We have a reputation," I told the nurses. They wanted to wait until he calmed down and drank some juice before they discharged us. I told them this would never happen. Eventually, they believed me and let us go. As soon as we were in the hallway, he stopped crying, and he drank his whole juice on the way home.

So I don't feel like a failure anymore, even though I'm still anxious to find out more about what is going on with Elliott. The Inland Regional Center is finally working with me rather than against me to get more services for Elliott, and I'm hoping my letter writing, phone calling campaign will subside pretty soon. My hope is that this will all be a funny story some day...