Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stress & Testing

The public schools have had their annual tests over the last couple of weeks.  I remember taking the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills when I was in elementary school, and while there was some emphasis placed on getting a good night's sleep and eating breakfast and all that rigamarole, I don't think it quite had the same impact that it has today, and I certainly don't remember actually giving a rat's hindquarters about it.

To be fair, I test well.  I could usually 'get' what test-takers are after, and I like to think I was pretty good at weeding out crappy answers.  Thus, I always scored in the 99th percentile in everything.  I'm not saying that to brag; I don't consider myself any smarter than a lot of other people who don't test well.  I just could work that particular system.

On Monday I hauled Doodlebug and Boo in for testing at the public school administration building.  Doodlebug worked with a school psychologist for his part, since his testing was more extensive; Boo was supposed to have taken hers separately.  However, the woman who had her tests had gotten stuck in a meeting and her office, understandably, was locked.  So we had to reschedule.  It worked out well in the end because after 2.5 hours, Doodlebug still wasn't finished, so we set up a time for the kids to come in today (Thursday) so they could both be done at the same time.

Today, back we went.  Now, before we went in on Monday, I had told the kids several things:
1.  You will not know everything.  They are going to ask you questions that they know are beyond your level just to see if you can do them or can figure them out.  Skip them.  It's okay to say, "I don't know."
2.  You are smart.  I know this.  They will see this.  Don't worry.
3.  If you need help, ask.  Nobody is going to get you in trouble for asking for help.

Doodlebug, of course, didn't have any issues since he was working face-to-face with someone for most of his tests.  Boo, however, was largely on her own, and I guess she had somehow expected the math questions to be just like what she was used to on her math worksheets here at home, and she got really upset initially.  The psychologist got her straightened out - he did a few questions with her orally to get her jump-started and then she was all right - and then she said the reading and spelling questions were easy.

So it's done, and now we wait.  Both kids are completely brain-fried, and I don't blame them.  It took Doodlebug almost two hours again today to complete his stuff, and Boo took nearly two hours herself.  That's a lot of brainpower being used, especially after doing some school today.  It's interesting to see how they're handling their stress.  Doodlebug is parked in front of the Wii; Boo has taken the dog for a walk and is now running around outside hooting and singing at the top of her lungs.

No matter how they do - and I suspect they both did just fine - I am proud of them.  I know they're progressing and have the capability to learn.  I know they did their best.  I'm anxious because I'm a mom and that's what us mom types do.  I know that if they did poorly (which, again, I doubt) it will be a reflection on me to some extent, but at the same time I know that if they did well, I'm just as likely to turn around and say that they did well because they're really smart kids who can absorb things easily (which is also true).  And I'm not good at waiting.

Hope everyone has a beautiful weekend, and if you celebrate Easter, have a good one!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Son, the Unique One

We went to see the retinal specialist this morning.  Our appointment was at 7:45, and when we got the paperwork in the mail a couple days ago, I was not encouraged.  For one thing, it said I would need to allow three hours for an initial visit.  For another, it said that Doodlebug would need to bring sunglasses because they dilate eyes on every visit.  Makes sense for an office dedicated to peering deep into the pupils of every patient.

I discovered when we got there that they run an interesting ship.  It's an efficient ship, I'll give them that.  They open at 7:30, for one thing, which is the earliest I've ever seen any doctor's office open.  We got called back around 8, and they took us to the first room, which was the basic vision check room.  It was a tiny, narrow space, and Boo wound up wedged in the front corner on the floor.  They don't often get kids in there, or parents with kids in tow.  I was the youngest in the waiting room by some 30 years, and Doodlebug... well, the looks he got when the tech called his name and not mine were rather interesting.  The tech took some vitals and checked Doodlebug's vision (an easy 20/20, just like it always is, with the exception of not being able to see some of the letters with his left eye due to the 'line' that we were there for in the first place).  Then she put the drops in his eyes and we waited for them to dilate before we moved to room #2, where she took some photos of his retina and checked pressure.  Then we moved to room #3, where we actually saw the doctor.  He came in and did even more checking. 

In the end, he sat back in his chair, looked at me, and said, "If you're looking for a diagnosis, I don't think I can give you one.  His eyes look perfect."  The retinal scan was perfectly normal, the pressure scans showed that the fluid seemed to be in the right place and have the right pressure, the fluid itself looked clear, etc.  The best he can figure is it's just a weird manifestation of Doodlebug's amblyopia that he's had since his strabismus correction when he was 2.  He dictated a letter to our referring physician [Side note: After he got off the phone, he told me what he'd done, which I had listened to and knew what he'd said and made my own assessments based on the technical version he gave the ophthalmologist. I told him I knew what he'd been doing because I had previously done medical transcription, and he laughed and apologized and said that he always felt sorry for those folks because of how fast and badly he figured he talked.  Of course, I'd had no problems understanding him and thought he'd have been an easy doctor to work for!  I told him that, and he said it made him feel better.  It's always nice to give someone their daily odd compliment.], and we were out of there, potentially never to return.

All this is, I suppose, good.  We don't have to go back, and there's nothing special we have to do (though I think it would be good for Doodlebug's long-term eye health if I made him use that eye once in a while... he's so right-eye dominant that I fear his left eye may just, like, quit if he doesn't ever use it).  The down side is that there's no way to 'fix' it, either.  Not a big deal but rather frustrating.  I'm a 'fix-it' sort of person.

This boy... he blows my mind.  I've never met his equal when it comes to having benign abnormalities.  When he was born with his 12 fingers and 12 toes, it wasn't a health hazard, but it had to be corrected.  When he was 2 and had his strabismus, same deal.  Then he had his tonsils and adenoids out not because they were infected (though apparently the backs of his tonsils were grossly cryptic and did need to come out, anyway) but because they were so large they were causing him to have sleep issues and snore.  He's seen an endodontist because of his missing/small teeth; I didn't even know what an endodontist was until we had to see that one.  Now a retinal specialist.  Oh, and we did genetic testing recently, too, to rule out a couple of issues (the panel came back clear... we're still supposed to go get an echocardiogram, just to be on the extra-safe side, but I'm of two minds about it... and that would be yet another specialist). 

I'm extremely grateful that none of his issues will cause him any long-term problems, I really am.  I know there are so many families out there who may only have to see one or two doctors but have to see them all the time and their children have to live with certain issues and even disabilities for a lifetime (I'm ignoring Doodlebug's ADHD and autism spectrum issues for the moment, because those don't really count in the grand scheme of things, if he can learn to function well enough).  I just hate that every time I think we're done with specialists and doctor visits, something new crops up. 

Ah, well.  He's outside with his sister now, planting the herbs and other stuff they got yesterday.  He wants to create his own garden space this fall so he can plant his own actual garden next spring.  And I'm glad that he can plan for that and not have to worry about things like vision.  I'm lucky I have such healthy kids.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Working in Dirt

It has been a good, long while since I've dug in the dirt.  I had a little bit of an herb garden (wow… I typed 'harden' for 'garden'… it's been that sort of a week) last year, but with the exception of the rosemary, it didn't do very well.  Part of the reason is the spot where there is a ready-made garden is just too shady and moist for most herbs.  They like the heat and the dry a lot more than a lot of other plants, ya know?  So when they died, I didn't bother to replace them.  I just pulled them up and sighed and said, "Maybe next year."

It's next year now.  After the herb debacle, I got on Ye Olde Interwebs and hunted down some good shade garden plans.  After looking through so many my head was starting to spin, I ran across this one (and no, Better Homes & Gardens doesn't know I exist, so don't consider this an endorsement):  Cold-Climate Shade Garden Plan.  There were two reasons that I liked this plan.  #1 was that it looked like it was ready-made to fit the space that I had.  #2 was PERENNIALS.  I {heart} perennials.  Anything that will come back season after season without being repurchased and replanted makes my black-thumbed gardening heart sing.

The only thing that caught my attention, as I'm sure it caught some of yours, was that the garden said it was a 'cold-climate' garden.  But I looked closer and most of the plants were hardy to Zone 8 or 9.  I live in Zone 7.  The only one that might have been a bit iffy was the plant right down in front, lady's mantle.  I just shrugged and mentally (and now physically) swapped it out for Roman chamomile.  Every other plant had at least one version that would work quite well around here, and I suspected I could find most of the plants at a local nursery.

So today that is exactly what I did.  The kids and I piled into the car and went plant shopping.  I didn't exactly stick with the original garden plan, but it's close.  The kids begged for a few plants of their own, too, and I'll take a few pictures of those in the coming days.  Doodlebug was especially keen, and he even requested (and got) a curry plant, among others.  My hands reeked for hours after touching that thing.

Anyway, we got home, and I dug right in.  It was a beautiful afternoon, around 85 degrees, and it's supposed to rain this weekend, which makes it a perfect time to plant.  I picked up three bags of potting soil and already had a couple bags of mulch on hand, as well as some plant food, so I went to town digging up soil, moving rocks (in the photo below, you can see the rocks behind the drainpipe… they used to be smack dab in the middle of the garden), adding potting mix, planting, feeding/watering, and mulching.  It felt so good to get a little bit dirty, and now I have a very nice garden to show for it:

How it will fare, of course, remains to be seen, but I have some lavender, chamomile, geraniums, hostas, astilbes, bleeding hearts, and snapdragons (which aren't very good perennials but were too pretty to pass up).

I have a garden again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Surprise Company

Oz and I have been married for nearly 14 years. In that time, I have talked to and/or met only one member of his dad's family - his dad. We've gotten a few Christmas cards from aunts/uncles and there are a few folks on Facebook who show up in my 'People You May Know' list because they're on Oz's friend list, but I hadn't met them.

Oz's dad is one of six kids.  He's number... five, I think?  That sounds right, because I think he and my dad are the same number (except my dad is #5 out of 12).  Anyway, when we went to Australia, I met three of the other siblings.  A fourth, one of the older siblings, passed away while we were there; I didn't meet him, though we did go to the hospital so Oz could visit his aunt and say goodbye... not that we were hoping it would be goodbye, but it was. And the last sibling lives in New Zealand and we just didn't have the time/money/ability to get over and visit him.

We also didn't get to visit any of Oz's cousins while we were there. But his cousins, like Oz and his brothers, aren't exactly static.  Hardly anyone lives in or near the Sydney area.  In fact, one of them lives in Japan right now and another is here in the United States.  He's down in Florida, so it's not as if we're neighbors, but recently he got in touch with Oz and said if he was ever this way, he'd drop in.  Well, of course, who really travels to Tulsa if they don't have to?  So I never expected to meet him unless we went down his way.

Yesterday, however, Oz called me on the way home from work and said, "Oh, by the way, my cousin is driving to Dallas from Kansas City and may drop in."

Um... what?  Long story short, we offered him a bed for the night, which he accepted.  I'm sure sleeping in a bedroom with a lizard wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind for the night, but I also suspect it was better than driving till 2 or 3 a.m... though after meeting him, I have no doubt he'd have had the stamina to do just that. 

So now I've met a cousin. 

It seems like family grows not in small, planned increments, but in leaps and bounds.  And it's nice to feel more in touch.  As long as it remains drama-free, of course!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ugh, Monday


Doodlebug is in his room right now.  Theoretically he's working on his writing, but I'm pretty sure he's taking a nap because I'm pretty sure he's been up in the middle of the night on electronics or eating or doing something he knows he's not supposed to do.  One day I swear I'm going to install a motion-sensing camera outside his room with an app that links to my phone so it'll ding and wake me up whenever he starts his nocturnal wanderings.

Or not.  I like sleep a lot more now than I used to.

Anyway, he's in his room theoretically working because he decided this morning was a good time to conduct an experiment with mom.


Title:  FINE

-- One PMSing mother
-- Monday
-- Tweenage attitude
-- Grammar

Objective:  To see how far one can push one's mother before she threatens actual bodily harm.

Hypothesis:  I suspect it will take less than 30 seconds, if experiment is conducted properly, before Mom totally loses her shit.

1.  Half-ass your way through a grammar assignment.  Make sure to ask Mom to help you complete the work before you've actually read the lesson to see if she's as big a sucker as you think she is.
2.  Turn in said half-assed grammar assignment.  Start throwing a giant tantrum when you get approximately 20% of the questions wrong (mostly because you didn't read the lesson).
3.  Ignore Mom when she tries to get your attention to calm you down.
4.  Start yelling, "FINE," repeatedly at the top of your lungs every time your mother opens her mouth.


Observations:  My hypothesis was correct.  While I did not have a stopwatch during the experiment, I would estimate that from the time I initiated Step #4 to the time that I received results was approximately 25 seconds.

Conclusion:  Mom is nuts.  


Clearly all this is my fault.  And yeah, I lost my temper at the dude.  But for heaven's sake, it's ridiculous, isn't it?  You try to be nice, you try to help them, and all they want to do is pick a fight.  And I'm really, really not good at backing down when someone wants to throw their hat in the ring.  I'm better than I used to be, but if you act like a turd, things will not go well for you.  I'm just sayin'.

So he's in his room until he can get his crap done.

Boo is fine.  She's finished school and practiced her violin and is currently researching meteorology just for the fun of it.


Got a call this morning from the ophthalmology office as well.  Doodlebug has an appointment with the retinal specialist on Friday morning at an hour so ungodly that I'm pretty sure the doctor is coming in early just to fit us in.  I'm grateful, but I am not going to be human; I'm usually not even out of bed at the time of that appointment.  I'm just hopeful that I can figure out how to program the coffee pot so that I can at least stumble out of the house with a life-giving beverage in my hand.  I need the ability to ask coherent, intelligent-sounding questions.


Hello, Monday.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

You Mean the Weekend is Over Already?!?

Boo and I were sitting side-by-side while I drove to the grocery store today (and for all you car-seat-lovin', kid-in-the-front-seat-hatin' folks out there, she's 4'10" and 85 lbs.) when we passed by a church that had obviously just finished its service, and cars were streaming out of the parking lot.

"I guess it is that time," I remarked to Boo, and she gazed at the church for a moment.  Then she asked, "It's Sunday?"

Yes, my dear, I told her.  It's Sunday.  This is why we didn't have school yesterday and why we slept till 10 a.m. and then went to a picnic to meet my brother-in-law's girlfriend (very nice) and then came home and oozed until I left to visit another friend for the sake of hanging out and chatting.  It's why I made sure the grocery shopping was done and the lesson plans and worksheets are printed and the house is at least partially presentable, with the exception of the formal dining room where the refrigerator leaked under the wall and under the carpet and we've basically taken the room apart to dry things out and are just thankful that there doesn't seem to be any real damage.  So yes… it's Sunday.  Time is flying.

That said, I cannot wait until summer vacation gets here.  We only have six more weeks of school left, and after that, they'll get the longest summer vacation they'll ever have in their lives.  We'll be done May 16. Ordinarily we would go back in early July, thus giving the kids about two solid months of break.  But since Boo (and probably Doodlebug) will be attending public school in the fall, they won't go back until the middle of August.  They will actually have an entire three months of vacation.

I'm going to need all the heavenly help I can get, because the preadolescent masses are going to get bored.

Part of me wants to get these last few weeks over as quickly as possible.  We'll wrap up Math-U-See Zeta and give Doodlebug a brief start on pre-algebra, make sure Boo has her division facts down, do a writing project or two (I'm going to see if the kids are interested in writing a play), finish studying the human body, do a study of ancient Rome, and polish off their grammar books… and that's about it.

The other part of me never wants this school year to end.  Boo is still very excited about the idea of going to school next fall, even if she experiences occasional bouts of nerves about meeting new people and going to a new school with new routines and new teachers, but I think she'll be fine and really, if she's honest, so does she.  I suspect she'll run into some girl drama sooner or later, but it's inevitable. She would run into that even if she hadn't been homeschooled.  Doodlebug is still not particularly keen on the idea, but he's coming around.  The other day he asked if he made some new friends if I'd let him play Minecraft with them, and of course I said yes.  Just not on the computer and possibly not HERE.  Not until he can demonstrate long-term responsibility.  But he's working on it.  I think his problems, if there are any, will be immediately obvious and he'll settle in better the longer he's there.  It could just be wishful thinking on my part, of course.  We'll see.

The point is, time is flying.  Doodlebug is half-asleep on the couch because I suspect he's about to experience another growth spurt; Boo has changed her earrings four times this week (which is more than she's changed them in the last four years combined, I think) and painted her fingernails all by herself the other day.  They weren't perfect, but they weren't bad, either.  They're growing up, whether I like it or not, and I've had more discussions with more moms about bras and periods and crushes and funky boy-smell in the last month than I've ever had.

And so it isn't just that the weekend is over already.  It's that this phase of life is almost over.  It's just all going too quickly.  I want to live in the present, seize each moment, but I'm not very good at that.  Still, I'm going to do my best between now and May, and then between May and August, to seize what I can.

What do you do when you feel like an entire segment of your life is coming to an end?  Do you mourn?  Get nostalgic?  Worry?  Get excited?  What do you do?

Friday, April 4, 2014

'Responsibility' is a 4-Letter Word

I went to bed last night optimistic about today. I really did. The plan was to get up, start a couple loads of laundry, do school (what little school we have on Fridays), run a couple of errands, attend our homeschool group meeting, come home, fix dinner, and relax.  Oz was going to run one of my errands for me so I wouldn't have to drive clear across town (he'll be 2 miles from that particular errand, which is far closer than I would be with my planned schedule today), and I couldn't really foresee anything happening that would screw up my plans.

I forgot, however, the most important detail: I have children. Chaos machines. Engineers of things not going the way they should.

My first clue that the day was going to be shot to shit came when I looked out the front window at the curb and the trash can wasn't sitting there. Trash is supposedly Oz's job. Not that we have gender-specific job roles or anything, but he is the one who leaves the house each morning, and so taking the trash to the curb has been his job, more or less, for years. I used to be more understanding when he would forget, because at our old house, everyone was responsible for their own trash service. Some of our neighbors burned their trash; others used companies that didn't have pick-up on the same day we did; and all our neighbors were fairly spread out. It was easy to forget. Now there's no excuse. EVERYONE puts out their trash on Friday, and we live in a cul-de-sac. EVERYONE's trash cans are visible. Our neighbor's trash can actually goes right next to ours beside our basketball goal.

So I had to take out the trash. While I was having the kids empty the upstairs cans, I asked Doodlebug if he'd taken his medicine. "No," he said, "but I will. Oh, and Tom's out of worms."

I have asked the boy repeatedly to tell me when we're 2-3 days out from needing worms - or anything else, for that matter. And to be fair, he did tell me yesterday that he was almost out of worms, and that was one of the errands I had on my mental list to run today. I did, however, expect that I wouldn't HAVE to run that errand today if push came to shove and he lollygagged his way through school like he's done most of this week. Now I have no choice.

Then he went to take his medicine. He pulled out the container of Vyvanse, which we're giving him a low dose of right now because the Intuniv alone wasn't cutting the mustard, and no, I do not want to hear that diet changes will fix my kid because they won't, I've tried, and I don't need judgment from random trolls, anyway, and I noticed there wasn't much of a rattle.

"Doodlebug, how many of those do you have left?"

"Hm?  Oh.  Um.  Two."


Don't get me wrong. I'm glad he's been taking it. He's retaining his math, and he's far less aggressive and far more focused when he's on it. And I'm glad I caught the problem before we went into the weekend and came out med-less on Monday. But... BUT! Vyvanse is a Schedule II drug, which means I have to go into the doctor's office and physically pick up the prescription each month. And his pediatrician's office is on the other side of town, miles away from any other errand I potentially had to run today.

On any other day, I would just toss going to homeschool group to the wind, run all the errands, and possibly take the kids to the park to run for a while, maybe let Doodlebug take his roller skates or something. However, I agreed to give a friend a ride home from group today, so I don't feel like I can bail.

I hate days like this. I hate when I think I have things planned out neatly and life interferes and gets things all messy. I realize this is a personal problem. But it's still irritating.


In other news, I called the pediatric ophthalmologist with an update on Doodlebug's eye today. It is both better and not better, and I'm not sure what will happen when the doctor gets into the office (he's in surgery this morning) and gets the report. The black line (Doodlebug's final description of the line was black with white edges) has faded to a medium-gray that is somewhat translucent, but he's getting occasional flashes around it now. He says the flashes aren't there all the time, and they're usually white but sometimes orange- or yellow-tinted. I don't even know what to make of all that. So I dumped on the poor ophthalmologist tech, and he said the doctor will probably give me a call later today.  Lovely.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Power of Words

I aspire.

Isn't that a powerful phrase? It's just a short sentence - two words, one subject and one verb, but to me, it means so much.

I have always aspired to be a writer. It sort of happened for a few years after high school when I worked as a journalist, but I discovered soon enough it wasn't the field I really wanted to be in. I have this blog.  I have written little things here and there - letters of recommendation, articles for another blog, etc. - but nothing that has really demanded any time or effort or paid much more than a pittance or a note of thanks.

Last year, a story popped into my head. The characters demanded to be heard, their story to be told. I wrote about 50 pages, and I haven't touched it since. Every time I look at the file, the thoughts flood my head, but I'm not usually in a place to write.

"That seems rather ridiculous," I hear you say. "You're writing right now... why couldn't you go and work on it while you're sitting there?"

The short answer is that I don't have time. The longer and more accurate answer is that once I start typing, I can't stop. Yes, I experience writer's block from time to time, and the story simply won't flow until the character speaks again, but until I reach either a logical stopping point or the character stops talking, I type. It's a compulsion. I don't feel like I have a choice. Once the words start flowing, I can't interrupt them or stop midstream to do something else.

Yesterday a second story idea popped into my head. It arrived around 1 a.m., as all great ideas do, but thankfully I was coherent enough at that hour to fix it in my memory, and in the morning it was still there, growing louder with each passing moment. I tried ignoring it. I know that I don't have the time to devote to another story right now. But the main character wouldn't stop talking. She needed to be heard.

And so, rather reluctantly, because I knew what would happen, I opened a Word document and began to type. (Doodlebug saw me punching furiously at the keys and asked, "Mom, what do you do with all these stories?" and I answered him honestly. "I never finish them.") By 10 last night, I had written more than 5000 words on nearly 10 pages. I was only able to stop because the character went to bed. She's already up this morning and wants to tell me what happens next. I can't put it down right now because I moved the working document to my other computer, and I'm not tech-savvy enough to reach through the network and grab it off the screen. But she's there. She's talking.

One day I will be a writer. Will I ever be published? Unlikely. But right now the possibility is out there, the stories itching to be written. I just wish I had the time.

What do you wish you had more time for?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Being a Hero

Thank you all so very much for the thoughts and support with regards to yesterday's post.  I have had a nice, fairly quiet day at home in which I have gotten a lot of little stuff knocked out that needed to be taken care of (documents are now scanned and e-mailed, replacements orders have been placed for stuff that was falling apart, the laundry is done, etc.), and I am in a better place mentally and physically.  The line is still there in Doodlebug's vision, but he claims it's somewhat fainter.  I'm not sure if this is true or if it's simply wishful thinking on his part - the placebo effect is strong in this one - but it's not getting worse, and that's something.

Anyway, none of that is the point of this post.

A few days ago, Boo was bouncing around the school room and announced flatly, "You're my hero, Mom."

As simple as that.  "You're my hero."

And with those three little words, my daughter blew my mind.

I never had a hero growing up.  The notion that you were supposed to have a hero was one that simply sounded ludicrous to me.  In sixth or seventh grade, we were supposed to write an essay on our hero - who that person was, why we chose that person, etc.  I have a confession to make to my English teacher at the time:

Dear Mrs. Grant, 
     My essay was pure, unadulterated bullshit.



I'm sure I made up something about a grandmother or a famous person I'd read about at the time or something, but it would all have been lies.  Lies, I tell you!  I had no role model, nobody who I felt was worth being other than me, myself, and I.  And I have always rather liked that about myself.

And so now, when my daughter announces that she has a hero and that hero is ME… well, you can see where I would struggle.

I am exquisitely sure that one day I will very much NOT be her hero and she'll want to be NOTHING like that crazy old bat she has to call Mom (or Mombledore, or Mumsie, or whatever else I get called around here), but for right now, this vibrant, bouncy daughter of mine has it in her head that I'm a good person and that she should be like me when she grows up.

It's both thrilling and petrifying.  I hope I can live up to at least a few of her expectations.  Because heaven knows I haven't lived up to all of mine!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Fold. The Week Wins.

I have a headache this evening.  It's threatening to turn into a migraine, but it hasn't crossed the magic line yet, so I'm hopeful that taking Aleve and not eating dinner will be enough to keep the pain at bay.  I'm not sure if the headache is due to the events of the past 36 hours or if it's just due to the horrific wind and weather blowing through today.

Yesterday morning we went to the pediatric ophthalmologist for Doodlebug.  We go every year.  When he was 2 1/2, he had to have eye surgery for strabismus, and I can always remember the exact date because Oz and I sat in the waiting room of the surgical area and cuddled an itty-bitty Boo and watched on TV as Hurricane Katrina flung herself at the Gulf Coast.  We've been fortunate - even though Doodlebug has a couple of odd quirks in his vision, he can see well and we've never had to have the surgery repeated.  So when we got a call from the ophthalmologist's office saying that our regular doctor had been called away by an emergency and we could either reschedule or see the doctor who'd agreed to substitute, I was fine with the substitution.

When we went in, we were immediately called back, and the intake tech started her process.  At one point during the exam, when Doodlebug's right eye was covered, he said, "I can't see that letter.  There's a line over it."  It caught my attention.  The intake tech didn't say anything, but she was writing notes so I assumed she had noticed as well.  (Hindsight:  One should never assume.)  When the doctor came in, Doodlebug again mentioned during a test that he wasn't able to see something with his left eye because of the "white line."  The doctor held up a few lenses to his right eye - not the left at all - pronounced him good to go for another year, and we went on our merry way.

While we were in the elevator, I asked Doodlebug what he meant about not being able to see, and he told me that there was a blank spot in his vision.  At the time, and because this weather front has been sitting here not moving but causing all sorts of problems since yesterday, I assumed that he was having a pre-migraine symptom.  No biggie.  When we got home, I asked him if his head hurt.  He said no.  I asked him if the line was still there if he closed his right eye.  He said yes and told me where it was and described it exactly the same as it had been when we were in the office.  Throughout the day, I asked him about it several more times.  Each time the answers were remarkably similar.  By 4 p.m., I was getting mad that the doctor hadn't taken him seriously and at least asked what he meant.  By 7 p.m., (and with the help of the Internet), I was in what might best be described as a panicked rage.

Sleep didn't help much.

I called the ophthalmology office this morning.  The woman who answered the phone was wonderful.  She said that "we cain't have him goin' around not seein'!" and said that if there wasn't an appointment available, she'd go back and "be very firm" that we needed to get in.  Thankfully there was an opening, and I jumped at it.  Back in the car we got, and back to the office we went.  I gathered from the way things were said that our story had made its way around the office, and the (regular) intake tech and our (regular) doctor were both very attentive when Doodlebug said, yet again, that there was a line in his vision.

The doctor dilated his eye to get a better look… and couldn't really figure out what was going on.  I felt better after that, in that at least the other doctor hadn't missed something obvious (though it still irks me that Doodlebug wasn't taken seriously the first time), but at the same time I felt worse, because the news itself wasn't great.  The doctor seems to think that there's something going on with the vitreous fluid and it's somehow pulling on the retina and causing just a little bit of a wrinkle, which is the cause of the line.    As for what caused the vitreous fluid to mess up in the first place, that's anyone's guess.  The doctor was optimistic and thinks the line will sort itself out in a few days, but in the meantime I have to keep a close eye (no pun intended) on things.  Obviously if it gets worse, we go back in immediately and/or we'll be sent to a retinal specialist.  That thought terrifies me.  I hope it really is nothing and dissipates.  Send up any thoughts you might have to spare, would you?


Immediately after we left the ophthalmologist's office, we had to race across town, grab some lunch, and head to the local school administration building for my initial meeting with the school psychologist.  We were there for nearly two hours, during which time he and I talked and he filled out a stack of forms.  The amount of paperwork is mind-boggling.  I knew teachers had to deal with a lot of crap and that there would be a lot of paperwork, but I don't think I was entirely prepared for what I brought home - a stack of copies of all the forms we filled out, a small book (well, more copied papers, but altogether they amount to a small book) of parental legal rights in the system and legal definitions and all that sort of thing, and four assessment forms for behavioral, ADHD, and ASD that Oz and I get to fill in before I go back.  And this is only the beginning.

Next time we go in, we'll meet with the psychologist again as well as the gifted coordinator.  We'll meet with her because she's the one with the grade-level assessments, wherein my kids will get to show off their smarts and I'll get to nibble my fingernails down to the quick over the idea that I'll have forgotten to teach them something major.  We'll also probably start some of the other assessments that Doodlebug will have to have in order to qualify for any sort of special services.  I'm sure it'll be another long meeting.


And so I have a headache today.  Whether it's the weather or just dealing with stress, I don't know, but I do know that I'm canceling our plans for tomorrow.  We were supposed to go to a couple of events, but we all need a day to stay at home and ooze.  Oozing sounds delicious.