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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Heartwarming Moments

That moment when…

… your 11-year-old son parks himself on the couch next to you and says, "Mom, I am going to snuggle you.  You have 30 seconds to prepare for snuggling.  29… 28… 27… "

… your just-turned-9-year-old daughter gets to sit between two of her closest friends at lunch, and when the meal is over and you're walking out of the restaurant, she says to the friend next to her, "Let's walk out arm in arm like they do in books."  And they do.

… your husband comes home from working all day, sees that you're still on the couch at 5:45 p.m. and decides to take care of dinner.  Steak, baked potatoes, grilled zucchini, and a lovely bottle of Cabernet sauvignon.

… you're exhausted and want nothing more than to climb into bed right after dinner, but you're the mom - so the children hunt you down and climb up on the bed, and the cats wander in and hop up on the bed, too, and the husband sits on the nearby armchair, so you have your bed and your family, and what can really be better than that?

… you find this on Pinterest and can only sit there and think, "YES" to every single one (click and zoom to enlarge or visit my Pinterest page):

… you come back from Spring Break after three weeks and everyone's done with school by 1:30, even the boy who was grouchy when he first woke up, but he snapped out of it and did what needed to be done like a mature human being.

… you strew your daughter's birthday gifts around the house throughout the day because you were too tired to wrap them the night before, and every time she finds something she shrieks with happiness and gives you a giant hug.  Way better than one big anticlimactic, "Thanks, Mom & Dad!"  

… your son comes home from an all-night gaming session (formerly known as a sleepover) and says he's played a geography game.  "And, Mom, I see what you mean when you say that world geography isn't taught very well.  We had to place flags on the countries or states.  And we all knew the US states, but then it moved to Europe, and all they knew was Italy and France!  They didn't even know England!"  (And yes, I'm painfully aware that my kids know this at the expense of knowing American history… but I'm working on that.  Really I am.)

… you call your sister and tell her that you're about to do something that is seriously going to piss off someone you both know, and she tells you that you're doing the right thing, anyway, and for the same exact reasons you had already said to yourself but didn't entirely believe.

So many good things each day.  I just have to remember to write them down sometimes!  What good thing happened to you lately?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And Away We Went

I didn't disappear.  Well, not entirely.  Just from this continent.  Well, hemisphere.  Both hemispheres, I guess, if you want to get technical.

Oh, hell, we went to Australia.  There, I said it.

For the record, 14- and 15-hour plane flights are just as bad as you think.

But in the end, it's all worth it.

We flew into Sydney on Friday, March 7.

Oz had to remember (and/or relearn, depending on how you look at it) how to drive on the left, and I was introduced to new things like speed limit signs that A) look altogether different, and B) change depending on traffic patterns and time of day. (And new yield signs that said "Give Way," and stop signs with blacked-out stoplights on them, and the fact that you can't turn left at a stoplight unless there's a sign or a light that specifically gives you permission, and all sorts of other fun little things.)

We bought the most expensive tank(s) of gasoline we've ever purchased in our lives.

We saw lizards everywhere, from the tiny...

…to the huge.  (To be fair, this one was behind glass at the zoo, but still.  There really where lizards everywhere.  Doodlebug was in Herpetology Heaven.)

Some of the trees may, apparently, try to kill you...

Look closely behind that white flower in the middle
to see a red-bellied black snake.
… and if they don't, that snake might.

But we happily went sightseeing, anyway,

and really enjoyed wandering around places with names like Taronga Zoo, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, The Rocks, the Queen Victoria Building, and the Blue Mountains (where we saw the Three Sisters, pictured later).

In addition to the plane flights, we rode on trams, trains, a skyway, cable cars, a bus, and a ferry.  We ate meat pies, scones (which is what Boo is holding here… pronounced skAWn, not scOHn), prawns, Australian sausages, biscuits (cookies) and plenty of 'chips' with 'tomato sauce' (fries with ketchup).  I did fix one dinner for our charming hostess (Oz's aunt) and her boyfriend, and I think they really enjoyed the jambalaya.

We snapped the ubiquitous photos that one must take when visiting Sydney.

And we even climbed the steps and touched the Opera House.  Oz and I found out later that there had been a concert of John Williams music on the weekend we were first there, and we almost wished we'd gotten tickets, but it would have meant dressing up… and really, that wasn't in the cards.

Getting dirty and digging in rock pools was on the agenda, however,...

… and since the waves were a little too rough, swimming in a true ocean-water pool was right up Boo's alley.

Oz got himself pinched by a crab,

and he found sea stars for Doodlebug to hold and shells for me to bring home.

We drove up to the Blue Mountains and saw the Three Sisters and heard the legend of their creation,

and we rode on the world's steepest passenger railway, a nice, slow ride that lasted all of two minutes but which thoroughly freaked out the girl.

Doodlebug got to sleep in something called a swag, which is like a one-man tent.  (Think of Waltzing Matilda.)

But after all our adventures (and a really long flight back), we were ready to be home.

So when we saw this one last sunset on the plane, on the very last flight between Dallas and Tulsa… we were all ready to fall into bed.  Which we did, and we slept for about 14 hours.

Thanks to Oz's family for hosting us and to the weather for not raining on us at all and to Sydney for being an absolutely glorious place to visit.  Maybe one day, we'll get to visit again.

But not too soon.  Because those flights really are just as bad as you think.