Thursday, June 30, 2011

Looks like another surgery...

Miss Sunshine and Daddy Mac made the trip to Shriner's in Chicago for clinic yesterday.  By all reports, Miss Sunshine behaved very well.  Daddy Mac said she especially had fun playing "pull out Daddy's earphones and then insist he put them back in so we can pull them out again" on the plane ride to Chicago.

Most of the clinic visit went well.  Teeth look good, and the dentist doesn't feel that we need to do anything about her frenulum - while it is lower than some children's, it does not seem to be affecting the placement of her teeth, so we are to just keep working with her on brushing her teeth to hopefully eventually desensitize it to the toothbrush.  They did say we certainly had the option to have it clipped if we so desired, but it's not anything that HAS to be done.  We will be doing some more research on our options there - I certainly don't want to put her through another medical procedure if not necessary, but I also don't want this to affect the health of her teeth.

The speech therapist was THRILLED with her progress.  Her speech is right on.  She did say she is slightly nasal, but not anything that they would worry about or that even at this point they would consider another surgery for!  BIG sigh of relief there.  She did, however, inform us that we should NOT have her adenoids removed because that would create issues with the nasality, and if she ever should need a tonsillectomy, we need to have our local doctor coordinate with them prior to surgery so that we don't run in to any issues there.   I never even thought about adenoids affecting the quality of her speech, so that was news to me.

Developmentally she is perfectly on track, which we already knew.  I had no concerns there.  And neither did the child psychologist, apparently.   The plastic surgeon took a quick look in to make sure everything still looks good and pronounced that perfect.

Hearing, well, that did not go so well, but we were anticipating it.  She did pass her hearing test in her left ear. Her right ear, however, tested positive for fluid and for muffled sounds.  Apparently, yet again, the right tube is not functioning and will have to be replaced.  The ENT didn't say much in regard to putting in permanent tubes, which was something I had been wondering over.  This will be the fourth tube in that ear in less than two years.  The tubes she currently has are designed to stay in between 12-18 months.  So far, hers are lasting roughly 6 months.  They will be calling us to schedule the replacement surgery for the right ear and will evaluate her left ear the morning of surgery to see if there are any changes to it again.  Looks like Miss Sunshine and I will be heading back to Chicago sometime soon for yet another procedure!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A little discourse and a poem...

Tomorrow Daddy Mac and Miss Sunshine head off to the big city of Chicago for her one year (that is now over eighteen months!) post-op and clinic with Shriner's.  This will be the first trip to Shriner's EVER that I have not gone with her.  Daddy is of course up to the challenge, but the control freak side of me is having a VERY hard time letting him take over here.  It is time, though.  He wants to be more involved, he wants to help me not have to deal with the stress all on my own, he wants THIS.  I need to let him have it.  I will not, however, be surprised if, when he gets home, he informs me he never wants to do this again!  I'm kidding, of course, he will be more than happy to handle a trip if I need him to.  She is, after all, his "baby doll".

The kids are having an amazing summer.  Last summer, I was beyond stressed.  Monster Boy was, well, a monster.  His behavior and attitude were horrendous.  Miss Sunshine was, well, a mess.  We were worried about her speech, her development, her weight, her growth, just her in general.   It was a very long and very stressful summer, for all of us.  THIS summer has been night and day different.  Don't get me wrong - I still frequently get a show of six year old attitude, but in general, Monster Boy has been practically angelic.  He is listening well, being so very helpful, doing what he is told to do, or asked to do, with little to no complaints.  Miss Sunshine, well, we aren't nearly as worried about her these days, so there is that weight lifted at least.  I sometimes think, though, that Monster Boy has been so good to give me a break since she has been so bad!  We are full on into the terrible twos, and at this point, I am DREADING the terrifying three's.  She was a late starter with the terrible twos, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that just maybe we have skipped the two's and she's getting the three's out of the way early.  Only time will tell, I suppose.

And last but not least, another poem for you.  I know you have been waiting with baited breath (or, you know, not...) so here it is.  This is a poem I actually wrote in college.  In fact, it didn't even start as a poem, but as a song.  I came across it the other day, and as I was reading it, instead of picturing myself in the poem like I did when I wrote it, I saw my daughter.  And I prayed that night, with all my heart and soul, that she NEVER feels this way.


She spends 3.95 on a magazine
Trying to be what they say she should be
and she wonders why
She has no self-esteem

And every day she stares in the mirror
Looking at everything she dislikes

And every night she cries
She's so tired of having to try

And she wonders why
She has no self esteem

And as hard as she looks
And as hard as she stares
She never sees
The beauty that's there
And she wonders why
She has no self-esteem

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hey, Batter Batter Batter...

Remember chanting at the opposing team in baseball?  Apparently, they don't do that anymore.  Who knew?

I realized with all these posts of Monster Boy and his foray into baseball playing, I haven't included any pictures.
They haven't done team pictures yet (apparently this is all the thing these days, and who knows if we can actually afford them, but they are taking them tomorrow) but I do have some action shots from his most recent games.

For your viewing pleasure!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's baseball season!

Monster Boy started baseball a few weeks ago.  He LOVES it.  He does seem to do better at this than at soccer, but as long as he is enjoying it, I really don't care how good he is.  He and Daddy Mac have worked hard on fielding and grounding balls, and he does very well at that.  Now, if we can just get him to understand that he needs to throw the ball to his teammates rather than run it in to them, he'll be all set for field play.  They are going to work together on batting this week.  It's great to see them spend some time together, just the two of them, playing ball in the back yard, even if it does mean I have a two year old girl and a dog both standing at the back door yelling/barking at them the entire time.

We are still trying to settle in to something of a summer routine here.  I've been tossing around the idea of getting them signed up for classes at the local library or something, but haven't made it that far yet.  I did get Monster Boy signed up for the summer reading program at our public library in town, and he's already a third of the way to his goal, even though he has until the beginning of August to complete it.  He just loves reading as much as his mom does (which is a LOT) so he is busting right through those books.  I think we are going to make Wednesdays library day, and head up to the library for a bit each Wednesday to turn in old books and check out new ones.  We are currently reading the last few of the Beverly Cleary Ramona series now, and I'm not sure what we will move on to after that.

Miss Sunshine had her first meeting with her new speech therapist last week, and it went GREAT!  We are going to continue seeing her every six weeks at this point, just to make sure she is maintaining her speech, but she is now age appropriate, or even a bit advanced in some areas.  It's SO reassuring when we hear that.  We have had several new acquaintances comment to us recently about how well she talks for a two year old, and, as many of you probably understand, my heart just sings every time I hear that.  When you are dealing with a child with speech delay, and they finally catch up, to have people, strangers, affirm that to you is just a wonderful feeling.

Both kids have been doing amazingly well behavior wise so far this summer - such a vast change from last summer and the constant battles it felt like we were fighting.  We have had to impose a time limit for Monster Boy on TV/Computer/Video Games, as he tends to get "in" to something and obsess over it to the point of ignoring everything else, but he has accepted that readily and hardly complains when we inform him his time is up.   Miss Sunshine is, well, two, and all of the lovely things that go along with that.  We still haven't started potty training, as I just feel she isn't ready.  I don't want to force it on her until I know she will have success with it, and at this point, although she likes to tell us if she is wet or poopy, she does not consistently do it, and it's rare indeed that we manage to get her on the potty chair and actually have her go.  She just does not seem to have the desire to do it yet, although she desperately WANTS to be a big girl and will tell you that big girls go on the potty chair.  We started too early with Monster Boy and it was a disaster, so we are taking our time with her.  Also, since she has another trip to Chicago coming up next week, I figured it would be better to wait until she is done with that before trying.  I know that the trip itself will be stressful enough, no need to add stress to Daddy Mac's trip!

We are still chugging along here as well - the new car is perfect for our family and even though it puts yet another strain on our finances, we are finding ways to make it work.  We certainly were careful not to purchase something outside of our budget, it's just that we were used to having that extra money every month that is now taken up by a car payment.  Add to that the fact that I have lost hours at work (a long story perhaps for another time) and it just makes our budget tighter.  We have many money saving plans in the works though, we just have to power through the next month or two and then things will be on a more even keel.

I have taken the steps needed to go back to school myself.  I already have a Bachelor's Degree from K-State (Kansas State University, for you non-local readers) but the degree itself is in Sociology and hasn't been much help in finding a job.  We've been tossing around the idea of me going back to school since I got laid off, and I finally bit the bullet and turned in my FAFSA and applied to two schools here locally - both of which I was accepted to.  I am working this week on getting all the rest of my paper work (transcripts, forms, etc) turned in for my financial aid, and then hopefully will be able to meet with an advisor some time in the next week or two at each school.  Then will come decision time.  I plan to go back to get my nursing degree - I just have to choose between an RN program or a BSN program - which will decide which school I will be attending.  (Of course, this requires applying and being accepted in to the programs, but I have faith I will get in, and the first semester I will actually be picking up a few required classes needed for this degree that I didn't have to have for my other degree).  I'm going to look at how long it will take for each degree - there is a possibility that because I already hold a BS, I may be able to complete the BSN in about the same time as the RN, and if that is the case, then I will go for the BSN.  Otherwise, I plan to pursue the RN. (Also known as the ASN).

Many changes are headed our way, I can feel.  For now, I am just working away at what I need to do to get to those points.  Wish us luck on our new journeys!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summertime fun

It is officially summer time here in our household.

We have spent the last few weeks adjusting to our new schedules, with Monster Boy being out of school, my work schedule changing again, baseball season starting up, and all the other fun activities we want to get in as well.

Monster Boy started baseball a few weeks ago.  So far, it is going marginally better than soccer, although I fear he has inherited my athletic ability - which is nil.  However, he has heart and a lot of it, and he certainly gives it his all.  At this age, that is all you can ask for, and as long as he enjoys playing whatever sport, I am supportive of that.  Just as I would be if he came to us and said he wanted to take ballet lessons.  To me, it isn't about him being the best at anything - I just want him to enjoy what he does.  If he happens to be good at something, well, so much the better.

Tonight was his second game.  I felt like he did fairly well at it.  He had a couple of actual hits (they don't keep score yet, and each child is thrown five pitches and if they haven't successfully hit the ball fair by the sixth pitch they hit off of a tee), got tagged out once at first (concentrating too hard on where the ball was and not where he was running to), tried to slide head first in to second - I don't think he realized sliding would HURT and he missed the base by about ten feet - but he did get up and manage to make it to second base before he collapsed in tears and I had to run out to the field, carrying Miss Sunshine, to get him.  After a quick once over, some walking around to stretch out his knee, which he said hurt, and some baby wipes to clean up his elbow and the palms of his hands, he was back in the game, and even managed to do some good fielding and score a run his next turn at bat.  He really seems to like this, I hope it continues.

Miss Sunshine is FINALLY getting her eyeteeth in.  Yes, she is nearly 29 months and still does not have all her teeth.  Since she didn't start teething until 15 months, I have not been letting myself worry too much over it - but it has been about six months since the last tooth she got, so I was beginning to wonder a bit.  But the right bottom tooth popped through the gums this weekend, and the left lower one is almost there.  The top still aren't nearly as close, but her gums are swelling so I can tell they are working their way in.  Unfortunately, this means I have a two year old with the attitude of a teething one year old right now.  It also means Miss Sunshine and Mommy both are not getting much sleep at all as she is waking up several times per night.  I'm not a big fan of dosing her up with Tylenol or Motrin unless it's really necessary, and she's not running fevers with these teeth.  She won't let me use Orajel on her at all - she screams bloody murder and then cries "It's too spicy, Mommy, too spicy" when I put it in her mouth.  I'm about at the point of giving her the medicine just so I can get a full night of sleep.

We also will finally meet our new speech therapist tomorrow!  We have been playing phone tag for literally weeks now - we did have an appointment scheduled for the middle of May, but then Miss Sunshine got sick and ever since then we have been just missing each other working on getting a new appointment scheduled.  We finally managed to connect last Friday and now have an appointment scheduled for her tomorrow morning.

Speaking of that appointment tomorrow morning, I'd better go finish cleaning up the kitchen and living room - Monster Boy and I did a lot of work in there today, but I still need to vacuum and mop, and I'd like to get to bed at a decent hour tonight!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rolling on

We bought a new car today.  Well, new to us, at least.  Amazingly, Daddy Mac's work was able to get him a phenomenal interest rate and a great price on a vehicle that will meet all of our needs.  It's a bit intimidating to think about having to have a car payment again - it's been three years since we've had one - but at the same time, it will be nice to have a newer, more reliable vehicle at our disposal.

Monster Boy still has a rash, and I am on the hunt for PABA free sunscreen.

Miss Sunshine has a major attack of allergies going on, and I feel so sorry for her.  Her nose is a constant faucet, she's sneezing like crazy, and even occasionally coughing from all of the drainage.  She has to be miserable, but she's putting up a good front.  She's still hyper and crazy like normal.  In fact, as I type this, I am listening to her tell her Minnie Mouse doll a story through the baby monitor, when she is supposed to be napping.

I am awash in a sea of never ending laundry today.  And I am almost out of detergent, which is not a good thing. I have no motivation whatsoever to go to the store to buy more, either.  And Daddy Mac is supposed to go play volleyball tonight.  He did mention the possibility of skipping this week, as today has just been one of those "I'm stressed out for really no reason" kind of days for me, and I think he knows that I would be much happier if he were home tonight instead of out.  Perhaps I will call him to verify this information, and request that he please pick up detergent, and something for dinner, on his way home.   I need to go grocery shopping, too, but I was hoping to be able to put that off for a day or two, until I am more motivated to actually tackle it.  The laundry, however, simply cannot be put off - especially after spending a weekend at the lake.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rough waters ahead...

Sometimes, I feel like my life should be a script for a soap opera.

I'm trying not to be in a "poor me" mood today, but I'm only having moderate success at this.  I apologize in advance if this gets whiny, I'm really not trying to whine.

Miss Sunshine lost yet another ear tube recently.  The same ear we have had difficulty with all along.  She goes back to Shriner's for her cleft clinic at the end of this month, and I know this means another surgery, minor as it may be, for us.  Perhaps we will get lucky and there will be no fluid, but based on her behaviors since the tube fell out, I have a sneaking suspicion luck is not going to be on our side with this one.  I'm pretty sure her other tube will need to be replaced as well - it does not look like it is sitting correctly in her eardrum any longer.   I'm hoping this time they will go with a more permanent type of tube (it is similar to a metal grommet, rather than the plastic tubes they have been using up to now).  I know that going this route means a later surgery to remove those tubes and then a graft to patch her ear drum, but I'd really rather do that than have to continue with replacing her tubes every six months as we have been now.  Especially since she may need them up to the age of seven or eight years old.

Monster Boy has been having his own set of problems.  He has some of the most sensitive skin I have ever encountered (and I have fairly sensitive skin myself).  We went to the lake this weekend and I slathered him in sunscreen, as I am supposed to do.  He was fine the first hour or so of sun time.  And then he broke out into an awesome rash.  Head to toe.  And still has it.  The doctor told us to use his prescription hydrocortisone cream (did I mention he has really sensitive skin) to help with the rash and let him know if it doesn't clear up in a few days.  We are tossing around the possibility of him having something called Photoallergic eruption.  Essentially, it's an allergy that is created by a combination of some chemicals and sunlight.  Alone, without both components, he is not allergic to these items.  But combined, he is.  And we have no way of knowing WHAT chemical might be the trigger, although it is apparent that it is something found in sunscreen.  We are going to try out an all natural sunscreen to see if that works.  I do know that he can play outside without sunscreen with no issue.  And I can put sunscreen on him, but he won't have a reaction until he is outside with it on.  So I really have no idea what to do there.

As for Daddy Mac and I, well, relationship wise, things are great.  Unfortunately, our car engine blew this weekend.  And it's a twelve year old car - not really worth replacing the engine in.   Sigh.  We had been talking about buying a newer vehicle, but that was still about a year down the road.  Now we have to figure out a way to make it work before we were ready.  So, it's budget review time.  Because we have to squeeze a car payment out of somewhere.  Ah, well.  It will all work out in the end, or at least I'm holding out faith that it will.