Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CT Scan Clear

CT scan was clear. Things look good. It has been a year since the last procedure (RFA on Jan 11, 2012). Get to graduate to more time between scans. Oncologist will check with his attending and his supervisor, then let me know if we are going to just to go 4 month intervals or maybe even 6 month intervals. Will update when I know. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back To School and CT Scan Tomorrow

Captain Adorable is finally well enough to go back to school. There was no school on Monday or today, which was probably good since he had a chance to rest. He was coughing pretty badly (so much so that he made himself vomit up his dinner two nights in a row) at night. But last night he slept all night long and today he was doing well. Went to the doctor for a well-child visit and he is in perfect condition--growing and developing well.

I have another CT scan tomorrow. I'll update this blog with the results of course.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Flu, Skiing, Skiing Sick

On Wednesday, January 16, Captain Adorable slept late. Very late: 9:00am! This is an extremely unusual occurrence; so much so that I do not set an alarm on school days because he wakes up everyone an hour or so before we actually have to get out of bed. We were an hour late to school!  When I picked him up from school--actually, from Science Club, which meets for one hour after school, he was eager to get out of there and seemed tired.

At home I felt his forehead and immediately went for the thermometer. 101 (Fahrenheit)! Took him to the doctor the next day, and the temp was gone, so we were offered a flu test but it didn't seem likely and I did not get one. Home again. And the temp went up and the boy was still and quiet and not eating and snot was flowing like crazy. He couldn't breathe out of his nose, willingly used saline spray to get some relief, and used up tissues like nobody's business. Despite running a humidifier and a diffuser with eucalyptus essential oil in his bedroom (as I always do when he is stopped up with snot), I had to put him in the shower at 11:00pm. He woke up because of difficulty breathing from so much snot and then couldn't get to sleep again till after the shower.

The next night, Captain Obvious was home again, yay! I, who never give over-the-counter medications, agreed to give Captain Adorable a decongestant for the night. He needed so much to be able to sleep and rest. It may have helped a little. At about 5:00 that morning I noticed lots of yellow discharge from his eyes. I called the doctor and she diagnosed him as having a mild case of the flu after all, and he had developed viral conjunctivitis. We got prescription eyedrops, another layer of unpleasantness for my already unhappy and sick guy. But he was on the mend. He did have the FluMist, by the way, so the doctor postulated that he was partially protected and that's why his flu was as (relatively) mild as it was.

Sure enough, by Sunday the fever was gone and on Monday he woke up without a temp! We decided to risk it and go on our scheduled ski trip after all, especially since we knew we'd spend Monday travelling, so it was another day of sitting still (aka resting). He was very disappointed that we did not go skiing as soon as we got there, like we did last year. On Tuesday he and Captain Obvious were snotty and coughing. It seemed that they had both caught the cold that was going around on the plane  Capt. Obvious rode home from his most recent business trip. We decided to leave, even called the front desk to tell them we would be checking out that day and would come back later to use up the other 2 nights we had paid for.

Captain Adorable was devastated by this news; he cried and cried, locked himself in the bathroom, and cried some more. (Do you know how pitiful it is when a child already overwhelmed with snot cries desperately?)  Captain Obvious and I looked at our calendars to find out when we could come back. The only time to return would be in late February...and the view from our slope-side window was perfect. The slopes were so snowy and inviting! The weather was quite cold (it was 4 Fahrenheit our first day there), with natural snow was falling and the resort making snow like, yes, I decided that we should stay after all. One of those decisions that was good and bad. We had a wonderful time, but Captain Adorable was sick. He coughed and snotted and coughed and snotted some more. We gave him OTC cough medicine at night to help him sleep and ibuprofen after breakfast to allow him keep up with his desire to ski ski ski all day long. He made leaps and bounds in his skiing ability and could ski blues (intermediates) by the second day. He begged Captain Obvious to take him down a black diamond. They tried one (which was more like a blue, according to my dear husband) and he did fine. He was having the time of his life! We had to buy him new mittens because the super great (ha!) gloves I bought at home were crap and a face cover because the cold wind on his face was chilling. His body was warm and toasty, though, with his technical wear base layer (wool is wonderful), excellent ski pants, and down coat to protect him from the cold.

At the top of the tubing runs. Yes, it is that far down.
After skiing, we went snow tubing on the second night and it was So Much Fun! Laughing and bumping down the tube runs together and separately, running for the magic carpet back up to the top, videoing our trips down...not quite as wonderful as skiing but awesome. And requires no skill at all! I hope we get to do that again. We also went bowling (first time for both Captains), roller skating (on inline skates), and the Captains played minigolf.

The skiing was great. I took my first lesson ever and discovered that skiing is easier than I thought. The last day we were there we woke up to 4 inches of powder. It was amazing. Oh so amazing! I encountered a very happy ski patrol guy outside the lodge at the top of the mountain who remarked that the powder was like Utah powder, no, like Jackson Hole powder! The snow was so good he needed a cigarette! I laughed and said well I didn't want a cigarette but it was fantastic and I loved it. Then he told me this joke: "You can tell a true skier by asking, 'Would you rather have great powder or great sex?' A true skier will always say powder because you can have great sex anytime but you never know when you'll get great powder."

Fear is still a big factor for me. I have learned how to handle myself much better on the slopes and can ski some blues, but those with precipice-like approaches are still too much for me! A cold hard fear grips me tighter and tighter and I cannot escape. I had to walk down one trail (sobbing). After that, I was unable to get back to my confident happy feelings. My belly had stopped aching but then I discovered I could no longer move the tail of my right ski and fear's grip tightened once again. I soaked my goggles with tears and somehow got down the green the Captains had wanted to share with me. The next run was my last of the day (have to get back to the lodge somehow) but I could barely make it down the familiar green slope I had confidently skied several times already that morning, not to mention the day before. (To make matters worse, I discovered that I could have gotten to that green trail on the other side of the mountain by walking a bit, which is no fun in skis, but way more doable for me than encountering the precipice that the top of that blue run...and the fear and the sorrow and the anger...).

I took Captain Adorable to the doctor the morning after we got home. She said that it was a classic case of secondary infection--a bacterial infection that you get right after overcoming a viral infection. His nose was inflamed (swollen inside), full of mucus, and both of his ears were infected (one quite a lot). I lamented not bringing him in sooner and she said not to worry. She prescribed antibiotics. He's had 3 doses now and he's running around the house, obviously feeling better and better.

I suppose I should have gone home and taken him to the doctor...but I think it was worth it to stay and ski and have the adventure we had. And so does Captain Adorable.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The F Word

Yesterday I volunteered in the computer lab in Captain Adorable's school. They go to the computer lab once a week; yesterday they were working on a research project to learn about animals. I like helping in the computer lab because the children sit quietly at their desks and I can solve every problem they come across. :)

Afterwards, I stayed to have lunch with my son. I had not brought lunch, but just sat at the table with him while he and his classmates ate. The other boys at the table told me how one boy--let's call him Joe--had recently gotten in trouble for saying the F word. I am surprised that a kindergarten aged child would know this word but I suppose I should not be! I did not ask any questions about the word because I thought I could easily whip up excitement around the word and I did not want to do that.

Captain Obvious is in California for work again, so it was just the two of us at home. When we sat down to eat dinner (I made mashed potatoes, along with protein and vegetable, so he was happy!), I asked about the F word. Capt. Adorable told me that Joe says the word all the time--at snack, during center time, et cetera, but Joe did not know it was a bad word. I asked him if he knew what the word was. Capt. Adorable thought Joe was saying "fox." I was happy to hear that he didn't know the word because of course if he did know it, that would mean he had heard it before.

We talked about the word and he asked what it really was. I told him. I hope I made the right decision. My reasoning was that if I do not tell him and he tries to figure it out, he might get in trouble. But if I tell him and discuss it with him openly in the safety and privacy of our home, then the curiosity is lessened and he can avoid ever saying it (even accidentally) in a setting where it will get him in trouble. I told him that it is a very bad word, and there are only a couple of words that are worse. He asked what those words were, but I said I'd tell him when he's older. He asked if the word is as bad as the word "stupid" and I told him it is much worse and that even grownups get in trouble for saying it, which surprised him. He wanted to know more about that, and I said that people don't like to be friends with those who talk in a rude way and it would be harder for people who talk like that to get a job. Which is somewhat true...

I always want to be honest with my child and to teach him the proper ways to behave while at the same time letting him know that he can ask me anything. But of course I do not know if I am doing it right. Many things (like using bad words) are complex subjects and I cannot explain all the nuances to him in one sitting. But I try to give him the information he needs to 1) stay out of trouble and 2) understand. All I can do is my best, and for me, open communication and truth (age-appropriate truth) is the best.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bird Watching Report

My back yard feeder. 

My feeder is becoming more popular among the finch crowd. I now see both American Goldfinches and House Finches on a daily basis. I took the photo above with my iPhone from my kitchen window, so it is not the best image, but you can see 3 American Goldfinches are there! I decided to take a photo because there were 5 sitting there, but by the time I got the camera on, only 3 were still there.

This morning, while sitting in my office chatting online with my brother, I saw the following species:
1) Cardinal
2) Titmouse
3) Chickadee
4) House Wren
5) Dark-eyed Junco
6) Red-bellied Woodpecker
7) House Finch
8) American Goldfinch
9) Nuthatch

At one point there was a flock (8 birds total, at least 3 males) of House Finches just having a great time eating and socializing at the feeder while a House Wren hopped around the deck. So beautiful! It is difficult to tear myself away from my bird watching to go clean the bathroom but I have to. My parents are on their way here for a weekend visit.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Captain Adorable Is 6!

Captain Adorable had a birthday recently, and it was a busy day. It was a busy weekend, in fact! On Saturday we got up at 6:00 to be at the ice rink by 6:40 so we could have all his equipment on so he'd be ready to hit the ice at 7:00. That afternoon our family went skating with another family at that same rink. Oh the ice is fantastic there! I loved being able to go so fast! Then out to dinner with them and home not-too-late since we had to get up early the next day for hockey again.

On Sunday we got to sleep in (haha): the alarm went off at 7:00 so that Captain Adorable could be suited up and ready to hit the ice at 8:00. Then we came home and he opened his presents--the big hit was a "'mote control truck" from Grandpa and Lita. He loved the Fly Guy books I got him (at his request) too. Then he and Captain Obvious hung out and played and did some more work on the china cabinet Capt. Obvious is refinishing while I went for a walk. We cut the next event a little close and arrived  just in time for Captain Adorable to join his basketball team for the team picture at 1:20. Then at 2:00 he played in his first basketball game!

Here are photos from the day. I decided a while ago to no longer publish photos of the Captains' faces. That is why when I do show photos of my son and my husband, they are out of focus or only show the top or back of heads. Still, I think you get the idea I am trying to share with these images.
Almost ready to hit the ice. 

Playing with the 'mote control truck while waiting for  Daddy to install the batteries in the 'mote.

On the basketball court. He's green number 1.

You'd think he would be tired from all that activity and excitement, but no, he was as energetic as ever. My tough hockey player! My little love who can skate faster than me and stop on a dime. My kindergartner trying his best to play basketball with his taller, older teammates. My tenacious pumpkin, who, despite the fact that none of his team mates passed him the ball during the basketball game, kept trying and participating. My sweet boy who loves to make poop, fart, and butt jokes. My darling whose reading skills are progressing and can count to 300 by 5s (among other math skills mastered). My persistent, confident boy who continues to make new friends at kindergarten while remembering his old ones from preschool. My helpful guy who now has 2 chores at home (setting the table for dinner and putting the clean dishes away from the dishwasher). He loves to make art. He loves to look at books. He loves to play games on the PS3 and the Wii. He loves to play football with his friends at recess. He sings lullabies with me when I put him to bed at night. The inventor of the hilarious nose playdate and the word "fartilated" (which is like ventilated). He brags a bit too much and sometimes is ungrateful. Oh I love my darling Captain Adorable and I am very proud of him. He is a well-behaved, sweet, confident, intelligent, funny, brave, sensitive, handsome, stoic, persistent, expressive, fiercely loving boy.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Playdate Problem

As the mother of an only child, I have some different challenges than a mother of two or more children would have. For instance, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that my child gets plenty of social opportunities. This seems fairly easy, right? I contact other parents and try to schedule playdates. For quite a while, this worked very well. However, the transition to kindergarten has made playdate scheduling more challenging. There are lots of kids in class who already know each other, and so their parents seem unmotivated to schedule playdates with new kids. There are kids who would like to have playdates with Captain Adorable but with siblings, it seems there is no hope of ever scheduling a time to have a playdate my son. Of course if I can somehow get to know the mom, then there is a chance she will let her son come over to our house without her, which we have done with one family. It just seems so hard. I guess families with more than one child are less motivated to have playdates since their children have playmates at home already, or because it is difficult to work around the schedules of more than one child? I feel I am failing him in this way.

We attended a New Year's Eve party at the house of some new friends, where we have been a few times before (and had them over to our place). There were a bunch of boys there, who have been there before, and once again this one pair of brothers worked the group so as to exclude Captain Adorable. It is painful for me to watch him persevere, to keep trying to participate, to take the little leavings they will allow him...but when they started running upstairs and slamming the door in his face I was ready to leave. He was unhappy too. Captain Obvious told me to relax and I tried...drank too much champagne to do so...but didn't want to make the situation worse by alienating the grownups either. Once those boys left the situation changed for Captain Adorable and he was included again. I know that they will be there do I help my son? Do I help or let him suffer alienation? Neither choice really seems right.