Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Milk it for what it's worth

So last night, with the "patch job" on her tooth, we were keeping the girl to soft foods so that she didn't run the risk of damaging the tooth further. She bemoaned the fact that she couldn't have any of her "favorite" foods... And three is not too young to lean a little towards melodrama as far as she's concerned either.

"I can't EAT mommy cause the food is too hard and it will hurt my broken tooth"

Don't worry I reassured her, I was making mashed potatoes with supper so she could eat some.

"But they're still too hard! I need to eat something softer"

Oh really? Her answer when I asked her what she had in mind?

"ummm... marshmallows? Or pudding, or jello... jello is softer"

I chuckled at that. She looked SO sincere... riding that "injured cuteness" factor as far as she could take it.

Gotta give her credit... Even if she only scored a yogurt tube ;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adventures in Emergency Dentistry

So we had a bang up day here.... literally.

I got a phone call from the daycare around 11:15 this morning. One of the phone calls you never want to get: Our little girl had been hit in the face with a sled while tobogganing with her friends on the small hill in their play yard. Her tooth was chipped. I could hear her still sobbing in the background when they called.... I don't think anything can make you feel as helpless as being so far away from your child when they're hurt.

I'm lucky that our dentist is just down the hall from my own office - I raced down to ask them what to do and they said they could see her as fast as I could get back with her. So by 12:30 she was sitting in the dentist's chair. Not exactly how I pictured her first visit with Dr. K.

He examined the damage and after looking at the X-ray, we could see that the tooth wasn't just chipped, it was cracked right down to below the gum line. Because he had no way of knowing if the root would be exposed if the chipped part was removed (and not wanting to traumatize his newest little patient), he immediately phoned a pediatric oral surgeon, Dr. C, and arranged for us to be seen right away.

So from one dentist's chair to another. My poor little peanut fell asleep on the trip across town but didn't get to finish much of a nap on the waiting room couch before we were seen. After looking at the tooth Dr. C had me hold her (restrain would be a better word) while he removed the broken half of her tooth.

The root was exposed. So he cleaned and sealed it (temporary fix) while we discussed options. The tooth needs to be capped... which totally sucks because it's one of her eye teeth and the rest of the smiles in her young childhood pictures are now going to have a flash of silver in them. My only choice was how we wanted to do it. He could do it immediately but it would have to be done "against her will" ... because the little adventure of just examining and then patching the break had shown us just how well she'd put up with a more invasive procedure (one that involved needles to boot!). OR, we could wait until first thing tomorrow and put her under general anesthesia and get it done without her remembering a thing.

That's a no brainer for me. I don't know if I could stand forcibly restraining my shrieking, panic-stricken baby while a 'stranger' man-handled her face and gave her a life-long fear of dentists. We had our younger son put under when he needed some extensive dental work done at age 4 and he has no memory of it and more importantly, no fear of dentists. I don't like the idea of putting her under... she so tiny and I know there are risks.... but it's just so much better than the alternative.

The only catch with opting for the general anesthesia route is that she'd need to be cleared by a doctor before they would put her under. It was already 2:30 in the afternoon. Still, I booked her in for 9:00am tomorrow and left with the paperwork... and her broken tooth. Before we left the nurse came rushing out and gave her a tiny pink treasure chest with the piece of her tooth in it.

I tried her pediatrician right away but he was out of town this week... and his back-up had been called out of the office this afternoon. Perfect. So plan B: I stopped by my husband's work on my way towards home. He had an appointment with his own doctor at the end of the day and I was hoping he could make a phone call and maybe take her along (saving me an afternoon at a walk-in clinic). But no such luck.

So we went home and I changed out of my work clothes before heading up to the walk-in clinic at the top of our street. We got there around 3:30 and put our names down to see our 3rd medical professional in 3 hours. It wasn't too bad. There was actually only one person in front of us so we only had time for one book in the waiting room before going in. By 4:00 her pre-op check was done and we were on our way.

Now we wait. She's a little fussy this evening... no doubt exhausted from an emotional and scary day, but she ate well and doesn't seem to be in any pain right now with the patch-job.

I think she'll sleep better than I will.... At least she has a visit from the tooth fairy to look forward to!

(just a couple of years sooner than I was expecting)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Never gonna happen

My daughter is obsessed with the idea of being a big sister.

I'm sure it's directly related to always being the littlest and wanting to be bigger than somebody... anybody. She wants to be bigger so bad.

Her biggest complaint in life is that she's going to be little 'For-Ever'

So I'm really not surprised with how fascinated she is that my sister-in-law is going to have a baby in May. She talks about her baby cousin daily. That's impressive considering she's only seen her auntie's belly 2-3 times in past few months.

Today, when I broke the news to her yet again that she would never be a BIG sister... because she doesn't have any brothers or sisters younger than her, she defiantly informed me that she WAS going to be a big sister... as soon as her baby cousin is born!

I didn't bother correcting her... it's as close as she's going to get. We're obviously just going to have to start spending alot more time with my brother and his lovely wife :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Light Went Out

The world lost one of its genuinely beautiful people today... and the lives of several of those close to mine will be much the poorer for it.

N was a woman who walked through this world with a grace that few manage. I'm sure she never crossed paths with anyone who didn't instantly like her. She and her husband H, a man I've had a special affection for since the first time we met, were just on the verge of finally having the time to enjoy life and each other.... something they deserved and had worked lifetimes toward.

But her time ran out. In a matter of months.... weeks that flew by all too fast, she's gone.

And my heart is breaking for him.

It's just so wrong... so unfair that her thread was cut so early - way too young. I'll never be able to understand the injustices of life that allow someone like her... someone so beautiful, to be taken like that.

She's gone and he's alone. When they should be planning vacations and dining with friends. Relaxing together and travelling, enjoying the fruits of a life well spent.

H and N were, are, good friends with my parents. We were friendly, but a generation removed from being good friends ourselves. Still, there was something about them.... something in H that reminded me of the best qualities in my Dad... something that made me like him the minute we were introduced six years ago. He and his wife, N, were perfect together. She was warm and welcoming and kind - and everyone loved her.

I can't help comparing them, and where they were in their lives, to my own parents. Maybe that's why this is hitting me so hard.

I'm grieving. For myself, for my parents who've lost a dear friend.... but mostly for H, the man left behind when her light went out so unexpectedly.

She spent her final days planning her own funeral... never once complaining about her own fate - just worried about how her passing would hurt him.

Why does it always seem like the brightest lights are the ones that burn out too soon?

My head hurts with it all... but not nearly as much as my heart.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rink Rat

With two big brothers in hockey... each with 3-4 ice times per week, my girl has little choice but to spend a majority of her time kicking around hockey arenas and community centres with us all winter long.

She has fun. There are usually other siblings of players on the loose for her to play with - and she looks up to those big brothers of hers... she loves hockey... she gets very upset when we try to get out the door without taking her along (which is so much easier for us - but totally not fair in her books).

So I confess no surprise at the demands that started a while back:

Where's my hockey bag? (rolling Disney Princess duffle bag - check!)
Where's my hockey stick? (the boys' first stick, pink hockey tape from Santa - check!)
I wanna play hockey! (mom with stick & puck to pass back & forth at "practice" - check!)
Daddy, I need a jersey! (littlest jersey in the boys' old collection - check!)

The smile says it all, doesn't it? (go ahead - click on the picture... it's worth seeing full size).
I guess all I have to look forward to now is the joy of chauffering THREE kids to hockey next year. I'm trying not to think about that... 2 parents, 2 vehicles, 3 kids, 3 different directions. I'm not sure the math works - but I could stare at her grin all day long!
(Team Canada Women's Hockey 2026 Olympics? I'll let you know ;)

Monday, December 14, 2009


My thoughts often wander when I'm admiring or thinking about my youngest son. I have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes I'm angry when I think about the things he struggles with that come so easy to most others. All the time I'm protective and want to shelter him from the ugliness in this world... that he most often doesn't see. And too many times to count, I'm so touched by his innocence and honestly that I start to cry. The love I feel for him is so fierce that catches me off guard... much like he does with his comments out of left field.

I rarely know how to put all of this into words though... which is why I was so moved by another mother's post that I decided to steal it and post it here to share with anyone who happens by... she had a wonderful way of capturing how I feel:

A Little Piece Of God
Posted by Anonymous.

I have an autistic son who is truly a bit of God broken off and fallen to this earth. I am fortunate in a million ways that he is oh... let's say autism-lite. He has none of the most challenging behavioral and cognitive elements of the disorder and his therapy is moving faster than anyone could have imagined.

I am in no way brave about this, and his diagnosis did very nearly turn me to dust, but recently someone asked that I write a letter to her friend, a stranger, who is struggling with her daughter's recent diagnosis. So I gave it my best shot.

This diagnosis is a pointing finger and nothing more. And now it’s my turn to whisper the important words - words that flicker just brightly enough to keep you from falling the whole hard way down: Your beautiful child remains your beautiful child, regardless of where a finger points. Mothers of auties pass those words down to new mothers of auties like some families pass down silver, and it may well be that this one act and these few words are the single speck of autism that we mothers hold in common. Autism is so many things, so many different ways of being.

People will ask you “what is autism?”. Believe me, they’ll ask you all sorts of things, but when they ask this particular question, they may as well ask, “what is skin?” How do you answer? How can you? But since no mother begins this trip with answers and since you cannot give what you don’t yet have, leave it, just leave it. . . Also, it’s very important right now that you pack lightly, so you must leave other people’s stuff behind. This is your trip and that pointing finger is where you start. Take this road through whatever terrain you must - anger, grief, frustration - and know that you will come out the other side a changed and stronger mother.

Go ahead and take the long road with all the hills and muddy spots. Stop where you feel the need, think a lot about turning around, and understand that you will always bitch about why you have to do all the damned driving. But you will drive and drive. And then drive some more. You will keep moving forward, I promise. Claim your place now among like-minded mothers and know that we are tough. We will stand with you shoulder-to-shoulder, stretch mark- to-stretch mark because we have all done the drive, in our own way, at our own speed with our own stretch of muddy spots.

My autie is a million kinds of magic to me. Just as he had no words for the first five-ish years of his life, nor do I have words to explain our bond. His everyday obstacles show up on time every day, but they loom only as large as we allow. So often, too often, we show off those obstacles —we set them apart and make absolutely certain that we can say, “That’s my kid there, and wow, will you just look at the size of his obstacles ? They are RIGHT THERE and THEY ARE HUGE.”

Let me be very clear now, that those same obstacles have no power over the magic, not the least little bit. Say that outloud to yourself right now. Good. This child sits closest to my heart and I can tell you that even in his worst moments, I can see tiny bits of my best self. He is unbridled joy. He has a lightness that comes in quite handy during the darks. And while my chaos is just boring mommy chaos, his chaos is—well, he’s often quite glorious in his chaos. My own road is occasionally strewn with his gifts of glory wrapped in sticky chaos.

Now, understand that these gifts are rare and precious, mostly unexpected and sometimes quite sticky. Some days you will have to look long and hard to find even the dullest one. Some days you’ll give up looking altogether. Again, please know that giving up on today can never, ever forfeit the gifts scheduled for tomorrow. Keep looking. You’ll see. My son’s diagnosis shattered me like a rock hitting glass - a big ugly hard thing hitting a not very sturdy at all thing. We sat in that tiny room with the tiny chairs and filled out those very not-tiny-at-all pages of parent questionnaires and I cried. The whole time. Long pages. Lots of crying. Not a good day, to be sure, but one that you’ve now survived.

You remember the tiny room with those tiny chairs, and you surely recall filling out the stack of parent questionnaires. You might also recall that your answers were often limited to three choices: Often, Sometimes and Not At All. So do you bend your beautiful child to fit those tight little circles? Oh, you know that answer already. And when you worry that your child's diagnosis might change how you see them, who they are, and who they might become, that answer fits quite nicely into one of those circles:

That answer is Not At All.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Apparently penis-envy is real...

Our drive to school this morning was made to the sound of my sons' uncontrollable fits of laughter. They couldn't stop giggling and squealing after their 3 year old sister announced (among her Christmas wish list items):

"I want a penis!"

(I think that's a little outside of Santa's scope honey!)

But look! She's not the only one:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I get phone calls from the school.

Sometimes from teachers, often from the principal.... but always about #1 son.

You know those calls?

So yesterday, when the principal phoned me, I immediately starting thinking "lovely, what's he done now?"

I was a little surprised to find out she was calling about #2 this time.

Funny how we presume.

The call wasn't the end of the world... just something minor to talk with him about when we got home.

But I couldn't resist the temptation to see if I could make #1 squirm when he got in the van. I was SURE he'd have the same reaction I had when the principal called me earlier.

As soon as he'd hopped in the van and done up his seat belt, I turned to him and said:

"I got a call from Ms. L today"

I was waiting for him to squirm but just about died laughing when he replied:

"Not Ms. L - you mean Ms. M!"

(Ms. M teaches him french and science....this was way too good to pass up!)

"Sorry.... so you know what Ms. M was calling about?"

"I just blurted out a word in class... it wasn't even a bad word! She just said my "timing" was inappropriate!"

Then I was laughing.

"Son, Ms. M didn't call me today, you didn't let me finish; Ms. L called me today about your brother.... but thanks for letting me know about french class - you just copped to something your mom didn't know about!"

The look on his face was priceless. Realizing he'd just told on himself...

And then he was laughing along with me. We were laughing at him for thinking the same thing I had: He hears that the principal called his mom and immediately starts trying to think of what he did that day.

It was great. I owned that boy yesterday ;)

(I may have to try this again some day... who knows what this kid is getting away with?)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Coolest Room in the House!

The beaming smile says it all... He love Love LOVES his new bed and new room.

Isn't this the coolest bed ever?? Our neighbors sold it to us for a song after they bought it for their daughter and she was too scared to sleep up there. SCORE!

He's sleeping in there already - apparently he was moving favorite toys into drawers before Dad was even finished setting everything up.

We haven't even got his blind hung on the window yet but he couldn't wait.

I love putting that kind of smile on this little boy's face.

And I'm proud of his big brother (who's got to be at least a tiny bit jealous) because he's being a really great sport. Mind you, he does have a room all to himself now too. He'll be pretty pleased with himself when we get that, formerly shared, room sorted out and set up for him alone.
Great end to the day.