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Bits and pieces

I’ve been very busy with the kids home the last week, plus the monster head cold (almost gone!). I keep starting stuff. These are my bits:

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Earlier today, I headed down to the kitchen, and as I walked down the hall, I heard a heavy thump-thump sound I could not identify until I could actually see the cause. It was Boo, my petite little 6-year-old. She was making running leaps at the fridge, and the double thump sound I heard was both feet hitting that fridge at the same time. It’s better than what she last used the fridge for, when she took to opening the freezer door so she could hang on and climb the fridge with her feet. I am sure it is only due to her tinyness that the freezer door is still on.

She also climbs the pantry doors, slides down the banister, climbs up stairs on the outside of the banister rails, leaps off the top of her bunk bed to the floor like a chimpanzee from a tree … I really never thought I’d have to use the phrase, “Our house is not a jungle gym,” as many times as I have.

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Boo is 6.5 years old, and to her enormous frustration, she hasn’t lost a single tooth. Four of her teeth have been loose for ages, longer than a year, even. Today, she asked me to wiggle them for the thousandth time and I had a sudden flash of memory of Asher’s reticent bottom teeth.  I felt her gums and, sure enough, I found her first two adult bottom teeth, almost broken through the skin behind her baby teeth. Shark child, V2. The baby ones are loose, but still a long way from coming out.

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Maya’s bat mitzvah is charging towards us at the speed of a locomotive and we are actually getting ready for it. I took her looking for dresses and she found something she liked fairly quickly and with a minimum of pain on everyone’s part. Rsvps are coming in, food is being organized. We are both practicing our Torah portions with renewed zeal as the date approaches. She has a great deal to practice. I have 8 lines. It is remarkable how much faster her young and flexible brain picks this stuff up. I have every faith in her ability to be ready in time; not as much in my own.

Every time I hear her practicing, I take a moment to be thankful for the fact that we have a kid who goes off and voluntarily practices every day, without any nagging. In fact, she nags me to practice (I need it). Then I heave a sigh, because I know that as good as we have it this time, there will be payback next time. On the other hand, at least Asher won’t have his own ideas on how the invitation should look, and colour schemes of anything. It all balances out.

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Unicycles and stuff

Maya and I were just out getting some craft stuff for a project of hers and she found a gold metallic pen, which she has wanted for writing thank-you notes for bat mitzvah gifts. When we got home, she tried it out – it was cool – and then handed it to me and said, “Here. Keep this safe.” I took it and said, “Do you realize what you are saying?” She stared at me for a moment and said, “I don’t know what I was thinking,” and snatched it back.

See, having an utter space cadet as a mother isn’t all bad – it teachers a child how to be responsible for their own things.

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I have a huge, snotty, painful head cold and 3 kids off school this week. And laundry piling up, and a bat mitzvah to work on planning for, and on it goes. Okay, whine mode off. It was just a little slip.

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Asher turned 10 on the weekend, and the unicycle that his crazy father wanted to give him was a huge hit. I was concerned because unicycles are hard to learn to ride – no training wheel options – and I was afraid he’d get frustrated. So far, that hasn’t happened. Here’s a little video of him practicing in the hallway (and Boo whining on the stairs as bonus).

I should mention that the first step with a unicycle is to hold yourself between two chairs and work at just keeping upright an on the thing since, of course, the first thing you have to be able to do is keep the wheel under you. Asher spent the weekend doing that at the cottage. This is actually amazing progress.

Walking

A year ago from the first day of my coma, I had the runs all day. Several people commented on the irony of that. I feel weird, knowing that a year ago I was Napping. It makes me acutely aware of how far I’ve come. I’ve commented before on how I wonder when going up stairs will stop feeling like an accomplishment. It still hasn’t happened. I am still amazed.

I had a nice experience yesterday, walking the dog around the block. We’ve had a bit of a thaw here the past couple of days, which has done a nice job of clearing the streets of ice, making it much easier to walk. I was marching down the street and I realized that, for the first time in a year, I felt normal. No hernia dragging my belly down, or colostomy bulging out. No sore hip. And Duncan the fluid fetus has finally shrunk to a size that it is no longer bothering me.

Now, if you put me on uneven ground, I’d go back to feeling like some sort of invalid, walking slowly in order to avoid tripping, or just tripping. I’m not normal. But it was the first time I got to feel normal, and it was great.

We are off to the cottage for the weekend. I plan to walk like a normal person and knit. I made another pair of the warmest socks in the world, and I’d show you a picture, but my web camera is refusing to work. Damn kids. Next up, a pair for Boo.

Oh yeah! And my boy is turning 10 years old tomorrow! Double digits! We bought him a unicycle. I kid you not.

One Year

Yesterday, I was doing some work from home and  at one point called and my boss (the principal of the school). I asked her a question she couldn’t answer and told me she’d get the right person and have them call me right back. What’s your home phone number? she asked me. Here’s what I said, “Two, two, six …. um …. two, two, six …. I don’t remember my phone number.”

Six and a half years I’ve lived in this house – oh wait! We kept the number from the last place, so make that 7.5 years with the same number and I was lost. I kept wanting to use the last 4 digits from the number at the cottage and could not come up with any others. Fortunately, the person we needed wandered into the office and saved me further humiliation in front of my boss, who I do try to convince I am intelligent and with it.

I do forget a lot of stupid things – couldn’t remember whether I was 42 or 43 years old a couple of months ago, to my kids’ wild amusement. (It’s 42.) Words get lost more frequently than I remember happening before The Big Nap. And I’m running out of time on using my favourite excuse – ‘coma brain.’ People laugh when I say it, but I’m not totally kidding. I spent weeks stewing in some pretty wicked drugs and was warned that the effects could take some time to wear off. Someone, I don’t remember who, said a year. So that’s how long I decided to give it. One year, and that’s it with the coma brain.

That year is almost over. One year ago tonight was a Sunday night. My stomach was hurting and I was pretty sure I was in for a bad night. I have irritable bowel syndrome that results in random nights of cramps and pain, ending in raging diarrhea. It had been happening more frequently. Still, I had a ‘Girl’s Night Out’ scheduled with friends, and I was determined to have a good time. We do pot luck and the food was great, thankfully, as it was to be the last food to pass through my lips for 19 days.

After I got home, the pain hit with the suddenness of a shot, a stab in the belly that dropped me to the floor. My standard method of dealing with belly pain is a hot bath, and so I dragged myself up and into the tub, into water as hot as possible. It didn’t help. For the first time ever, I could not get on top of the pain. I’ve had two children without any pain meds at all (and one where they only half worked) and I can clearly remember that pain. I have a physical memory of where and how it hurt. This pain, however, except that I remember thinking that it was the most severe I’d ever experienced, I can remember nothing else about.

Some time in the middle of the night, still in the tub, I asked J to call 911. He called a friend to come look after the kids and did just that. The ambulance attendants were horrible, cruel, heartless human beings, but I don’t feel like going into more detail than that because it still upsets me, one year later. At least they took me to the hospital, where I begged the nurse in triage to knock me out. I don’t remember this, but it is on my chart, “Patient making inappropriate comments. (“Knock me out.”) Of course, in retrospect, that comment was really the only reasonable response to the pain of one’s colon tearing open.

They told me I was constipated and forced me to try enemas, which were utterly ineffective except, one imagines, at squirting soapy water and fecal matter though the growing hole and into my abdominal cavity. Fainting after a couple tries put an end to that and sometime in the wee hours of the morning, a CT scan revealed the true problem. My memories of these hours are fuzzy. At one point, J left to get our kids ready for school and my mother took over. I remember moaning repeatedly, slowly and rhythmically, “It hurts, it hurts, it hurts” and being aware that what I was doing must be hard on my mother, because I know that as a mother, watching your child in pain is just the worst thing, but still being unable to stop.

It was all pain, just pain. The surgeon showed up and told us I had a rupture and he would have to operate, and that there was the possibility of death but he had no choice. I didn’t care. All I cared about was that I would soon be unconscious. There was no fear at all.

I listened to a radio program recently about last words, famous and otherwise. If I hadn’t survived that surgery, my last words would have been, “It’s not working! I’m still awake.” The mask delivering the drugs couldn’t fit properly around the tube up my nose and it took longer to sedate me than normal, although it must have only been a moment or two. And then I was gone, for 18 days.

Tomorrow morning, I am going to wake up, run some errands, go into work, try and find a gift for Asher’s birthday on Saturday. The laundry is piling up. I have no idea what to feed everyone for dinner. We are in the depths of planning Maya’s bat mitzvah. I am scarred, deconditioned and forget things like my own phone number. But I am alive.

who is almost 13, at bedtime:

Me: Goodnight, honey. Sleep well.

Her: Goodnight. I love you.

Me: I love you too.

Her: And, stop being weird.

Me: Me?

Her: Yes.

Me: When was I weird?

Her: Like, all the time.

Alrighty then. I just added it to Monday’s to-do list: Finish video for open house at school, buy missing knitting needles, send pamphlet to printers, stop being weird all the time.

Working mother whine

I am starting to remember why I quit working (outside the house) last time.

As I mentioned before, snot is flying. I have been trapped in the house with whiny sick children since last Friday. That I could handle (sort of), but I still have work to do. No problem – I work from home part of the time so this should be easy, right? I’m all set up for it.

What I’m not set up for is trying to concentrate on work while also dealing with the whining of bored children. Today is the worst, because I have Asher and Boo and they are almost better, which mean they are more – how shall I put this? High needs. They keep taking to me and asking me for things and Boo, my beloved Boo, won’t actually shut up at all.

I’ve got two huge deadlines looming and I just need them to go away. I think  thoughts like that and then feel guilty about shuffling my kids off to the side to get work done and then – whamo! – I remember why I quit last time. I never felt like I was giving my kids proper attention and never thought I was giving work proper attention, trying to attend to both at the same time. This time, I won’t quit, because I really like the job and because by tomorrow, this dilemma will be resolved because I’m sending the rugrats back to school. When I quit last time, I had a 3-year-old and an infant, so there really wasn’t any time.

But when the kids are sick and the work still needs to get done, all those feeling come back.

Alright, Boo has stopped talking and is now gluing something to something else, and Asher is actually doing the work his teachers sent for him, so it is back to work for me!

Snot

There is copious amounts of it flying around this house. Maya and Asher are both sick with this horrible, nasty virus decimating the population of their school. They keep sneezing and coughing, and Maya keeps wiping her nose, wiping and wiping on kleenex after kleenex and then leaving them in little piles wherever she’s been. And when Asher annoys her, which is about 2539 times a day, she flings a snotty kleenex at him and he freaks out. And at random moments, Asher suddenly pops his head up from wherever he’s flopped and yells, “Ah! Ah! AH!” and when we say, “What? What?!” He wails, “I feel like I’m gonna throw up!” But then never does. So now we just say, wearily, “You have your puke container right there, so enough with the ‘Ah Ah!’ stuff.”

The worst part, besides the fact that Boo is still startingly healthy and therefore bored and demanding, is that my throat really hurts, and I’m starting to cough and I feel kind of queasy, and enough already!