Monday, May 31, 2010

In Which We Remember

Our whole house smells like new bread at the moment, because Jeremy just finished baking.  I'm sitting here with a glass of peppermint tea and a thick slice of dark bread slathered with butter.  Bliss.

We took Connor briefly to the pool this morning, which was very crowded with children out of school, and I frittered away a couple of hours at a coffee shop writing poetry of questionable taste, but for the most part we spent the day quietly at home.  I'm not normally one for melancholy, but I think we know too many people for whom Memorial Day is a day of rememberence and mourning for us to ever think of this as a cheerful sort of holiday.  Goodness knows I came very close to being one of them, and while I'm very, very thankful that we were lucky enough to have this not be the case, my heart goes out to the families of those husbands and wives who are never coming home.

Thank you.  All of you.  We will never forget.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

In Which Connor Has Another Seizure, And We Demolish The Deck

Today we had respite care, so Jeremy and I drove out to Tacoma because Half Price Books was having a sale, and if there is one thing we never miss it is a sale at Half Price Books.  We browsed for a while, found a few random things and then headed out to do some more shopping.  We were just pulling up to Bertolino's Cafe (one of my favorite little coffee shops in Tacoma) when we got a phone call from Connor's respite care worker.  Connor had just had a seizure. 

This one only lasted about a minute and a half, and he was already asleep and fine so he didn't really need us checking up on him, but we made a u-turn anyway and headed back up to Puyallup because even if he was absolutely fine we didn't feel comfortable being a whole thirty minutes away.  So we ended up going to the Starbucks that is five minutes away from our house where we sat reading our books, drinking our hot beverages of choice and, on my part anyway, physically restraining myself from rushing home to make doubly sure that Connor was, in fact, fine.  Which he was, thankfully, though now of course we have to start the whole see-what-the-doctor-wants-to-do process all over again and once again we're playing Seizure Hot Potato and we upped his seizure medication four days ago, dang it.  Oh well. 

Other than that excitement, the other big thing that happened today was that Jake smashed our deck into a hundred billion pieces while we were out.  There's the view from our sliding door.  Isn't that awesome?  It looks like it was probably tremendous fun, too-- I'm kind of sorry we missed it.  We'll be taking all of the pieces, along with the pieces of the old fence, down to the dump this weekend so we can start on the new deck.  In the meantime we will not be venturing out into the backyard by that door. 

That first step's a doozy.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Which I Swear We Moved To Mayberry

I spent a good portion of this morning transplanting all of the stuff I planted in front of the deck a few months ago to new locations in the yard so that we can get started with demolishing.  This was not particularly fun, as pretty much all the good spots had already been taken.  Our backyard has a lot of shrubbery, so most of the beds are at least partially shaded, which will change once we have the rest of the hardscape in and are ready to really start ripping up the old landscaping, but in the meantime poses a bit of a problem when I just lost twenty feet worth of prime sunny area.  Hopefully most of the poor, maligned herb garden, strawberries and blueberry bushes will be able to hold on until I can transplant them back to a spot with full sun.  That'll teach me to get overenthusiastic about putting things in the ground before we have a game plan for what we're going to do!

Connor spent most of today in a pretty good mood, which was nice.  He and his daddy spent a lot of time hanging out together-- always a fun activity in Connor's book.  I went down to our little coffee shop this morning and picked us up some breakfast, but mostly we stuck around the house and took it easy.  We did go over and have tea at one of the neighbors' houses in the afternoon, though.  It was lovely, which I'm not really surprised by-- we are lucky enough to be surrounded by genuinely nice people, most of whom have lived in the neighborhood for a long time.  Keep in mind that we selected this house because it had a bathroom we could renovate (one of two on the market in the Puyallup area at the time that fit the criteria we were looking for) and so nice neighbors, close proximity to the hospital, fire station, Connor's school, a park, and shopping areas are all just fantastic bonuses for us.  Seriously, what were the odds that practically the only house in Puyallup we could buy that could be renovated for our needs would just happen to be smack in the middle of Mayberry

I swear I keep expecting to hear Andy Griffith whistling when I go out to check the mail.


Friday, May 28, 2010

In Which We Get A Bit Carried Away

Since our deck demolition today was cancelled, I spent a good portion of the morning designing the new deck for our backyard.  Or rather, I started off designing a deck, and then I added a patio and we needed a walk around to the front of the house and Jeremy suggested that maybe we should add a patio up there too and then I got a little sidetracked figuring out where I would put in some raised beds and four hours later I realized that the day was half over and I had yet to do a single iota of housework, which was what I was supposed to be doing this morning.  I used to laugh at those people who decided to renovate, say, a spare bedroom and then eight months later had a totally new house, but I'm starting to understand how that could happen.  This stuff is kind of addicting.

I think we'll probably end up doing most of these projects, though, because we're really committed to making the backyard as accessible as we can.  We crunched the numbers and since we're going to be doing most of the work ourselves it's more reasonable than you might think.  As things stand right now it's extremely difficult for me to get Connor farther than about fifteen feet into the backyard because the steps on the deck are rotting through and there's no hardscape farther in.  It's been interesting trying to figure out where to put the ramps off the deck (one down the side of the house and one onto the patio) because they have to be at least sixteen feet long in order to not be too steep, and we want things to be not just accessible, but beautiful too.  I think we've finally hit on a solution, and I'm excited to get started on it!  When we're finished, hopefully we'll have a yard that everybody in the family can use.  And also by the end I'm going to have a whole lot more experience in using power tools and shoveling concrete.  No doubt this will come in handy at the most unlikely moment. 

We ended up deciding to make one of the ramps run parallel to the deck (with a large landing at one end complete with bench) so that it doesn't stand out in the yard.  It will lead down to a large patio level with the ground and perfect for a barbecue area or a table.  A pathway from the patio will lead around the side of the house to another, smaller patio in the front yard.  The other ramp will go straight down the side of the house and end in a short path which will connect to the concrete pad already poured on that side.  We've also talked about putting in a couple of raised beds-- I can use one for a water table or sensory garden for the kids now, and as a vegetable bed later-- and possibly replacing the grass lawn in the back with an herbacious lawn mix like Fleur de Lawn.  This will be enough projects to keep us occupied for the next year or so, and then I'm sure we'll figure out something else we want to do.

We're looking forward to having a space that everybody in the family can use!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Which Connor Goes On Holiday

We just about finished our fence today, which was great!  It's so nice to see a project finished.  We're going to start dismantling our old deck tomorrow, which should be a lot of fun.  Ripping stuff apart is usually pretty enjoyable, especially when it involves the use of power tools. 

Connor should be there all day to direct, because he's off from school tomorrow!  He has a four-day weekend because of the holiday, so we're going to have a good time.  I'm not exactly sure what's on our to-do list yet, other than deck-demolishing, but I know he'll enjoy that.  He really likes the circular saw; the noise makes him burst into giggles every time.  I think he really likes the vibrations, which can be felt from pretty far away.   It's a really loud saw.

We discovered a new way to play in his swing today. Connor can practically lie down in it because it's so large.  I discovered that the swing is just the perfect height for him to practice standing up out of it-- his feet just barely touch the ground when I scoot him to the very edge.  We did quite a bit of that today, in addition to some swinging while lying down and his usual sitting-up swinging, and he seemed to have a terrifically good time.  But then he loves anything having to do with his swing, so maybe that's not so surprising.  He's really getting the hand of standing up from a sitting position (with help, as his grip isn't good enough to hold his weight yet) and that's pretty exciting! 

We'll have him standing on his own yet!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Which We Finally Hear Back From Neurology

We finally got a call back from the neurology department early this morning.

Actually we got a call back from one of the nurses.  She sounded livid.  Apparently she'd left several e-mails and phone messages for Connor's neurologist, who hadn't answered her back.  Keep in mind that this is now eleven days after Connor's seizures and seven days after his blood levels were drawn.  So she forwarded everything to the department head and contacted the neurologist on call.  "We will have a plan for you by the end of the day," she said, in a tone of voice that implied it would happen if she had to stand over the neurologist on call and threaten them with a Speculum of Death or something.  I mentally cheered. 

It's fantastic to have someone on the other end of the line going to bat for you in situations like this, and it was even more welcome because I had already used up all of my polite enquiry phone calls, and was planning on calling neurology later that day and upping the ante.  You know, the "I have tried to Be Reasonable but now I am Very Upset and if I don't hear from someone today I will be Lodging a Complaint" sort of phone call.  But luckily I didn't have to do that, because this awesome nurse did it for me. 

So we got a call back this afternoon, and it was decided (by a different neurologist, as Connor's was still MIA) to up Connor's Trileptal by a substantial amount, as it still had some wiggle room.  We have a neurologist appointment scheduled for June 11th, and they'll draw levels again at that appointment and make sure everything looks okay.  I must say I'm relieved; knowing Connor's seizures are uncontrolled makes me just slightly paranoid, and if he even looks at me funny I convince myself he might have a seizure any second.  So I'm happy that they've changed his meds and I can be a little less worried that I have a Seizure Jack-In-The-Box on my hands.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In Which We All Do Some Learning

Connor had his first out-of-school occupational therapy session today, which went really well.  He actually allowed the OT to touch him a couple of times and everything, which is an absolutely amazing reception from this kid.  He did tell her several times that he didn't like her, and made sure to mention on multiple occasions that Daddy would not be making him do Such Horrible Things as we were making him do, but that's par for the course with this kid.  Anyway, I was very pleased with how things went, and the OT already has some great ideas for exercises we can add in to Connor's home therapy, which is great!

Jeremy's taking an Anatomy and Physiology class that started up yesterday; he's getting some prerequisites out of the way for the army's Physician's Assistant program.  He'd really like to pursue a career as an army PA, and I think the job would be a great fit for him!  He won't be able to apply for the program for another year, though, so he's going to go ahead and take all of the prerequisites now so he'll be ready when the time comes to turn in the application.

Jer isn't the only one who's been dabbling in intellectual activities around here!  In addition to fence building and taking Connor to school and OT and other such activities, I spent some time this week submitting poetry to various tiny literary journals.  I write a lot of the stuff (I've been writing it since I was five, actually) but I never do anything with it, so with Jer's encouragement I figured I'd send it out and see whether or not anyone wants to publish any of it.  It's interesting to note that while my blog has been described by various people on separate occasions as "relentlessly upbeat," my poetry is almost all horribly depressing.  I have absolutely no idea why this is, especially since I'm not horribly depressed when I write it.  It's like I've gotten stuck in that angsty teenage poetry phase (and believe me, I have whole volumes of extremely bad angsty poetry I wrote between the ages of 13-18 stored away in a box somewhere so you would think I would have gotten that out of my system), only now I can describe said horribly angsty things with better metaphors.  Most of the poems aren't even autobiographical, so I'm not quite sure how to explain that one, as apparently I really enjoy writing extremely depressing poetry about fictional people, none of whom deserve the horrible fates I condemn them to.  I may have a slight sadistic streak running through my veins somewhere. 

At any rate, they're fun to write, and it gives me an excuse to get out of the house once a week and sit around in a coffee shop drinking tea and eating one or more molasses cookies.  As if I really need an excuse for that.  Yum!


Monday, May 24, 2010

In Which Jer and I Go On A Date

Yesterday Jeremy and I left Connor with respite care and went out on a date to celebrate our sixth anniversery.

We have a tradition where each year Jeremy and I go and pick out a yixing teapot together.  These are little clay teapots made out of a certain clay from china.  They hold enough tea for only one or two people, are left unglazed, and are shaped in a variety of traditional or whimsical ways.  You are only supposed to use one type of tea in them, and after a long time of use the teapot begins to absorb the flavor of the tea into the porous clay. 

There's a shop in Pike Place Market that sells hundreds of yixing teapots, so we went there and picked one out.  This year's model has a rabbit on the top, and is very cute.  We walked out of the store and realized that the Four Seasons Hotel was just on the other side of the street.  While we were not interested in the hotel, we were very interested in the fact that the chocolatier Fran's (which makes perhaps the best salted caramels the world has ever seen) is located on the bottom floor of the hotel.  I've ordered their caramels on numerous occasions for Jeremy, and I believe that if it were possible to subsist on only one food for the rest of his life, he might very well choose those.  They are really that good.

We had actually talked about seeking the store out and had no idea it was located so close to Pike Place Market.  We dashed across the street, and I believe we were actually drooling by the time we walked in the door, where we proceeded to buy a little bit of just about everything, along with a whole bunch of caramels, of course.  I'm sure Fran's will now be added to our list of Places We Must Take People When They Come To Visit. 

After we finished indulging ourselves, we walked around the market a while longer and then headed back down south to hit the movie theater.  We saw Iron Man II, which we agreed was rather mediocre, and then headed (of course) to a coffee shop to finish out the night. 

All in all I think it was a lovely way to celebrate an anniversary!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Which Connor Gets Undressed

Connor has learned a new skill.

He has been cultivating a habit recently of playing with his right shirt sleeve.  He'll grab the cuff of his shirt with his left hand and pull his right arm up and down inside the sleeve.  I believe it's probably related to his sensory issues; this is yet another way to "stim," as his therapists would put it. 

Well, today he figured out that if he pushed out against the sleeve with his left hand and pulled his right hand all the way in, he can get his arm completely out of the sleeve!

I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, it's the first step towards learning how to undress himself, which would be a major step towards independence.  So I'm pretty happy about that.  On the other hand, he has no idea how to get his arm back in the sleeve, and he's now doing it all the time.  Once he gets his arm out, he'll fuss and whine until I put it back in for him, and then he'll immediately do it again.  That's right: it's become a game.  Horrors.  And there is nothing I look forward to more than constantly redressing my child-- particularly when it's extremely cold outside and/or we're in a public area.

I have similar feelings about his other new habit.  He has started grabbing the collars of his shirts, pulling them up and then licking them.  Hence the gigantic wet spot on his shirt in the pictures; he's just up from some quiet time so he had a while to work on this particular outfit.  The kid is extremely defensive about what goes in his mouth, so any voluntary exploring on his part in that area is amazing progress.  However, he's soaking through a lot of shirts, and he's really good at ripping off bibs.  Also he's tasting my shirts too, and on occasion my bare arm.  There's nothing more fun than watching a stranger who's trying to make small talk with you attempting to ignore the child who is blatantly licking your shoulder.

That's progress for you!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

In Which I Think About Activities

We worked on the fence again today-- we're a little over halfway finished with it.  I got to use the circular saw today, and I didn't cut my legs off or anything!  It was awesome.  The next project we're planning on tackling after this one is our deck, which seems to currently be constructed mostly of wood putty.  We're going to take it apart and redo the whole thing.  After that, we'll have the remains of that ivy, resodding the lawn, dead shrub removal, laying a bunch of mulch . . . it's a daunting list.  However, when I think about the fact that we've only been living in the house for a little less than two months (though okay, we've owned it for almost seven) I think we've gotten quite a bit accomplished.  Wish us luck!

I'm enjoying these projects because Jer and I have had the chance to work on them together.  We don't really have a lot of hobbies in common, though we do spend a lot of time together, so it's very nice to have a project that we can collaborate on.  Connor mostly sits in the yard and directs.  He's very good at it.

Loki is attempting to convince us that he can help out with the yard too; mostly by lurking near our sliding door and trying to slip out whenever we open it.  We haven't let him out, because the thought of Loki in the possession of power tools is extremely frightening.  Let's hope that never, ever happens; I'm not sure the world would survive. 

We've scheduled Connor's next Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting for June.  I'm looking forward to hearing what all of the school staff have to say about his progress this year and I'm optimistic that things will go well.  We thank our lucky stars on a daily basis that we moved to Puyallup, because the school district has just been fantastic.  I can't believe that the school year is almost over; it seems like just yesterday when I was dropping him off for the first time!  I'll have to start looking into some fun summer activities for him.  We'll be picking up occupational therapy, and also starting up therapeutic horseback riding again.  We also might start heading to the library for story time.  Our local YMCA also has a Swim For Exceptional Children program led by a physical therapist that might be interesting.  Connor is pretty sensitive to the water and the noises that bounce off the pool area, so that might be some really good sensory therapy for him, though I don't expect him to learn how to swim any time soon.  It's important for me to figure these things out in advance because Connor lives by a routine, and we'll have to establish one quickly for him once school lets out or he'll get really anxious. 

I'm sure we'll find some great things to do!


Friday, May 21, 2010

In Which I Am Just A Wee Bit Paranoid

This morning I was at one of my usual haunts (a little coffee shop in downtown Puyallup) and an ambulance went by outside.  I turned around and watched it rush by.

My first thought, immediately, was "Oh no.  That might be for Connor."

Never mind that I was across town and the hospital was between me and the school, so unless the ambulance took a really roundabout route there was no reason for it to be driving by me on its way to him.  Never mind that his school immediately calls me whenever Connor has a seizure, so I usually get the call as the ambulance is being deployed.  For a split second I was absolutely convinced that the ambulance was headed to Connor.

This knee-jerk reaction to sirens is not limited to times when I'm not in the same place as Connor.  If I'm driving somewhere with Connor's wheelchair strapped down in back and we hear those sirens, I immediately glance in the rearview mirror to make sure he's okay.  It's ridiculous; I'm pretty sure the car gnomes are not going to dial 911 without me hearing them, and our Mobile Defense Van, Rowbert, has not yet achieved the level of sentience necessary to contact the authorities by himself.  Nevertheless, I still have to glance back in the mirror and make sure that he's still happily watching the scenery go by.

I'm not sure exactly how to break myself of this habit, because unfortunately we hear those sirens in the distance and know they are for Connor often enough to reinforce it pretty heavily.  I suppose as far as neuroses go it's a relatively harmless one, which I should be thankful for, but let me tell you that the adrenaline rush on top of the caffeinated beverage I was drinking this morning probably didn't do good things for my blood pressure.  Does anybody else do this sort of thing, or is it just me? 


Thursday, May 20, 2010

In Which I Count My Blessings

Jeremy and I managed to concrete in some more fence posts today while Connor was in school.  We didn't get anything else done outside, though, because the weather went totally haywire.  We had sun, rain, sleet and then more sun and then hail and then rain and more sun again.  It was like the weather was running through a test pattern or something.  It was rather bizarre.

As I was watching the weather out the garden window in our kitchen today, I was struck again by just how lucky I am.  Jeremy and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on Wednesday.  That same day we received a ten minute video in the mail of our beautiful little girl who awaits us in Thailand.  Connor had a quiet day, and he was in a lovely mood for the vast majority of it.  I spent a good portion of the day curled up by the fireplace with a cat on either side of me. 

Someone will tell me, every once in a while, that they could never do what I do.  It's pretty silly, to my mind, because it implies that what I do every day is somehow really really hard and that I must be miserable but holding up under the strain the best I can.  It's days like this, when I watch my son laugh with delight at the hail pounding down outside while Jeremy moves around the kitchen making his coffee and whistling snippets from Bach, that make me realize just how wonderful my everyday existence really is.  There are plenty of people who could do what I do, and I'm still not sure how I managed to be the lucky one who gets to live my life each day.

What more could I ask for? 

Other than a phone call from the neurology department, (if I don't hear from them by tomorrow afternoon I'll give them a ring) I can't think of much. 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Which Someone Needs Your Support

One of the reasons I blog publically is that it gives me a chance to connect with other caregivers of children with special needs all over the world.  I love having a network of support that is so far-reaching.  Not only do we live in different places, but we encompass a huge variety of ages, circumstances, and experiences.  Nevertheless, we are drawn together by our love for our children, and this forges us into an international family.

One of the members of my blogging family could use your support right now.  Carrie writes about her 22 month-old daughter, Hannah, over at her blog Little Miss Hannah.  Hannah has a metabolic disorder called Gaucher's Disease, a progressive and life-limiting condition caused by a genetic mutation. 

On Monday, what started out as a possible upper respiratory infection took an abrupt and devastating turn for the worse when Hannah had a fifteen minute long seizure and was rushed to the ER.  During the seizure she aspirated, and as a result now has aspiration pneumonia.  She has continued to have seizures during the last two days, and is now in the PICU at Texas Children's Hospital.  As of this writing she is intubated, on a ventilator, has a central line and is heavily sedated. 

This has obviously been a horrifying event for not just Hannah but also Carrie, her husband, and Hannah's two older siblings.  If you have the opportunity, drop by and leave them a message of support-- I speak from experience when I say it means a tremendous deal to someone in this sort of crisis situation. 

Please send your good thoughts and prayers their way.

My post for this month is up over at Hopeful Parents.

Hopeful Parents


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Which Jeremy Is On The Radio

Jeremy, along with two other soldiers, was interviewed this morning on the air by a local public radio station concerning his injuries during combat and the recovery process.  The program was called Life After Injury: Stories From American Soldiers, and you can find a podcast of it over here if you are so inclined.  You have several options for downloading under the "Listen To Weekday" heading on the right of the page.

I drove around in circles and listened to the program in the car while Connor was at school today.  It was kind of odd to hear Jeremy's voice coming out of the radio, but I thought he and the other guys all did a fantastic job and the discussion was interesting.  It's worth a listen, in my opinion.

Connor had a quiet day today; he and I drove up to Seattle to get his blood levels drawn, and we should hear from the neurologist again at some point in the next couple of days as far as what he'd like us to do.  While we talked to the nurse and not to the doctor personally, my guess is that he wanted to know the level of Connor's seizure medications both to see how the little guy is metabilizing them and to see how much wiggle room he might have to go up on them. 

Hopefully the game of Seizure Hot Potato will be over soon!


Monday, May 17, 2010

In Which We Get Some Exciting News!

Today was, all in all, a lovely day.

We didn't get much done on the fence because of the rain, but we did get to spend some quality snuggling time with Connor.  He was back to his usual happy self today, for which I am very grateful.  We're still waiting on the neurologist's orders, but hopefully we'll get those tomorrow.

The really exciting news, though, was that we got a call from our adoption agency today.  They found some more recent photos and video of Sylvie!  They hadn't made it into her file.  The photos we had of her before this were from two years ago, and these new ones are from last November!  The video is on its way to us in the mail, but we got the pictures today, and she is absolutely adorable.  We're talking massive amounts of cuteness here.  It's didn't even factor into the equation when we were making the decision on which child we were going to pursue for adoption, but let me tell you it sure isn't going to hurt the bonding process any.  Sadly, since we're not matched with her yet you will just have to content yourselves with a general description of how ridiculously adorable she is, but trust me when I say that she is just precious.  And for me to use that term in a completely non-sarcastic way, you know the kid has got to be coma-inducing cute.  She's 7,000 miles away and already has me wrapped around her little finger, but I don't really care.

Of course we're all freaked out over here by Thailand's current political situation, and we're worried that Jer won't be allowed to travel, or that they'll be in civil war or something, or that the adoption program is going to shut down, or any number of other possible disastrious things.  But since there's not a thing we can do about it, and a lot can happen in a year, we're just going to go ahead and fall in love with her now and hope for the best.  I think it's far better for us to go ahead and be excited, plan for her coming, and then be disappointed later than spend the entire time being Eeyores and trying not to get our hopes up.  So our book on Thai Sign Language arrived in the mail today, and I'll be studying up so that we can talk to her right away when we get to meet her!

 We're hoping to get another update on her soon, and we can't wait to see how she's doing now! 


Sunday, May 16, 2010

In Which We Build A Fence And Do Not Call An Ambulance

No ambulances today, thankfully, though we had a near miss when Jake tried to chop his leg off with a circular saw.  He's fine-- came off with just a scratch-- though his jeans will never be the same.  Everybody else made it through the day with limbs intact, so that was good, though it did mean I was unable to use any Monty Python jokes (It's just a flesh wound!).

It did rain on us today, though, so Connor and I spent most of our time inside, directing the guys through the windows because we're sweet like that.  The rain, along with having one less person out there, slowed things down significantly, so not as much was done today as we were hoping, but we don't have a specific timeline so that's all right.

Connor seemed to be kind of tired and was a little bit of a rag-doll for most of the day, which while it made me a little nervous never amounted to anything.  My guess is that it was probably due to the long seizure of yesterday and the Diastat (essentially Valium, for those unfamiliar with the drug) that followed.  He didn't really want to play today, but instead spent a good portion of the afternoon quietly snuggling, and he was perfectly fine so long as I didn't put him down or try to make him do anything.  I love Connor to pieces, but I will admit that after about four hours of sitting in a chair with him curled up on my lap, digging post holes out in the rain was starting to look really good. 

We'll work on the fence again tomorrow while Connor's in school, and hopefully nothing untoward will happen and I won't have to go charging up there covered in cedar chips and cement, which would be sort of awkward as I'd probably track mud in all over the floors. 

I'm really, really tired of this.  Yesterday was seizure number thirty-six for us, and Connor's had to have mouth-to-mouth for all of those except for three.  I've been the one to do rescue breathing on him for around twenty of those, give-or-take a few, which is about twenty times more than any mother should have to perform on her child.  It's gotten to the point where I don't even think about the steps anymore; I've done it so many times it goes pretty much like clockwork.  That's not really something I like to brag about.

But the good news is, that despite being resuscitated thirty-three times, Connor is still here!  He inherited stubborn genes from both sides of the family.

Keep on truckin', kid. 


Saturday, May 15, 2010

In Which We Build A Fence And Call An Ambulance.

Well, today was sort of a mixed bag.

On the up side, we got one fourth of our fence just about done; which is a lot considering that of the three of us working, only one of us actually knew what they were doing.  And that one person wasn't me.  We worked from nine in the morning until just before sundown.  While Jeremy and Jake (wisely) did not allow me to use any power tools other than an electric drill (which doesn't really count as a power tool in my opinion anyway because it's not nearly pointy or dangerous enough, and please do not send me links of people with electric drills lodged in their eyeballs to prove me wrong because I do not want to see them) I did get to spend a bit of time with a sledge hammer breaking up old cement.  I ended up relinquishing this job to Jeremy though, for a couple of reasons: the first being my pitiful arm strength, and the second being my penchant for singing chain gang songs while I was working.  So mostly I just shoveled wet cement, held boards and posts in place, and screwed things together. 

It probably won't be the prettiest fence in the world, but it's not falling down either, which is a big improvement over our previous fence.

We would have completed that entire side of the fence, as was the original plan, if not for a rather large intermission during the afternoon; which brings us to the down side of the day.  Connor had another seizure.  A six minute long seizure, in which there was not only mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but also Diastat administered and emergency personnel called.  Thankfully he started breathing again before they got here, so we were able to send them away, but it was not the most pleasant way to round out the evening-- especially since this comes just ten days after a major medication boost.

He's doing all right now; he's been asleep since about five in the evening.  No doubt he'll wake up at around five in the morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and that will be fun, I'm sure.  But it was certainly not a fun time this evening-- not to mention the fact that it did not improve our fence building speed, what with the rescue breathing and the ambulance and all.  I have no idea where the doctor will want to proceed from here, but we'll probably find out tomorrow. 

On the bright side, I did manage to not chop off a single one of my fingers during the fence building and the power-tool wielding and the ensuing excitement, which is what I expected we'd be calling an ambulance for if one was needed.  So that's a plus.  But I am pretty worn out, physically and emotionally. 

I think it's time for bed.


Friday, May 14, 2010

In Which We Have An Extremely Busy Day

What a busy day we had today!

Connor, I am thankful to say, slept much better last night; pretty sure the Miralax is doing the trick.  Fridays are always Show And Tell at school, and so I asked Connor what he wanted to bring with him. 

"Cat," he said, looking at Loki.

I cringed mentally.  Loki (who is currently arching his back, jumping sideways and hissing at his own reflection in our sliding glass door) is not the kind of pet you take to school.  Loki is the kind of pet you keep in your house because if he was ever taken outside, he would somehow trigger world-ending mass destruction and, due to his cuteness, manage to have it blamed on irresponsible pet ownership rather than his own evil nature.  I keep him locked in the house for the sake of all mankind.  So Loki as a Show And Tell subject was Not An Option.  Crazy cat.

"Sorry, honey," I said, and asked Connor to pick something else to bring. 

"Cat!" he demanded. 

We went back and forth for a little while, and finally I asked him if instead of bringing the kitty, he'd like to be a kitty.  He's got a cute set of cat ears we got him as a Christmas present, and sometimes he likes to dress up in them and pretend to be a cat for a while. 

"Yes, cat!" he replied, and grinned from ear to ear.

So I plonked the cat ears on his head and off to school we went, Connor refusing to answer to anything but "Kitty."  He cracked up every time I meowed at him; it was pretty cute.  It's really hard to tell the kid "no" because he asks for so little, so I'm glad we came to a compromise we were both happy with. 

Then immediately after school our respite care worker came over to watch the little guy.  Jer and I got cleaned up and drove over to the school's administration building, where we had lunch with the school superintendent.  He has a biweekly program where he brings in a few parents from the district to eat with him and discuss issues related to the school district.  So that was interesting.

Afterwards we went back to the house and changed into some biking clothes.  We drove up to Orting, where Jeremy pulled his bike out of the trunk and I rented one from the little bike shop in the center of the town.  We rode a 14 mile circuit up the Foothills Trail along Carbon River, stopping in South Prairie at the tiny coffee shop there at the trails end to sip some cold drinks and watch the world go by.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for it and we had a lovely time. 

We went straight from the bike trail to the gym, where I did a relaxing yoga class and Jer completed his usual weight lifting regime.  After that we grabbed some sandwiches for dinner and headed to the park to sit and eat them as the sun went down.  We ended our date at the bookstore (of course) and then headed home.

I'm pretty sure that our weekly dates are one of the reasons why we have such a solid marriage.  It really gives us the chance to reconnect and spend time as "Jeremy and Jessie" instead of "Mommy and Daddy."  Sure, we talk about Connor, but we also spend time talking about things other than parenting, which is nice.  Because we go on so many dates we do tend to run out of original things to do, so we end up at the bookstore and coffee shop a lot, but trust me: this is not a bad thing.  It's pretty much every date we ever had in college, only sometimes instead of books we brought study material to kind of mix things up. 

At any rate it was an extremely busy (but fun!) day, and tomorrow will probably prove to be just as busy.  We're spending a good portion of the day working on building a new fence, as our old one is falling down.  As both our bordering neighbors have a pair of extremely large dogs, this is not a good thing.  So our friend Jake, who actually knows what he's doing, is coming over, and Jer and I will be providing the unskilled labor.  This means that I quite possibly might be working with power tools.

If I am not missing one or more of my limbs by the end of tomorrow, I'll tell you how it goes.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

In Which Connor Sleeps In

Connor didn't go to school today. 

He wasn't sick, and he didn't have a seizure or anything like that.  The kid just didn't want to wake up.

The past four nights or so the little guy has not been sleeping well; his reflux has been acting up, and I suspect that it's the medication change that's caused the trouble.  I think it's making him a little bit, um, stopped up, if you know what I mean.  This is the only side effect from the medication change we've seen, and it's certainly not a horrible one as far as side effects from seizure medications go, but it's basically making his whole system back up and as a result he's not sleeping well.  He's been averaging about six hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, and the kid is used to getting between ten and twelve.  And of course, he refusing to nap.  Glorious.

As a result he's gotten progressively crabbier in the mornings, and because he was up five or six times last night I was relatively sure he'd be getting nothing out of being at school today.  So I let him sleep, and he snoozed until ten in the morning; an unheard of hour for him.  Usually the kid is up by a quarter to seven at the latest. 

We started on a Miralax regime today, and hopefully by the time the weekend is over he'll be back to sleeping through the night.  I'll certainly be glad of it, because it's physically impossible for me to sleep when the little guy is awake.  Don't ask me why; I certainly would like to be able to; especially if Jer's taken care of whatever Connor needs, and all he's doing is laying in there singing to himself.  But I just can't do it. 

Anybody else have this problem, or is it just me?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Which Jeremy Bakes

Jeremy is on a huge scone making kick right now.

He goes through these phases-- for a while it was sourdough, and we had a different kind every week.  Sourdough bread.  Sourdough rolls.  Sourdough bagels.  He kept the starter in a crock the fridge, and after Jer left for Afghanistan I faithfully measured out little portions of flour and water and "fed" it every week until he got blown up.  That's when it got shoved to the back of the fridge behind all my delivery pizza boxes and promptly forgotten about until it was time to move out of the apartment, at which point I had to pry the lid open with a knife in order to be able to wash the crock out.  I'm not sure what kind of bread the starter would have made at that point, but it probably would have glowed eerily in the dark and, if we ate it, either bestowed super powers upon us or killed us.

So that was the end of the sourdough phase, and now that Jer's able to be in the kitchen again we're on to scones.  Last week it was buttermilk, and today it was oatmeal, and I have no doubt that next week will be some other kind.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you; I'm always up for scones, especially when they are fresh out of the oven, drizzled with honey and butter and I get to eat them with a nice cup of hot tea.  This isn't exactly a hardship.  There's also no danger that the scones will come to life and attempt to murder me in my bed the way the sourdough starter might have had I given it another week or two to evolve legs.  No, the scones pose a more insidious threat. 

The problem is that now, whenever I want them, there are scones sitting in the kitchen singing a little siren song to me that's impossible to resist.  I believe that the last batch Jer made involved an entire stick of butter, so this is not exactly a good thing.  And he doesn't make any old wimpy bite-size scones, either.  These things are the size of my hand, and it's really hard to eat just one.  My guess is that I could very easily get my entire daily recommended caloric intake after about fifteen minutes of hanging out near Jer's cooling racks.  And he's shown no sign of slowing production down any time soon.

I don't have a work to take them into, which means that I have to find other, more creative ways to get them out of the house before I keel over from scone-induced heart failure.  I'll just have to start inviting friends over to help me eat the scones, until Jeremy's attention turns to some other, less artery-clogging bread product.  Until the scone-eating masses descend, I'll must continue to force myself to eat more ridiculously good scones, heavy on the honey and melted butter.  If I wash them down with tea I'll just be able to manage.

My life is so hard.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Which I Must Have Sleep

Today instead of working out after dropping Connor off at school, I went home and took a nap.

This is because Connor didn't sleep very well last night.  His reflux started acting up, and so he was up (meaning I was up too) several times during the night.  I've discovered that while I can function without a whole lot of things, sleep isn't one of them.  Sooner or later not having enough comes back to haunt me, and then I have to play catch up or risk being a total zombie for the next few days. 

Also I somehow managed to pull muscles on both sides of my neck.  In step class yesterday, of all things.  How did I even do that?  I must be extra talented, as I was under the impression that I was working, you know, my legs in that class.  At any rate somehow I managed it, and as a result it's a little difficult to find a comfortable position on a pillow right now.  I'll have see if I can get a massage sometime this week; usually that helps quite a bit whenever I pull something.  In the meantime I'll just whine about it and take an Ibuprofen. 

No doubt both will be therapeutic.


Monday, May 10, 2010

In Which Jeremy Walks Some More (Video)

It will be nine months tomorrow since Jeremy was injured in Afghanistan.  I can hardly believe it's been that long.  He's been able to bear weight on his feet for five months now, and look at the incredible progress he's made!  He's getting to the point where he's moving really well, and he's not having to use a cane any more at all.  I'm glad I've taken these videos, because you can see the incredible progress he's made.  Here he is in January:

And here he is today!

Pretty awesome, huh?


Sunday, May 9, 2010

In Which We Celebrate Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

We had a very good day; Connor and Jeremy let me sleep in, and then Jeremy made me breakfast and Connor gave me his Mother's Day presents, which included chocolates picked out just for me, a massage gift card, and a flower he packaged at school.  Then we all took a walk together in the neighborhood and played at the local playground for a while.  After that, Jeremy watched Connor while I went to one of our local nurseries, and I got to spend the rest of the day mucking around in the garden!  It was a lovely Mother's Day, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

This very well could be the last Mother's Day that I'm not sharing with someone, which is interesting to think about.  Our daughter will have two mothers.  I feel like it will be important to honor her birth mother on this day each year; I'm sure we'll come up with some way to do that with Sylvie.  We'll do the same with Father's Day.  I don't really mind the idea of sharing, to tell you the truth, and talking about Sylvie's birth parents certainly won't be relagated to two days out of the year in our household.  I don't think that love is finite; Sylvie shouldn't have to choose between us or feel like she's going to hurt our feelings if she talks about her birth parents.  But I'm absolutely sure she'll be thinking about her birth mother on Mother's Day, so we're not going to just pretend that this is a day only for me.  I think it'll be good for me to take a little time to celebrate not only my own mother, but the mother who gave me the gift of my daughter. 

What could be better?


Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Which We Finish Our Adoption Seminar

We had the second part of our adoption seminar today.  It was a long day; we were in class from nine in the morning until five at night!  The seminar gave us a lot to think about, and we both came away from it more firmly committed to the idea of not only adopting Sylvie if we can, but the idea of adopting an older child in general.  It also got us talking more about some of our hopes and fears for our adoption process, which was a very good thing.

A lot of the information, to my mind, was common sense.  Of course these kids are going to have behavioral issues stemming from their traumatic experiences.  Of course it's going to take them a while, possibly years, for them to become comfortably bonded with us.  Of course the child is going to be developing on a different timeline than their non-adopted peers.  Many of the things that they were discussing as possible issues (such as sensory integration disorder, developmental delay, social anxiety, etc) were things that we have already experienced through parenting Connor. 

What we don't know much about is parenting a child with a past and another set of parents.  We also haven't dealt with sexual or violent behaviors.  So it was good for us to hear that information, though much of it we'd already found in our research on parenting a child who was adopted, because it really made us think.  What would we do if Sylvie showed violent or sexual behaviors toward us, Connor, or our pets?  What would we do if she completely rejects us as parents?  What would we do if, even after several years of parenting, we still don't like her?  While these are, for the most part, worst case scenarios, I think it's so important that we discuss them, because they are possibilities, however remote, and it's much better that we be prepared for them rather than just deny the fact that they could ever happen to us.

I think the most helpful thing was getting the opportunity to hear a parent who has already gone through the process to adopt an older child speak about how things are going.  It was interesting to hear her tell stories of some of the things her children had gone through, the issues they came home with, and how, after over six years with their family, they are doing now.  Once again I found myself thinking about Connor and the similarities there; she talked a little about how they had to change their expectations for what their kids would be accomplishing, for example. 

So we left feeling pretty good about the whole thing, and I'm glad that we went (though we were required to in order to complete our home study, so whether or not we wanted to was sort of a moot point).  The next thing we'll probably have to complete (besides more paperwork) will be the home study visit, which should happen some time in June. 

On to the next step!


Friday, May 7, 2010

In Which We Go To An Adoption Training Seminar

So we spent all of today in the adoption seminar.  It was interesting to get the chance to meet some of the people we'll be working with and hear the various reasons that other adopting hopefuls had for being there.  We were the only folks there for Thailand, which isn't really surprising when you consider that only 40-60 children from there a year are adopted by American parents.

While a lot of the information given out wasn't new for Jeremy and me, we did get a more accurate picture of the current timeline in Thailand right now, and it looks like it'll be closer to June or later of next year than it will be to Christmas before we bring Sylvie home.  No doubt I will be totally insane from waiting by that point.  You can all watch my descent into madness.  It'll be fun! 

The good news is that we finished the last of our first round of paperwork-- all sixty or so pages worth is sitting on our coffee table waiting to go back up with us to the adoption agency when we return tomorrow for day two of our adoption seminar.  Now all we need for our home study is our home visit with our social worker and our references, the requests for which have all been sent out.  Getting our home study finished will be a big first step towards bringing Sylvie home, so I'm excited about it!

The other good news is that the Thailand program coordinator from our adoption agency will be traveling soon to Sylvie's orphanage, and so we not only have the chance to get some of our questions about Sylvie answered, but we should be getting updated photos and maybe even video of her!  This is really exciting because the pictures that we have of her are almost two years old.  We're sending that adorable little stuffed owl over for her, too (selected after I did research to make sure that an owl didn't mean Horrible Death or something in Thai folklore, which would have been great).  While she probably won't be told about us until the Thai government officially matches her with us, we're still able to send her little gifts like this, which is a comfort for us (and will hopefully be a comfort for her, as she'll be able to take them with her when she comes home with us).  We're taking a photograph of us holding both the owl and a picture of her, so that once she does know we are her family we can send it to her and she'll see that it's from us.   

So all in all it was an exciting (though very long) day.  I'm sure tomorrow will be the same!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Which Connor's Meds Get A Tune Up

Connor's neurologist called back today, and he upped the little guy's medication relatively substantially.  So I feel a lot more comfortable about the idea of spending a large portion of the next couple of days away at adoption seminars.  He didn't seem to have any major side effects or anything from the dosage increase, though he did go to sleep pretty quickly, so it might have made him a little drowsy.  We've been really lucky in that area so far-- I know that sometimes the side effects from seizure medications can be almost as bad as the seizures themselves, but we haven't had to deal with that as he's never had any major side effects from the medications he takes.  At least, none other than that one time when we found out he was allergic to penicillin, and we ended up in the emergency room at two in the morning watching our blotchy, swollen epinephrine-dosed child bounce off the walls. 

That was a fun day.

Anyway, with any luck that will break the seizure cycle, and I can turn my focus upon other things, like figuring out why it is that I always seem to end up behind the lone guy in my Zumba class, even when there are no guys in the room when I start.  And it's always a guy who is not only substantially more coordinated than me, but who is also a way, WAY better dancer.  Also usually they're about ten years older.  And I swear it's a different guy every time.  Weird.  I am very, very slowly improving on the Zumba front, by which I mean that I haven't kicked anybody for a while and I hardly ever fall flat on my face anymore.  With me, Zumba is sort of a full-contact sport, and if I keep it up I may end up the world's first dance workout casualty.  My tombstone will say:

"Here lies Jess, who
At Zumba one night,
Slid left when she
Should have kicked right."

It could happen.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Which Connor Has A Quiet Day, And I Worry About This Weekend

Connor, had a quiet day.  Thank goodness for that.

No medication change as of yet, though.  We talked with the neurology department a couple of times today, and Connor's doctor is working on finding a solution.  I'm not sure if that means a new medication or just upping the dose of one or both of his current medications, but hopefully we'll find out tomorrow and with any luck we'll be able to end our game of Seizure Hot Potato.

Jer and Connor spent most of the day together; Connor doesn't have school on Wednesdays, so he slept in late with me while Jer went to physical therapy, and then Jeremy took Connor to PT while I picked up a friend and we drove into Seattle.  It was nice getting a day away-- we went to a couple of tea shops, sampled some miniature cheesecake, and just had a good time in general while the guys enjoyed a quiet day at home.  I feel like I recharged my batteries somewhat, which is a pretty good thing.  Tomorrow I'll do the same for Jeremy, and he can spend the day doing an activity he enjoys; whether that be spending the day out on his bike or indoors playing video games. 

This weekend we're supposed to be spending two days at adoption workshops while our respite care worker watches Connor.  I'm really hoping that we'll have a solution before then, because I don't like the idea of being so far away from the little guy while he's having these episodes.  This is the only workshop this month, though, and we can't move forward on the adoption without attending.  While I'm confident that Joanna would be able to handle it if Connor has a seizure while she's there, it's kind of nerve-wracking to think about being that far away; the longest I've ever had to drive to get to him when he's had a seizure without me there has been half a mile. 

I'm really hoping we get this figured out.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Which Connor Has Another Seizure

Connor had another seizure today.

He was sitting on Jeremy's lap this afternoon when it started.  We rushed him to his bedroom, laid him down, and hooked him up to his oxygen.  Jeremy only had to give him one breath before he came back; the whole thing lasted about a minute and a half, which was good.  Unfortunately what this seizure means, however, is that upping Connor's medication didn't work, his seizures are still uncontrolled, and if we don't move fast to get them stopped things could go downhill really quickly.

I've been reviewing Connor's seizure history on the handy chart I keep of this sort of thing (this was seizure number 35 since April of 2008, when they started, and he's stopped breathing for ALL of those) and I'm noticing a disturbing trend.  The amount of time it takes before Connor starts having seizures again after a medication change is getting progressively shorter.  When he was first put on Keppra, we went 150 days without another seizure.  This number slowly decreased until by the time we added Trileptal, in January of this year (after the kid went Status epilepticus (SE) on us and ended up hospitalized), he was having another seizure a mere nine days after a medication adjustment. 

After the Trileptal was added (and upped substantially after a small dose didn't do the trick) he went 72 days without a seizure.  This number has once again slowly but surely decreased.  We adjusted Connor's medication again a mere six days ago, and here he is, having another one.  We've called the doctor to see what he wants to do and we haven't heard back yet.

If Connor follows the same pattern as he has over the last two years we're working towards another round of SE and another near-death experience.  Once Connor's seizures gain momentum it seems really difficult to slow them down until we hit a crisis and he ends up in the ICU.  It's like watching a train wreck about to happen and being powerless to stop it.

Send us good thoughts, people.  We could use them over here.


Monday, May 3, 2010

In Which I Get Up Off My Rear And Actually Work Out For Once

This morning while Connor was in school, I decided to go down to the gym and work out.

I'm sad to say that other than the occasional date with Jer (yes, we work out on dates, because we are insane like that) this is the first time I've been to the gym in over a month.  With Connor having, on average, one seizure a week, I haven't felt comfortable being away at the YMCA while he's at school, even though it's only about fifteen minutes away.  Since the school has handled a couple of seizures very competently, though, I feel a little more comfortable about the idea of venturing out again. 

I tried out the step class this time.  It was interesting.  For one thing, I have the coordination of a drunken water buffalo, so anything past the most basic of moves made me totally lose the rhythm of things.  Also I made the mistake of spending about thirty minutes on the rowing machine before class, so my quads and calves were already tired.  The emphasis in the step class today was, of course, on squats and lunges.  I was puffing like the aforementioned water buffalo by the end, and I wasn't sure my legs were actually going to function by the time class was over.  It wasn't pretty.

It's really hard not just to get to the gym, but to motivate myself to do anything energy-consuming when Connor's in a round of seizures.  I think that some of the stress from the constant crises manifests in physical exhaustion.  It's a bad cycle, because when I don't exercise I feel more tired, I don't sleep as well, and things go downhill from there.  It's hard to remember to take care of myself when I'm spending so much time taking care of Connor, but I know it's important, so I'm making an effort to get back on track.  My immune system takes a dive when I get really out of shape, and the last thing I need is to get sick.  Not only would it not be particularly fun for me, but Jer has enough on his plate without having to play nursemaid to me, too. 

There's also the fact that if I don't start exercising again I'll have to cut back on the massive amounts of chocolate I consume on a daily basis.  This would be extremely sad; I count chocolate, along with ice cream and (seasonally) Girl Scout cookies as one of my major sources of stress relief.  I mean, it's supposed to release endorphins, right?  So I'll willingly run a few miles around the track rather than give up my precious extra dark goodness.

And finally, there's the fact that due to his spending between three-five hours a day at the gym, Jeremy is not only walking really well, but he's now ripped, too.  We're talking the six pack and everything.  While there is absolutely no way that I'm spending five hours a day at the gym, it is making me turn a critical eye to my own less-than-stellar state of fitness.  The man got blown up a few months ago, for Pete's sake, and spent a number of the following months totally immobilized and in excruciating pain.  He'd be perfectly justified in spending a whole lot of time sitting on the couch feeling sorry for himself and eating frosting directly out of the tub (which would probably be my reaction to such a traumatic event), but instead he's spent the time getting buns of steel.  Which, I might add, I haven't minded.  At all.

I sure as heck haven't been in any giant explosions recently.  What excuse do I have for my buns of jello?  None, I tell you. 

It's time to get up off my saggy rear and do something about it. 


Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Which I'm A Tad Bit Oversensitive And Whine A Lot

Last night I went a little crazy and started rearranging our office.

We're not very far into this whole adoption process yet, and already I'm going nuts with the waiting, which isn't a good sign.  The office will eventually be Sylvie's room, and I was thinking about how we'll be sending her a photo album of the house.  We'll have pictures of our room, with its big comfy-looking bed, Connor's room with his toys, little comfy-looking bed and swing hanging from the ceiling, and her room, which before last night contained a futon and a computer desk.


Sure, it's way, way early to be doing her room; the kid won't be coming home any time before Christmas.  But I want to make sure we're giving her the right idea; that she'll be sleeping in a room with, you know, a bed in it and whatnot, and that we're not adopting her to be our personal secretary or something.  I started thinking about it, as we'll have to take these pictures relatively soon and start putting our book together, and as a result I went a little nuts and Jeremy came home from his workout to discover me hauling the furniture around.  I won't do anything about the futon just yet because I don't have anything to replace it with as of right now and that room is currently our guest room, but the second I find an adorable trundle bed on craigslist you can bet I'll be recruiting help to haul that out of there too.

The way I explained my behavior to a rather bemused Jer is that I'm comparing this whole thing to a pregnancy.  I'm not nuts; I'm nesting.  I mean, yeah, sure, I don't have all of the hormones involved, but I'm still trying to bond to a kid I haven't met yet, and the time frame is about the same.  I don't have to put up with any of the inconveniences of pregnancy, of course-- the nausea, the weight gain, the stretch marks, etc.-- but I also get very few of the perks.  You tell people that you're pregnant and for the most part they get really excited for you, often sharing stories about their own pregnancies and asking about your plans.  The reaction when I announced my pregnancy with Connor was overwhelmingly positive.  Being just as excited about the adoption as I was about my pregnancy with Connor, I've announced the adoption in the same way (enthusiastically to both friends and perfect strangers), and these are some of the reactions I've gotten:

"That's nice, but why are you adopting a foreign kid?"
"Don't you already have your hands full raising your own child?"
"That's so good of you.  I could never do that."
"Awww, don't worry.  I'm sure you'll get pregnant soon."

Few people have reacted with the same sort of joy that I'd hear if I was pregnant, and that's sort of a hard reality, because to my mind in many ways we are expecting and it would be wonderful to get the same reaction.  I mean sure, my daughter will come with a history and another set of parents, but we're still adding a member to our family.  I know it's unrealistic to expect other people to see things the same way, but it would at least be nice if they'd at least quit assuming that we're either adopting because we've exhausted all of our other options or adopting because we want to rescue some poor, pitiful child and give them a "good home."  I could certainly do without the horror stories people seem to need to tell about their acquaintances who adopted children they "thought were normal" but then turned out to be serial killers or something.  I'm aware that I'm being oversensitive, but it's really hard to compare the universally positive reaction I got while pregnant to the decidedly mixed reaction I get when I say we're adopting.  I never had anyone tell me when I was pregnant that I should "rethink this whole thing" because "most of those kids are really screwed up and will ruin your life."  

There's not a whole lot that I can do about how other people react to our intention to adopt, but I want to make sure that Sylvie knows she is wanted and will be celebrated in our household just as much as Connor has been and continues to be.  So I'll continue my overhaul of her space, and hopefully by the time she gets her photo book there'll be a picture in there of a room with a pretty little trundle bed just waiting for her.

It's going to be a long year.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

In Which Connor Wins A Medal

Connor was awarded a medal today!

He, along with eleven other children, received the Claire Daily-Stafinbil Young Heroes Award in a ceremony on our local military post today.  This annual award is given out to "children from military families who are physically or mentally challenged and demonstrate extraordinary courage and valor in the face of adversity." 

The kids receiving the medal ranged in age from toddler to late adolescence, and had a wide variety of different physical and developmental special needs.  Each child was called up to the stage, where a brief biography was read about them.  Then they were presented with their medal, a certificate, and a giant bag of gifts.  Connor was the first to be called and was gifted, among other things, with a large stuffed animal husky, which he took to almost immediately and practiced petting during some of the other presentations. 

The presentation was two hours long, and once Connor had gone up we sat in the back, anticipating that Connor would not sit quietly through the rest of the presentations.  While he did remarkably well, Jeremy did have to get up and leave with him after about forty minutes, which I think is a pretty good span of time for a four-year old to sit through a power-point presentation!  At the very end I ran back out and got them, and Connor and I, along with the rest of the kids, went back up on stage one last time.  Then everybody trooped upstairs for cake and punch, where we mingled and Connor graciously accepted a lot of compliments on his yellow and blue striped tie.  He was by far the most formally dressed kid there, in a blue button-down collared shirt, pin-striped slacks, the aforementioned tie, and his brand new bright red Converse sneakers, bought especially for the occasion.  Most of the other kids were in T-shirts.  Oh well; he looked adorable, so it was all good. 

Jer and I declared it to be Connor's "Special Day" and finished the outing with a blueberry smoothie (which Connor enjoyed smearing all over his nice clothing) before heading home.  The little guy crashed and slept a good portion of the afternoon away; I think he was pretty overstimulated from all of the excitement.  We didn't take any pictures of him during the big event because we were on stage with him, but we should be receiving some later and we'll be sure to post them.

So all in all it was a good day for the big boy.  We're pretty proud of him!

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