Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kick Me

This was supposed to post yesterday. D'oh!

In the past week or two, I seem to have "popped."

As in, I actually look pregnant instead of just appearing like I have some sort of donut habit. And I don't even LIKE donuts that much. Sure, I still remember the ones from Yum-Yum donuts in Bucks County, PA and how amazing they were...donuts are fine but they aren't even in my top ten favorite treats.

Anyhow, it has also been fun to feel those fetal movements, and more so to be able to say, "he's kicking me!" We don't have a name and we really don't plan much beforehand for babies anyway, but I like knowing what I'm having. And there was no doubt, looking at that ultrasound.

I'm not sure if the kids really get it yet. The Boy seems to be interested and nonchalantly accepts the idea of another baby. Meatball doesn't understand, I don't think. He can identify what babies look like, but I don't think he is aware that I'm growing one.

In other news, The Boy has spent a lot of time sick. It's to be expected, given that he hadn't previously been exposed to kids in groups, certainly not without us washing his hands every two minutes. Between preschool and other endeavors such as the "inside playground" and going to the JCC for open gym, he really does see a lot of kids and have the potential for lots of germs. A few weeks ago, we were at the "inside playground" (one of those places with climbing structures and toys and giant blocks and a moon bounce) with friends, and he just started to slow down, all of a sudden. By that afternoon, he had a fever that persisted through his appointment on the 14th..,you know, where the oncologist found the ear infection.

The Boy was given Augmentin, 5.8 cc twice a day. This was one of the first antibiotics he had been given that wasn't a knock-down drag-out IV drug like Cefepime or Vancomycin. Oncology patients and parents probably know those drugs well. I think he was given Flagyl as an oral med about a year ago, to treat C-Diff at home.

Augmentin, for those who haven't heard of it, is Amoxicillin with Clavunate Potassium added. I don't know what that does, but it makes the amoxicillin stronger. It certainly doesn't do good things for the digestion. Poor kid. Glad to say he remains a faithful potty animal.

We were supposed to see the doctor on Monday of this past week to make sure the infection was going away. The night before, his fever went right back up. Great. Saw the doctor, who checked the ear and told me that, oh well, he has some other 3-year-old syndrome.

Then the rash showed up. It started in his cheeks and was covering him by Wednesday night. Roseola.

You know I'd take this stuff any day over cancer. Which sucks and sucks some more.

Permanent perspective shift.

Finally he seemed fine today, just in time for a visit from his uncle and aunts (my brother and all THREE sisters).

Monday, February 14, 2011

We remain cancer-free!!!

The Boy had a chest x-ray and abdominal ultrasound today. They like their patients to be NPO for a little while before these tests, so we had 7 AM breakfast deadline for a 1 PM appointment. Full disclosure: we started breakfast at 7 and finished at 7:15, but they are never right on time. They were pretty close, thankfully.

The ultrasound tech was actually an intern, and while her manner and sensitivity was perfectly appropriate, I think she took at least twice as long to get everything. Then, of course, came the wait while they sent the images upstairs and got the word as to whether the testing was complete. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them saying they need to see something again because the picture didn't come out properly, which didn't happen. It's just the WAITING.

From there, it was on to x-ray, where the student tech clearly had no idea how to deal with small children, especially ones who hadn't eaten in 7 hours. But that's why they're learning. They need to experience actual procedures with actual people in order to figure out how to get things right. He wanted The Boy to take his shirt off and put on a gown (despite the fact that he was wearing a plain shirt with no buttons or pictures or anything on it) but when he got the shirt off, he started fiddling around with something or other, and I had to ask him "do you want him in a shirt or a gown--make up your mind because he's little and cold." The supervising tech actually helped The Boy to stand for the x-ray properly while the frightened bunny student tech pressed the buttons. Being pregnant, I wasn't able to be right with The Boy, but thankfully, they let me stand in the back next to the guy pushing buttons, so I was able to see The Boy and the pictures (which looked fine to me but I'm not a professional). I told The Boy that I could see his bones.

After that came the long-awaited cheese sandwich in the cafeteria. He kept telling the techs that he wanted a cheese sandwich, and finally, we got him one. They make a very nice grilled cheese on Texas Toast. I got chicken, and we shared some fries and some fruit plate. The Boy ate more at lunch today than he'd eaten for pretty much the entire week, as he had been sick for awhile. With nothing exceptional, just some sort of random little kid virus.

We stopped at the outpatient pharmacy to refill his Enalapril prescription (Medicaid+hospital pharmacy=free and easy medication compounding), and then it was upstairs to the clinic. He was in a much better mood for these proceedings than he was for the others. Amazing what NOT having an empty stomach will do for one's disposition. He remembered that after vitals, he gets a lollipop, which we didn't start until his finger stick next door was in progress. Even though he only does this stuff every 3 months now, I think the habits are so ingrained that he'll just remember how to do it.

He's weighing in at around the same and measuring a little taller than before. 34 pounds and 38.5 inches tall. Still not incredibly big for his age, just average. Maybe he'll grow a bit more later, or maybe he'll be the short one in the family.

Since it was Valentine's Day, he got a little present (a 100 piece puzzle that he picked) and a goody bag. Good day to come to the clinic. In the goody bag was a package of crayons, and once we got to the room to wait for his doctor, he asked for some paper so that he could color. One of the pages that he produced was the word "Love" in his cute little handwriting. I asked him to write his name on it, which he did, and we gave that one to his doctor.

Good news from the imaging, as I mentioned in the title. The doctor said that in the interest of full disclosure, they did say that there was a spot where his left ureter was removed (as part of the left kidney) that was worth watching, but the doctor said he thinks he has seen that spot before and that they believed it to be a little cyst covering up where the opening used to be. So we're all clear.

The only thing that he found was an ear infection. I asked him to take a close look because The Boy was really angry today about having his hearing aid put in on the right side. As in, he seemed to be in real pain rather than just giving me the business about putting in his hearing aids. Sure enough--ear infection. We got a prescription for that since we were already there, although I'll be sure and call his pediatrician's office tomorrow and let them know. That wasn't the cause of all of his problems, because he wasn't upset about his hearing aids on previous days.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you take someone to the oncologist and they find an ear infection, you're in pretty good shape considering what oncologists normally find in their patients.

I'm not looking forward to the gastrointestinal side effects of the antibiotics for him, and I'm hoping that yogurt and some rice cakes will help counteract that.

Meatball woke up at 1 AM with a raging fever. Excitement there, too. It's also the first time that he'll have to get through an illness without being able to nurse. I was continuing to nurse him even while being pregnant, but about 2 weeks ago, he was done, because there wasn't anything left for him. He'll be 2 when the baby comes, and if he'd like to resume, I won't say no, but I have a feeling that he's done for good. Anyhow, he has still been eating and drinking without issue, so I'm not too worried about his nutritional and hydration needs being met. It's just that with a nursing child you have that extra insurance.

Next month, The Boy has his appointment with the kidney doc. Hopefully we're still good in that department as well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Great Quartet

Your 2025 Johnny Appleseed District Quartet Champs!!!!!

The Bass:

The Baritone:

The Lead:

The Tenor:

Yep. That's right. We're having ANOTHER baby. And today, we found out that it's ANOTHER boy!!!

I should just prepare to be tackled all the time for a long time. Oh, and the boys and Daddy can work out what quartet parts they're going to sing at a later date. After all, the contest isn't for another 14 years or so.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I wanna do what he does

Meatball has been impressing me more and more with all the new things he's been picking up. Much of it comes from watching The Boy in action, and it's wonderfully alarming how much is picked up when we think he isn't paying attention.

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you." -Robert Fulghum.

Although I'm not sure how much of it he "gets" yet, Meatball can count to 10 with some prompting, can fill in the blanks when someone else starts anywhere in the alphabet, Hebrew or English, and, as I discovered today, he knows the colors of the rainbow.

It makes sense; these are the topics that are important to The Boy. He spends a lot of his play time doing things with letters, numbers, and colors. Not because we force him to, but because he likes it. He plays with letters on the fridge. He finds objects around the room that are different colors and lines them up in "rainbow order." He writes letters and numbers on his easel. This is what he talks about, so this is what Meatball hears.

While The Boy was ahead of where Meatball is now in terms of letter and number recognition, Meatball seems to possess more familiarity with more topics, even if he hasn't made as much sense out of it yet.

Meatball also LOVES stories, songs, and games--anything where you sing to him or play with him or read to him. He really enjoys that attention, and he enjoys the interaction with the other person. I solidified the idea today that a mild Meatball tantrum can frequently be averted with a rousing performance of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." The Boy also enjoys these songs, because he knows all the words now, and I think he even enjoys watching Meatball do the motions that he knows and start to really participate.

Today, The Boy had school. I decided that I'd try, one day a week, to take Meatball somewhere fun and do something really cool with just him. Not shopping, and not just a quick lunch. So we hit the "inside playground" which is one of those big indoor gym places. I hadn't been there with just him before, and it was really a lot of fun for him, because I could devote all of my attention to helping him do some of the more advanced activities.

Low-light of the morning: climbing up to the upper area, which has lots of tunnels, and discovering that some other kid who was up there had some nasty poo. AND smelling that same kid a few minutes later while doing another activity. I kept checking Meatball for surprises, but he had none.

Side note, and possibly something for a separate post later on: what is the etiquette here? When you're with a group of other mothers and little children, and someone smells something suspicious, it's pretty easy to say "Everyone check your kids; I smell poopies!" But when you're in a place like this, and you don't know the people, do you come out and say something? Particularly if you're not even sure to whom the kid belongs. It should be pretty easy for the mother to diagnose on her own, and yet, this kid spent awhile in that diaper. I know, because I kept smelling him. But what do you do? What would you want to have happen if it were your kid?

Poo manners aside, we played hard this morning. We climbed up to the top of that big structure at least 5 times. I chased him around the maze part, which he thought was hilarious. I took him down the biggest slide with me and helped him down the medium-sized slide on his own. He climbed up and down the nets. We spent some time in the toy areas, some time with Duplos and puzzles, jumped in the Moon Bounce (and played "Ring Around The Rosy" of course), and had a snack, but the bulk of the time was spent climbing around the big play structure.

Not that there is a possible comparison, because of The Boy's condition when he was this age, but I just can't picture him doing this even at 2 1/2, much less 1 1/2. Some of that, though, has to do with what they see and what they think they're able to do, and what WE think they're able to do. Illness notwithstanding, are we a little more cautious with our first children? Do we wait a little longer for them to do some of the "bigger kid" activities? Do they use bottles or sippy cups for longer, or sit in a high chair at a later age? I know that Meatball has been able to sit at a table since he was about 15 months old. He is somewhat lacking in the sitzfleisch department, so he still sits in a high chair at home most of the time, and at restaurants as well, depending on the setup.

It's exciting to watch Meatball as he tries so hard to do what his brother does. Sometimes they fight, because Meatball thinks that in order to do what The Boy does, he has to have what he has at that moment, and if there isn't enough to go around (or even if there is), The Boy gets upset. In many cases, The Boy is able to create diversions for Meatball on his own, but sometimes they both need to be reminded that it's okay, the toy will still be there in 2 minutes when the other child is done with it. I'm not going to use a timer for toys, because it's unnecessary. One or both of them will lose interest in it in time for either the other to pick it up or for it to sit idle while they move on to the next pursuit.

I don't remember experiencing anything like this with my older brother, and my mother doesn't remember either. But then, we're 3 years apart, not 22 months apart like my kids, and the male/female thing really did have an impact on how little I was interested in what my brother was doing.

Do you find that your second and subsequent children catch onto things more quickly and take an interest in what the older ones are doing? Moreso if they're close in age? Or do they all have their own ways about them?