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Like Pulling Teeth

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It’s been a busy last couple of weeks.  Just after Christmas, we always have a flurry of birthdays in January so that keeps us hopping.

Morgan has finally lost two more teeth.  Her two front teeth are missing.  So, I guess that was one Christmas song we won’t have to sing. The first tooth came out last week and it was pretty traumatic.  I actually had to pull it out.  I opted not to use the String Tied to the Doorknob Trick.  After all, Morgan  is a wee delicate thing.  So, I just very slowly worked it out.  There were tears, but mostly at the sight of the blood.  Then we reminded her of the Tooth Fairy and everything was just fine.

The second tooth is a different story.  She did most of the work on that one by herself!  She pulled and pulled until it was almost falling out by itself, but she just couldn’t bring herself to give it that last little tug, so Daddy had to do it.  She is so proud of her missing teeth.  She couldn’t wait to show everyone at church this morning.

Here she is:


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A Christmas Story

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Here’s a great little Christmas story to help get the spirit flowing if it wasn’t already.

For those of you who don’t know, Ian is in a special needs pre-k classroom at his school because of a speech delay.  He’s four-years-old and has made some amazing progress in the past year since he’s been in speech therapy.

So, Ian had a Holiday Assembly today at school.  His class was invited down to hear some of the other classes sing some Christmas carols.  After they arrived in the gym, Ian’s class was invited to take part in the assembly by singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Ian’s teacher didn’t volunteer the entire class to sing because they hadn’t practiced or anything, but she asked the class if anyone wanted to go up on stage to sing.  Ian and one other little boy said they wanted to.  Ian’s teacher sent them up on the stage and began to look for her camera to snap some photos.

Here’s where it gets good.

As she was getting her camera ready, she heard a single voice coming over the PA system singing Rudolph.  She looked up and saw Ian standing on the stage at the microphone performing an impromptu solo.

In front of the whole school.

He sang the whole song.

Hang on.  It gets better.

Later they were invited back up on stage to sing Jingle Bells.  He went back up on stage for his encore.

Since his teacher hadn’t planned on going to the assembly let alone Ian having his solo, we weren’t aware of any of this going on and missed it.  I’m just hoping that someone got it on video so I can get a copy of it.  Still, I’m proud of the little guy for just jumping up on stage and getting it done.  I am told he got up onstage as though he did it every day without hesitation or any sense of nervous energy.

That’s my boy.

UPDATE:  When we picked Ian up from school the next day, his teacher told us she forgot to mention that after he returned to his seat, before he sat down he took a good deep bow with one arm over his tummy and the other at his back.  That’s my boy.

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Was There Ever Life Before Ambien?

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It’s been a rough week since I last posted. In fact, it’s been so rough, that I’m opening a new window to read my last post to make sure I’m not repeating anything.

So, Tylenol with Codine did the trick. It was much easier to deal with the pain after that and he slept a little better (at least during the day–more on that in a bit), but the psychological damage had been done with regards to food and we are still dealing with that a little bit even today.

The day of the surgery, when we got home, he saw mom eating her lunch which just happened to be his favorite meal in the world: spaghetti. He pointed at it to indicate that he would like some and when I asked him if that’s what he wanted, he nodded “yes”. (Speaking was still painful to him at this point so, speech therapy or no, we weren’t pushing the whole talking thing like we normally do.) The doctor told us to give him anything he wanted as long as it wasn’t any warmer than room temperature. So, I cooled down some of mommy’s spaghetti (testing on my arm like I haven’t done in nearly nearly 4 years) and got down to work.

I picked up the fork and tried to give him a small bite all the while telling him to chew it up really good. Well, bless his heart, he was so hungry from not having eaten since the night before the surgery that he kept trying to grab the fork out of my hand. I would back the fork away telling him that I needed to feed him, but that just upset him further. I decided that it would be okay for him to feed himself as long as I was right there with him. He tried to scarf the food down in huge handful-sized bites. At this point, he was still riding the high of the anesthesia from the surgery, but it still didn’t stop the sharp pains in his throat as he swallowed the huge bites of food.

So now, in addition to just being pretty pissed off about the constant pain in his throat, he was also afraid of food. He wouldn’t even go near the typical tonsillectomy fare like ice cream and popsicles. We could hardly get him to drink anything let alone eat. So, keeping him hydrated and medicated became a WWE affair with the tag team of Big Bad Daddy and Hot Momma in one corner and Ian “The Hulk” Quillin taking on a grudge match in the other corner. “THIS TIME THEY’RE GOING DOWN!!!”

No kidding. Bekah had to hold his arms in place while I, standing off to the side so as not to get kicked in the nuts (kicking below the belt is apparently not only allowed, but encouraged in this league), would have to use one hand to hold his head straight while I tried to use the other to put the medicine–and eventualy, Pedialyte–into his mouth with a syringe, of which he would promptly spit out 75%. Of every dosage.

At one point, there was a streak of pink goo streaked across his bedroom wall that, had it been red would have looked perfect in the next Halloween installment–what is it now, XXXV? But I digress.

By Saturday, the only thing he would even attempt to put down his throat on his own was chocolate milk. I now own stock in Nesquick. I love that damn rabbit. Love him. And somehow he just knows, you know? If you click on that link, one of the first things you’ll see if the phrase, “Come to Your Happy Place.” Coincidence? Uh-uh.

Ian didn’t eat his first solid food until almost exactly one week after his last meal before the surgery. That’s right. Tuesday night, he suddenly walks into the living room, pats me on the shoulder and says–actually speaks–, “I want pizza.”

We were in the car headed to Lil Caesars so fast, I’m sure I broke several land speed records. I got the pizza home and adequately cooled off and he very carefully ate two whole slices (he doesn’t like the crusts) and helped himself to two cups of his beloved chocolate milk.

But, I haven’t even mentioned the lack of sleep. The first night, since we were on Tylenol only, he suddenly reached up with his hand and pointed toward his bedroom and slipped off mommy’s lap and started putting himself to bed. I thought, wow, this might actually be an okay night. That was around 7pm and rather than Bekah and I immediately following suit and crashing into our own bed, we decided to sit up and have some adult TV time. (No, not that kind of adult TV time.) Silly parents.

By 9pm, we would hear him beginning to cry through the baby monitor which I had dug out of moth balls and placed back in his room for the first time in nearly 3 years. By the time we could round the corner and step into his room, he was into full-out hysterics. 9pm also happened to be when his next dosage of Tylenol was due. So, we headed back into the ring for one more round. After that, the only thing that would calm him down was mommy slowly rocking him back and forth. So, she headed to the rocking chair while I acted like I could go to sleep without having taken my Ambien that night. Silly Daddy.

Eventually, Mommy made her way back into the bed room with an arm full of very sleepy, yet very pissed off little boy. We decided to let him sleep in our bed that night. I use the term “sleep” in a humorous way. We didn’t sleep because every time he swallowed, he would burst out into tears. Even after the Tylenol. So, every 10 minutes or so, when his mouth had filled up with all the saliva it could handle and he was forced to swallow it, we were awakened by the sound of him screaming and catching his breath after having swallowed. This didn’t help the whole fear of food thing, either. Eventually, whether through exhaustion or simple repetition, he got to the point where we could just tell him that everyting was okay and he would stop crying and catch another 10 minutes of sleep.

We did this for two nights straight.

Friday morning, neither Bekah nor I felt human. If you listen to this week’s episode of the podcast, you’ll see that I wasn’t really part of it. John put the whole show together for me. He also got to have a lot of fun at my expense, but what did I know? I was a walking zombie.

In a way, it was worse for her because she had to go in to work and deal with The Public. I, on the other hand, got to stay home and try the one-on-one bouts of administering his medication. The first real night of sleep we got was Monday night. Thankfully, Bekah had Tuesday off so as to get Morgan registered for school.

Skip forward to yesterday; one week and one day after Ian’s surgery. Morgan wakes Bekah and I up complaining of a sore throat. Since we were both enjoying the deep restful sleep that only corpses and overnight security men enjoy, we shrugged it off as her trying to get a little bit of the attention that brother had been stealing from her for a whole week now.

After we got up and checked her out, it turns out that, in fact, she was running a fever. We both instantly jumped to worst case scenario (because we are parents). If Morgan had strep throat, then it would be likely that Ian could get it. If Ian got it on top of just having had his tonsils out, not only would he wind up in the hospital, we would also be starting over from square one with his recovery.

We quaratined Morgan to her room and called the doctor for an appointment. Then we watched the flashing colon on the digital clock that is our cable box slow down just to mock us. I finally took Morgan in to the doctor and we went thought the whole culture thing–which I can’t stand, let alone sit by and watch someone do it to my daughter. It came back negative, so after spending the co-pay to the doctor’s office we went home without so much as a courtesy prescription of Placebex (use only as directed) just to make us feel better. We were told to watch her temperature and come back if it didn’t go away in 24 hours.

It did.

The story is not quite over, however. This afternoon, Morgan began to develop a light rash around her lips. Bekah treated it with some Neosporin and we went about our day. In fact, Morgan got to spend the day swimming at her Maw-maw and Paw-paw’s house. Tonight, when she got home, the rash had begun to show up on her hands as well. I immediately called Nurse Maw-Maw and asked her what I could do tonight other than putting more Neosporin on it. She told me that it looked like the beginnings of impetigo, which she very likely picked up while we were at the doctor’s office getting her sore throat checked out.

And now, tomorrow morning, I have to take her back to the same doctor’s office to get her diagnosed with impetigo and, hopefully, have something a little stronger than just the over-the-counter Neosporin to knock it out because she could very well miss her first day of the first grade if she’s not contagion-free. I don’t want my little girl to miss her first day of first grade for some silly, highly contagious rash.

I wrote all of this to simply tell you that if you happen to live in the greater Nashville area and happen to need any medications of any kind, they are probably all over at our house. See, I didn’t even tell you about all the medical stuff that happened to me this week…

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Tonsils: An Update

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We kinda survived. There were no issues with the IV. However, he was not a happy camper about the seemingly never ending sore throat that goes along with getting your tonsils out.

To make matters worse, it took this operation to discover that my son is allergic to hydrocodone. The painkillers they prescribed for him had the exact opposite reaction that it was supposed to. Rather than making him lethargic and want to sleep (and numb the pain at the same time), this medicine made him completely hyper (and we couldn’t tell if he was feeling less pain or not). So, we had to tough it out with regular old children’s Tylenol until we could get in touch with the doctor’s office the next day.

Needless to say, Wednesday night was pretty rough around here. At first, it looked like everything was going to be okay. Without notice, Ian suddenly sat up in Bekah’s lap and announced that he was going to bed at around 7:30p. We did not argue. We walked him into his room, made him as comfortable as we could and hoped for the best for a good night’s sleep. However, about two hours later, he was up and screaming because of the pain in his throat. We gave him his Tylenol and put him to bed with us. Where we learned that he had been not swallowing his saliva until he absolutely had to. So, about every 10-15 minutes, we would hear him swallow followed by either a very dry cough and/or a short round of screaming in pain. This went on until about 2:30a. After that, I couldn’t sleep anymore. I got up, had a midnight snack, and read a lot in my book.

Anyway, yesterday, they prescribed Tylenol with Codine and that seemed to do the trick. My son has been sleeping very well since. In fact, I think he’s actually on another orbit right now. He really wants something to eat and/or drink, but he takes the first sip of something and will not touch another drop of it after he feels it causing more pain in this throat. We are having to force liquids on him to keep him from getting dehydrated.

It’s been a long two days and today is probably going to be the worst for me. Bekah’s at work today and I’m home with both of the kids by myself. After he wakes up from his early morning drug-induced nap, I’m going to have to force him to take his antibiotic and try to get some Pedialyte into him somehow. Yesterday, it took Bekah and I together to accomplish both of these tasks and it still was a wrestling match.

Wish me luck.

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Tonsils and Acting

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Okay, so I went a couple of weeks without updating.  Shoot me.

I was in Arab helping my brother with an acting workshop for his musical theatre program at the high school.  The kids rocked the house.  It was a two week program and I found myself wishing there were more time even though I was also homesick for the rest of the family.  The first week, I had both kids with me (Granna and Aunt Lena watched them while I did the camp) and the second week, it was just Morgan and I staying down in Hunstville while I drove back and forth to Arab every day.  It was a tough schedule, but it was oh so worth it.

In other news:

The day after tomorrow, Ian is having a tonsillectomy.   Bekah has the day of the surgery off, but after that I’m on my own with a irritable little boy with a very sore throat.  Thank God for pain medication.  I also have a He-Man of a son.  When we took him in for his blood work a couple of weeks ago, the first time the nurse stuck him, he bucked like a mule and ripped the needle out of his arm.  It took three of us to hold him down while another nurse stuck him again!

That’s one of the hardest things about being a parent:  taking them to the doctor.  Here is a child who looks to you for everything.



And, then you have to sit and look them in the eyes and try to tell them it’s okay and that this is going to make them feel better or that this shot will keep them from getting sick knowing full well that the child looking back at you is only thinking one thing:  WHY ARE YOU LETTING THIS STRANGE PERSON HURT ME, DADDY?  The guilt factor is very high with doctor visits when shots are involved.  Luckily, most of the shots are complete before the children begin to develop a memory for these things.  Coincidence?

Not likely.

Anyway, back to Ian being a He-Man.  The day I took him in for his last round of booster shots last year (before he started to the new preschool), I had to take him in by myself because Bekah had to work that day.  Not only that, but I had Morgan as well.  The visit with the doctor went amazingly well.  I love our pediatrician.  He rocks.  Great, dry sense of humor and an amazingly relaxed beside manner (especially considering that 99% of the kids that come in to see him leave the office screaming).

Anyway, the nurse and I played it really cool with the whole shot thing.  Ian had had a great time with Dr. Rosser but I knew that his day was about to get really bad. She came in and started prepping him and everything was going well even all the way through the alcohol swap.  Ian was laughing and playing and I actually thought, “you know; everything’s going to be okay this time.”  Needless to say, neither the nurse nor I were prepared for the Hulk emerging from my son at the very moment the first needle went into his leg.  My son–I kid you not–instinctively lashed out with the hand that I was holding and grabbed the syringe and yanked it out of his leg before she could drop the plunger.  Knocked it completely out of her hand.  The syringe landed on the table beside his leg with the needle completely bent in a 45 degree angle right at the base.  The nurse and I were in such shock that we almost let him get off the table (because he was suddenly moving with the speed of a hungry cheetah).  She had to go out and prep another syringe in order to get all three in one swoop, but it took two nurses that time to hold him down while the third did the dirty work.

Needless to say, Bekah and I are very concerned about this upcoming surgery.  Not because of the risks of the surgery or any of that.  We’re worried about the fact that the anesthesia has to be administered via an IV.

I know the doctors and nurses are experienced in this stuff, but I can’t shake the image of my son on a screaming rampage, completely destroying the operating room just before he leaps through the plate-glass window and runs off looking for a few unsuspecting villagers to ravage.

After all this, I’ll make sure I post something on Wednesday night to let you know that we all survived the surgery.  And I don’t just mean the family.  I mean the whole damn town.

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So, Bekah and I are finally getting a chance to take a mini-vacation this weekend! We are headed to Gatlinburg, TN otherwise known as the Redneck Riviera. The thing is, we won’t be staying in Gatlinburg. We are actually going to be staying in a log cabin closer to Sevierville, TN. I surprised her with it and the response was everything I had hoped it would be. We can not wait until Saturday when we take the kids down to Granna’s and head back up to Bell Buckle, TN to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the first annual Tennessee Shakespeare Festival! (My friend Lane Davies is both directing and playing Oberon and several of my students at MTSU are in the show.) Then, Sunday it’s off to the Smokies!

For a thousand different reasons, it’s been nearly three-and-a-half years since we’ve been able to go on a vacation, let alone have any time to ourselves away from the house. Sure, they’ve taken a couple of week-long trips to Granna’s in the past, but Bekah and I would just come home and do anything but relax. We’d do the major chores that needed doing or cleaned up the kids’ rooms. Those of you with kids will certainly understand. Those of you without, let that be a warning to you.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you some of the pictures from the Maples Ridge Cabin Rentals website. These are the shots of the cabin we have rented! By the way, the prices were right and the people were fantastic on the phone!

© Dean Brown Licensed for use only with permission © Dean Brown Licensed for use only with permission © Dean Brown Licensed for use only with permission © Dean Brown Licensed for use only with permission © Dean Brown Licensed for use only with permission © Dean Brown Licensed for use only with permission

Be on the lookout late next week. I’ll be posting updates about our experience and some more pictures from our trip (at least, the ones I can).

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So, Ian’s got to have his tonsils out. It’s going to happen in about a month. It shouldn’t be that big a deal because we’ve already been through this with Morgan and she was younger than he is now when it happened. Still, there is no feeling worse than the helplessness that parents feel when their child is being wheeled off for surgery. I’ve already had that thought cross my mind about Ian.

I know. I know. It’s not that big of a surgery, so I shouldn’t worry, right? Well, what concerns me is that Ian’s is a little bit different. I’m not as worried about the actual surgery as I am the recovery. Because of his speech delay–or perhaps tied to his speech delay– I’m concerned how he might react to the pain during the initial recovery.

Anyway, it’s all going to be fine.

We are also taking him up to Vanderbilt in the next few months to have his developmental delays tested further at the Center for Child Development. Supposedly, it’s the best in the world. I’m anxious about going, not because I’m afraid of what we’ll hear as a diagnosis, but to have the diagnosis so we can get on with more specialized treatment for him.

He has come so far in the past 9 months with speech & language therapy as well as his occupational therapy he’s getting at preschool. We have seen major developments with him as time has gone by. But, as a parent, there’s always that nagging little voice in the back of my head telling me that we are not doing enough for his development. There’s got to be more we can do to help him catch up. Even though, I know that catching up is a very subjective term. Catch up with what? Statistics?

He’s a great kid and we are going to make sure he’s got everything he needs.

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And Then There Were Four…Again…

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We found Sarah’s owner…

It was a rough night for a certain little girl in our household. However, it seems that Sarah (or whatever her real name is) is a special little dog for the little boy who lost her. Just to make sure that we weren’t too upset about losing her, God made sure that the story of the person who lost her was a doozy. It seems that the little boy who lost her was involved in a car accident recently (how recently, I don’t know) and was paralyzed from the waist down.  To make matters worse, he also lost his father in the accident.

I promised Morgan that, in the event that we should find “Sarah’s” owner, we would definitely get another dog.   So, I had to explain why Sarah wasn’t here anymore and how important it was that she got back to her rightful owner.  This is the stuff they don’t put in the Great Big Book of Good Parenting.

Come to think of it, there’s not a lot of stuff in that book at all…

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And Then There Were Five…Again…

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So, yesterday afternoon I was picking up the kids and my father-in-law informs me that they have “acquired” another dog. It seems that there was a stray Yorkie running around their neighborhood. He went from house to house asking if they knew where she had come from. No one had seen her, so I get a call from him asking if we wanted to take care of her. I agreed.

So, now we have a fully-grown Yorkie in the house (but even fully grown she comes up to my ankles). She’s already house-trained and walked into our home like she’d been living there for several years already. The look on her face seemed to say, “Did you rent out my room while I was gone or can I just move my stuff back in?”

When Bekah got home, the dog spent more than an hour sitting in her lap while they watched TV.

Oh yeah, I forgot the most important part, Morgan was fretting over what to name her. Morgan identified her as a “princess” (meaning “girl”), so she immediately went into her filing cabinet for “princess” names. “Anna” was the first one she came up with. I decided that name wasn’t the best idea since Morgan’s cousin’s name is Anna and I just thought that would be a little confusing down the line. So, Morgan finally settled on the name “Sarah,” which somehow seems to fit her personality. After all, our last dog’s name was “Emily.”

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Morgan’s Christmas Concert 2006

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I’m very remiss in getting this (or anything else, for that matter) posted, but here it is. This is the video of Morgan’s Christmas Concerts 2006. She was the only student from her class chosen to play the Autoharp (in D Major, she is quick to point out).

Next stop, Simon’s house. We’re going to talk them into skipping a season of American Idol and just give it to her one year.

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