Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fighting A Case of The Whiny's

I am currently engaged in an epic battle with a case of The Whiny's. 

I realize that Jellybean does not possess the verbal skills that most children her age do.  This is a result of the ear infection that she had for so long, hindering her ability to hear and therefore repeat words.  And although she has recently used words like "pup" (up), I don't think she is yet capable of accessing those words on command.  When she wants picked up right now and emotions are running high, she doesn't always remember the word she wants to use.  Or maybe she can't even remember that there is a word to describe what she wants.  So her solution is to toddle around the house, whining nonstop.

Sometimes I understand what it is that she wants.  When she is whining at my feet with her arms up in the air, I know that she wants picked up.  When she is whining and tugging on her shoe, I know that she wants her shoes off.  But understanding is only half the battle.  If I give her what she is whining for, isn't that just reinforcing the negative behavior?  It's true that there are times when I cannot give in to her whiny wants/needs because I am in the middle of cooking dinner or cleaning up a mess; but there are also times when I simply refuse to give in because I know that giving in to the whining means there will only be more whining in the long run.

Even now, it might be too late...

The whining has become a habit.  Now I wonder if I should have been giving her exactly what she wanted before the whine ever grazed her throat.  That way, the whine would have never come.  And if the whine had never come, then it couldn't be a habit.  A daily, hourly, sometimes minute-ly (Yes, the whining has gotten so bad I had to make up a word for it!) habit. I just don't know if I can handle one more "WAH" without flushing my head down the toilet.

I'm all ears for any advice.  Please.  Oh God, please.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Freaking Holidays!

We have officially made it through a major holiday weekend with NO trips to the ER! 

W. and I took Jellybean to the ER on Independence Day for an ear infection.  I took her again the evening of her birthday party (after the party) for a skin rash that was spreading quickly.  And, most recently, we spent Thanksgiving in the hospital.

So, to make it through this entire weekend without any hospitals, doctors, or issues whatsoever, is a merry freaking Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Sometimes I wonder what I could have possibly done to deserve such a great life.  I have made a few poor choices, yes.  Bad things happen to me, yes.  But every time things start to get bad, some way, some how, someone comes through to help me feel nothing short of blessed.

Each year at work, we participate in the Adopt-A-Family program.  If we can get six coworkers to participate, that means we can "adopt" a six-person family for Christmas.  It is all 100% anonymous through the Adopt-A-Family program.  We each pick a family member to shop for and then we all chip in on food for a big Christmas feast.  And although we don't know who it is we are helping that year, it has always been our first thought on Christmas morning that we had provided something wonderful for a family that otherwise wouldn't have it.

It was announced that this year we would not be participating because "times are tough" and not everyone can afford to spend the $30.  I was outraged.  Who exactly are times tough for around here?  We work in a government office where most everyone is severely overpaid.  I am a single mom who has not received any child support and even I was willing to let my bills pile up and set aside a few bucks for a family who has nothing.
I thought this was pretty much the opposite of Christmas Spirit...

...until I came into work this morning...

My boss and two of my friends at work called me into a spare office.  When I walked in, there were two large boxes of diapers and four pairs of pajamas.  Jellybean and I had been "adopted."  And it wasn't over yet.  Inside an envelope was cash for one month of my babysitter's fees.  Inside another envelope, were bill stubs that my friend had "stolen" from my desk and paid with a credit card.

I don't even know how to thank somebody for something this huge.  There is nothing that I can do that will top two boxes, four pairs of pajamas, and over $500 in bills paid.  How can I possibly show my appreciation?  Here I am every day--blogging when I should be working--and they are going out of their way to show me these extreme gestures of kindness!

For the rest of my life, I will be paying this forward.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do You Believe?

This December, I have been battling Santa Claus in my brain.  The same jolly old fat man who brings such joy to millions, brings me only a sleighful of frustration this year.

Much to the dismay of my family members, I have been considering the idea of not playing the "Santa Charade" with my daughter.  I know, I know... but just hear me out...

The entire ordeal is a lie.  That's it.  You can rationalize it all you want.  Tell me it's not really lying.  Tell me that Santa is the *magic* of Christmas.  But, no matter how you look at it, it is still lying.  Sorry.  I don't know how I can preach honesty while telling my child that an idea as silly as Santa is truth.

I've always thought that Christmas could be magical without the lying.  We can still pretend that Santa is coming.  But would it totally kill the joy if she knows--up front--that we are just pretending?  Kids are great pretenders!  A child can be a princess, a doctor, and then a cowgirl, all in one afternoon.  And deep down, she understands that she isn't really a cowgirl;  but for a brief moment in time, she is totally content with just pretending.

My main hangup with the whole Santa Conspiracy is partially due to personal experience.  I was an only child, so in many ways my parents were also my peers.  So when they preached the value of honesty, I assumed it was a two-way street.  When my friends began telling me that Santa was a just a big story, I defended my parents' honor.  They would never lie to me!  We always tell the truth!

When mom finally did tell me the truth, I was devastated.  Not because Santa wasn't real.  Not because my toys didn't come from the North Pole.  But because it was a big joke.  I'd been had!  And to top it all off, I defended the liars to my friends...  Maybe it was because I had no siblings to share the experience.  I felt singled out.  I pictured my parents sneaking around the house, eating the cookies, putting on a big show.  All so they could "see the look on my face" when I believed the hoax.

And what else did they lie about?  The Tooth Fairy?  The Easter Bunny?  Jesus?  How could I be sure that Jesus was even real?  Well, if praying was anywhere near as affective as writing a letter to Santa, I wasn't going to bother with that.  And that is the main reason that I loathe the Santa Conspiracy.  It shook my faith.  I struggled with my belief for years after this.  How old would I have to be before they finally told me that He was a "story" too?

I understand that Santa, obviously, cannot compare with the One who died for our sins.  This is very true... in the adult world.  But in a child's world, in an American child's world, the two are very close in running.  The only major difference that a small child can truly understand is that we only worry about Santa's judgement at Christmas time.

So please, shed some light on this for me.  How did you feel as a child?  How have your children felt?

To believe, or not to believe...

Friday, December 10, 2010


We went to the Children's Hospital to have tubes inserted into Jellybean's ears.  The doctors really try their best to make things fun for the little ones.  Even though Jellybean wasn't as aware of the situation as, say, a four or five year old would be, they still let us try on funny hats and play with the doctors' equipment before going into surgery.

One thing I learned about my child, is that she does NOT sleep on medication.  Since she couldn't have any food or drink before the surgery, she wouldn't take a nap.  After all, who wants to nap on an empty tummy?  After the surgery--which took all of ten minutes--she woke up feeling pretty groggy.  The nurses warned me that she would be fussy until the anesthesia wore off, but then she would probably sleep for the rest of the day.  They were wrong.  Very, very wrong.  Not only did Jellybean not nap, but she wouldn't even go to bed until 9:30 p.m.  I just don't get it.

Alas, dear blogging world, we can all rest easy that this incident is finally over!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Feveral Seizure

About two weeks ago, Jellybean started getting a runny nose.  I figured, it's gotta be the teething, right?  The following Sunday, that runny nose turned into a yucky cough.  Uh-oh,we must be catching a cold.  So Monday after work, we went to see the doctor.  Just a touch of bronchitis, caught in time before it got bad.  A little antibiotic should do the trick.  So we went home.

Tuesday night, it was obvious she wasn't feeling her best.  But of course, teething combined with acute bronchitis will do that to a kid.  So she took her medicine and some Infants' Motrin before bed.  She woke up and fussed a few times throughout the night, but put herself back to sleep within minutes and all was well.
Until Wednesday morning.

I went in to get her out of bed around 7:30 a.m.--I was running late--and I saw her laying on her side, making strange motions.  As I got closer, my little baby girl in her purple Dora PJ's wasn't just moving strangely, she was jerking.  I picked her up, her eyes rolled into the back of her head.  I lost it. 

~~A bit of an intermission here to explain how God puts the right people in my life at the exact right time.  One thing I haven't been advertising publicly is that since we went to divorce court, I've been spending a great deal of time with one of my best friends from high school, a guy we will call Ant.  We have been close friends since we were 15.  Now he has full custody of two little boys ages 2 and 1, and an ex that is only slightly more useful than mine.  So we have a lot in common.  While the boys were at their mom's for the night, Ant came to stay with me.~~

I screamed for Ant, who later told me that he thought he was coming to rescue me from a spider.  All sensibility I had flew right out the window.  He very calmly took Jellybean from my arms, explained to me that she was having a seizure, and proceeded to take care of her while I ran to get Babysitter from next door.  I used Babysitter's cell phone to call the ambulance, because my brain was too scrambled to find my own phone. 

After a few minutes, the seizure subsided.  Ant ran outside to grab the ambulance that had missed my street.  They took us to the hospital, where Ant met us.  Everything happened so quickly.  She had to have an IV inserted, and got a dose of 1/2 milligram (I think?) of Adavan to prevent anymore seizures.  During her posticus (the phase after a seizure where one is "loopy") she was staring straight ahead and wouldn't respond to us.  I thought for a moment that she had gone blind.  They had to insert a catheter to take a urine sample.  When they came in to do a chest xray, she had another seizure.  When this was over, they had to give her a spinal tap so that they could obtain fluid to test for meningitis.  They gave her another 1/2 miligram of Adavan.  My head was spinning. 

I snapped at several doctors and argued with them about the spinal tap.  When the xray technician came back to finish the chest xray, I blew up at him.  I'm not really sure why, other than the fact that I was freaking out.  He left the room and a few minutes later, another technician came in to finish the job.  Somewhere along the way, blood was drawn for testing. 

My parents rushed up.  The doctors were preparing us for the worst.  He told us how we would treat meningitis.  He explained different types of seizure disorders.  For a minute, I wondered if Jellybean was going to make it.  The most horrifying feelings swept over me.

Hours later, we were admitted into the children's wing of the hospital.  Bright blue floor tiles and dinosaur wallpaper cannot take away the depression of staring at a hospital crib.  All the tests came back negative, and it was declared a complex feveral seizure.  They determined that she had some unknown virus, causing her fever to spike quickly, which can lead to a seizure.

Her fever spiked up and down for the next two days.  We spent all of Thanksgiving in the hospital, as well as the entire day before and a good bit of the day after.  We watched Dora's Super Silly Fiesta over and over.  For three days. 

Finally, they were ready to let us go home on Friday.  Of course, being the day after a holiday, the doctor didn't want to get his lazy ass into the hospital at 8:00 a.m. that morning like, you know, all of the nurses, aides and other employees did.  All morning I had been asking the nurses to call the doctor in so we could get permission to remove her IV.  It had been disconnected from the bag since Thursday, but they left the needle in her inner-elbow just in case they needed to get back to it.  They would not remove the needle without the doctor's permission.  The doctor would not get his lazy ass into the hospital.  The nurses would not call the doctor.  I gathered what was left of my mind from the past few days and I lost it again.  I told them that if they did not take that damn needle out of my baby's arm RIGHT NOW then I would be removing it MYSELF!

Ten minutes later, the needle was out and Jellybean was SO happy to have her arm back.  That's right... Momma knows how to get shit done.

By lunchtime, the doctor came in.  I asked him one more time to PLEASE check her ears, I thought something might be wrong.  He almost laughed at me as he walked off to grab his equipment.  He looked at her ears and said that there was nothing wrong.

We went home, and Jellybean was doing better, but that darn fever kept coming back.  So Monday morning, we followed up with our family doctor, who checked her ears and said they looked great.  Tuesday morning, I got Jellybean up and LO AND BEHOLD her ears are leaking a clear fluid.  Who could have seen that coming?  Oh yeah... me!

We went BACK to the family doctor--only because the ear/nose/throat specialist didn't have any openings today--who put her on an antibiotic.  Again.  By yesterday, the fluid had turned a yellowish-brown color, which tells me that the infection has probably been in that ear for some time.

I. Am. Pissed.  How can so many doctors look into a child's ear and not realize that it is horribly infected?  How can they just rule it out even though I tell them specifically?  WTF!?

She went to the pediatric ear/nose/throat specialist on Friday and we will be going this Thursday to have tubes put in her ears.  She will then have to have her hearing tested to see if we lost any hearing, which would explain why her vocabulary is so limited compared to other children her age.

And we will be switching doctors.