Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We're now in the middle of the week in which we do our church's version of VBS - with dinner served and lots of cool projects.  So much fun!   G and E are serving as "table captains" which is sort of like a camp counselor role to the other kids.  E has a table of four little girls and they're all doing these projects together.  So stinking cute!

The director for our camp last week gave me a jar of dahlias Monday evening and thanked me for bringing Q to camp.  I cried.  She told me that there were so many faculty and staff, and other parents, who commented on our neat family dynamic and what an amazing job the bigger kids did with Q - especially when we were seated on the front rows for the concerts and Q was loving all that live music, and wiggling like a boy who'd been sitting still too long.  I hugged her and cried.  How incredibly kind of her to have taken the time and acknowledged both the beauty and the difficulty in one fell swoop.  It is both.  Always both.  But the former far outweighs the latter, in sheer mass.

And speaking of all that Life business...  You know, I've given up a lot of thoughts about what constitutes an "ideal" family.  I was somewhat surprised to discover, rather recently, that I really do still miss the partnerships to be found in a good marriage.  Even a barely civil marriage provides certain benefits to the spouses, most of them simply logistical.  But even in a just better than barely civil marriage, those losses begin to be keenly felt.  Imagine how lovely it would be to know that the end result of one's hashing things out with one's kid didn't then rest solely on one set of shoulders.  Support in or for one's ideas is sweet, and deserves to be treasured for the gift that it is, of course.  But nothing replaces that other parent "having your back," you know?  In all those small but important ways.

Hope you're resting well and got to spy some meteors this week!  Godspeed, lovely people.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


So we're at Suzuki camp.  Q has had a hard time settling the last three nights and tonight, in addition to us singing him The Two Grenadiers, in parts, G brought his viola and quietly played Q out with Humoresque.  I've frozen those moments in my head so I can have them always:  Q draped across me atop his bed on the floor, drooling on my shirt, almost trying to still fight sleep, K in her bed, S snuggled with grandma in her bed, E in the shower, and the giant boy who is taller than everyone else much of the time these days sweetly playing his punkin brother to sleep.

There's plenty of irregular nonsense, as is the case with Life.  There's a crazed seagull outside the window right now, for example.  And G is probably not yet asleep, though his sisters are, and he will miss breakfast in the morning if he isn't out soon.  There's the part where we're figuring out the new versions of the parent-child and child-parent relationships - no easy task even when everything else is smooth and lovely, much less with a few irregularities thrown in.

However.  That young man who played for the littlest guy of the bunch also let me know that he's decided against looking for a job right now, though he'd need one to get a phone, which he badly wants.  He's forgoing the job so he can focus on succeeding in school.  He's making plans.  And his sisters aren't far behind.  This is so incredibly awesome.  I know people often report the empty nest thing, and I'll probably have some of that too, later, but oh wow, is this exactly what all the hard work has been for!  I just love that they're in the middle of the progressive circle that takes them ever nearer competent adulthood.

And this week has been great for us all, in different ways.  The teacher who trained under Dr. Suzuki himself captured G's imagination, the one who dances with all thirty-five of her sweet younger kids while they play with violins atop their heads has S smiling like crazy (she loves all her teachers).  E and K were given tiny things to work on that will improve their performance in gigantic ways - much of which carries over to Real Life, too.  Q wants to go home with his Rhythm teacher so he can always have such fun.

So hurray for a week well spent.  For kids who've taken great advantage of the opportunity (and are willing to work and save for the next go round).  And hurray for the bazillion people who've helped with Q and all manner of support roles.  We wouldn't be here without you.  Thank you so very, very much.

In my running around campus and I've collected about three miles per day, huffing and puffing as we go.  This campus is built on a hill, so it's either lots of stairs for me or hauling Q up and down hills to handicap accessible entrances.  I forgot to mention when  posting about the news of Friday (ortho appointment) that Q weighed a little more than 40 lbs.  Hooray!  And so does his chair.  Not hooray!  So when "sprinting" behind him up hills, I'd like a little fanfare.  Or a sparkler.  Or just a bottle of water might be nice.

Sleeping time now.  Yikes, but we're tired.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


So we've had an unusually big week.  Between the whooping cough exposure scare, the orthopedics appointment, and sundry volunteer projects, we've slid into Friday just about toodled out.  Among other exciting details for this week is my ongoing argument about coverage of one of Q's meds - it's been a particularly bad time to pay out of pocket for a generic which is running almost five bucks a day.  But here we are.

On Thursday we got to help put together the bound schedules for the Suzuki camp which begins bright and early Monday morning.  The kids have been practicing the music for their groups as well as their pieces for the master classes.  It's a little surreal to contemplate, how all their effort comes together for them.  They've been taking violin for three years now, G has had about a year on the viola.  It's pretty thrilling to watch and listen to them play in groups, and their solo performances are coming along nicely - E especially so with fiddling.  The bigger three have been taking piano for almost six years, S for five.  K and S are streaking out ahead with piano:  K has been pushing G and E for a couple of years now, while S just recently announced that she believes she's at the place where she's now just going to play for fun, it's that nice.  See me grinning?  I listen to them these days with my heart in my throat, amazed at all this progress.

About Q's ortho recheck, then.  The x-rays this time show his left hip out about 75%, as compared to the 60% from earlier this year, with an increased slope in the socket.  His right hip is out a smidge farther than it was last time, but not much a'tall changed, though that socket appears to be somewhat more sloped as well.  We discussed the options for surgery, for waiting, for injections into Q's thigh muscles.  I asked the surgeon what he'd do if this was his kid.  He grinned, self-deprecatingly, knowingly, and said that there just isn't a right answer, but given how engaged and responsive Q is*, he would go ahead with the surgery to change the angles in both femurs, build up the left socket, and look at the right socket once in surgery to determine whether or not he needs that socket built up too.  There's a 5% chance that Q would need a transfusion (the pelvic area is highly vascular) with both femurs and one socket, but about a 40-50% chance of needing a transfusion when the second socket also requires work.  About 3% of patients seen through this clinic (children's hospital) require another surgery to tweak something or make further changes after the initial surgery.  This is important partly because if that right socket needs work, better to do it all at once, because it's a not-fun recovery.  So if there's a 97% chance that the first go gets it all, best to do it then - which leads us to wait a little longer.  The ortho guy said that since there's been some small changes in that side that we'd have a better idea in another six months.  So Q goes back in February for more pictures and another chat.

In the meantime, we've therapies, dental appointments, orthodontist appointments, school, school, and more school to do.  Q begins kindergarten in a few weeks (gak!).  G begins the tenth grade (how did that happen!?) and thinks about getting a job to pay for all the cool stuff he wants to do.  And the girls push on ahead in their studies, too.  I may be a little bit of a geek, because this all seems like pretty exciting stuff to me, this growing up and out of the kids, this new school term.  This stretching and testing of their ever stronger and more capable wings.

*You may recall - I hope I mentioned this before - that there's a study out of Australia indicating that the more engaged and "verbal" a child is, the more likely he is to have pain with subluxed hips.  In fact, it's nearly 100% vs. about 40% for kids who are less interactive.  In other words, there seems to be a connection between how much a child is trying to venture into or respond to relationships, typical presentation or not, and his or her pain levels.  This fact drives me a little crazy.  Imagine all those punkins who have pain and can't communicate it.   Thinking about it feels like toothpicks in my brain.

I had a moment on my back porch (my back porch!) with a nice glass of ice water, checking out the stars as the sky emptied its light into another hemisphere.  You'll be relieved to know most of them are still out there.  The backyard rocks continue to proliferate like bunnies.  I've had some help with the weeds - thank you (you know who you are)!  And the wee little discount/saved from death plants are looking like they may yet choose life.  It smells good out there, all sweetly herby and verdant in our wedge of earth.  It's quiet and a little damp in the coolness of the day.  Dewy, I guess. 



Come on over.  I've got ice water.