Sunday, April 26, 2009

Party Time

Yesterday was Sarah's birthday party at McDonald's. Yeah I know, not the most original, but with it being April here, the weather is unstable, so an outdoor party wasn't an option. Plus, Jeff has ix-nayed home parties for awhile. It's just too stressful. So, McDonald's it was. Which was fine. They provided the food, cake & ice cream, along with a huge inside play area for the kids to run amuck on. Sarah had 2 friends that came from her preschool class, and we had 2 of Emma's friends, and her friend's little brother. Everyone seemed to have a good time. In fact, we had to postpone opening up presents until we got home due to the fact that we couldn't pry Sarah off the play structure. This is why I don't go to this place without backup. There have been instances where I'm standing on the outside, yelling at the girls to come out, knowing I can't fit myself in there to get them. Not a fun experience. Talk about feeling like a crappy parent.

But, I digress. The kids all had fun, and that was the point. Emma got invited to her friend's house for a few hours, and then we invited that friend over to spend the night. This particular friend has ADHD. I also know, via her grandmother, that this girl doesn't take her meds on the weekends. I will the first to admit that I don't know much about ADD or ADHD. That being said, I was unprepared for the onslaught of energy that this little girl has. She's a very sweet girl, but very determined when she puts her mind to something. Like incessantly chasing our cat. LOL But, she's Emma's friend, and for that I'm grateful. This is first real girl friend Emma's had. They have fun together, and that's all that matters. She and Emma were up until 11pm last night, and then up way too early this morning. I guess I should get used to that, since this will most likely not be the only time this friend stays over. The only sad part is this friend is in 4th grade, and that means she won't be going to this school next year (the elementary schools are separated into four K-4 schools, & two 5-6 schools). But, I'm hoping that they'll be able to stay friends. Emma needs to have some consistency.

I've been pondering some things, and I'm conflicted as to what to think of them. I find it interesting that I'm majoring in Special Education, and suddenly we have multiple children interacting in our lives that would fall in that category. First, Sarah, obviously. And Emma, too, since she has an IEP for her speech. Then, Emma's friend's little brother was recently diagnosed with Autism. And now Emma's other friend, with ADHD. I'm vacillating between thinking it's just a numbers game, where more kids are being labeled with something (even though I hate labels) so it's inevitable that we'd come across more kids with special needs, and thinking it is some sort of cosmic preparation for the job that I'll have once I graduate. Either way, I'm grateful for the opportunity to get experience with multiple children with multiple needs. That was my biggest fear with Sarah starting K next year: that she wouldn't have teachers who would understand her needs. And honestly, that's MY biggest fear about becoming a teacher. I'm worried that I won't be able to fulfill the needs of all my future students. I know I won't always have the right answer or know exactly what to do, but I don't want to be blindsided with a child and not having any idea how to help them. So, I'm thankful for the chance to get experience in whatever way I can.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Sarah!

My dearest Sarah,
It’s hard for me to believe that you are already five years old. Time moves too quickly these days, and I feel like I’m missing so much.
From the moment you were born, I knew you were unique. It’s hard for me to remember those days, as, like most of us on this journey, I was scared in the beginning. You started surprising us from birth. We didn’t know about your “little something extra” beforehand, but I look back and am thankful, because it allowed your daddy & I to get to know you, as the tiny (well, maybe not, as you were almost 9 lbs!) human being you were. We had 10 days of just enjoying you, and weren’t preoccupied with therapies, doctors, and milestones. And when we were told, we didn’t mourn long. Your daddy, being the strong person he is, helped us all to realize that this didn’t change who you were, or what you meant to us. As if to prove the point that you weren’t about to let a diagnosis bring you down, you rolled over from tummy to back 4 days later, at exactly 14 days old. That was sooner than your big sister! You have never been content with the labels that society wants to put on you. You have always blazed your own path, while the rest of us fight through the bush to get to where you are, so we can join you on your journey, rather than force you to follow ours. Your path is beautiful, unassuming, and filled with all the wonders of the world.
It boggles my mind that you will be starting Kindergarden next fall. Little Sarah, who still wears size 3T clothes and is barely 36 inches tall, going to the big time!! I’m scared and proud, all at the same time. I can’t imagine you riding the big bus with your sister, carrying a backpack as big as you are, and sitting at a desk, with your feet dangling in the air. I know you will make friends, and I know you will shatter the preconceptions of anyone foolish enough to belittle your potential. You will wrap your teachers around your fingers and you will continue to learn and grow.
I know your little sister will miss you, as she does now when you go to school. She wants to be anywhere you are, as your best friend and partner in crime. Your big sister is one of your biggest cheerleaders and is always there to play a game of tag.
You have taught me so much in the last five years. I have learned to slow down and enjoy every milestone, especially when they are fought for with such tenacity. I’ve learned to realize that every word is precious, especially when those words have taken years to say. You’ve helped me sing when the mood strikes, dance with my whole heart, and love unconditionally. I could not imagine my life without you, my sweetheart girl. Thank you for allowing me to your mom.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

This has been a week

You know, there are times during your life when you wonder if the universe isn't playing some cosmic, karmic joke on you. This would be one of those times for me.

For those that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, probably already know about this, but for those that don't, Sarah got seriously injured this week. I like the way Jeff put it: Sarah picked a fight with a 15 lb. TV and lost. She & Katie had a TV in their room that was up on a TV stand on the wall. It was pretty secure. Apparently not secure enough for Sarah. She, Emma & Katie were playing in their room earlier this week while I was puttering around doing housework. All of a sudden, I hear this huge crash from their room. I rushed in there, to find the TV on the floor (it had been up about 6 feet) and Sarah just starting to realize she'd been hurt and screaming. I saw that she had blood on her mouth, so I rushed her into the bathroom to rinse out her mouth. The blood didn't stop. I saw that she had a huge laceration on her lip that would need stitches. I grabbed a washcloth and put some pressure on it, while yelling at Emma to get my phone. I looked into her mouth while I was calling Jeff, and I noticed that one of her bottom teeth was missing.

I got ahold of Jeff and told him what happened, and he said he'd meet us at the ER. But, it took me a bit to get the girls in the car, with Emma & Katie at least having shoes, so he actually just met us at home and rode with us, holding the washcloth to Sarah's mouth the whole way. By this time, Sarah was completely calm, just a bit perturbed at the fact that she had a piece of cloth pressed on her face.

I rushed her in, and they got us into a room fairly quickly, but then the waiting started. The ER wasn't that busy, but apparently everyone was taking their sweet time. We didn't really think about it until later, but the fact that Sarah pulled a TV onto her face and was still bleeding 25 minutes later, didn't seem to phase anyone that maybe she needed some pain meds or perhaps they should hurry their butts up. I think that was my fault though, I didn't push, because I know Sarah has a high pain tolerance, and while she might not have been complaining, I KNOW she was in some sort of pain. While we were waiting for someone to make a decision, Jeff pointed out to me that the top part of her mouth was also injured. I looked and saw that she was missing one of her top front teeth, and that one of the other ones was loose. I don't know why this revelation hit closer to home, but I immediately started crying. I just kept thinking, this kid has enough problems, and is most likely going to Kindergarden next year, and will be missing at least 3 teeth, possibly more. Maybe I should paint a sign that says "MAKE FUN OF ME" and send her to school with it. I know that's petty, and we've been fortunate that we haven't had any instances of prejudice when it comes to Sarah, but I know that window of innocence is slowly shrinking.

The doctor finally came in and said they wanted to do a cat scan to make sure she hadn't fractured any facial bones. I told them that they were probably going to have to sedate her for that, since I knew she wouldn't lay still. The on-call doc said that she was fairly certain everything would be fine. Because there was a Dora sticker on the outside of the machine and kids usually focused on that and didn't mind the loud noises and being strapped down. Right. As soon as they tried to move her bed to take her to the x-ray room, she started freaking out. I had to carry her, and once we got in the room, she become "Koala Sarah" and was crawling up my head. We attempted to hold her down and even used the large velcro straps they have, but the radiologist couldn't get a decent picture without her moving. So, back to the ER room we went, and waited some more. Finally, someone else came in with the radiologist and said that they were going to attempt the cat scan again, without sedation, but with an extra set of hands. I asked why they didn't just sedate her and they said something to the effect of that they didn't want to have to sedate her more than once. That gave me the impression that they were anticipating doing some sort of procedure that required sedation later on. I was ok with that. We all went into the x-ray room again, and a nurse wrapped Sarah up like a burrito and between her, Jeff & I managed to somewhat hold her still. Poor baby was freaking out. The radiologist thought he was able to get some decent pictures, and so back we went to the room.

Thankfully, during this time, a co-worker of Jeff's had come and volunteered to watch Emma & Katie out in the waiting room. I will forever be grateful to Kevin for that. :D We also noticed that one of Emma's friends from school was in another room, so I went over to talk with her family. Turns out she had been vomiting and was showing signs of dehydration, so she was just in to get an IV of fluids. Emma went in after awhile to say hi and visit. After the debacle of the cat scan, Jeff volunteered to stay with Sarah, so I could take Katie home for awhile. Emma decided to stay and visit with her friend. Jeff said he'd call when they decided anything.

After about 2 hours, he called and said that they'd decided to just put a few stitches in her lip, and gave us a referral to an oral surgeon to see the following day. I couldn't believe that's all they were going to do for her. I came up right about the time they were putting in the stitches, which they only did a few, and said they were leaving the end open to allow it to drain. Shortly after we were discharged. We went home and, no joke, within 30 minutes, Sarah had pulled out the stitches. Of course. I called the ER and the nurse said that should be fine, it would just take the lip a little longer to heal.

She seemed to do fine that night, and we gave her some Tylenol to help her sleep. We went to the oral surgeon the next afternoon, and he took a quick x-ray of her top jaw, to make sure the top front tooth hadn't been jammed in there, because we couldn't find it. We found her bottom tooth that had been knocked clean out, but weren't able to find any other. He said there didn't seem to be anything jammed in her gums, which was good. He also said that, because her permanent teeth were so high up in her jaw, there didn't look like there was any damage to those either.

So now it's a waiting game. She seems to be doing ok; we have her on a soft food diet for a few days, but now she's able to eat almost everything. I asked the oral surgeon if the loose tooth would firm up or fall out, and he said the odds were pretty even for either. Her gums seem to be healing well and she's taking it all in stride. Needless to say, there is no more TV in their room.

After all that, you'd think that karma would have let us be for a bit. But no. Today we decided, since the weather wasn't rainy or snowy, that we'd take a drive over to Midland and hang out at the mall. About a month ago, we had gone to the Novi mall, and had a small emergency: Sarah ran off. She has a tendency to do this and if we don't deadbolt the sliding glass door, she will go out back. Not normally a problem, but our backyard isn't completely fenced in. So, there we were, having gotten to the mall not 20 minutes before, and the girls wanted to play in the little jungle gym they have. It's not huge, with only one entrance, and both Jeff & I were watching all the kids. Still, sneaky, silent, ninja Sarah, was able to get past us. I noticed within seconds that she wasn't there, but I went into the enclosure to make sure she wasn't hiding. An older gentleman noticed me and asked if I was missing a little girl. I said yes, and he said his wife had her, and she'd been running down the mall. So, I took off, but couldn't find her. I saw a woman pointing me down the mall, but I still couldn't see anyone with her. She said Sarah had gone into a shoe store. I ran in there and grabbed her, my heart racing, and slowly walked back to the play area. Jeff met me about halfway there, she'd gone about 10 stores down. We decided to leave immediately. We just couldn't believe that, even with both of us being very diligent, she could have slipped past us. She could get a job as a spy, she's that good. And quick, too.

So, now I will be looking into getting some sort of electronic monitoring device. Sarah has a problem with impulse control. She doesn't think about things before she does it. I'm hoping that she'll grow out of this, but I'm not betting that will happen before Jeff or I have a heart attack, or something bad happens. She has enough things happen as it is, we don't need to be tempting fate.