The Daughter Chronicles

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Things I thought I would never do but now don't seem so weird as a parent

Today I stuck my thumb in my younger daughter's mouth and scraped a mass of bread and cheese off of its roof. That's something I couldn't even conceive of before I had children, but it seemed perfectly natural this afternoon. Norah was eating a ham-and-cheese sandwich and she apparently bit off more than she could chew. She has not figured out how to get food off the roof of her mouth yet, so she appealed to the all-knowing father figure in her life, Daddy. Daddy, needless to say, was up to the task, and she continued eating merrily!

Parenthood: Oh, the odd things you'll do!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Okay, so it's been a bit over a week since I posted, and that's a shame. This past week has been kind of busy, and I haven't had a chance to sit down and do two posts I wanted to do - our trip to the zoo last week, and Mia's fishing trip this past week with her class. I have pictures and whatnot, and I'll get them up very soon. But for now, I'm annoyed.

I thought I had mentioned that I took Mia and Norah to the dentist in the fall. I guess I didn't. Anyway, the dentist mentioned that he was pretty sure she had cavities o' plenty, but he didn't take X-rays because he would need to put her under to take them. He told us to set up an appointment with the hospital, because he does the X-rays and surgery all in one fell swoop. Sounds easy-peasy, right?

Yeah, okay. I made an appointment in December, but we needed to cancel it. Mia and Norah didn't have dental insurance, because we figured an annual visit wouldn't cost that much. Of course, X-rays and surgery in the hospital cost a bit more than that, so we decided to set her up with dental insurance. We had to wait until the first of the year, so we made the appointment for January.

Then that didn't work. I can't quite remember why, but I think we had a conflict. So I rescheduled for two weeks ago. I had to get some paperwork filled out by her pediatrician, so I turned that in, and they faxed it over. Then, a few days before the date, the dentist's office called for some reason and mentioned that the surgery was actually scheduled for today. Nice of them to call me, I thought. Then, this week, they called to tell me that, due to a cancellation, her appointment had been moved up from 12.30 p.m. to 8.15 a.m. That meant I had to be there at 6.30 in the morning.

I told the nurse that there was no way I was getting there by 6.30. It's not that I didn't want to, it's that I didn't think I could drag her out of bed that early. I also said that I'd try to get there as soon as I could, but given my experience with hospitals, I didn't think it was really necessary to get there when they told me I had to. This caused some consternation, but I wasn't angry at them, just pragmatic. I just told them I didn't want to show up at 6.45 and have them cancelling my appointment when I knew they would make me sit there for an hour twiddling my thumbs anyway. I've sat in the hospital plenty of times waiting, so I'm not terribly keen on getting there precisely on time.

So today was the big day. She's been grinding her teeth quite a bit, and we thought it might have to do with the fact that her teeth were hurting. So we were looking forward to getting that taken care of. I got there about quarter to seven, and until nine, I spent about 30 minutes dealing with hospital stuff. So that was one thing. About 8.30 or so, the nurse began having some issues. Mia hadn't been checked by her pediatrician for a long time, and her neurosurgeon hadn't seen her since November. Her doctor had sent the paperwork in, but he hadn't actually examined her. Apparently, the hospital's new policy is that the child has to have been examined in a week prior to the surgery. The dentist said his hands were pretty much tied, which was fine - I wasn't angry at him. I wasn't even angry at the hospital. I mentioned that it would have been nice if the dentist's office had told me, because I can easily get her in to see the pediatrician. The nurse mentioned that she wasn't sure if they even knew about the hospital's policy. So I woke up at 5.30, woke Mia up at 6.10 or so, and sat around until 9, all to no avail. So I was a bit annoyed.

I felt bad for Mia, even though she was perfectly happy to hang out for a while. She had to wake up early and couldn't eat or drink anything. Plus, she has to deal with her teeth for a while longer. The dentist promised he would schedule her as quickly as possible, but it's going to be at least another week before we can get her in. If that, because I'm not sure if they do surgery every week. We'll see.

Is it any wonder people get really pissed off about having to deal with doctors and hospitals? Sheesh. What a waste. Meanwhile, Krys is very sick, Norah is somewhat sick, and she was clinging to Mommy all day, driving her nuts. All Krys wanted was some peace and quiet, but Norah wouldn't allow that. Mia and I tried to stay away for a while, but we had to come home at some point!

Let's hope Mia gets surgery soon. Maybe the hospital will deign to do it next time!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I can't figure parents out

I'm far from Father of the Year, I know. I lose my temper far too often, especially when dealing with Norah. I calm down quickly, but I need to stop yelling at her, mainly because it doesn't really do any good. I have gotten better, but sometimes, she drives me crazy. She's two - that's what she does!

But other parents puzzle me. I took Norah to the mall yesterday, and we hung out in the play area for a while. One group of parents I hate are the ones who follow their children around the play area and help them play. Most of the time, the kids are somewhat young, but they can still walk. The parents help them go down the slide, or they make sure they don't fall off of things, and generally get in the way. Listen: If your kid is too small to do stuff in the play area, don't let him (or her) play. Kids figure things out pretty quickly, too. When Norah was small, she couldn't climb up on the slide. She kept trying and failing, but eventually, she figured it out. Let the kids learn for themselves, parents!

This time, in addition to the parents following their kids around, there were some specific parents who drove me nuts. One mother brought her son in. He was probably less than two years old. The kid did not want to be there. His mom started taking his shoes off, and he threw a fit. The mother insisted that he play. She wasn't mean about it, but she just kept coaxing him to play. She told him, "No fits!" more than once. He went off to play, but kept coming back. At one point she put him in time-out, which is strange, because we have always read that kids younger than two don't really understand the concept of time-out. But whatever. He sat quietly for his time-out, but when she announced that it was over, he went back to freaking out. I could not understand why she insisted that he play. The idea of the play area is so kids who have been worn out by shopping to blow off some steam. This kid didn't want to be there, so why on earth was the mother insisting on it? Finally she took him out of there. I didn't get it.

Then there was a woman with a boy. The kid looked about as old as Mia, but it might have been a year younger. This woman looked much older than I am; she looked like she was in her fifties. She referred to herself as "Mommy," though, so I wasn't sure if she was the mother or the grandmother. Anyway, she was trying to get the boy to play the correct way. The boy was trying to climb up a slide, and she kept telling him that "wasn't the right way." I noticed this because Norah was climbing up on the slide and trying to go down it, and the boy was in her way. Of course, when that happens she tends to wait until the others are out of the way - she's polite that way. So it wasn't bothering her that this kid was in her way. I was puzzled by her insistence that the boy play the right way. It's a play area - as long as the kids aren't beating on each other, let them play the way they want! Norah often climbs up the slide the wrong way, and nobody cares. There will be time enough for them to learn the "rules" about life. When they're this young, they can play the "wrong" way, for all I care.

Like I said, I'm not perfect. Far from it. But I hope that I'm letting Norah learn a bit about how to live in the world. That's really all I can do.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Norah: Girl genius?

Well, not really. Just remarkably normal for her age, which is fine with us. I took her to the Mesa School District's special education screening on Wednesday, because Mia's pre-school teacher and speech therapist suggested that it's a good idea when your child hits 2½ to get her/him screened, even if you have no worries whatsoever. They check your kid's vision and hearing, at the very least.

So, three years after I took Mia to a rather redundant screening (we were fairly certain she qualified for special ed., what with the brain injury and all), I took Norah to another rather redundant screening (for the opposite reason). She was very well behaved, considering we were there for almost two hours and she had to jump through a lot of hoops. But all was well. Her vision is 20/20, and her hearing was fine. Then a teacher asked me a bunch of questions, and then she asked Norah a bunch of questions. The questions get harder and harder as they move up in age appropriateness, and she was nailing a couple of ones for 4/5-year-olds. Of course, she was getting a lot of those wrong, too, but she got a few! She had a fun time with some of the games they made her play, too.

She also experienced some other kids. While we were waiting, we sat in a play room. Many of the kids in there were boys, and they acted, well, like boys. They were chasing each other around, wrestling toys away from each other, and basically acting like ruffians. Hey, no problem with that. Norah stood there, watching with amusement, and said, "Boys silly." I agreed. I also told her to keep thinking that way. It will take her far!

So she blew away the testing. They have a score for each test (there are five of them), below which the child qualifies for special education. She was far above those scores in every category, which we expected. I was just happy to get confirmation.

So she doesn't qualify for special ed. Shocking! It was good to get her checked, and we're still trying to decide if we're going to send her to pre-school for a few days a week in the autumn. We think she'll enjoy it. Maybe we should just send her to college instead, because she's such a genius!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The terrible two-ness of Norah

Norah is a remarkably well behaved child (well, at least I think so), but it's always fun when she has a meltdown, especially because it's often somewhat inexplicable. She just freaks out at the smallest things. She wants routine desperately. If Krys doesn't let her put her own clothes in the hamper, she freaks out. In the morning, I ask her if she wants to put Mia's clothes in the hamper (which she likes to do), and she says "No!" She has a great way of saying "no," too: she kind of says "Nyoooohhhhh!" So when she says that, I put Mia's clothes in the hamper, and she freaks out. She then takes the clothes out of the hamper and puts them back in. This makes her happy.

A lot of her life is like this, which I assume is normal. She doesn't adhere to a rigid schedule, but she enjoys her routine. Recently, she has decided to change the way she goes down for a nap. Over the past few weeks, she has needed less sleep in the afternoon, so I was letting her stay up longer. She still needs a nap, though, and recently, she has been very cranky about going down. Then, she discovered a new book, and if I read it to her three times, she goes down happily. I let her keep the book with her, and she reads it aloud to herself and then falls asleep. She's started doing the same thing at night, which is fine and dandy with us, as long as she doesn't freak out. She's staying up a bit later at night, too, and she's fine with that, too.

It's nice that she's asserting her independence a bit, and we have no problem with allowing her some time alone to read when she should be sleeping. We're both struggling with disciplining her - I often get too angry with her, and Krys often doesn't get angry enough - but I think we're both doing a pretty good job. When she does melt down, we think we do a pretty good job in either calming her down, sending her to her room, or ignoring her. And she doesn't do it that often, which is nice.

I still wish she spoke more, because I want to be able to talk to her more intelligently, but she's making good progress in that respect. She still clings to Mommy more than she should, because Krys is the "exotic parent," but that's okay. She'll get over that eventually. Won't she?

So her Twos aren't a horror show, although she has her moments. We'll see what happens in the next few months before she turns three!