The Daughter Chronicles

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mia and her goonie!

Let's file this under "Things that wouldn't happen if my child didn't have a traumatic brain injury."

On Friday morning I had to take Mia to swim therapy. I took her out to the van and put her in the car seat. We had just put in a different car seat because she had outgrown the one that was in there previously. The new seat has only arm rests but no high sides. The instant I put her in, Norah was coming out of the house and she left the door open. I turned toward her and told her to close the door. In that moment, Mia pulled her legs up, as she is wont to do because her tone is so high. She was wearing her bathing suit, which is slippery (it's lycra, I guess), and when she pulls her legs up she is balanced only on her butt. So she pulled her legs up, twisted a bit sideways, and spun right out of her seat. She doesn't fall very well, and she went straight down like a sack of potatoes. She bounced off the floor of the van (or maybe the running board) and hit the driveway. Krys ran out and we picked her up and took her inside. She was gushing blood out of a cut over her right eye. She was screaming her head off, of course, but she didn't throw up and she didn't lose consciousness. I took Norah to school while Krys tried to stop the bleeding, and then I drove her to the hospital. The cut was right to the bone and fairly wide. The doctor put two layers of stitches in, but she was out of the ER by three o'clock in the afternoon and she was back to her old self by five or so. But her eye is nice and swollen!

You might think a cut gushing blood would freak me out. It certainly freaked Krys out, but that's because she's a girl. But as I pointed out, she never lost consciousness, and the doctor checked her out for a concussion, and all was well. But it wasn't too freaky, mainly because we've seen far worse. Still, it was not a fun experience. She went over so fast - I turned my head for less than five seconds and she was out. This is why we keep an eye on her.

And, of course I took pictures. Even with a swollen eye, she's still adorable!

She's not bothering it too much, which is nice. The sutures will dissolve in a couple of weeks, and we'll just hope that's that. We did put the old car seat back in, though. I mean, we're not stupid!

Today is Mia's eighth birthday (yay!), and we had a party yesterday, so I'll post pictures tomorrow. Come back, won't you?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

School: The first few days

The kids have been in school for a week and a half now, so there's some things to tell. I am in Pennsylvania, and I arrived here on Thursday, so I don't know how the end of the week went, but I know how the first few days went, so here we have it!

We found out a few days before school started (on the 11th) that Mia was getting ... a new teacher! Yay! Her fourth in four years, mind you, which is probably SOP for most kids, but for Mia, it's kind of a pain. Her teacher from last year, who had made such strides in figuring out to deal with her, left and went to a different district (presumably for more money, as it's in Scottsdale). And not only is her teacher new, she's also a first-year teacher, just like last year. Don't get me started on teacher retention!

We thought about sending her to a different school, but we figured we'd at least meet the new teacher and see what she was like. She seemed much more focused than her teacher did last year, and she seemed to have a better plan for teaching Mia, which was nice. The Traumatic Brain Injury specialist for Mesa Schools was also impressed with her, so we decided to give her a chance. Mia is eating better (although not great) this year, and physically she's sound, so neither of those should be an issue. But we're still going to keep an eye on the new teacher to make sure she's doing a good job, and we're not going to let it go on too long if she's not. Mia deserves better, confound it!

She's been doing fine so far, although I'm a bit concerned about her eating. They keep a food diary for her because we want to know what she's eating during the day. She seems to be eating regularly, but I sent a bag with a whole bunch of stuff in it for her to nosh on throughout the day, and they don't seem to be giving it to her. Mia will not sit down and eat in ten minutes at lunch time - that's just not how she rolls. She will eat throughout the day if you give a little bit at a time. She's been eating a lot of goldfish crackers, and while that's okay, she has a lot of other foods at school, so I may have to go in and ask what's up. She is also still drinking the Kid Essentials milk drink, which has a ton of calories and fat in it. I took some fruit juice to school to keep her hydrated (the Kid Essentials isn't great for that), because over the summer she decided she liked it. It doesn't appear they're giving that to her. They write that during lunch she drinks chocolate milk. Well, that's groovy, but I don't want her to drink chocolate milk - if they're going to give her milk, give her the Kid Essentials! So after next week (I'm in Pennsylvania until Tuesday and my mom is currently visiting to help with the kids and she'll still be there, so I won't have a ton of time to sit in on her class), I'm going in to have a chat with the teacher. We shall see what transpires then.

Norah, meanwhile, is doing well in kindergarten. Krys was going to take her the first day, but thought she might freak out a bit too much, so I took her. She was fine. Once she got in the room and found a book in her desk, it was as if I didn't even exist. So I was fine with that. She took the bus home, and that turned into an adventure. Her bus is supposed to arrive at 3.18 in the afternoon, and the stop is at the end of our street, which I can see from the house. Mia's PT works with her from 2.30-3.30 on Wednesday, so he was there. I didn't want to leave him with Mia in case Norah's bus didn't get to the stop until after 3.30 (it was the first day; I was expecting it to be late) and he'd have to stay with Mia. So I stood in our driveway looking for the bus, hoping I could see it and run down and catch it. Yeah, that wasn't a good idea. It drove by at about 3.40, just as Mia's PT was leaving. I wasn't sure if it was her bus, but I kind of thought it might be. So I called the school. The line was busy, a message said. I kept calling the school but could never get through. I didn't know what to do, because I didn't want to leave Mia. I could have put her in the car and driven to the school, but I didn't know if that bus had actually been Norah's and I didn't want to miss it if it happened to go by. So I was stuck. I made the mistake of calling Krys, who freaked out. I told her that Norah was fine - she was either at school for some odd reason or still on the bus ... wherever that might be. They wouldn't just kick her off. The only problem was that I didn't know where the bus was. So she looked up the Transportation office for me and I finally managed to get a number where they could contact the bus. Krys left work and went to the school, but I was able to find out that the bus was coming back, so Krys went down and picked her up. She thought Norah would be upset, but I pointed out that Norah didn't know that she wasn't supposed to be on the bus for 90 minutes (as it turned out she was), so she wouldn't be upset. It turned out, of course, that the bus I saw was her bus, and because I wasn't at the stop, it took off. I know it's my fault, but you would think that on the first day of school, when you're almost 25 minutes late, you might call the dispatcher and see if you could track down a parent to get the kid. Or maybe not. I did find out that the school's phone lines weren't busy, they were down completely. Good move - the first day of school, and your phone lines are down. Excellent.

But Norah is doing fine. She's still very shy, so although she tells us she plays with a kid or two, she doesn't know their names and can't tell us much about them. When I take her to school in the morning, she gets in line quietly and tilts her head down slightly so that nobody looks at her. She already has quite a bit of homework, but she and Krys sit down every night and get through it. When I dropped her off on Wednesday, the teacher said she's doing very well. I figured she would be fine at the work - Norah is very good at doing what's she told (most of the time), especially from teachers. I know she'll make friends; I just hope it's soone rather than later.

So that's the first week or so at school. Krys and I both have to volunteer at Norah's school, so that will be fun, and I'm sure I'll be visiting Mia's school to suss out what her teacher is doing for her. Good times!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's the first day of school!

I'm freeeeeeeee!!!!!!






Plenty of information about the first week of school later!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

On the road with Mia and Norah!

Two weeks ago the family went on a mini-vacation to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. We couldn't afford to do much, but Krys found a "stay two nights, get the third one free" deal for the London Bridge Resort, so we figured it was a place we ought to see before we escaped from Arizona. Lake Havasu City is famous, if it's famous for anything, for buying London Bridge 50 years ago and transplanting it into the Arizona desert. (It was actually the tycoon who created the town who bought it, and then he donated it to the state, who gave it back to the family when it became too expensive to maintain, so it's now considered the world's largest antique.) So we loaded the kids in the van, and off we went!

The drive west and then north across the desert ought to be wildly uneventful, but that wouldn't be any fun, would it? About ten miles on this side of Quartzsite, AZ, while we were still on I-10 and about 85 miles south of our destination, the van's air conditioning went out. Actually, it started blowing hot air, which was, if possible, worse than it going out (and Krys continued to leave it on, blowing hot air at us, because she claimed the moving air would feel better than nothing - I didn't buy that). So we continued on in our suddenly very hot van. And then north of Quartzsite on the road to Lake Havasu, I got pulled over by a cop.

This police man claimed I was speeding, doing 62 in a 45-mph zone. I was a bit grumpy not only because of the lack of AC but because I was convinced I was in a 55-mph zone and therefore shouldn't have been pulled over (using the strange logic that doing less than 10 mph over the posted speed limit doesn't count as speeding, which seems to hold no matter where you are). Krys told the cop that our AC was out and that we had kids in the car (I didn't want to because I didn't want to sound wheedling; women can get away with pleading for leniancy more than men can, I think), and I just told him that I was in a 55-mph zone and if he needed to give me a ticket, he should just get it over with (I told him to do what he had to do, because I didn't really care - I just wanted to get moving again so we could get there). He went back and talked on his radio for a bit and then let me go. How nice of him. Krys was convinced that he let us go because he made a mistake and we really were in a 55-mph zone. When we were coming home we looked at every sign on the opposite side of the road, and I'm fairly sure she's right. He probably didn't admit it because I was being a bit of a jerk. But I knew it was 55 there!

Norah did not have a pleasant journey without the AC. Mia didn't either, but she's so stoic that she only started getting whiny right at the end of the voyage. She also didn't drink as much as she should have - we kept giving her water and she just ignored it, because that's what she does. We put the windows down a bit and hoped we could get there as fast as possible, but Norah started whining pretty early on in the non-AC portion of the trip. She needed to pee, so we stopped. She said she needed to poop, so we stopped. She didn't poop, however, and I told her the more we stopped, the hotter it would get and maybe she could soldier on. We finally made it to the hotel and almost ran into the air conditioned lobby. Both kids were bright red. It was no fun at all.

The next day I took the car to the local Toyota dealer, and they kept it until we left. That was through no plan of ours, of course - they had to order a new compressor, so getting it fixed on Monday was out (we arrived on Sunday night). They started working on it on Tuesday, but it took longer than they expected (which always happens, of course). I told them we were checking out on Wednesday morning at 11, so I had to have my car by then, and on Wednesday morning I was able to get to the dealer and get back and on the road by 10, so at least they were good with that. We didn't really need a car - there's not a lot to do in Lake Havasu, especially with two young children (and one handicapped one), so we knew we'd probably stay near the hotel for two days, but it still would have been nice to have one. We didn't go out to dinner because even though there were some restaurants near the hotel, they were too far away to walk (it's still summer in Arizona, after all). We were staying in a time-share-type room, so it had a kitchenette and we had plenty of food, so that wasn't a concern, but it would have been nice to go out once. But we really didn't need a car, so that wasn't an issue.

We had a nice relaxing few days. Mia, of course, wanted to watch TV the entire time, so I spent a good deal of time in the room (luckily they had Wi-Fi, so I could get on the Internet). Norah and Krys went in the pool a lot. We did go on a boat ride around Lake Havasu and the island that was created when London Bridge was erected, so that was fun - nice and windy, and highly informative. The kids didn't love it, but that's just the way it is, right? We also walked across the bridge on Tuesday and ate lunch on the other side before walking back. As I mentioned, there's not much to do. We thought about renting a canoe and heading out by ourselves, but Mia would be a pain in the butt and I doubt if Norah would have enjoyed it, either. Maybe when she's a bit older and can help more. I didn't really care - it was relaxing after two hectic days at the San Diego Comic-Con.

So we came back on Wednesday and settled back in. Krys took the entire week off from work, so she had a couple of days at home to recharge. I certainly don't think that Lake Havasu is a wonderful vacation spot, but it was kind of neat to see the bridge, mainly because it looks so out of place. Maybe next year we'll be able to go someplace a bit more interesting for a vacation!

This week the kids go back to school. The drama has already started! But that's a post for another day!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Why selling the kids to the gypsies ought to be an option

So there I was, sleeping away on Friday morning on the sofa bed.* I felt someone tapping on my back. I rolled over and there stood Norah, holding a section of the newspaper. She pointed at the line of wine bottles on the front (it was the food section) and asked, "Is this all poison?"** I said yes, and she walked away. I looked at the clock. It was 5.52 in the morning!

Yes, my child woke me up before 6 a. m. to ask me if something in the newspaper was a photograph of alcoholic beverages. If that doesn't constitute parent abuse, I don't know what does. We're just keeping our eyes out for a camp of gypsies to roll through Mesa. They'll take her off our hands!

* I snore a whole heck of a lot, and Krys can't sleep because of it. In a perfect world, we'd have two bedrooms, but as we don't, I sleep on the sofa bed. She offers to do it, but I'm the one who snores, so I should suffer!!!!

** After Norah's birthday, we had some beer left over, so I was drinking it at dinner. She asked what it was, and I told her it was poison and that adults can drink a little because they're older, but it wasn't good for kids. It was just a joke, but of course Norah ran with it. Hence the poison comment.