The Daughter Chronicles

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The saddest, most horriblest, most apocalyptic, tragic day in recorded history!!!! (Okay, maybe not, but close enough!)

So, on Sunday, 26 February 2012, at the age of 6 years, 8 months, and 4 days, Norah Burgas got her ears pierced. And her father gnashed his teeth in dismay. Woe is me!

I didn't want Norah to get her ears pierced until she was 13, but I was overruled. Krys was going to forbid it until she turned 7, but she caved because Norah is, after all, rather mature for her age. Krys did say that if they went and Norah did anything but enthusiastically get them done, she wouldn't do it. After the issues at the swim meet on Saturday (see below), I was all for making her wait, but apparently she went through the process like a trooper (Krys said it's a lot easier now then it was 35 years ago, when she got it done), and now her ears are pierced. Sigh.

I don't really have any reason for wanting her to wait, except that I think of earrings as an adolescent/adult thing to do, and I want her to enjoy being a kid while she's a kid. I know that getting earrings isn't going to make her a teenager overnight, but it's the first step!!!! I know she's going to be a teenager and then an adult soon enough, so why shouldn't she have fun while she's a kid? But I guess I'm the crazy one!

She has to have them in for 2 months and at least some earrings in for 6. We'll see how much she enjoys having them when she can't take them out until August!!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Norah's first swim meet!

Norah participated in a swim meet yesterday afternoon. It was organized by Swim Kids USA, the place where she's received swimming lessons for almost four years, and she's reached a level of proficiency that she's able to participate in these things. Basically, the kids (especially the younger ones) just show off their skills - they do time them, but that's basically so everyone can track how they're getting better. As far as I know (we didn't stay until the end, because of events outlined below), they don't give out medals or anything. Maybe they do for the older kids.

Norah was going to show off three strokes: free style, backstroke, and butterfly. We took Mia because we thought it would be nice for her to get out of the house (she didn't think so; she kept telling us she wanted to go home). It was quite the event - lots of parents, lots of kids, and it was held at Chandler High School, which has a fairly large outdoor pool.

The first event was freestyle, and the kids lined up at the pool and "dove" in at the whistle (none of them are terribly good at diving, and one or two may have simply jumped in). Norah stood there and started crying. Krys got there before I did and she told me that Norah had been crying a little while they were warming up, but I spoke to her and she seemed fine before the first event. But then she refused to get in the pool. One of the teachers finally led her to Krys, who sat with her for a while. I never quite found out what her problem was - I was sitting with Mia. From what I can gather, it was a combination of factors:

1. She was freaked out by how many people were there.
2. The water was a lot colder than she thought it would be (the pool is covered, but it's still only February, after all, and while the daytime temperature has been getting close to 80, the nights are still very cool).
3. She doesn't think she's very good at diving, but jumping in the pool never occurred to her. Norah doesn't like to do anything in public unless she's good at it.

Krys and her teacher finally coaxed her into the water for the backstroke (you start in the pool, after all) and she did pretty well. But we could not convince her to stay for the butterfly, so we went home.

Krys said she had a long talk with her on the way home, and I spoke to her briefly this morning. She's not sure if she wants to do another one, but I told her that part of growing up is doing stuff in public, and she should probably get used to it. I think she'll get better - she usually does - and I was glad she actually managed to get in the pool and do one event. I do wish she wouldn't burst into tears at the drop of a hat. She's very emotional, and I shudder to think how she'll be when she's a teenager.

It's always a bit jarring to be reminded that she's only six. She's very mature in so many facets of her life, but occasionally, she's just a scared little girl. She's tough, though, and I imagine she'll slowly get used to large crowds, and then they'll be putty in her hands!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Norah's Art Deco art style and other weird stuff

Norah drew something on her chalkboard last week. I liked it so much I took a picture of it:

It's not a person, although it resembles one. It's completely abstract, but it still has a weird, Art Deco kind of feel to it. I like it because it's abstract, but also because Norah told me she limited herself to two colors, which struck me as odd. She likes drawing a lot, and it's interesting to me that she's placing restrictions on herself and is seeing what she can do with that. Maybe all kids do this - what do I know? But it's still a cool chalk drawing.

Then, she decided to do this with her jump rope:

I didn't want to get into a whole b-word discussion with her (I'd type it, but who knows what kind of weird Google results that would get?), so I just asked her what she was doing. It turns out she wanted to jump around with her legs tied together. Why? She's a six-year-old, who knows? I told her that was fine, but when she tripped and fell flat on her face and broke her nose and/or her teeth, she should probably remember that I told her so. Norah is actually starting to accept that maybe Mom and Dad have some knowledge about life that she doens't, so she quickly took the rope off. Crisis averted!

Norah: Weird, but awesome. Isn't that always the way with kids?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Odds 'n' ends

Yes, it's been a while - we've been quite busy. First we had to deal with Mia's g-tube and getting used to that, and then we went on vacation. Krys and I, that is, for the first time in over five years. We went to Key West on 26-31 January to celebrate my friend's 40th birthday, and we had a blast. So I've been doing other stuff. But I have updates!


Mia's g-tube experience is fine. On the weekend, we've managed to get her up to 711 milliliters of high-calorie, high-fiber stuff (we know because we can get three juice-box-sized containers in her, and each is 237 ml) into her, which is nice but only about half as much as she should. During the week, we've only been able to get about 350 ml in her, because we haven't been giving her the stuff through the g-tube at school. We've done this just to enlarge her stomach so she doesn't puke everything up. This week I trained the school staff to do it (they already know quite a lot, but they still need me to train them), and they're going to try to get 360 ml (180 twice a day) in her during the day. They don't need to use the pump to do that, because you can just put it into her tube and let gravity move it into her stomach. They just started, so I hope that this will help spread out the amount that goes into her through the day and help her gain weight. She hasn't gained a lot of weight in the past three weeks, but she hasn't lost any, either, and I know we have to start giving her more if she's going to gain weight. We'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, we went to see her surgeon yesterday for her first check-up, and I learned some interesting stuff that might have been good to know before we took her home. The nurse asked us how much water she had in her bulb, and I didn't even know what the question meant. It turns out that the bulb at the end of the button that is in her stomach is filled with water, which inflates it and keeps it in her stomach. If the bulb breaks, it won't damage her at all, but the water will leak out and the button will fall out, which would suck because the hole would close up very quickly and if that happens, she needs to go into surgery. So they showed me how to check the water in her bulb, which was nice. They also told me that the red, viscous crap around the wound is "granulation," which happens because it is, after all, an open wound with a foreign object in it, so the doctor and nurses showed me how to try to get rid out that. They also told me what to do to put a new button in, which I might have to do occasionally. That would have been nice to know. I love that they let us leave the hospital without all this knowledge. Charming! Mia has to go back quite often in the first year, and it seems like they're going to change the button often, depending on whether she needs it or not. They said it depends on the kid - some kids' buttons last a long time, some don't. Some kids get a lot of irritation around the wound, and some don't. Mia doesn't have a lot of irritation, but it's there, and we're trying to make sure it doesn't get worse.

So that's Mia's g-tube news. But there's more!


Last week Mia got a new hand splint, which we've been waiting on for some time. Her old splint was fine, but we wanted to have one that turned her wrist a bit and stabilized her elbow, so the specialist worked on that for us. It's not perfect, but it's pretty keen. We can't turn her wrist too much because it would be stressing out her joints too much, but it's slightly tilted. The hand part and the arm part are separate so that her wrist is straight but not rigid, which gives her some flexibility but keeps it pretty straight. Meanwhile, the elbow part is an entire separate part that we can take off, so she can wear the hand part a lot but doesn't need the elbow part as much. We wanted to be able to lock the elbow so that it could support her when she's sitting in her chair, the orthotic guy could not find a lock small enough for a kid - you can do it for an adult, but not a child. So she has a gear on her elbow that can keep her arm from flexing beyond a certain point but allows her to straighten it. We hope that helps her move the wheel on her chair more easily. That would be nice.

She is surprisingly fine with the splint so far. She's wearing it for about 3-4 hours a day right now, but we're trying to get her up to pretty much all the time, because her doctor is worried about arthritis and we don't want that. She certainly doesn't like it, but the fact that her wrist isn't completely rigid, I think, is very nice for her. So here are some pictures of it!

Here's my adorable assistant holding the entire sucker.

Here she is wearing the monster:

You'll notice that the piece holding Mia's hand is a bit more solid and all-encompassing, which is nice.

This shows the gear that we can set to keep her arm from flexing. Too bad it's not a lock!


Finally, Norah is still awesome. Nothing too new to announce, except that she now has a Twitter account. Well, okay, not her, but I finally convinced Krys to set up a Twitter feed that Krys will update with Norah's fun bon mots. Krys used to post them on Facebook, but I told her it would be more fun if she was on Twitter. If you want to follow her (and why wouldn't you?), check it out here. It's awesome.


So that's what's what with the kids these days. It's all groovy!