The Daughter Chronicles

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More orthodontic news!

Norah got braces this week, and she's ... well, not exactly happy about it, but not exactly unhappy about it, either. The orthodontist debated about giving her a second expander or putting braces on, and he finally decided on the latter. He's not sure how long she'll have to have them on - we're going back in six weeks to get a check-up, and I assume he'll know more then. She was pretty good, all things considered - she had to have that plastic thing that keeps your mouth open in for about 45 minutes, and it was getting pretty annoying, but she handled it like a trooper. Her lips got a bit dry, but such is life. It's funny seeing all the things that we're used to happen to someone for the first time - she's had dental examinations before, of course, but they're usually pretty quick. This was the first time she'd had to endure a lengthy invasive presence, dentally-wise, and she liked it about as much as the rest of us do. But she was perfectly fine with it. She's been brushing diligently after every meal, because she's obsessed with keeping food out of them (unlike her father, who didn't care about that crap when he had braces - I kept them clean, but not as clean as they should have been). They ached a bit for a day or so, but it seems like they've gotten better. She just has to figure out which foods are too cold to eat, because cold on metal is never good.

Krys, of course, thinks she's the only person in the world who's cute even with braces, but that's because she's Norah's mommy. She still looks like a kid in braces, which is not the best look. But she's still a cutie!

The journey to straighter teeth continues!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wacky third-graders are wacky

I mentioned a while back that I was teaching a class on artistic masterpieces in the third-grade classes at Norah's school. Well, since the school year is over, my responsibilities are over, and I had a grand time. The kids seemed to enjoy it, too. When I went to Norah's school on the final day of school, a bunch of kids wanted me to sign their yearbooks. One of the other parents who was there said, "You're like a rock star!" Yes, probably because my maturity level is about at the same place as a third-grader's. But that's neither here nor there!

The teachers had the kids write thank-you letters to me (this year, the kids learned how to write letters, which is charmingly quaint in the 21st century), and they were quite the hoot. Here are some of the better phrases and other such stuff in the letters:

First, this very nice child began her letter this way:

Yeah, that's my daughter. I laughed and asked her why she addresses it to "Mr. Burgas," and she said, "I was trying to be respectful!" Norah is awesome.

At the bottom of the paper, there was an owl wearing a beret and holding a paint brush. Most of the kids colored him in, but some, as you can see, went a but further.

"I'm saying one of the funnyest because my dad is the funnyest." I'm sure his dad will be happy his son didn't throw him under the bus.

Both teachers helped the kids out by giving them ideas about what to write about, and as you can see, Norah's teacher happened to mention that I was on time, which the kids ran with. Norah's teacher had a wry sense of humor, so I like to imagine she was joking when she said this, but I've learned many things about kids in the past decade, and one of them is that elementary school kids don't get sarcasm. She may have meant it, but if she didn't, the kids wouldn't have made the distinction. But hey - I was on time!

This girl always wanted to know if the artists were married, if they had any kids, and how they died. When we were in training for this job (we had to get trained, you know!), the trainer said that kids always wanted to know those things. I said it was going to be hard when every artist ever is either gay or had many affairs and they all died of syphilis, but such is life. This girl was exactly what the trainer was talking about. She was obsessed with knowing those things!

This kid is talking about Rene Magritte's "Le Mariage de Minuit", which freaked more than one kid out.

A few kids said I was loud, which I guess is a good thing? I've always been loud - you couldn't grow up in my house and expect to get a word in if you weren't loud, and I've been so ever since. So sue me. Hey, I can project! We're not supposed to express our opinions about the art or the artists, because the kids at this age tend to follow suit, but I told them that I do not like Jackson Pollock, and this kid agreed with me. I have a higher opinion of kids than a lot of people, and many of the kids loved the Pollock I showed them even though I told them I hate his art. Kids have their own brains!

I'm not sure how scared I should be! This kid is pretty cool, though, so I think I'm safe.

So that's third-graders being kooky. I could never teach elementary kids because they would drive me insane, but I do think they're awesome. I'll be back next year, and we'll see if they still like me!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mia's new medication

I finally got Mia in to see her physiatrist, as she's been seeing a bunch of other doctors recently and I haven't had a chance to get her to the doctor. But we saw her, and she checked out Mia's muscles. It's always the muscles!

As you might recall, Mia's muscle tone is very high, which has led to a reduction in her standing to ... well, none, really (she does a bit of it at school, but she's basically sitting in a stander that supports her butt). We have no idea how to decrease her tone, and if it lasts too long, she'll get muscle contractures and she'll never be able to stand again because her muscles will be too short. She's been taking baclofen for some years, which has helped a little, but we were wondering if she needed an increase in the dosage of the baclofen to help her out. Her doctor told us she was at the upper reaches of effectiveness for baclofen, so we didn't move that up. She thought Mia moved fairly well, and I mentioned that part of her problem was that when she was stretching, she seemed scared to move too much because she believed it might hurt her. Mia overreacts to everything, and so when you're stretching her, even if she's reasonably loose, she quickly becomes upset if she thinks you're going to stretch her just a bit more. So she reacts by pulling back even more than before, until she's almost fetal. Mia digs fetal-ness - nothing can hurt her when she's in a ball.

The doctor noticed this too, so she prescribed diazepam. Yeah, that's right - Valium. She believes that Mia's baclofen isn't able to override the reaction she has, but if she were able to relax a bit, the baclofen will help her muscles become looser and she can stretch better. Makes sense, right? Obviously, Valium has some issues, so she started her at a very low dosage - 1 milliliter three times a day. This week I'm going to increase that slowly to 2 ml, but I'm going to go slowly with it. Mia seems to be handling it pretty well so far - when she has a lot of external stimuli, there's not any difference in her behavior, but when it gets closer to bed time, you can tell that she's winding down a bit. Back when she wasn't getting enough food in her, we saw this too, because she didn't have enough energy. Now that she's getting enough food, we think it's the Valium hitting her when she doesn't have anything to distract her.

She's only had one physical therapy session since she started on the Valium, so we can't tell if it's working or not. We can always take her off of it if it doesn't, and right now it doesn't appear that she's reacting poorly to it, in terms of allergies or anything. So we'll keep trying it.

And no, I don't have enough to give it to anyone who wants it. Believe me, people have asked - jokingly, I should hope!