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  • Nothing Worse Than An Angry Monkey

    February 28, 2008

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    The other day as I was dressing Sean for church, he thrust Mr. Monkey in my face.  “Be careful,” he warned solemnly.  “Sometimes Mr. Monkey gets angry.”


    WalMart – Come As You Are, Even In Your Pajamas

    February 27, 2008

    Last week, after the second blood draw, Sean and I went to Wal-Mart to get a few things that we needed and a few things we didn’t. He had been such a brave soldier through the whole ordeal — much better than mommy — that I wanted to let him pick out a new Lightning McQueen diecast car or something frivolous.

    Because it was a fasting blood draw, we had to yank him out of bed at dark thirty in the morning. Consequently it was now the mid-afternoon and he was still wearing what he had on first thing in the morning when we put him in the car – pale blue long john pajamas, slippers with big snowman heads on the toes and a black and orange Halloween sweatshirt that says “Boo!” on the front and crazy rock star hair.

    Apparently age four is when self-awareness starts to kick in because as we were getting out of the car, he stopped and looked down at himself.  He was mortified.  With a hand gesture that swept from his shoulder down to his knees, he cried, “Oh no! I can’t wear this to the store!”

    About that time a sizeable lady about my age scuffed by in slippers and what appeared to be pajama bottoms.

    I laughed to myself. I wanted to say, “You know what Sean, you are right. You cannot wear pajamas to the store. It is just not right. We need to go home and change.”

    I was relieved to know that even though Sean is in the Wal-Mart, he is not of the Wal-Mart.

    Y’all Are So Creative

    February 26, 2008

    Well that was fun!  Shall we do that again sometime? I loved reading your answers. You made me laugh. 

    Here is the shot in it’s original form, but turned upright. 

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    As you can see, it’s a cake! A half-eaten grocery-store birthday cake.  It took me longer to figure that out than it did you.

    So then, the randomly chosen winner is Sarah!  Miss Sarah, here is your fabulous prize-like prize package (insert applause and Vanna-like gesture here).

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    – Two 5.3oz Lindt Petits Desserts chocolate bars, retail value $2.99 each. Now that’s my idea of dessert!

    – A slightly used Twinkie Cook Book from Half Price Books, valued at $5.98! According to the cover, inside you will find “an inventive and unexpected recipie collection”.  Learn how to make Twinkie Grasshoppers and Twinkie Ka-bobs! Yummo!

     But wait! There’s more! 

    – Valued at $9.29, you will also receive a 10oz package of Starbucks “Limited Reserve” coffee.  They ain’t selling the limited stuff to just anybody ya’ know.  Well, actually they are, but it says it’s rare and exquisite right on the package and who am I to argue with Starbucks.  

    A $25 Target gift card valued at $25.

    And finally, a one-of-a-kind watercolor by up and coming artist Sean, bringing your prize package up to a grand total of $2,046.25!

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    Obviously this is a picture of a cake.

    Congratulations Sarah! Email me and let me know where to send this stuff!  Y’all, Sarah teaches kindergarten. She needs the chocolate.

    * * * 

    So then, yes, I had a birthday a while back, hence the cake.  Had I been feeling well, there would not have been a half-eaten cake to photograph.

    I love to celebrate my birthday and do not understand those who do not.  I always celebrate my birthday because I want to make sure God knows how much I like and appreciate his gift of another year of life, no matter how many new lines it has brought to my face.  Having said that, today I offer a gentle reminder to my young readers who are not yet familiar with the business end of a pair of tweezers to look in the mirror and know that no matter how bad you think you look, ten years from now you will wish you looked as good. Trust me.

    Here now, my life flashed before your eyes.

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    And finally, I leave you with another shot Sean took recently, this one of me with Wivian and Papa Ed, the people who spawned me.  It kind of captures something about who we are and I really like it.  It makes me happy.

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    February 25, 2008

    First of all, bloodwork results.  The doctor’s office called Friday night at 5pm and reported that all the bloodwork came back normal — all the liver and pancreatic panels were just fine. Yay! But there is still a lot of sugar in his urine. While that is not nomal, it could be normal for him.  The doctor will chat up the specialists this week and then we will decide where to go from here.  We may need to make a visit to a nephrologist at some point. In the meantime, Sean seems to be feeling well and that puts my world back on it’s axis.

    Second – Whut The Heck Izit photo contest will end sometime today and I will announce the “winner” of our fabulous prize-ish prize-like prize tomorrow morning.  I have no idea what the prize will be but it will include a one of a kind hand drawn work of art by Sean.

    And third, if you haven’t been over to my design blog, Inspired Spaces, go check out my new look!  Today we are working on Jennifer’s combo living/dining room. She loves vivid color and needs some help pulling it all together and would love to hear your ideas.

    Whut The Heck Izit Photo Contest

    February 23, 2008

    Sean likes to take pictures with my camera and sometimes he comes back with some pretty interesting stuff. And sometimes I have no idea what he has photographed. So I’m hosting my first ever “Whut The Heck Izit” photo contest.  

    I have never given away anything on my blog before, but I had dinner with Chilihead Friday night and after a Sangria Swirl, she made it sound like fun. But then everything sounds like a lot more fun after a Sangria Swirl.

    So then, Sean will randomly select a name from the list of guessers and will personally send the winner a fabulous prize.  No not really. It won’t be fabulous. It won’t be a $500 gift card to Lowes or a Wi-fi (whatever that is) but it will be a prize-ish prize-like sort of prize.  I have no idea when the “contest” is over because I don’t really like rules.

    With no further ado, Whut The Heck Izit??

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    Big Is Beautiful

    February 22, 2008

    Yesterday, Sean and I were playing in his room on the floor.  I was laying on my side and he was crawling back and forth across me.

    At one point, he playfully karate chopped my side from stem to stern and announced, “Mom, you look like the Great Wall of China! I could see you from outerspace!”

    I’m sure that in some culture, somewhere, that was a compliment.

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    Update: For those who have asked, there is no update.  We had two rounds of bloodwork on Tuesday, fasting and non-fasting.  (He is still at-home testing really high for sugar in his urine but seems to feel OK.)  We expected we would hear something at least by the end of the day yesterday. We finally called in the late afternoon and they said it could even be Monday. So we wait.  Ugh.  Thank you all for your prayers and your expressions of concern.  It has made all the difference.

    Magic Cream

    February 21, 2008

    Tuesday morning, just as the liquid pink sun spilled over the horizon, I made my way to Sean’s room. I stood over him for a minute and watched him sleep. The nightlight revealed the form of his rounded spine. Like a little bug, his knees and hands were drawn up tightly to his chest. He was cold. He has yet to master the art of pulling up the covers.

    I resisted the urge to pull his blanket up over him. I was on a mission. I was about to do the one thing that everyone agrees you should never do – wake a sleeping baby. But it had to be done.

    I gently patted and rubbed his back.  I dug one arm out from under him. I tugged him upright. Still sleeping, he sat up.  His head lolled drunkenly to one side and then he collapsed back into this bed, feet still on the floor.

    “Sean,” I whispered, “We have to get up.”

    I pulled him up again, this time lifting him into my arms.

    “Wanna play Legos?” he yawned into my ear, still mostly asleep. 

    “Okay,” I said, “But first I need to put some magic cream on your arms.”

    “Okay,” he said, as if that made perfect sense.

    I sat him down on the side of the bed again. I pulled his twig like arm out of his pajamas. I rubbed the lidocaine cream on the inside of his elbow and put a plastic bandage over it.

    Now he was awake. This was not right. The big plastic bandage felt weird. This is a child who must have every tag cut out of every item of clothing he wears.  He did not like it. Tears sprang to his eyes. His bottom lip trembled.

    “I don’t like this!” he said, tugging at the bandage. I gently pulled his hands away and tucked his arm back into his shirt.

    I told him that we had to go get his blood drawn and that this magic cream would make it so that it wouldn’t hurt. He searched my face. I knew he was thinking about last week, when he had his blood drawn, how it was scary, how it hurt. I tried to wear the expression of a confident grown up, of someone who had a grip, someone who knew what she was doing — someone he could trust.

    “Oh,” he said quietly. His chin dropped to his chest. Resignation. Compliance. He looked so small and pitiful.

    I wanted to cover him with kisses, to tuck him safely back into his bed, to pull the blanket up over him.  Instead I wiped his tears with the sleeve of my robe. Then I pulled his other arm out of his pajama shirt and smoothed on the magic cream.

    If only they made magic cream to numb the heart.

    Walk, Act, Be

    February 18, 2008

    Sunday afternoon was especially lazy here at the House of Antique.  It was cloudy and gray and cold outside, which suited my mood. It was a perfect day for turning inward, shutting the world away and hanging out with my small tribe.

    I sat at my desk in the kitchen simultaneously watching Sean play in the den while I half-heartedly read email and tried not Google glycosuria.

    “Mom,” he called to me, “come in here and play pirate with me.”

    I did not want to play pirate. I wanted to sit at my desk and nurse my anxieties. I wanted to stew and worry about what might happen in the coming week.

    “Well, I don’t really know how to be a pirate,” I said, hoping he’d ask his father instead, who without question would make a much better pirate. 

    But he would not be dissuaded.

    “C’mon mom, I’ll teach you!”

    “Oh? Is there some sort of pirate training that you offer?”

    “You don’t need any training!” he said rather scornfully, “You just walk like a pirate, you just act like a pirate – you just BE a pirate!”

    That was the best advice I had heard all day.

    At that moment, I vowed that I would not allow future worries to rob me of present joy.  I closed the lid to my laptop.  I walked away from my desk and my future worries and into the den to be a pirate.

    In the coming week I will walk like someone who has her stuff together, I will act like someone who has her stuff together – and maybe, just maybe, I might just BE someone who has her stuff together.

    And if I can’t pull that off, then I’ll just walk like a pirate.


    February 15, 2008

    Y’all are amazing.  And oddly enough, given to violence. I had no idea so many of my gentle readers would be willing to break someone’s legs on my behalf.  I am honored.  And little fightened.  I’m kidding as I know y’all are too.  You ARE kidding, right?

    I do want to thank you all for your prayers and positive thoughts.  Your prayers were the currents under my wings that kept me aloft these past few days.

    Anyway, clarifications and updates are in order.

    First for clarification — and this is all newly learned information for me.  Blood sugar and urine sugar are not the same.  You should have sugar in your blood, something around 70-110. You should not have sugar in your urine.  If you do (from what I understand at this point and I am NOT an expert) the sugar is spilling over from your kidneys or pancreas which could indicate diabetes or something else.

    So then, the first urine test Sean took was accurate.  A sugar count of 2000 is extreeeemly high and a reason to be concerned.  However, his blood sugar was at 85, which you can’t get any more normal than that.  And none of the other markers for diabetes were present in his blood. 

    And now for the update:  We went back to the “real” doctor on Thursday and he still had sugar in his urine, but it was down to 250 from 2000, which is elevated but not insane.  But the doctor was stumped. He said he had no idea what was going on and that it was probably one of those one-time mystery medical events for which we will never have an explanation. 

    The doctor suggested that we cut all additional sugars out of his diet — sodas, candy, pastries — and then come back in for another urine test this coming week.  The upside to this event is that it was the kick in the pants we needed here at the House of Antique to get the refined sugar out of our diet, something we are all going to do.  In the meantime, I am going to test his urine myself at home and hopefully see that number decline.

    Now here’s a tip: Do NOT go on WebMD and start researching all the reasons you might have sugar in your urine because it will not make you feel better.  I did, and I learned that Sean could either be pregnant or have a brain tumor. 


    February 14, 2008

    Tuesday, I had my boat rocked.

    In my life, I’ve had my boat rocked many a time. I’m a tough gal. I’m a high-cope person. I am good in a crisis. But yesterday was different. Yesterday it wasn’t about me, it was about my child. And it sent me overboard.

    Tuesday morning, Antique Daddy and I took Sean in for his four-year check-up, which unfortunately includes four vaccinations. I was dreading having to put him through the four shots, but as a family that embraces pharmacology, it had to be done. (Your philosophy on vaccinations may be different than mine, feel free to discuss it on your blog.)

    Since it was just shots, I agreed to see the nurse-practitioner. Go ahead and judge me now, I prefer the doctor. I’m a doctor snob. One reason I prefer the doctor to the nurse practitioner is because the doctor is not 6’4 and 85 pounds. He does not wear pointy-toed stiletto heels and expensive dry-clean only sweaters to see children who might puke without notice. Her clothing choices do not say “I love children!” Her clothing choices send a mixed message and confuse me. Therefore I am wary of her.

    The regular nurse takes his blood pressure and does all the regular stuff and then hands me a plastic cup and orders me to get a urine sample from the patient. So I dutifully take Sean to the restroom and he happily complies as if there is nothing more fun one could do than pee in a cup and put it in a little window. “Can we do this at home?” he asks.  No.

    We went back to the exam room and continued with an impromptu Tonka road rally and waited.  All was well and the seas were calm.  A little glint of sun peeked through the windows.

    The semi-doctor breezes into the room, stepping through the Tonka road rally in her stiletto pumps and plops down in a chair and announces with no warning that Sean has a sugar count of 2000 in his urine, that he’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, that we need to gather up our stuff and rush to the Children’s hospital emergency room and have him admitted where they can start doing tests and that he will need an insulin pump for the rest of his life and I will have to finger-stick him to check his blood sugar several times a day.

    As I’m trying to take in all this information, I’m watching Sean happily bouncing around the room, the picture of health in every way. And that’s when the room listed to one side. On another day, when I was feeling well, I would have put the brakes on. But I am at the tail end (I hope) of a nearly month-long bronchial infection and my reserves are low. In my weakened state, I just sat there with my mouth open and stared at her.

    With all the energy I could muster, which was none, I feebly offer that maybe it was the blueberry muffin he ate that morning or some Valentine candy from the day before.

    “No,” she dismisses me, “That might raise it to 200, but not 2000 blah blah blah the sky is falling blah…” After that I couldn’t hear anything other than that ch-ch-ch sound of my blood marching in my ears. And then she left the room to call her mother and proudly report the exciting diagnosis she just made. At that point, I felt like I was being burned at the stake. Heat started steadily rising from my torso to my head. The room started spinning and I had to decide whether to throw up or pass out. And so I knelt down on the floor to make either option more convenient. 

    The regular nurse came in and asked me if I was okay. I said, no, I did not think I was okay and that I needed to lie down. She suggested that I lay on the exam table, so I crawled up there and curled up in a little ball and willed the room to stop spinning. Sean, who is oblivious to all of the drama happening around him, stops sailing a Tonka truck across the floor and climbs up on the table and curls up beside me. He kisses my cheek and pats my side. “I will take care of you Mommy,” he offers. How ironic. I can’t think. I can’t feel anything except the sensation of fire.

    Twenty or thirty minutes or hours pass, I’m not sure which. I no longer have a grasp on time. The not-quite-a-doctor and the regular nurse have an argument discuss how to get blood work back STAT. The regular nurse, the one with some sense, sends us to another facility to have blood drawn before we go to Children’s. She hands me paperwork. This is good. I have something in my hands that I can do. I manage to pull myself together enough to check out and get to the car, but the sensation that I’m on fire and my legs are made of jello persists.

    We go to the next place and get blood drawn, which on a four-year-old, is almost as fun as four shots in the same day. And then we go home and wait for several hours for the phone to ring. We cherish the next several hours because we don’t know if they will be the last four hours of our previously normal life. We play, we pray. Priorities are reordered.

    Three hours later, the nurse-practitioner calls and reports that his blood sugar is as normal as can be. She tells us that she has talked to the endocrinologist at Children’s and that he suggests that the elevated sugar in the urine is a stress response to a recent ear infection.

    So then.  The semi-doctor yelled “Boo!” and is now calling to say “Just kidding!”  I feel slightly relieved, but not. I want to break her 85-pound frame in two just the same.  She wants us to come back in for a retest of his urine later in the week and another blood draw next week, but in the meantime to go on with life as normal.  I’m not sure how to do that as I don’t normally live in the shadow of a giant scary question mark.

    In the meantime, I remind myself that no matter the outcome, that we will cope. That if we have to, we will deal with this as families all over the world do and have.  In the meantime, I remind myself that my God is with me always, no matter how badly my boat is rocking.