doctors, bosses, and normal

I’ve talked before about Monster’s disability. He was born with a hearing loss and has hearing aids. Since his diagnosis nearly 6 years ago, my life has been a whirlwind of appointments : Doctors, speech therapy, counsellors, ENT, audiology…. the list goes on and on.
For a time, there was an appointment every other week. Sometimes 2 or 3. It was exhausting – not only physically, but emotionally and career-wise, too. I am lucky to have a job that my supervisor is very understanding of motherhood and the time it requires, allows me to make-up time and switch shifts, but I wasn’t always so lucky. When all of the appointments started, my manager at the time hated me. She looked for any opportunity to drag me in her office and reprimand berate me. If I hadn’t needed the job so badly, I would have told her where she could put her job… alas – a single mom needs money to survive.
I thank God for my current Supervisor and Manager… after that experience, I will always appreciate a “boss” that doesn’t hold my child against me.

Monster has struggled with fluid in his ears for a few years now. He hasn’t had a reliable hearing test in over 2 years because there was constantly fluid or congestion.

He had tubes put in 2 ears ago, which helped for a while, but as soon as they grew over, the fluid came back. The doctors would not re-do the tubes, because it wasn’t “consistent” fluid. Every 3 months Monster would go to the Audiologist. Every 3 months she would shake her head and mutter under her breath because he would have congestion in one ear which makes it difficult for her to get an accurate reading on whether his hearing has remained at the level it was, or degenerated. Why wouldn’t they re-do the tubes? Every 3 months, the fluid was in a different ear. Frustrating.

Last week, Monster had an appointment with his Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. This is the appointment where the doctor looks in his ears, comments on the amount of fluid he has, then books an appointment to follow-up in 3 months because “if the fluid is still there, we will definitely have to re-do the tubes.”

But in 3 months, the fluid will be on the other ear and I’ll get the same speech.

Yeah. Wait for it.

“Right on – no fluid”

Huh?

I look over at Monster lying on the examination table, smiling and giving this new E.N.T., who I now LOVE, a big smile and a high five.

“None?” I ask him, hesitant because he is new, after all – and looks like he’s about 25.

“None. Been a while since you’ve heard that?” he asked with a big smile. Even the nurse looked pleased. Of course that could be because Monster was flirting with her for the whole appointment. He has a way, that little one. The force is strong in him. But THAT’s a whole other post.

Then we got whisked away to do hearing tests while we had a chance for accurate results. And they were a word I haven’t heard in some time : Normal. Well, normal for Monster anyway. While his hearing hasn’t gotten any better (and never will) it hasn’t gotten any worse in the nearly 6 years since he was born. This is just the sort of good news that I needed.

Normal.

Not a word often heard in our home. And definitely not used to describe any of us…

man’s woman’s best friend

When I was a baby, my parents got a black labrador retriever that they named Duke. Duke was a feisty little boy, with an ever-moving tail and boundless energy – at least that’s what I’ve been told. I obviously don’t remember.

What I do remember is long walks in the fields surrounding my parent’s house. We were surrounded by farmland, overlooking a quiet bay. Duke and I would spend hours out in the yard, throwing the ball, hunting snakes, swimming and enjoying life.
Having been raised alongside an infant, he was a gentle boy… never growling or biting anyone, greeting the tourists as they rode by on their bikes, offering his ball to them so they could throw it. Everyone enjoyed his diving tricks; throw a small stone in to the water and he’d come out with one so big he could barely lift it.
He was my Dad’s hunting buddy – he trained him for duck hunting, and he was skilled in the art of ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, ‘back’ and ‘release’. My father always said he had a gentle mouth, and would never leave a mark on anything that he retrieved.
His coat was so black, it almost looked blue. I brushed him all. the. time. so it shined like it was wet. He probably would have won conformation classes, as he was the exact dog that you will find on the cover of any Black Labrador book. Not a fleck of white on him, and no kink in his tail. A perfect head and strong bones.

Duke lived unusually long for a Lab – he was 13 when he was attacked by another dog and died from his injuries.

My whole family was at a wedding when we got a phone call that something had happened to Duke. We raced home to find him hiding in the barn, unable to breathe, and knowing there was nothing we could do, we said our goodbyes and he slipped away.

It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry.

The first time I had experienced death close enough to personally affect me.

We buried him in the back yard under a cedar sapling. Every time I see a fine-boned silky-smooth black lab, I think of Duke.

The boys have been bugging us for a dog since we moved here. There are dogs everywhere in our neighbourhood, and an off-leash part just down the road. Because Peanut and Monster have a dog at their father’s, and Speedy has one at his mother’s, they thought it was only fair to have one here.

The consensus was originally ‘absolutely not’ – too much work. We want to travel, we love to golf, we are never home. We don’t have a fenced yard, and I don’t want a dog in the house.

Until we realized that we are ALWAYS home. Yes we love to golf, but we don’t really travel, other than overnight sometimes. A fence isn’t that expensive, and the house is empty when the boys aren’t here… why not bring a furry friend in to love?

And so, the search began. First, it was finding a breed that fit with us. It had to be active, but not crazy; trainable, but not conniving, lovable and affectionate, with an even temperament. Then the debate: puppy or dog? Breeder or shelter?
While I love the thought of “rescuing” a dog, the unknown history would leave me feeling less than confident about having my less than calm children around it.

After much research, emails, phone calls, and a visit – we would like to introduce you to the latest member of the family:

Soul Man a.k.a. "Sam"

More to come, but have a look at this – Monster had known him for 10 minutes:

Best friends already

never leave your kids alone with a MacBook

I have a very busy weekend…

Peanut got his glasses yesterday, and it was Speedy’s birthday (8!!!)
My best friend’s little girl has her 5th birthday party today. We should have LOTS of nice pictures πŸ™‚
We are having Speedy’s family birthday party tonight.

We are having Speedy’s friend birthday party tomorrow.

(I’m grooming him much like myself, to enjoy a week-long birthday !! )

Yesterday, as I rushed around between respirology appointments, glasses pick-up and school pick-ups, I gave Peanut the computer and put Angry Birds on it for him to play.

He loves that silly game.

I rushed around, hearing him giggle and laugh, which made me smile – I was worried he wouldn’t like his new glasses and it would be a fight to get him to wear them.

Instead, when I came downstairs to see what was making him laugh so hard, I found this on my computer:

Guess he found Photo Booth.

Guess he’s ok with them.

And if this doesn’t make you laugh, you need help πŸ™‚

Sunday Smilemaker(s)

I have more than one smilemaker today.
My 3 oldest friends and I get together every year with our children and have our own Christmas for them.
This year, the party was hosted at our house. With 8 children under 8 (most of them under 5), there was no shortage of shouts, squeals, crying, laughing, and excitement.

As the evening wound down, everyone gathered up their children and said their goodbyes. As I closed the door behind my friend B, with her little man C (you can find him here… or here), I realized that we don’t do this nearly enough.

Why only once a year?

We’ve been best friends since we were kids. We’ve seen each other through heartbreaks, weddings, divorce, births, deaths and multiple trips to the hospital for any number of injuries and illnesses.

These are the women I trust with my life, and who I am proud to be friends with.

Most of the time πŸ˜‰

Here are some fun shots from our afternoon together.

Monster got an R/C truck for his gift. Β This made him “sooooooo happy!!”

He spent the next 20 minutes racing it back and forth from the living room to the entryway, all the while trying to keep the remote out of the quick hands of little BusyBoy.

The first moment he set it down and turned his back…..

Muuahahahaha

Peanut and the Optometrist

Peanut has always been good about going to the Doctor. He understands that it is important to keep an eye on our health and that seeing a Doctor, of any sort, need not be a scary experience.

Recently, we went to the Optometrist. I’m expecting some old man with a lab coat and a bad hairdo. Instead, I got a bubbly young woman who, upon inspection of her diplomas strewn across the walls, is younger than me.
I’m not sure why having professionals younger than me bothers me, but it makes me feel old. At 33, I shouldn’t feel old yet. Right?… Right???

But I digress…

We got to play fun games finding numbers in pictures, we wore 3D glasses, we got to look through something that looked like a superhero mask… and then Dr R dropped the bomb on us.

Peanut needs glasses.

How, as a mother, did I miss this?? He’s 7 and has never complained about his sight before…
Although… now that I think of it, he has been blinking his right eye an awful lot lately when he’s reading.
And there is the fact that he doesn’t seem as interested in reading as he used to.

The good news?
He really only needs glasses to help his right eye “catch up” developmentally with his left eye.
This means that while he needs to wear them at all times right now, in a year or so, he may only need them occasionally.

The bad news?
Peanut doesn’t want glasses.

SO

When Dr R tells us, with great enthusiasm, that we now get to pick out some “totally cool frames”, we head out to the store to see what will suit Peanut.

Nothing.

He doesn’t want them.

It doesn’t matter that his little buddy at school wears them, or another little friend and her little sister…
Have you ever gone clothing shopping with a friend that doesn’t really enjoy it? You know that look when they come out of the change room and you know at that moment that it doesn’t matter what you put them in or how great it looks, you will always get that same reaction… slouched over, arms stuck out as if to say “there…happy?” long face…

That is now Peanut’s expression. For every. pair. of frames. It’s exasperating.

15 minutes later, we have picked the cutest frames, totally gone overboard on telling him how adorable he is and that he’s going to be the coolest kid in school (to which Monster objected, saying only kids with fluorescent blue hearing aids were the coolest) we ordered the glasses and made for home.

When we get home afterwards, I try to play it down. I don’t mention it again. The boys spend the day playing together and as far as I know, there is no mention of it. The fact that he doesn’t want to talk about it has be a bit concerned, as this is a child that normally has 4,000 questions for any life experience that occurs. Whether it affects him or not, he wants to have every detail, and understand every avenue… a bit like his mother.

So when bedtime rolls around and I am tucking him in I am surprised when he asks me “when am I getting my glasses Mom?”. I wave it off, saying “Don’t worry buddy, they won’t be in for a week or two.”
I’m sure my reaction was comical when he asked me why we couldn’t have just taken those ones home today… then I found out why.

Apparently Speedy thinks that glasses are pretty cool and he wants a pair…
I guess that will be the next trip to the Optometrist….