Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Car Ride in Pictures

Jack has had a problem in the car lately. He seems to think it is fun to scream the entire time. He will calm down if I turn around and talk to him, but that makes me ever so car sick. So much fun. :(

A good solution we have found is to give Emma the camera and let her entertain him. She has fun and he has fun, and the rest of us enjoy the cease fire of the screaming toddler, so it works well. Here are a few of the HUNDREDS of pictures that ended up on my camera the last time we did this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One More Lesson I Learned From My Children

I have the following quote glued into my scriptures as a compliment to 1 Nephi 17:45 which talks about how the people had brought themselves, through their sins, past feeling for the still small voice:

"Many years ago John Burroughs, a naturalist, one summer evening was walking thrugh a crowded park. Above the sounds of city life he heard the song of a bird. He stopped and listened! Those with him had not heard it. He looked around. No one else had noticed it.

It bothered him that everyone should miss something so beautiful. He took a coin from his pocket and flipped it into the air. It struck the pavement with a ring no louder than the song of the bird.

Everyone turned. They could hear that!

It is difficult to separate from all the sounds of city traffic the song of a bird. But you can hear it. You can hear it plainly if you train yourself to listen for it. It is difficult to separate from the confusion of life that quiet voice of inspiration. Unless you attune yourself, you will miss it. "
Elder Boyd K. Packer Conference Report October, 1979

I came upon this quote during my personal scripture study yesterday. It was glued into my scriptures many years ago. I re-read it, thought fondly of the seminary teacher who had introduced me to it, and went on with my day not thinking much of it.

Later that day I had my Visiting Teacher over. We were having a discussion about parenting when Jack went over to the window and started jumping up and down with excitement. He was pointing and giggling and motioning for me to come and see.

My Visiting Teacher tried to figure out what he was so excited about.
"What do you see? A tree? Some birds? The park? What is so exciting?"

I mentioned to her that he usually acted like that when he saw a dog, but I was sure there was no dog out there.

His happiness and desire to share his giddyness continued raising in volume every minute I ignored him and tried to carry on with the conversation my guest and I were having.

Finally, I felt I could hold out no longer. I went to the window to see what the happy fuss was all about. I tried the same thing Mandy had- trying to figure out what he could see out of the finger print covered window pane that would cause such joy.

"The dirt? Do you like those clouds? Is there a friend playing?"

Each of these pathetic guesses was answered with a vigorous shake of the head and even more points and squeals.

Finally, I saw the cause of the glee. In the shadow of a fence a few houses away was the sleeping form of a little dog who was the same gray color of the shaded earth he was resting upon. Barely noticeable to anyone not as enthusiastic about canines.

My little boy has trained himself to find dogs wherever he can. Billboards, magazines, TV shows, movies, parks, yards, wherever. He doesn't miss them. He can hear them, see them, smell them wherever they are. Where the untrained individual might have missed the camoflagued puppy, Jack did not because he is able to tune out distractions and find what brings him joy if it is there.

This might sound like a silly analogy, but the words of that quote rang in my ears as I thought about how easy it is for my one year old to seek out and find what makes him happy. I can do that too. I can train myself to tune out the distractions and be more perceptive to the Spirit and the promtings He has for me. I can be more aggressive in my efforts to seek out and FIND joy in this sphere of life- diapers, tantrums, dishes and all.

My happiness is completely at my disposal. What I choose to do with it is on me. It is my responsibility to find the metaphorical puppies in my life and to choose to let them make me happy. I truly believe there is inspiration to be found all around us if we are ready to recognize it, interperet it, and then use it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Emma's Surgery

Emma had surgery last week. It was a stressful day as I have never had that kind of worry before. My hat is off to parents of chronically sick children, because this was such a simple procedure for a very non-threatening condition, and I was still stressed out about it all.

Emma has funny eyes. We have been noticing them wandering off and on for about 18 months now. I watch my kids' eyes a lot because of the problems that run in Ross's side of the family. When the problem started to get worse, we took her in to get tested.

Sure enough, after two exams and a specialist, we were told that she has Intermittent Bilateral Exotropia. This means that both of her eyes wander out from time to time. Hers was pretty significant.

The good thing about the problem being in both eyes was that there was less chance of loss of vision since it wasn't just one eye with the weakness. The bad thing was that most of the regular treatments for one eyed problems don't work as well when the condition is bilateral. We tried patching for 6 months, which was a disaster.

She had to have a patch on each eye for at least 2 hours a day. That is 4 hours, folks. This wouldn't be so bad, but she hated to have a patch on in public because people would always ask her what was wrong. We were pretty faithful about it at first, but it started to peter out as her protests got more violent, and there was no improvement that I could see. We still did it, but it wasn't as rigid as it should have been.

In the end it didn't matter. It didn't help. During this time, she was having regular eye exams to make sure that her vision didn't suffer. At her last appointment her vision had changed slightly, but her depth perception was suffering. This got the doctor really worried as it is harder to regain lost depth perception than vision. I was worried as well since the wandering eyes were getting more noticeable even with the patching. We scheduled a strabismus surgery for 3 weeks later.

On Wednesday morning, we dropped Sara and Jack off at a friends' house (thanks, Mandy!) so we could take Emma to the hopsital. She was so scared, the poor thing. I thought it was just about the surgery in general, but it turns out what she was really worried about was getting shots. Funny girl. She relaxed quite a bit when she was told they wouldn't give her any shots at all until she was asleep.

When we got the news that she was out of surgery and was doing well, Ross ran to get the kids while I went back to be with Emma when she woke up. I had been stressing out all morning, and had not eaten breakfast since I was already on edge and nauseous and Emma couldn't eat breakfast before the procedure. I decided to show her a little solidarity, and we didn't eat while the little kids got their breakfast.

That was a bad idea, folks.

As soon as Emma started to wake up, I felt so much calmer. My baby was just fine and all my worry vanished. Then so did everything else.

I woke up on the post-op floor with a buzzing of nurses in pink Dora scrubs all around me. They hoisted my semi-conscious form into one of the tiny children's beds and brought me kid-sized portions of juice and crackers while I tried to figure out where the heck I was, and what the heck had happened to me. I was super embarassed to be taking medical care away from my child. Don't skip breakfast. Don't be a dummy like me.

Then Emma started crying. Poor thing. She was scared coming out of anesthesia and in a bit of pain. I guess having your eye held open and sliced at for an hour isn't the most comfortable thing in the world to come back from...

I fought through the barrage of peppy nurses trying to keep the Mama Bear down, to hold Emma's hand just as I felt myself about to faint again. The PA noticed my second helping of ghost-white paleness and told me to lay down with Emma in her bed. That worked lovely! I could snuggle with my Roo and let the fuzziness in my head abate a bit without having to worry about silly things like standing and walking and speaking without a slur.

Everything else has gone fine. She is healing well- almost too well for my taste! She is supposed to not run or jump around until Monday. This is because it could make her perspire which could introduce dust and sweat and gunk and stuff into her healing eye. It could also mess with the stitching on her cornea which would be no good at all. That was fine for the first day, but after that she wasn't hurting anymore getting her to be still became a HUGE challenge.

My amazing visiting teacher brought over some of her spare Pre-School stuff to help her have entertainment that didn't involve a TV screen or a play-ground. (I have never known a child more adverse to sitting in front of a TV...) I have the best ward.

She also has to wear sunglasses at school because of the light sensitivity. She has liked this. It allows her another chance at accessorizing. In all honesty, she would probably be fine without the glasses in the classroom, but since her eye will look swollen and red for at least another 3 weeks, I would rather she keep them on so no other moms think we are spreading pink-eye around.

There is the update. Sorry it didn't come sooner for those of you who didn't have all the details about what was going on. It has been kind of a stressful week and a half. I really am not cut out to be the mom of a sick child. You families that handle things like this on a regular basis are incredible!