Archive for June, 2005

Books People in My House Are Reading Today

June 30, 2005 @ 7:08 am | Filed under:

Little Children by Tom Perrotta (Scott says I should read this next)
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell (he has been reading bits and pieces to me—fascinating)

The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (for the umpteenth time)
1984 by George Orwell (for the first time, surprisingly)

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Math for Smarty Pants by Marilyn Burns (tattered, dogeared, one of her favorite books)

•the Samantha & Josefina books (and apparently she can’t decide which one to be today…she showed me a slip of paper on which she had written “Samfina” and “Josemantha,” her attempt, evidently, to satisify both role-playing impulses at once)

Scott to the girls:
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotsen

Me to Rose at quiet time:
The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Me to Beanie at naptime:
Brave Georgie Goat by Denis Roche

Me to all three girls:
The Wheel on the School by Meindert de Jong (still)
A Life of Our Lord for Children by Marigold Hunt

And on audio:
•(Jane) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
•(all girls) Irish Folk Tales by Sharon Kennedy

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Crashing Halt

June 29, 2005 @ 3:18 pm | Filed under: , ,

People have been writing to ask where I’ve been lately. Waiting rooms, mainly.

In May I wrote about the roller coaster spring we were having—well, ha. Turns out that was just the kiddie-park ride. Wonderboy was just warming up for the big loop-de-loop. Nosebleeds, thrush, my little adventure with a tick…small potatoes. I’ll see your tick bite and raise you pneumonia, mom…

But that’s jumping ahead. First there was the skull fracture. (Sometimes I can’t even believe I type sentences like that one. I remember a time when the too-close clipping of infant Jane’s fingernails seemed high tragedy.) Wonderboy is walking all over the place, hooray! But his protective arm reflexes are poor, oh no! When he tumbles, as toddlers do, he sometimes hits his head. One of those times, the physics (so our neurosurgeon informed me) were perfect to crack his skull. A small crack. A linear crack, the simplest kind. Don’t worry, the neurosurgeon informed me. It’ll heal on its own, happens all the time.


A few days later, I’m changing Wonderboy’s diaper and oh no. Can’t believe my eyes. I could swear his hernia is back. This would be the hernia that was surgically repaired over a year ago. Less than a 1% recurrence rate, according to Google. Which means OF COURSE it’s back.

One all-day ER visit later, the hernia has been temporarily reduced (it pops back out the next morning) and—surprise—a precautionary chest x-ray (since he also had a fever) reveals that he has pneumonia. Triple whammy!

By this point, it’s early June and we have already canceled our long-awaited trip to New York to celebrate Jane’s 10th birthday with her best friends. This decision, while crushingly disappointing, turns out to have been a blessing, because otherwise we would have been sitting on the Jersey Turnpike with a baby with a mysteriously recurring hernia and, oh yeah, pneumonia.

The chaos of the next few days causes us to also cancel a long-awaited visit from two terrific teenage girls, daughters of friends of mine. This is a huge blow. We had all sorts of fun Virginia sightseeing planned. But the painful decision turns out to be a wise one, because that week too was filled with back-and-forths to various area hospitals. (You don’t even want to get me started on the insurance/out-of-network hospital mess.) Was that just last week? No, wait, it was the week before last. Right.

So where are we now. The pneumonia is gone, hooray. The swelling from the head injury has mostly gone down. But the hernia is well and truly back. There’s another surgery on the immediate horizon. A second procedure will be performed at the same time, because unfortunately the skin around Wonderboy’s protruding coccyx is beginning to break down. We knew the tailbone would probably need to be removed someday but we were hoping it could wait until he was a little older (and fatter). Right now surgery is scheduled for mid-July.

I’m writing a book in my head in the waiting rooms. At this point I could write a book ABOUT waiting rooms. Except I’d much rather write about Wonderboy and his sisters. And roller coaster rides.

P.S. If you’ve emailed me lately and I haven’t answered yet, all of the above is why! I’m slowly getting caught back up, though. Really!