Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making stuff is fun

We're trying to break in all our nifty Christmas presents before we head out for a three week trip to Florida next week. It's not a small job as we have such a generous extended family. This sewing machine was given to Mr. Isaac by Grandma W and it's a very good fit. He's been making these stuffed animals for others by hand and we wanted to see how easy it would be to make one with modern assistance. I had a shirt I didn't need anymore, so voila!

The stuffed animal Isaac made me for Christmas was easily my favorite gift (and there were so many great gifts!) and it will always be a treasure. It's sitting there just in front of the lamp/cowboy hat combo. Also, my night stand is never this clean.
I had to take a picture because I like it this way so much.

Isaac's focus can be impressive for a 6 year old. He's the kind of personality that is either acting like he's a very enthusiastic 45 year-old or throwing a toddler-style fit in indignation over nothing. There isn't much in between, but the fit-throwing mode is starting to show up less and less. (He gets it from me, so I question whether it will ever disappear entirely...) We spent over an hour reading the sewing machine's warnings, learning how to plug everything in, filling the bobbin, threading the machine, and "drawing" some shapes on construction paper. The very first warning said not to treat the machine as a toy and he requested I read that part in both English and French. Little boys are funny.

FangFang isn't really making things yet, although she likes to scribble tiny circles on her pieces of paper and then shout, "DONE!" when the boys are doing school.

She's pretty good at making faces, though.

This is how we made it through our local scuba dive club meeting. The speaker wrote a book about wreck dives in the Northwest we'd love to use for a bit of exploring once the kids are in college or we find a babysitter. Whichever comes first!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Diagnosis and surgery scheduled.

What a day.

Short story: Primrose is scheduled for a relatively minor spinal surgery on February 11th. It's overnight in the hospital and the surgery itself is less than an hour.

We ended up with two appointments today. One was a surprise reschedule with the neurosurgeon who had already rescheduled several times and the other was with our new pediatrician for a regular old inflamed set of lymph nodes.
She is pretending to tickle you.
To tell you the truth, I find medical appointments ridiculously tiring and by the end of the day I feel about 90 years old. It's not just the conversations and the procedures, it's dragging the kids through looming medical facilities and labyrinths made almost entirely of elevators, blind corridors and germs. You know how a computer will get slowed down and heated up by processes running needlessly in the background? That's me, and I probably can't even handle the newest version of anything right now. (Juicing, watching broadcast TV, listening to Katy Perry... none of it will fit on my current system.)
Because everyone needs an owl backpack, doggie purse, magnatiles and thirteen billion Pokemon cards
when they're getting ready to head to the grocery store, KWIM?

Randall Children's Hospital really isn't all that bad. There are neat painted installations (all with a bird theme) and warm lovely pieces of art everywhere. The kids noticed that almost all the art had animals hidden in it, and they approved. There was a truly inviting play garden we were sorry to pass by twice because J had to get to the office when we finished the surgeon's appointment.

Primrose starts to whimper as soon as we get into the bowels of an office. She has been to a lot of these rodeos in her short life. If anyone gloves up, she is in full-on ugly-cry mode. The neurosurgeon (who just ran for senate but fortunately for us, lost) was very brisk and matter-of-fact. I may have fallen in love, as she had strong clear advice and showed us the MRI images to back it up. There was no ambiguity. Our girl has her spinal cord tethered near the end of her spine, instead of floating freely as it should. As she grows, it would cause problems with her legs, continence, and other frightening neurological junk.
We have to keep her in top condition. Otherwise, who will keep up on the stuffed-spider feeding schedule around here?

Oh look, click here for a link with better medical info than I can give.

So we left with a surgery date and the reassurance that in our daughter's case this isn't a judgment call. It's clearly surgical, and leaving it would likely result in scary damage when she starts growing taller. The best part of the appointment was when I asked about re-tethering (I read there is a 40% chance of that) and the Doc just about laughed. She says with this kind of tether, the likelihood is more like 1 or 2% and she has actually almost never seen it happen. Reassurance: Check!
I believe they are sharing M&M's here. And by sharing, I mean he's giving her his M&Ms.

The second appointment was actually way less fun even though it was mundane, as far as the kids are concerned. FangFang had to get three more vaccines, and we discovered that the GP from our initial homecoming appointments did not properly test for several versions of Hepatitis and failed to include measles or chicken pox in her orders. Lucky for our girl, we have wised up on the horror of pediatric blood draws and requested that they be combined with the sedation for the spinal surgery. Look at us learn to work the system.
This diagnosis is almost as good as Christmas...

Well, almost... 

Christmas was pretty rad.
Primrose passed out in the car on the way home, and in just a little while we have to wake her from her nap to head out for Isaac's cello class. Somehow we snuck in spelling, reading, and math. I managed to call the studio of one of our teachers who is out with the flu while the kids were magically quiet in the car downtown. (It was kind of weird, really, I expected to have to stand on the sidewalk with my phone while they were locked in their soundproof cage the car.) We were supposed to do Chinese and writing, but it just ain't going to happen today. If they're lucky, we'll play a Neil Gaiman audiobook in the car.

Altogether, I'd say it's a win. Where's my wine?