Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Holding them tight

There are a few blogs that I read on a regular basis, written by women that I've never met, living in cities across the US. One of them is written by Emily, who can be found at her own blog, http://www.captainhambone.typepad.com/, as well as over at http://www.parents.com/.

About a year ago, Emily posted an entry about some friends of hers, who while on vacation, found out that their young daughter, baby Emily, had a brain tumor. For those of you who know me and my family you are well aware that my Father-in-law passed away after a very short battle with a brain tumor. So this story hit home, simply because of the familiarity of the situation. I was touched by their story and was drawn into their lives as they uprooted their home life in VA and moved to Boston in order to get some of the best medical care for their daughter in the hopes that they would be able to fight the tumor. Throughout their journey they posted stories, updates and pictures.

There were some days that I would be reduced to tears as I imagined how difficult their lives had become. How they were facing an upward battle and how they would be left making decisions that would keep their little girl from growing and learning the way a normal 1 year old would. Between the surgeries, the emergency procedures to eliminate unforeseen issues, the tubes, chemo and radiation...well it's hard to put my thoughts into words but anyone who is a parent can understand.

Yesterday I received an update on one of the websites that after a year of fighting, on March 28th, the family sat down with the doctors and reviewed her latest CAT scan. There was new blood vessel growth that was applying too much pressure on her brain stem. Additional chemo was out of the option due to the rapid growth, radiation would cause more swelling so that was also ruled out and although surgery would be an option to help extend her life, the risks were far too dangerous and so the family chose to bypass that route as well. The decision was made to make her comfortable and enjoy whatever time they had left with her.

Yesterday, March 30, 2009, Emily's parents snuggled her with her favorite blanket, pillow and stuffed dog. Her breathing tube was removed and as she was cuddled in her mother's arms, surrounded by family and friends, she passed away. She was two years old.

As I look at my own, soon-to-be two year old who is babbling to me in his own little language from over the baby gate, I can't help but count my blessings. I'm relieved that the hardest decisions I've had to make for any of my kids are the everyday, tedious decisions such as vaccinations, what schools they should attend, they sports they'll play, how late they can stay up and how much T.V. we'll allow them. I'm grateful for the fact that I can walk over into the other room, swoop Robert up into my arms and hold him tight, right now or anytime I want. I breathe a sigh of relief that I can do the same thing when Megan and Matt get home from school.

Tonight, after they are asleep and I make that one last daily trip into their bedrooms to make sure that they are covered up for the night, I will touch their heads lightly as I kiss them goodnight and say a little prayer that I have the opportunity to do this over and over again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ass over tea kettle

It's taken us 5 years (7, if you count Megan) but we have finally had our first real "accident" with one of the kids. We swore this day would have come years earlier but fortunately luck has been our side up until now.

Last evening during a walk around the block, in a moment of over-confidence with his new bike, Matt took a digger that left him with three loose teeth, some torn gums and a huge fat lip. If anyone has ever dealt with any type of mouth injury I'm sure you are quite familiar with the amount of blood that comes with it. Add Megan's shouts to me from down the side walk of, "MOMMY! MATT'S BLEEDING BADLY! THERE'S SO MUCH BLOOD!" and we wound up with a kid that was probably more freaked out than normal. Even after we cleaned him up and calmed him down, the blood continued to ooze and it took us a good 30 minutes to get him to stop shaking.

A quick trip to the dentist today (just to be on the safe side) told us what we had already figured out on our own but also confirmed that there was no major damage to the baby teeth and no fractures of any kind to the adult teeth.

And of course, to commemorate this moment in time for him? A picture! (What kind of parents would we be if we didn't take the time to ignore his discomfort for a few moments in order to take a shot for the blog?)

The end of the hockey season...

This past weekend marked the end of hockey for us. The team played in a weekend long tournament and we went into it feeling certain that our kids on the ice were going to go home on Sunday with a three game loss. The clinic itself was to teach the fundamentals of skating with a little about the game towards the end. The past 2 practices marked the first time the kids had played in any sort of positions on the ice and in fact Friday night was the first time our goalie had been in the net and had ever been geared up.

We entered the first game with Matt playing defense and were treated to quite a few laughs at his expense. The poor kid was a bit lost when forced to play an real honest to goodness position. He forgot to follow the puck and instead simply followed the pack of kids skating around him. It reminded me of a school of fish as they changed direction and he would quickly turn to follow them even if the puck had just flown past him in the opposite direction. Oh well...maybe next year he'll figure that part of it out.

As it turns out though, the team did far better than we anticipated. We won the first two games against two of the Southern CT teams by a landslide and although they were beat 6-0 by East Haven in the final game, Hamden took home second place! They all walked away with metals but most importantly (to Matt anyways), they each had a hot dog and soda in their hands.

So now we have a slight breather before soccer and baseball begin!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Profane expressions

Bill and I have often said that we really should censor our language better than we do but for some reason our filters just don't seem to kick in when they should.

For the most part, Megan has always been very good about not repeating what we say. Oh sure, there was that one time where she decided to say "f*ck" and "sh!t" all in the same week but after we spoke to her about it, she never said them again. (I will have you know that although she was only two years old, she used them in perfect context!) And of course Matt has said a few things here and there but nothing quite as dramatic as what Megan threw out there. So all in all, we've been rather lucky, all things considered.

So now we come to Robert. His list of distinguishable, honest to God, actual words is rather short. And much of his speaking skills sounds very similar to Swahili. (Not that I've actually heard someone speaking in Swahili, but you get my point.) He does repeat one word over and over and although we've never quite figured out if it's an actual word or just another sound that he likes to make, it sounds the same every single time and in the conversation that I had with him this morning it came out so much clearer than it ever has in the past.

I was doing a quick clean up with the vacuum this morning and whenever I'm done I usually hand it over to Robert to play with. It keeps him occupied and allows me to move on to something else. This morning, as he was pushing it around, Remy went nuts barking at it and chasing him around the living room so Robert paused for a few moments as if he just wanted to watch Remy's reaction. As I stopped to see what was going on I asked him, "what's Remy saying Robert?"

To which he replied without hesitation, "Oh shit!"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009



There have been a lot of things coming out of my mouth in the past couple of days that I realized have been applied to both Robert and Remy. And I feel like I'm repeating them over and over. Such as:
"Put that down!"

"No biting!"

"Good boy!"


I've also come to the conclusion that we've cleaned up more poop in the past two days than we have in the past 7 years!
Here are the pics of our new addition:

Oh wait - that was before the dog. We were trying a new style of parenting called "crating"!

Obviously the similarities don't end with what's coming out of my mouth! (And, no, he did not drink out of it. He was only demonstrating!)