Friday, April 25, 2008

Why I never get things done anymore

First, the possums: after a bit of research, I learned that they are marsupials and actually give birth to jellybean-sized young that they carry in their pouch for months. Therefore, the ones that we saw were clearly NOT newborns. Later that night, I gently laid the trashcan down on its side. A few minutes later, the possum came out and wandered away. I checked to make sure no babies had been left behind, but that was the end of our possum adventure.

Next: having two kids is harder than one. I know, quite the newsflash! But while I know instinctively that having two kids is harder than one anyway, Melkamu's personal desires make it a bit trickier.

If you ever have trouble saying Melkamu (which is, incidentally, pronounced Mel-KAH-moo), you can call him by my new nickname for him:

Meet Master Destructo

Oh sure, he looks cute and sweet, with a dimpled grin that could make anyone melt--but he leaves behind him a trail of destruction and detritus that would make President Bush proud.

Did I just write that? Huh. As a side note, I've discovered that it's sometimes important to discuss politics with a 4-year old. One day Patrick said that President Bush was saving the world. I couldn't let that one go. (He can also tell you who's running for president--the other day, I got to play Barack Obama and he played John McCain. They apparently like to play with dinosaurs.)
Anyway, Master Destructo (0r MD for short--perhaps a future career?) keeps me busy cleaning up after him. He has, within the past two days:

1. Knocked over the art container that has loose stickers, pipe cleaners, crayons, and other crafty things--and spread it all over the floor in both the dining room AND the kitchen

2. Taken out anything that resides in the Passover cabinet in the kitchen, not once or twice, but at least four times

3. Removed all of the items stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator door at least three times

4. Gleefully thrown everything out of the recycling bin on the back deck at least three times.

5. Taken all of the items that Patrick deemed necessary for a trip to see the hairdresser out of Patrick's backpack (cut for Patrick, highlights and cut for me, and general exclamations of cuteness for Melkamu)--this included about 50 million dinosaurs, several farm animals, cars, small stuffed animals, and four books...OK, a bunch of them were for Melkamu but he didn't limit himself to those items

6. Pawed through the laundry basket, removing all of the laundry as he went

7. Flipped most of the Tupperware out of the cabinet in which it's kept

8. Oh, and occasionally actually taking out toys that are MEANT to be taken out, like those from the shape-sorter

He's very good-natured about it, and will even occasionally--VERY occasionally--put things back when he's done. I spent half the week with both he and Patrick, since Patrick's school was closed for Passover, and a good portion of the time was spent putting away the things that he took out. Patrick will even sometimes put away things that Kamu takes out, though he prefers to just tell me ("Mama, Kamu's taking the milk bottles out of the 'cycling again!").

Ironically, Melkamu has a major problem with letting me unload the dishwasher and put things away. Every time I try, he comes over and closes the dishwasher. I think he has a moral objection to the orderliness of the dishes when it's done.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Raising roadkill

"Mama, come see this!"

"OK, Patrick."

"It's dead," he said, looking at the trashcan at the bottom of our driveway.

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that," I replied, thinking he was looking at a bug or caterpillar on the outside.

Then I looked inside. And thought "What is that furry thing in my trashcan?" And jumped back as its ear twitched and it looked up at me.

"It" was definitely not dead. Instead, it is a live possum that is in the bottom of our trashcan and who, as Christy (who is such a wonderful friend and brought us dinner last night) noticed, had given birth.

Now, it's not a snake in the den, but it's still quite a surprise. It hisses if you stare at it for too long, so I left it alone after taking those pictures.

Y'all Yankees just wish you lived down here!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Catching up on the week (with pictures and a video!)

Kamu is doing much better, thank goodness. I brought him to his pediatrician on Tuesday and there was no sound of any wheezing. We've slowly weaned him off the nebulizer treatments over the week and he is doing just fine now. He's back to playful and laughing--this is a video from dinner last night, and you can hear his wonderful laugh in the first few seconds. And see how messy it is...

Holy cow, that took a long time to publish. Better make this a little shorter than I was otherwise planning.

Kamu has put on almost 2 lbs in the 5 weeks that he has been home. He is a little bruiser, a very solidly-built little boy. The other day, he trapped Patrick in the laundry basket. He was a little shy to wrestle with Jason and Patrick at first, but now he's right in the thick of it, laughing and crowing his victories! We often refer to the kids as "the little boy" and "the big boy", but Jason pointed out this morning that we're probably going to have to revise that to "the younger boy" and "the older boy" as, at this rate, Melkamu will overtake Patrick in weight within a couple of years. Patrick is about 37/38 pounds at 4 years and 4 months, while Melkamu is 24 pounds at 1 year and 5 months. We're thinking football might be his sport, if he continues to grow like this. He's already got the aim--that boy can hit anything he aims at, particularly if he's throwing it at one of us while protesting being in his crib.

Patrick had his first sleepover the other night. His friend Daniel and Daniel's family came over for dinner, and then Daniel got to stay for the night. It was a very exciting week for Patrick--his loft bed finally came in (and even made it up the stairs, though the Ro*oms to Go deliverymen were insistent that it wouldn't fit), he got to pick out new sheets for his new mattress (Spider Man and Transformers), and his friend slept over. They didn't go to sleep until about 11:30 p.m. and were up before 7 a.m. the next morning. I don't know how any of us made it through the next day.

I'll post a picture of the boys' room soon, since it changed a lot when the loft bed was put in. We've now got the crib next to the door, Melkamu's dresser on the other wall next to the door, and Patrick's enormous loft bed (which has a dresser built in) along the back wall. It works well. There's not a lot of extra room, but there's enough for them to have room to play--and the "cave" under the loft bed is a huge hit already.

A couple of pictures:

Patrick has a fondness for Hawaiian shirts that probably makes his Grandpa Gallagher very proud.

Here are all of my boys--well, all of them except for the dogs. Have I ever mentioned just how outnumbered I am as a female in this house?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A first for Melkamu that we never really wanted


On Sunday morning, Melkamu woke up around 2:30 a.m. needing a change. Jason changed him and was sitting with him to help him fall asleep again. I went in because Jason hadn't gotten much sleep yet and I figured that I would let him go back to bed. I realized that Melkamu was wheezing a bit and sounded congested, and thought that I'd take him downstairs to sit upright for a while.

The wheezing and congestion got worse pretty quickly and by 2:50 a.m., I'd put in a call to our pediatrician's office, which places calls through the CHOA nurses line. They called back at about 3:10--if they'd taken another 5 minutes, I would have already been getting into the car. The nurse asked a bunch of questions, listened to Melkamu breathing over the phone, and asked us to bring him in to the ER. I got dressed and brought him to CHOA-Egleston (Jason stayed home with Patrick). I also realized that there's not really a good ER anywhere closer than that, which is a little scary.

We were taken back within 20 minutes and they gave him a breathing treatment soon thereafter. His breathing got quite a bit better but not entirely, so then there were some oral steroids. And then another breathing treatment. And then a chest X-ray.

He was still wheezing a bit and wasn't maintaining his oxygen levels above 90% by this point, so they decided to get him on oxygen and admit him. Let me tell you, trying to get a nasal cannula onto a 16 month old and keep it on him is challenging at the best, impossible at the worst! But it brought his oxygen levels right up, thankfully.

We were into a room at around 8 a.m. He stayed on the oxygen and got breathing treatments when he started wheezing, about every 2-3 hours at first, then every 3-4 hours. He was off oxygen and getting treatments every 4 hours by evening; they would have let us go home that night but for our insurance company. They decided that they wouldn't pay for a home nebulizer until Monday. If we left the hospital Sunday, we would have to go home without it and the doctors there weren't comfortable with us doing that.

The insurance company's decision to pay for an extra night in the hospital rather than paying for the nebulizer that day (even though they paid for it yesterday) makes no sense to me. None. But as it turns out, he got a bit worse again that night and we were doing treatments every 2-3 hours and back on oxygen again for the first half of the night.

By late morning, he was off oxygen and maintaining his levels, only getting treatments every 4 hours again, and they said he sounded great and we could go. It was 6 p.m. before I left the hospital, with both Melkamu and Patrick in tow--along with a nebulizer, spacer, our bags, and several prescriptions (don't ask how I made it out to the car). What took so long, I have no idea, but we were very glad to finally get home. I have no idea what Patrick was doing in the backseat as we drove but it had Melkamu just giggling away--such a sweet sound after a couple of scary days!

We're doing nebulizer treatments every 4 hours right now, and he's still on oral steroids. They're not calling it asthma just yet, as it was only the one episode. For now it's just reactive airway disorder with associated hypoxia. If it keeps happening, it'll be re-classified asthma.

He has absolutely no history of any breathing difficulties, and the doctors at the hospital did annoy me a bit about that. I said that we have a pretty complete medical history on him (as much as could possibly be expected) and there's nothing in there about any breathing trouble, nor has he had any trouble in the month that we've had him home. I kept getting the impression that they thought that we'd been lied to about his history. I'm sure we weren't--I have asthma and it's certainly not something that would have kept us from adopting a child--but the way they kept phrasing things gave me the impression that they didn't believe it.

I've attached a couple of pictures of Melkamu (ha, no more pictures of clothing on top of my blog*!) from this weekend.

This is him on Saturday afternoon. Clearly a child with huge trouble breathing, huh?

Although the hospital was definitely traumatic for him, he kept a smile on his face as long as no nurses, doctors, or respiratory therapists were in the room...

...unless he was annoyed with me for interrupting Cheerio-eating time with the camera.
*Sorry it's been so long since I last posted! I'm maintaining a "people before things" attitude, and the blog is a "thing". Since many of the other "things" that I have (from before Melkamu came home) used to get done while Patrick was in school, like grading and writing lectures, they now have to get done after the kids are in bed. And unfortunately, blogging has to come after the job that provides our clearly-important health insurance.