Thursday, May 24, 2012

'I wanna a new pet'

Matthew seems to enter the room when I'm in the deepest of deep sleeps. Last night, he wasn't even in the room when he ripped me from one of those deep sleeps.

Somewhere deep in my dream state, I heard sobbing. I jolted awake, discombobulated, half-conscious of my surroundings. The clock said it was 4:48 a.m. I slid out of bed and stumbled toward the bedroom door. As I reached the door, a small boy, wrapped in his favorite Thomas the Tank Engine blanket, padded down the hallway and into the room while weeping. "I wanna a new pet," I heard him cry. "I wanna a new pet!"

"Go to the bathroom," I told him.

No, it's not the typical response to a weeping child in the middle of the night, but I am endlessly practical. I didn't want him climbing into my bed and falling asleep with a full bladder. Without question, he turned, walked into the master bathroom and peed, crying the whole time.

As he walked back out, I decided to follow my own advice, and I headed into the bathroom. As we passed, I said, "we can talk about a new pet in the morning."

He instantly stopped crying, looked up at me and said, "What are you talking about? I didn't say I want a new pet. I said I fell out of bed."

"Oh," I said. "Well, go to bed."

Since the tears were over, he climbed into my bed, I followed him in, and we both went to sleep.

I hope he doesn't think I'm getting him a new pet.

Don't shoot McDonald's

Since our family could use some good news these days, I'll try sharing some lighthearted family moments. This one happened a few days ago, when Josh made me smile.

I had taken the boys for a double-fun trip to Target and Lowe's. The highlight of the Lowe's trip was the purchase of a line trimmer, so I can finally knock down the two-foot-high grass around our yard. The machine was packaged in a long narrow box that didn't quite fit in the carriage, and it kind of resembled a large cannon.

The older boys were pretending the box was a huge gun, and they were shooting home improvement objects throughout Lowe's. Colin just stared at them in bewilderment, and they kept blowing things up.

When we loaded the huge gun in the car, it draped from the third row (where Josh was sitting) into the second row (where Matthew was sitting). That gave Matthew perfect access to point and aim the gun wherever he wanted. He was targeting and destroying things along the way, while Josh had his head buried in a book.

In perfect Josh fashion, without looking up from the book, he said clearly, "Don't shoot any McDonald's, cuz those are my favorite places."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Colin was a rock star today

I find unexpected moments to be proud of my children. An insightful comment, a surprise gesture, a challenging question – all can trigger silent pride.

Today, it was a trip to the doctor.

Colin went to see a pediatric cardiologist because another doctor detected a heart murmur during a recent exam. We've been told heart murmurs are relatively common in children, but there was some anxiety nonetheless.

Colin was a rock star.

We spent nearly two hours in the office. Three doctors listened to his heart, silently moving the stethoscope over his bare skin. They stuck eight or more sensors to his chest, stomach and legs for a complete EKG. They put him through a 15-minute echocardiogram, asking him to lie on his back with blue jelly smeared on his chest while a technician watched his little heart beat, beat, beat.

My pride swelled during the echocardiogram. I'll never forget the image of his little body, suddenly looking so long from head to toe, stretched on that table.

Colin was wearing gray corduroy pants, with gray socks. His shoes were off. So was his shirt.

His tiny, bare chest showed the scars of his young life – the one-inch slice where a G-tube once protruded; the strange, purple-blue mark that's been there since birth; the outie belly button that guarantees he will never be a swimsuit model. Lying on his back, still as can be, he quietly looked around the room as the woman slowly circled his torso with the magic wand. For a full 15 minutes, he did everything she asked without a whimper. He sat up. He tilted his head back. He straightened his legs. He lay back down.

Colin has always amazed us. This kid spent nearly three months in intensive care. He went under full anesthesia half a dozen times. He had a double hernia repair. He had a G-tube. He had supplemental oxygen, a helmet, full leg casts, a bar between his feet, a walker, ear tubes, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Now he has a heart murmur.

All those trips to doctors, all those procedures, all those pokes, pricks and prods, all have toughened him up. All prepared him for a two-hour trip to the cardiologist.

Colin was a rock star today. Once again, he made us proud.