Monday, March 21, 2005

On the Mend

Melanie is MUCH better after a week on antibiotics.  She's got her "sparkle" back, thank goodness!  Today we had our six-month post-placement visit with our social worker, Beth.  It actually won't be 6 months until April, but we have to have it sent to Kazakhstan by then, so we have to do it a little early.  She asked us some basic questions about Melanie's development, how the surgery went, etc.  The Kazakh government wants to know that the children are doing well and are happy in their new homes.  A good thing, I think.

Had a nice weekend away with my friend Mona.  We went to Asheville and stayed in a very nice B&B.  We ate well, slept well and shopped some.  Even climbed a mountain (Chimney Rock -- where "The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed).  We came home yesterday refreshed & rejuvinated.  A slow week this week, appointment-wise.  I have all week to get ready for our spring break trip .. to the Outer Banks.  I'm really looking forward to some ocean time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bad Mommy, Bad Mommy

The green guilt monster has struck.  I took Melanie to our scheduled ENT visit.  We were there to have her hearing tested ... one possible aspect of cleft lip & palate is ear/hearing involvement.  He took one look in her ears and pronounced her the victim of "raging ear infections".  Ugh.  I knew she had what appeared to be a little cold, with runny nose and cough, but she had no fever, no crankiness (out of the ordinary) and no pulling at the ears.  <sigh> poor baby; forty lashes with a wet noodle for me for not taking her in to be checked.  Needless to say we postponed the hearing test, and started her on a course of ABX (onmnicef). 

Yesterday Southlake had no school, so I schlepped Lisa and Christian with us to Melanie's 9am speech appointment.  Dropped Lisa at Natalia's house for the day, then drove downtown to apply for Quentin's passport.  He is going to Kazakhstan with David this summer with the playground team.  There was a humongo line, so we punted and had lunch with Dad instead.  Home for a while, then took Colin to speech (as he is having some issues as well).  Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Today was pretty much the same.  Go, go go.  Had to be at school at 8:00 to teach a bunch of 2nd graders about origami.  They're studying Japan ... even taught them some phrases and a song (I really am the shy and retiring type).  Then to the grocery, then BACK to the school to deliver muffins at lunchtime to celebrate Lisa's birthday.  Home for a quick nap, then off to the ENT.  Then to pharmacy, then home to meet bus, then to Lisa's piano lesson.  I decided to treat myself (and the three younger kids) to dinner at Outback, plus a nice glass of Cabernet (yes I deserve it, darn it!)  Now if they'd just go to bed I could curl up in bed and read my new book.  Oh, David's in Toronto.  I'm sooo looking forward to this weekend ... Mona and I are heading up to the mountains and spending a quiet weekend in Asheville.  I hear the spa at the Grove Park Inn calling my name ....

Post Script:  My "curling up in bed with my book" lasted exactly 15 minutes, and I was off to dreamland at 8:45 p.m.!  Good grief ... but I felt amazingly awake and alert this morning when the alarm went off at 5!  It's raining, cold and supposed to snow tonight (maybe).  Mona and I may have to pack our mukluks for our weekend in Asheville.  Amazingly, Melanie sounds much better this morning, after only one dose of ABX!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Birthdays Galore!

Phew!  Maybe we need to have our heads examined .. two parties in one day??  Actually it was the "divide and conquer" theory.  David takes the "boy party" to the movies after ice cream and cake, and Liz has the "girl party" at the house.  Voila!  Two birds done in with one stone.

So ... after running around in the back yard shrieking and yelling, armed with rifles made out of sticks duct-taped together, playing Daniel Boone or Rambo, or somewhere in between, the (six) boys came in to hype up on sugar.  It's a bad sign when I'm handing out the juice boxes and one kid says, "I'm not allowed to have FD&C red dye #2.  It makes me hyper."  I'm thinking to myself, " mean MORE hyper?"  David takes off with them to see "Robots".  As I wave them off in the driveway, listening to the growing decibel level coming out of the car, I think that David has gotten the short end of the stick!

Meanwhile, I have prepared quite a proper tea party for Lisa's crowd:  tea sandwiches, lemon scones, strawberry cake with cream, herbal tea.  (One girl said, "My mom won't let me have tea" but I reassured her it had no caffeine in it).  Man these kids sure are aware of their dietary restrictions!  Anyway ... the girls were very quiet and reserved, doing their crafts, and having their tea.  It was only when we dragged out the pinata that their real selves came out.  We're talking major hostility stored up in these little ladies!  Kathleen (who had come to help me .. did you really think I was doing this all alone??) risked life and limb holding the pinata ... after the handle broke, she was actually holding it in her hand!  Gosh, I hope her dad paid those insurance premiums!

Anyway ... it was a fun day, with beautiful spring-like weather, and as we collapsed with fatigue, we felt like we had done a good job.  The kids were happy, and Pizza Hut served us dinner.  Now, all done until next year.  No...that would be until April, when Quentin turns 13.  Please tell me he's not planning a sleepover ...

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

No More Splint!

I put in a call to Dr. Matthews today about the problems we are having with Melanie's splint.  His nurse told me to come right down ... He was fiddling with the splint and naturally it started bleeding profusely.  His nurse walked in and took one look at her; "He did it!" I said, pointing to Dr. Matthews.  So ... he made the decision that it was doing more harm than good.  While three of them held her down, snip snip went the sutures, and out it came!  Lisa and I stood in the corner with our fingers in our ears, as Melanie was quite vocal in her displeasure.  A guy was on a ladder outside the (2nd floor) window installing an awning.  He even joined in the sympathy train.  I can't tell you how happy I am to have that thing gone!  She looks like a normal little girl now ... I suppose she will have to have her nostril surgically repaired at some point in the future; it's still misshapen, but from a few feet away, you don't even notice.  She's a beautiful little girl.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Happy Birthday Christian!

Yesterday was Christian's 8th birthday ... unbelievable how quickly he has grown.  He is happier than a clam (are clams happy?  Living in mud?  Thrown into boiling water and eaten?) because he has a new gear bike, just like all his buds down the street.  We celebrated by going to see "The Pacifier" (don't bother!) and out to eat at Kabuto, or neighborhood Japanese grill.  Our chef entertained us by trying to throw shrimp into our mouths and creating an onion volcano.  It was pretty impressive! 

I also learned a lesson this week ... memory sticks DO still work even if you run them through the washing machine.  But maybe I just got lucky.  I had it in my pocket to get prints at the drug store.  Don't tell David; he already thinks I'm a little dingy.

We've hit a snag with Melanie's nose.  The splint seems to be slipping out little by little, and every time I try to irrigate it it bleeds terribly.  I'm beginning to think that all that crying she does is from pain, not from having saline shot up her nose.  I think a call to Dr. M is in order tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Making Speeches

I'm afraid that from here on out my posts will be few & far between ... for good reason!  Melanie has just turned into a regular old kid, and for a couple of years, at least, there won't be much to report on the cleft palate front.  We started speech on Monday, and will continue 2X a week.  Right now the therapist isn't working too much on her actual speech, as she is still healing from the surgery.  Instead she is teaching her new sign language, so that she can communicate until she is completely healed.  It really looks like playtime to me!  When things are better, she can start blowing through straws and such to develop the muscle in her upper lip.  Her pucker is weak, apparently!  I think "kiss" therapy is definitely in order.

We had a little playgroup over yesterday ... two other little girls in the neighborhood spent the morning here.  They had fun pushing each other around the house on Melanie's little ride-along toy, and playing with Hot Wheels cars.  No gender specific toys in this house!

I did get Melanie a spot in preschool this fall, 2 days a week.  I think she will love it; she is so social .. whenever anyone comes to the door, she runs to greet them with outstretched arms.  Even waitresses in restaurants get a dose of her charm.  She just turns it on wherever she goes.  What an amazing kid.