I came home to find Eli in a pile asleep on the couch Wednesday night having been asleep twice before. I should have prefaced this by saying Eli fights sleep. Dozing off is not on his radar. If he is tired he goes to bed early. The only time, we are guarantee a nap is the 4th of July. This is after threatening and cajoling. We are on our third day home. He is perking up, and I am waiting for the littlest family member to fall. I can't complain, we have avoided much of the illness which plagued our home last year.
In an ideal world, Sidney will make it another couple of days withouth getting the crud. A meal, silent/live auction will take place. It is a great time which usually ends in Tom's narcisisticsm emerging. If you are thinking my husband might be insulted, think again. We joke about it constantly.
Sidney tested her will yesterday visiting the doctor's office with brother. At the end of our visit, her sweet mug graced the door of the reception area. She misbehaved in the exam room, but the person working in the office had sticker in hand. I advised her she was lucky to receive a sticker. Crazy behavior continued into the waiting area. After several warnings, Mom took the sticker, giving it back. What took place over the next sevearal minutes was a tantrum of gargantuan proportion. Luckily, I was able to escape the waiting room and get into the car before the real dramatics began. Later in the day, as she threatened to misbehave, a quick reminder of the "Sticker Incident," was all it took to do an about face. A lesson well learned. Eli concluded she is transitioning from the "terrible 2's" to the "threatening 3's.
Eli is upstairs chatting away. I guess on day three of illness, the class calls to check up. OK, off to finish putting my basket together for the auction.
Never a dull moment passes in our house. Friday afternoon as I worked on Bible school plans, Sidney began whimpering and grabbing her nose. As I flipped her upside down to look, I noticed she shoved Kleenex up each nostril. I was able to retrieve one small wad from each side. I got my handy flashlight to see if there was more. Sure enough, she wedged a piece high on one side. As I encouraged her to blow her nose, I decided it wasn't budging. I began devising an extraction plan, deciding there was nothing small enough to safely get inside her tiny nose. One quick stop to pick up Eli who was more than happy to leave school 10 minutes early, and we were on our way to the doctors office.
Our PA grabbed a set of large tweezers, picking out small pieces but nothing the size of what lurked inside. Deciding there was nothing she could do, the PA sent us on to the ER about 20 miles away with instructions for no food or drink. A small child cannot hold still nor do they want to be awake for a procedure which goes high into the nose to extract a foreign object. Thinking of the twelve visits we made to the university hospital last year, I had a lump in my throat. I did not want the ENT to sedate her, but I knew we couldn't risk a large infection. At this point, I considered grabbing the tweezers from the counter behind the PA and giving it a go.
Thirty minutes later, we had retrieved dad from work and met Grandma Sheryl. Eli lucked out. While Sidney was laying nicely with a large light up her nose, Eli was eating McDonald's. An ENT assisted an ER doctor over the phone. The doctor encouraged her to blow her nose, as I had several times, and it still would not budge. As he went to get a different light, stepping out of the room, I told her to blow as hard as she could. A large chunk of Kleenex went flying across the room! Our doctor advised to continue encouraging her to blow her nose, and if there is any sign of infection to go to the ENT. Afterward, the ER doctor discussed how lucky we were that it appeared all of it had come out. "Otherwise, you would have to put her down with an IV," said the veterinarian, I mean ER doctor.
I am enjoying the normal pace of the day, knowing six years ago life had taken an uncertain turn. I returned from working on a graduate school project to find Tom's mom playing with Eli and his cousins. We chatted about my niece AnDee, recently home from China. Later the next day, Tom's mother died suddenly of a heart attack. Like so many women with heart disease, she had no idea. Though I understand, the abrutpness of her departure is not for us to understand, I have found positive changes in my life as a result of her death. I stopped worrying about the most trivial of matters in life, knowing each day is a gift. I make a point of never saying a day is truly bad. Isn't there always something positive that happens or something a person can learn from?
Certainly, tough times give a person strength to do things like adopt children. We were ready to have another child, and I don't think we would have considered adopting. It took me a longer period of time to understand I can't stop taking a specific medication and have the same quality of life. If I hand't gone through this to see the medication work, I might have gone off the meds and gotten pregnant. There is nothing wrong with this decision, however I wouldn't have had the blessing of Sidney in my life. Something, I can't imagine. I knew before we traveled, she was meant for our family, and this has been evident over the last 20 months.
Sidney is cuddling on the couch next to me. I so hate moments like this. Of course, I say this feciciously. She is a bit clingy the last couple of days. This is to be expected after three nights with her grandparents while Tom and I went to Chicago. Tom and I know we have a strong marriage, because we take a break from everything to focus on one another for a couple of days. This has been a mainstay in our lives. I can't imagine being one of the many mothers I have seen that never takes time away with their husband to remember the time before they had kids. I knew Sidney would go through some anxious behaviors coming home. I am a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom, so I told myself if I ever had a 9-5 job or traveled for work, we would spend a lot more time apart.
Still, it amazes me after all this time, she does not completely understand we will always come back. Much of this is played out in not letting me out of her site over the last couple of days. Prior to our departure, I was able to walk upstairs without her following me and crying.
OK, there is a flying cat (Webkinz) coming across the livingroom. The stuffed cat has now been leashed, so it doesn't run away. I think it's time for me to get off the computer.
Whew! I'm exhausted. It is a great exhausted! On Friday at 9am, Tom and I hopped into our good friends (Dustin and Jill) Vibe, escaping for a 5 hour drive to Chicago.This was the first time since Sidney has been home that we left for more than one night. She is used to staying a night here and there with my parents (aka Grandpa BobBob and Grandma JeanJean), so we thought the time had come. I am happy to report outside of her first night waking up a couple of times looking for Mommy & Daddy, she had a great experience in more than capable hands. According to the kids, it was a blur of a buffet, McDonald's, baking sugar cookies with grandma, and picking up sticks in the yard with Grandpa Bob.
Chatting by Lake Michigan
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad enjoyed uninterrupted conversation and laughter with our good friends. St Patrick's Day is a blast in Chicago. Tom and I lived there prior to starting a family. Having lived in rural America the last ten years, I consider it an escape to the real world.
I can tell when someone is attempting to nonchalantly decipher the origins of our family. There are leading questions, indicating what someone is about to say is rediculous. This is not to indicate Tom and I pull apart every comment made. However, there are those instances, when I want to tell the person about to ask the question, "I am going to prevent you from looking like a fool. Before you open your mouth, kindly be quiet."
"How old is she," was the question that began a series of other absent minded thoughts from my cashier today. As she rambled on, I could tell the conversation was going to end with a real zinger. As I braced myself, the cashier asked "are you her real mom?" I wanted to respond with the following -"I have held her puke bucket in the back of the car after her second successful surgery, had the priviledge of looking into the most beautiful dark brown eyes I have ever seen, cleaned up diapers from giardia, seen love can move mountains, and would gladly go out in the parking lot and lay down in front of a moving vehicle for her. Yes, I am her real mother." Before I could say any of this, I decided simple answers are the best. "YES!" What followed was more amusing than annoying. "oh, really......," she said in a perplexed tone.
I am anxiously awaiting my return trip to this store to walk through with my husband. I am certain Tom, the original dutchboy will cause another degree of confusion!!!
Sidney has a visible special need. I don't write about it often. Unless we are at the doctor, or having some kind of medical procedure, I forget, and it is not on our radar. We are aware her condition is rare, and a majority of people have never seen anything like her hands. I can honestly say this was a source of anxiety prior to flying home, thinking about stares and stupid questions. My trepidation was for nothing.
There are still times a stranger stares a bit too long. I have noticed the response is typically the same from adults. First a person glances her way. When the person thinks mama bear is looking the other way, they take the opportunity to glare at her hands, feeling permission to stare. I find this irksome, because they would never have the nerve if she was an adult. Kids don't know to ask prying questions about why, where, and how. They simply absorb what we tell them, "God made her this way. She can play the same way." This is typically the end. In this respect, adults have a lot to learn from children. I know there is a natural curiosity which takes place. Some kids even have a hint of fear in their expression. I totally understand, and it is ok. Looking and holding her hands helps them to understand. Sidney has such a VERY big personality, kids have about one second to process her condition before being thrust into some form of play.
And the majority of the time, we are in our happy blissful bubble. Everyone knows Sidney with the contagious smile that likes to run, jump, sing and dance, draw, and be a girly girl. They know the tiny ball of energy who won't take off her hand-me-down wonder woman costume to pick Eli up from school with her costume sticking out underneath her coat.
I share this, because as any parent in the special needs area of pediatric orthopedics is aware, it is such a manageable condition. I made the mistake of going on a waiting child list the other day. No, this is not an announcement as we are still recovering from the last adoption. All parents of adoptive kids with special needs see hope and possibility and not the child with the condition on the page. I see how fixable and easy these conditions are with great medical care, knowing we live an hour from one of the best pediatric orthopedics clinics in the United States. So for now, this is my way of letting people into our lives to better understand this sort of special need. I am hoping it helps another parent considering this particular special need. In this respect I might have done something to move another child out of the orphanage.