I haven’t had a chance to post last week’s learning notes yet, but they’re almost ready to go. I wanted to do a what’s happening now post, though, instead of trying to play catch up first.
First, today Ben turned six. I am sort of in shock that he’s that old. Old enough to be a first grader come September.
How did that happen? Maybe it’s because he’s so close to Sophie in age but I was sort of unconsciously expecting the same gap between her and him that I had between Bella and Sophie. Yeah, I think I was expecting that I’d have two years to get used to having two school age kids before adding a third to the mix. So totally unprepared.
Ben is a great kid, though. And I think we’re going to take it nice and slow this year.
He had a very hard time for a couple of years what with undiagnosed asthma that led to terrible sleep and constant crankiness. Now that the asthma is under control he sleeps much better, though still wakes more often than I’d like. But the constant crankiness is a thing of the past and he’s become the sweet and affectionate boy I always knew he could be.
He’s still my most introverted kid. The quiet one. The mysterious deep waters kind of guy. He loves books. His bed looks like a library exploded. He’s not all that avid about learning to read yet, but I am sure it will come one of these days.
For his birthday he got a Hot Wheels race track, a set of real tools, and a heap of books. Plus some Star Wars figures and more books from Grandma and Grandad. We had dinner at Chili’s and a chocolate cake, even though he wanted lemon, he was very understanding that this has been a crazy week and I had no lemons. And not even enough candles. Only four ancient things that have seen better days.
So about the crazy week. There aren’t going to be any learning notes because there’s been almost nothing in the way of school happening. We’ve all had a summer cold. And for Lucy that turned into a rather scary breathing exacerbation that had me rushing for the nebulizer when she woke up limp and gasping for breath on Tuesday morning. Oh I was so very glad to have it on hand. But by mid morning it was clear that the nebulizer wasn’t going to cut it. She didn’t even manage to make it to the four hour mark before needing another treatment. So after treating her I rounded up all the kids and we took her to the pediatrician who listened to her chest and immediately sent us across the street to the ER. Where her chest did not sound good and her oxygen levels were terribly frighteningly low. And they put her on oxygen, gave her more albuterol, and then did chest x-rays and some iv steroids and fluids and antibiotics. And then finally told me they were sending her to Children’s Hospital in Boston.
The pediatric ER staff was awesome and within no time they had a movie on for the kids to watch–Madagascar, a favorite. So they were never too terribly restless. Which was good because all my attention was pretty much focused on Lu.
So Dom left work early and took the other kids home while Lucy and I had an ambulance ride into Boston. She fell asleep right after the paramedics had put her on the stretcher and slept through most of the ride. I had a very lovely chat with the paramedic while we drove in. He totally distracted me. A nice, third generation Boston Irish whose grandparents came from Cork. His other job is fireman, actually in our town. We talked about kids and school and his job and his girlfriend and his daughter and my education and family and it passed the time very nicely.
Then Lucy and I spent another four hours or so in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital waiting for them to assign us to a bed. It was a very, very long wait and I had nothing on me to entertain us but my cell phone. (Oh why hadn’t I listened to the instinct which yelled to grab the iPad and my book? I quashed it because usually we aren’t at the pediatrician’s office long enough to need a distraction, there’s almost never any wait to speak of.)
Finally Dom came and brought me an overnight bag and let me go run and get dinner. Then he went back home. (His brother and sister-in-law an their daughters came over to help get the kids into bed while he was gone and to help get his car back from the hospital where he’d had to leave it. Of course by the time Dom came Lucy was wide awake and needing all my attention to keep her occupied. So the book I’d have loved to have earlier didn’t get read much.
When Lucy and I finally got to her room– I think it was almost midnight– we still had to meet the nurses and the doctors and then she decided she didn’t want the crib and so we had to wait for them to wheel it out and bring in a big bed, which I shared with her. I groaned when the nurse assured me they were going to let us get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. I have been in enough hospitals not to believe that assurance at all. And indeed we had a very restless night with nurses in and out both for Lu and her roommate, a little boy with pneumonia. The boy’s nurse had to work at a computer that was positioned right in front of Lucy’s bed so that every time she moved away from it the light flashed onto our faces and woke us up. And she kept going back and forth back and forth. Flash. Flash. Flash. So aggravating.
Once we did finally fall into a deeper sleep, Lucy was sleeping fairly well and then of course they wanted to give her nebulizer treatments while she was sleeping. Right, she slept through those. Not. Then she woke up and screamed bloody murder at them and kicked and thrashed and writhed. And who could blame her?
So we slept in late and missed ordering breakfast. Because no one thought that was important. Fortunately I’m used to hospital food by now and had squirreled away a fruit cup and some potato chips and a bottle of juice so Lucy and I were able to brake our fast before her tray got there at 11. But of course I’d ordered breakfast foods and they had to double as lunch. Bacon and three kinds of fruit.* It’s a good thing toddlers are light eaters. I had some illicit nibbles on her bacon and then when we got hungry later we shared the other half of my salad from the previous night.
Lucy was really feeling great and keeping her entertained was a challenge. The hospital provided some board books and stickers and I had an iPad with games and videos, but her attention span is short enough that I could never really veg out and read the book Dom had brought me. At least not until Lucy’s nap time when I read while she nursed.
Then of course they had to wake her up not twenty minutes after she’d fallen asleep. Because breathing treatments must happen every four hours.
But after she had her final breathing treatment at 3 they discharged her. At 4 I signed the paperwork. Then Dom and the kids set off from home to get there around 5.
Lucy walked out of the hospital on her own two feet, sporting her favorite Lightning McQueen rain boots and a huge smile. It was hard to believe that 24 hours before Lucy had been a little limp rag doll in the emergency room. We stopped for BBQ on the way home and she gobbled it up. Such a well deserved feast.
*(Can I rant about how the allergy menu at one of the premier children’s hospitals in the world had not a single special item on it but was just the regular menu with all the allergens listed for each menu item? No gluten free breads or muffins. There were a scant handful of things on it Lucy could eat. Bacon and pot roast were the only proteins. Everything else was fruit and vegetables. The only not-wheat, not-corn grain was plain rice. If we’d been there more than a day or two it would have got very monotonous very fast. Even the sausage and potatoes had corn next to them. Why? Why? I was furious and if we’d had to stay longer, I’d have been having some serious conversations with people about it.)