Tuesday, June 30, 2009

um, er, well - you see...

There's no real way to follow the previous posts. I'll offer a proper coda in due course, but for now, allow me to detour long enough to offer today's quote, spoken by a really lovely (and puzzled) parent:

I just found out that dairy isn't allowed in the first grade classroom anymore! They should send out an email to let people know, don't you think?

[insert strangled guttural sound here]

oh, where to begin. When did they allow dairy in the Eldest's allergy-friendly classroom? And why, exactly, did they stop? Hmmmm? And yet (counsels a less panicked section of my brain), this might just be one of those times when it is better just to nod and smile. 

Which, of course, is exactly what I did.

The allergy thing has finally begun to make any number of little encounters uncomfortable, and I'm getting the distinct feeling that a proportion of the parent population now think I'm a flaming idiot.  They're building effigies, and while last year I might have been determined to go forth and educate, this year I'm tempted to light the thing up myself. I'm tired of being an idiot. I'm tired of not understanding enough to explain things to people. Oddly, I don't know isn't an answer that tends to build credibility, or to reassure. But there's a lot about the Eldest's allergies that I don't know. What, exactly, will kill him? What, exactly, will scar him psychologically? I don't know. And the docs can't tell me.

Oh, yes - and puzzled mom? she's throwing her son a birthday party. She told me about the menu, and I failed to edge a useful, educational word in. Natch. I have a feeling that the simplest thing to do is to go for the fun, and just leave before she brings out the food. Avoid the issue, avoid the baffled and hurt expression on her face when she realizes that the treats that she's already bought (allergy friendly! she said), won't really work.

(this is me, not being nastily snarky, btw, because she really is a nice person. This is also me, not banging my head on the wall. And yes, this is me, adding overhaul school allergy policy to my summer To Do list.)

Oh, but the allergy thing has turned messy, then frustrating, and now I'm flinging my hands up and looking for a sledgehammer. Take that, o unenforced allergy policy. Take that, ye complaisant staffpersons. I'm not swinging at the parents, because, hell, I have to function with these people. Worse, I really like some of them. (Although those aren't the ones who should be carrying rain-o-fire proofing, anyway) But for the miscreants, well, y'all can watch me go and tell the Grand High Idealist that all is not well. 

And then, beware all ye peoples, for lo, there shall be A New Policy. Shiny, sparkly and who knows. somewhat more functional? Which yes, lacks a certain shock-and-awe quality, but I'm just so absolutely sick of this allergy mess that at some point any anger turned into a muted, resigned mad.

And sad. The Eldest is just not a good advocate for himself right now, he's not being responsible about handing his EpiPens to adults in charge. We've gone over this ground ad eyeroll, the kid and I. When you get into someone else's car, hand them your backpack. Show them where the medical kit is. Pull it out. Show them the EpiPens. Always, even if it's someone you know.  He nodded, solemnly. And yet, today I watched him bounce into a friend's car, never before ridden in - and he didn't check first with me, or ask if the car was safe for him. And he left his knapsack (and EpiPens! and contact sheet! medical etcetera!!) dangling in my hand.  I flagged the other mom down before she drove off, and stood there, smacking my head on a reality.

Okay. So the kid is not a good advocate for himself right now. I understand why, and that understanding may be useful, once my blood pressure drops back down. I can see how the urge to socialize, to blend in is trumping any sense of responsibility (need?) to be safe. It's not even a strong need right now, really, since he's been safe for so long that he's forgotten what it's like to have a reaction, a bleed, or who knows. He's been swimming happily in the class' social currents, and now doesn't want to be fished out, or even slowed down in order to be some mom-determined concept of safe. Good grief. In keeping my child safe, I've put him at risk?

really? ack?


Please, please let this be a phase. (of course it's a phase. I do know that. And yet, please please please please) I don't want to think too much about a future for a child who is this medically challenged *and* problematically impulsive. I will if I have to, of course, but I just don't wanna. And, I can't help remembering a story the child told me about the last time that the grandparents babysat for a weekend:

Oh, yes, the Grandparent let the Toddles pet a dog.* And he didn't clean him up, after. But he DOES know a thing or two about allergies, you know. [pause] But I did tell him that the Toddles is allergic to dogs. [thoughtfully] I guess he's not, anymore.

It would be unfair to blame the Eldest's lack of caution? fear? internally monitored responsibility for himself? on the Grandparental One, and I won't. But dang, that didn't help the stew bubbling away in my psyche.


*the Toddles is, of course, allergic to dogs. And cats. And feathers. This is hardly news.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

here's mud in yer eye...

Because some days are like that.
There was no clinic appointment. There was, however, plenty of us. Splooooooooosh.

We arrived, laden with bags, missing naps (yes, nap-plural, because the Eldest has been yawning and irritable in the afternoons lately and has actually napped happily!!!??), after a fast lunch during which I cajoled, then roared, then was abashed by the teamwork which my sons are, apparently, able to produce. Nope. Not June 24th, said the nice, prettily made-up lady behind the counter. July.

I checked July 24th. It's a Friday, specifically, the Friday when we drive to NYC to engage in medical experimentation on the Eldest. (you'd think we'd have done so to produce him, but nope. Genuine tweak o' nature, our lad. Given that, we play! ----strung out maternal snark cut off here by editor.) So, no, I would not have agreed to an appointment on that Friday. And I remember looking in my book before I agreed to the time. So, what the?

Ya got me.

As the napless, harried, emotionally fragile afternoon proved, some days there's just mud in yer eye. And the good news is, whatever happened, it's unlikely to happen again soon: our allergist in Boston hasn't a free appointment in June, July, and oh, no, August doesn't look good, and let's see about September, shall we? said the nice lady. She caught my eye, and stopped. Of course, she said, I could just call him and ask him what he can do

I raised an eyebrow out of dangerous levels, and found a smile for her. Somewhere. That would be just fine, I said. And, splattered but still slightly dignified, we left.


internal chatter, the night before

okay, the stash of emergency bribes? (Pokemon cards - yes, they've crashlanded chez nous and damn, they work)              ---- got 'em.

playing cards?            ----- yep.

that funny tell-me-a-story  card game?          ------ check.

the Dilbert book that the kids are suddenly, inexplicably in love with?
              -------  ack! can't do it. How about a nice Cam Jansen, instead?

squishy licorice treats?         --------- no worries.

math game?        ------------ because my kids are really cut from their father's cloth and holy moly yep, I got math game. Heaven help my a-numerical self if I have to use it, but maybe a nice hapless intern will wander by. Prey! Must find prey! With calculator!

emergency crayons, for decorating the paper on the exam table?      ----------- can't think of a better use for the paper, frankly. Wonder what we'll draw, this year? Hard to beat the universe from two years ago, complete with closeup of Earth. At two different levels of detail! Although this year, I might just settle for crayon kept on the paper, rather than on the walls.  On the floors. On my shoes? Yes, paper would be fine. Whatever actually ends up on it, well, might be bonus. (mental image of purple gluestick stuff on the wall, suppressed. Flashback to parenting resolution, shelved)

sheaves of clinic notes and lab results from previous visits?         ------------ got 'em. Reviewed 'em. Analysed them with the Man and planned further actions, prioritized lists of questions.

Sleep, possibly allowing mental function? For a post-viral mama?     ------------- oh, well, harrumph. Fine. But you needn't be pushy about it, you know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a day for Dad

The Man is the insufficiently sung hero of this blog, he who does most of the kid-time on shabbat, while I sink into naps and mutter about gender-oriented sabbatical definitions in the kitchen. (note: the sabbath starts, but I'm still chopping and organizing food. ahem.) He's a happy father, a delighted cuddler of small children, a veteran of umpteen trips to the park, and a perennial volunteer for kid soccer. 

The boys made a list (a schema, Mum!) of their father's various praises, and the Eldest copied them out. They're glued, fittingly, to the back of his title: Daddy.

Happy Father's Day, o Man. You are a wonder, a marvel, and happily for me, Imperfect.

Friday, June 19, 2009

slightly worldless Friday

a rather energetic little virus is wending its way through the Imperfect home, and has just hit me. So, here's an image or two, in lieu of words.

Well, mostly in lieu of words, anyway. 

My grandmother's hospital was a solid half-hour walk from where I was staying, and it was a nice walk in the Melbourne autumn. Not too cool, not too hot, and with surprisingly un-autumnal images, to this New Englander's eye. Walking the route, 2-4 times per day, I began to understand the Man's fondness for walking home from work - a quiet walk did much to settle my humming brain. I felt surrounding in a little envelope of focus, of motion and eventually, clean of thought. Ready to just, oh, be.

Which was more or less what I needed to arrive, though inevitably, my momentum would sputter out on the edge of the sidewalk, state of mind or no. A deep breath, squaring of the shoulders and in I'd go. Carrying the touchstones of my walk with me.

taken on this day, when indeed, her fingers uncurled. Mine didn't - but I was less ready than she.