Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ferries and Fairies

A conversation this morning with 5-year-old Layth:

Nikki: The weather's going to be so nice tomorrow. Maybe we can ride a ferry!
Layth: How can we do that?
Nikki: We'll just drive the car on and go to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island.
Layth: We can't drive a car on a fairy! She's too little! She can only carry our tooths!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One of Those (Beautiful) Days

When I went outside this morning to see Layth off to school, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as cold as it has been, the sun was shining, and the birds were singing. I opened the windows in the house and admired the back garden with the dew still shining on the conifers surrounding our patio and the dark pink rhododendrons next to the steps. The air had the same fresh smell that it had when we first moved here last summer and I spent several minutes just happily breathing the fresh air and gazing out the window.

Later, as I was putting Rayan in the car for his visit with the neuro-ophthalmologist (everything was fine, by the way, no field of vision problems or astigmatism,) I heard an eagle cry and turned just in time to see it soaring over the golf course to settle near the top of the tallest pine tree in the area. I wish I had binoculars or a telescope! As we drove to Seattle, I admired the ripples on the lake and the pink and white blossoms on the trees. As we were coming home past grassy yards blanketed with yellow dandelions, I had to put the windows down to better enjoy the flower-scented air, and the snow-capped Cascades in front of me were so beautiful that I could hardly believe they were real. Had I not paid $3.72 per gallon for a $65 tank of gas on the way home, it would have been a perfect day. That said, it was well worth the price of gas for the way I felt all day. I love living here!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Neurologist Visit

Layth was very excited about spending the afternoon with his dad at work today while Maya and I took Rayan to visit the neurologist. Everything was going well and just as I expected. The EEG he had last week was normal, the doctor saw no signs of seizures or visual disturbances, and said that the delayed speech could either resolve itself with a sudden burst of vocabulary in 6-12 months, or it could be a longer struggle that would require a lot of speech therapy. In either case, there wasn't much to worry about. He had asked if there were any birthmarks and after a moment of thought, I said there were not. When he noticed the birthmark on his back just as we were about to leave, therefore, I felt like I had been caught in a lie. After having six children, one tends to forget little things like that! He has a little patch of hypomelanotic skin on his back, that is, skin with little or no pigmentation that is obviously lighter than the surrounding skin. As it turns out, the combination of hypomelanotic skin patches and delayed speech are a warning sign of possible tuberous sclerosis. Just as we were about to walk out home-free, we were told we would need an MRI to rule this out. If you've never had an MRI, they are very loud and annoying and seem to take forever. I asked how they handled little ones for this, and was told he'd have to be sedated through an IV. So now I'm fretting about poor little Rayan having to have a painful IV and hoping he doesn't have a bad reaction to the sedation. Most of you know that I try not to let myself get worked up over things or spend too much time worrying about things, so I'm trying to ignore the unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach and stop dwelling on this until I have to actually go in for the appointment on May 2.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Shred of Evidence

So it was a really good idea of K's to buy a shredder with safeguards to prevent little fingers being shredded.

Layth has found that he is very good at reading directions that come with pictures, and has built some really amazing LEGO creations using picture directions. While K and I were distracted with one of the other children, Layth dragged the big shredder box into a bedroom, closed the door, unpacked it, assembled it, plugged it in, and shredded the directions when he was finished just to test the product. It works! He got sent to bed for his efforts.

Life can be so unfair.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sun, Snow, Ducks, and ... Stuff

I've literally been trying to sit down to write every night for over a week, but have been too exhausted by the time I get the children to bed and/or finish the housework. Now I have to try to remember everything that has happened, when it would have been much easier to write it as it happened! So let's see ...

K passed his board exam, and I was thrilled that my days of single parenting were over with all the study days behind us. Then he started working longer hours.

He did get one weekend off, and we used the 80 degree sunny day to go to the park with a huge pile of duck bread, only to see signs everywhere that said we couldn't feed the fowl. Layth figured that didn't count, since it wasn't fowl we were trying to feed, it was ducks. We used the 40 degree rainy day to go on a duck tour. We rode in a bus driven by a very energetic tour guide around Seattle, then the bus drove right into Lake Union and sailed around while we looked at houseboats and floating houses, and learned the difference between the two. We also finally rode Seattle's monorail, which the children loved.

Rayan had an EEG on Wednesday, and no one (myself included) could believe how good he was. Del, the pink-haired tech, came to get us from the waiting room and led us into the small hospital room where there were two other people (another tech and a student) waiting for us. I had an inexplicable sense of forboding when I walked into the room and a sense of panic that I fortunately quelled with my sense of reason. I realized later during the test when all was quiet that it had been very similar to walking into a small hospital room with three people waiting for me when I learned with certainty that Mina and Layla had died. I actually felt better knowing where the panic had come from and that it wasn't necessary in this situation.

Fortunately, there was a TV in the room and it just so happened that one of Rayan's favorites, Curious George, was on, which, along with Bunny and a little thumb-sucking, helped keep him still and quiet. He was there for a total of one hour and fifteen minutes getting his scalp cleansed, electrodes attached, head wrapped, test performed, head unwrapped, electrodes removed, and head scrubbed. He was so good!! We don't expect anything other than a normal result, which we should get on Tuesday. We're just trying to rule out reasons for his delayed speech.

I've been to a pulmonologist a couple of times for this unrelenting cough and we're trying to beat it, but no luck yet. My gag reflex is overly sensitive since I'm pregnant, and though I've had no morning sickness, per se, the violent fits of coughing have often brought up my last meal, sometimes in very embarrassing situations. I've taken to carrying a little bag around with me in my purse and trying not to go out in public for very long.

We're trying to get Layth to stop pooping in his pants, and after lots of input from lots of sources, we're currently treating it as chronic constipation and feeding him lots of fiber, fruits, and juices. Sounds like the wrong plan for stopping poop, but it seems to be helping so far, so we'll see. Apparently with chronic constipation, small soft bits can slip past the hard blocking bits unchecked, so by ending the constipation, we end the leaks as well. At least that's the hope.

I realize these last two topics may be too much information for many of you. On to more pleasant things.

Babies! I definitely get all soft and mushy when I see tiny babies now, but I still don't feel like I'm really going to have one. I don't know if this is some kind of defense mechanism preparing me for all the bad things the genetic counselors tell me could happen at my age, or if it is just taking an abnormally long time to sink in, or if I'm just too scared to think about trying to handle four by myself with K working so much. I'm looking forward to feeling the first little butterfly kicks, because I think that will help!

After our 80 degree day last weekend, many people here were disconcerted to see snow last night and today, but I love it, of course. We caught snowflakes on our tongues on our way to breakfast this morning. I love that the weather can change so much, and that I don't have to have blinding sun all the time! There's a lot more of it in the summer, of course, but hopefully I can hide out in my shady, air-conditioned cave for the most part.

We'll be heading back to visit Texas for the Mina and Layla Butterfly Festival at the Dallas Zoo on Mother's Day weekend. Any readers in the area are welcome to come!

There are a couple of things I've noticed about Seattle that I've never seen anywhere else: the weather reports here make frequent mention of "sun breaks," which is like scattered sun in a day otherwise filled with rain, and signs on some sections of the highway that say "Apple Maggot Quarantine Area/Please do not transport home-grown tree fruit." Nice!