Monday, October 26, 2009

Family Night

     Monday night. A time of togetherness, a time of learning, a time of love. And perhaps the most painful night ever endured by mothers. Last week I watched a Supernanny re-run and decided to use one of her object lessons for family home evening. It was perfect. A fun and simple way to try and rid my children of their potty mouths. I prepared in advance, gathering my supplies and buying donuts for a fun treat. I even had a scripture to add an element of spirituality, thus enhancing my lesson.
     Ian was very excited for family night. He had his scriptures ready immediately following dinner and kept pestering me and Scott. He wanted home evening now, even though we were still eating. Finally it was time. I had him pass out paper towels to each person as we sat around the kitchen table. I then said, "Let's have an opening prayer. Ian? Will you say it?"
     He very importantly uttered his standard two second recitation. "Heanwy Fadda tank you for dis day Cheesus ist amen."
     "Ian has a scripture for us, too." I nodded at him. "You can read it now."
     With Scott's help, Ian read Mosiah 4:14-15. It took a while. When he came to the part about not suffering the children to go naked, he succumbed to a sudden case of giggles. Upon finishing the comedic scripture, I asked my rebel offspring what King Benjamin commanded the parents to do.
     Tawni knew the answer. "He told them to teach their children not to fight and quarrel."
     "Right. What about the next verse?"
     Tawni continued, "You need to teach us to love one another."
     "Okay." I then took a lemon and cut it into slices. I passed a slice to everyone. "Go ahead and suck on your lemon."
     Ian wasted no time. His little face contorted and his body shivered from head to toe. I wasn't much better. Zack barely licked his, over-dramatizing so that we would all see how cool he was. Beka pointed out that she didn't even pucker. Scott said his tasted good and proceeded to eat it. Tawni suffered from sore afflictions, known as cankers, and would not participate.
    Filled with great wisdom, I pointed out that name-calling, mean talk, and crude words were like the lemon. They left a bitter taste in our mouths and in the mouths of those we hurt. Then I had everyone lick a finger and dip it into a sugar bowl. The sugar represented the sweetness that comes from love and kindness. Wouldn't we rather sweeten our spirits with good words than make them bitter with lemon words?
     Ian piped in, "Can we have donuts?"
     While we feasted on dessert, I informed the kids that there were certain words I didn't want them using anymore. Ian smiled, "Like naked?"
     That got everyone else laughing. "No. Naked is fine. I don't want you to say suck, dumb, stupid, hate, or," I looked directly at Zack, "freak."
     "Oh man! Freak is awesome!"
     "It's not nice."
     Once the donuts began digesting, it was time for family prayer. Scott asked Tawni to say it. Ian reached down to the floor and picked up his Clone helmet. He put it on his head right as Tawni started to pray. She barely got past the opening when Ian said, in a muffled voice, "Hey! Who's in here?" Tawni started laughing so hard she had to cut the prayer short. Ian was smiling, delighted with himself and his ability to cause mayhem. Trying to restore order, I told Zack to get in the shower and Ian to put on jammies. That's when everything changed.
     "No!" Ian shouted, running from the room.
     For the next twenty minutes, I battled with him, pleading, coaxing, threatening. "If you want friends tomorrow, what do you need to do?"
     "I don't want to play with friends. I want a shower."
     "It's Zack's turn for a shower. You can have one tomorrow."
     "NO! NOW!"
     I don't remember when he finally put his pajamas on, it's all a blur, but I remember what he said to me.
     "I hate you!" "You're mean!" "Want Daddy!"
     There went my Supernanny inspired lesson.
     Getting Ian to take all his medicine after that was torture. He fought me the whole way, screaming for Daddy.
     "Fine. Go get Daddy. I'm done."
     Daddy came. Daddy gave him his amoxicillin. Daddy did it too fast. Daddy made Ian throw up all over the floor.
     Mommy looked at Ian smugly and asked, "Who does your medicine better? Mom or Dad?"
     Ian, looking just as smug replied, "Daddy."
     After all that, being the good mom I am, I read my child a story. We cuddled, we laughed, and when the book closed I said, "Time for bed, sweetie."
     The devil returned, leaping off my lap, running down the hall screaming for Daddy.
     Instead of chasing after him, I reached for my computer and the comfort of a blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


     Not only does Ian suffer from fetal alcohol effects, he also suffers from asthma. Severe asthma.  Last May he was hospitalized after contracting a simple cold that triggered a massive attack. He spent three days in the hospital, the first being Mother's Day--yes, now is the time to feel my pain and express sympathy--thank you. Last Saturday Scott and I were on date with his crew from the fire station and their wives. We were having a delicious meal at Market Street Grill, courtesy of Captain Kirk. (That is not a typo.) Luckily we'd finished the meal and were awaiting dessert when the call came. It was Tawni. Ian couldn't breathe. She'd given him his medication, but it didn't help.
     Prior to this, Ian had a stuffy nose for about two weeks. Nothing major. Just snot. But on Friday, he developed a cough. Saturday it got a little worse. By the time we arrived home after our date, he was throwing up every time he coughed. On my bed, and all over the freshly cleaned carpets. I know it's shallow to mention it, but hey, it's frustrating. After emptying his stomach, he then began to cough up thick mucous. Scott put his paramedic skills to good use and listened to his lungs. The tops were wheezy and there was no air flow in the bottoms. We administered a breathing treatment with the nebulizer, but it didn't help. We decided to take him to the emergency room.
     Luckily, Ian didn't need to be admitted. With another breathing treatment and oral steroids, his lungs cleared, although the terrible cough remained. It is now Wednesday night. He has not been to school. This is the third week of school he has missed since it started in late August. I just can't keep the kid well.
     We had a follow-up appointment with the pediatrician yesterday. She increased Ian's maintenance medication from 44mcg 2X/day to 110mcg 2X/day. He also gets three Decadron tablets every night this week, Albuterol every four hours, nasal spray, Benadryl, and 2 tsp of Amoxicillin 2X/day. The poor kid is a walking pharmacy. And every medication Ian has to swallow triggers his gag reflex. It takes me twenty minutes to get the Amoxicillin into his body. Every puff of Albuterol is straight adrenalin. You couple that with a kid who has major ADHD, poor impulse control, and no understanding of consequences, and you end up with something like a mean alcoholic on speed.
     He and I have been together none stop since Saturday night. I am tired.
     But I shouldn't complain. He's the real one who suffers. A few weeks ago, Ian was battling another cold. He lay in his bed, miserable, while I attempted to settle him for the night. He asked me one simple question.
     "Will my ashthma go away?"
     I had to be honest. "No, honey. It doesn't go away. It will always be there, but you won't always be this sick."
     His bottom lip trembled right before he burst into tears.
     Ian is seven. He's beginning to notice the differences between himself and other kids. He wants desperately to be well. He wants to play, have pets, play with other people's pets, run without coughing, have skin that doesn't itch constantly, and he doesn't want to take medicine.
     Life isn't fair. This little guy's been given a double whammy. He has a lot of illness and issues to overcome. I worry about him constantly, I ache for him daily, and I love him fiercely.

Friday, October 16, 2009


     Every now and then my kids seem more likeable to me than at other times. I like hearing their voices, seeing their faces, and I don't mind their noisy friends who drink the sodas and eat all my food. During these times, I also pay close attention to the things they say. The last two days, Ian has been down right hilarious without even trying to be. It started at school yesterday, when he lost a tooth. His teacher put it in an envelope for him to take home. He was so excited to show me, he took it out of the envelope as soon as he got in the car, and promptly dropped it between the seats. Recovery efforts were in vain. Scott, being an inventive dad, made Ian a fake tooth out of paper and told him he could fool the tooth fairy with it. He of course said this loudly, in my prescence. Ian was delighted. Conning the tooth fairy is right up his alley. This morning, as I was making pancakes in the kitchen, I heard his exultant cry from the bedroom. "It worked!"
     Also last night, Scott and Ian sat on the couch together, viewing UFC. The guys came out to fight, wearing some tight, revealing shorts, not unlike a Speedo. Ian took one look and said, "That is very inappropriate."
     I made a double batch of pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies yesterday. Ian had some with his pancakes this morning, and after school, he wolfed down at least eight before I commented.
     "Those are your favorite cookie aren't they?"
     "Yup," he said with crumbly drool on his chin.
     "You're sure eating a lot of them."
     He reached for another, "Well--I want a healthy body with strong bones--Duh."
     I couldn't have said it better myself. I hope all that pumpkin will help to loosen what's been sitting in his colon for three days.
     I got a late start getting ready for the day this morning. Which meant I put my make-up on at 2:00 this afternoon. Here's what happened.
     Ian's aunt, Jeni, has been in town for the past week. Ian informed her that she forgot his birthday and wanted to know when he could open his present. He's called Grandma and Grandpa's house--which is where Jeni stayed--every day. Last night he called again.
     "Gwampa? Can I come over and hang out or somthin'?"
     Right after school today, he called again. "Can I come over there?"
     Ian's grandma answered. "Yes. There is something here for you."
     "My present?"
     "Yes. Jeni left it here for you before she went back home."
     He eyes widened, his mouth fell open, and he almost hung up without saying goodbye. This was at two o'clock. I told him I needed to put on my make-up. He followed me into the bathroom and retrieved my make-up bag for me. He then proceeded to take out all the things I needed. Mascara, powder, eye shadow, lip gloss, etc... After each item he asked me, "You need this?"
     "I do. Thank you for helping."
     He peered at me intently while I made myself presentable. Then he said, "Boys have mohawks and coolness. Girls have make-up and prettiness."
     "Am I pretty?" I asked.
     "Psh." He shrugged.
     Good enough. I'll take it. The poor kid had to wait another twenty minutes so that we could do the junior high carpool. He sat patiently while we made three different stops. After nearly an hour, it was finally time to go to Grandma's.
     "When we get there, I'm going to build my Legos."
     "What if Jeni didn't get you Legos?"
     "She did. I just know it."
     And guess what? She got him Legos.
     Thanks, Jen.