Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Someone call the Cute Police

I have already mentioned that our little Chuckles is a particularly cute kid.

I don't think I've mentioned his obsession with trains, more particularly the trains from "Thomas the Tank Engine". Chuckles already has quite a collection of the little wooden ones, and he plays with them and only them, it seems. He refuses to call Thomas Thomas, insisting on calling him "Twain" instead. Lately, Chuckles has been taking his little Gordon the No.4 Engine and James the Red Engine everywhere with him - won't be seen without them!

He and I were dropping Princess off at kindy, saying our goodbyes to her as usual, when Chuckles suddenly burst out "Byyeee! I love you! And Twain and Gordon and James...(his voice petered out a little here)...and Mummy."

At least I got a mention.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Princess' heart surgery went well. She now has a tiny little coil in her heart, plugging up the duct, and her heart beats as noiselessly as the next person's (if you'd heard the murmur she used to have, you'd know what I mean).

We are most relieved.

It all seems quite surreal now, almost like it was over in a heartbeat (oh, stop, my sides are aching!) - seriously, Princess was only in hospital for less than 30 hrs. She proved herself to be the brave, strong, stoic little soul she is - showed Darling Husband and I a thing or two about fortitude and patience, like she always does. She received excellent care and so did we for that matter. It all went like clockwork.

We owe so much to the expertise and care of the Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Services team, particularly Dr Robert Justo, Dr Bennett Sheridan and Susannne our care co-ordinator. Great job, and thank you.

As a postscript, I have to mention Little Man and Chuckles were so sweet when they visited the hospital. Little Man especially has a lot of room in his heart for Princess - he's not afraid to tell her or show her he loves her. 'Swonderful.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Lifeless? I don't think so.

I was carrying Princess through a particularly busy area at a special event at Little Man's school today - there was quite a crush of kids and parents, so I had Princess against my chest and was supporting her with my arms, with her facing forward.

Because of the amount of activity around us, Princess had no doubt gone to her 'factory default setting' as I call it, of having a slightly stunned, almost disconnected expression on her face. (Some background - if there's an expectation placed on her to show interest in something, and she's too busy listening and keenly observing it all, she will get this disinterested look on her face, and the effect can be easy to misinterpret. But don't be fooled - she's got a mind like a steel trap and a sharp tongue when she wants to use it!)

A dad we know only as a slight aquaintance walked towards us, looked at Princess, commented "Whoa. Lifeless!", and kept on walking. A little stunned, I asked Princess "Was he talking to us?" - apparently he must have been. And I wonder, what on earth made that man think it was okay to make such a comment at, and within earshot of, my daughter?

I try not to get indignant at stupid comments or ignorant people - why waste my time being worried about their problem? - but can't help wondering would this guy have made that comment if Princess had had a less stunned look on her face, if she'd looked like she was as alert and engaged as every other child in the room, which she in fact was?

What is it about kids with 'special needs' that seems to give anyone the right to comment or judge when they wouldn't do it to anyone else?

This dad missed an opportunity to learn something today. If he'd stopped to say hello, and if he took the time to get to know her, he would learn that our Princess is many many things, but certainly never lifeless.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Identity Theft

Some folks have been asking me why I haven't posted any pictures of my kids or why I'm not using their real names.

Well, call me paranoid (I'm actually probably more naive than anything else), but... I know a few people who HAVE posted photos of their families on their blogs, only to later discover the same photos of THEIR children are on someone else's blog, being masqueraded as someone else's children. And I find that worrying.

I can't work out what would motivate someone to 'make up' a family to blog about, and I can't work out why I feel so un-nerved by this, but I do.

So I won't be posting any photos of my kids until I work out a way of watermarking/theft-proofing them. But believe me, the wait will be worth it. They really are quite gorgeous - you'll just have to take my word for it for now ; ) .

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Heart ache

Princess will be having heart surgery in a week. I've been mentioning it to people occasionally, flippantly, like it's no big deal. And on the sliding scale of heart surgeries, it is a comparitively small thing.

And yet...

The reason she's having the surgery is this - when we're born, we all have a little duct in our hearts that usually closes by the time we're 5 days old. In our Princess's case, as is the case with many premmie babies, the duct didn't close. It hasn't been a major health issue for her, but it has been recommended that we get the duct closed up nonetheless.

We were offered the option of surgery through her chest - cutting through skin and muscle, prying open her fragile little 4-yr-old's ribcage, finding the wee little duct INSIDE HER HEART and then clamping it closed with a metal clip. Oh yeah, and a painful two-week recovery period. We politely declined that option - well, I think my response was something like "You WHAT?? Over my dead body!!!".

No, we have taken the less eye-watering option of having a thin tube (catheter) inserted into a blood vessel in her groin and threaded up to her heart, where, through the catheter, a plug will be inserted into the duct rendering it closed. And home the next day.

See? Simple.

Let's hope so.

(Princess isn't so keen on going to hospital. But really it's amazing what a good bribe will do. She even announced to her friends today "I'm having my heart fixed, so instead of going boom swish boom swish, it will go boom boom boom boom properly!". Bless.)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Star of My Life

Little Man got a 'Star of the Week' award at his school assembly today!

This means a lot. He has been wanting to earn it all year. There have been times when he has felt his good work and behaviour has gone unnoticed at school, though he's dryly observed that his less-than-acceptable behaviour never goes unnoticed! Anyway, he's finally done it. And his chest is puffed out and he's smiling and he's proud.

Good on you, Little Man. You've certainly made your mother proud. You're so much more than a Star of the Week to me.