Category Archives: Parenting

Are You Sick? Don’t Put My Kid in the Hospital.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this. The people who actually need to read it either won’t…or will dismiss it immediately after they do.

But I’m going to say it anyway because your family, job and schedule are not more important than mine or anyone else’s. And maybe a Motrin Mom or a Motrin Dad will actually listen.

Don’t. Send. Your. Kid. To. School. Sick.

Colds are a pain. Symptoms can last for weeks. The reality is that everyone can’t stay home for the entire duration of all cold symptoms. I get that. Runny noses are inevitable in a classroom of young children. But if your kid is coughing and sneezing non-stop. Clearly feeling miserable. Running a fever. Don’t do it.

Keep them home.

Did you give your kid Motrin this morning to lower their fever JUST ENOUGH to squeak by the rules? Does your kid need Motrin PERIOD to get through this period of their communicable illness?

Then they should stay home.

Yesterday I saw an older kid start crying as she walked through the front doors of school because she didn’t feel well. She literally just got out of her parents’ car, and was already telling a teacher she was sick. Today I found out about a kid in my son’s special needs pre-school class whose mom is playing the Motrin game.

This was my son in September with the rhinovirus. Do you know what that is? It’s the common cold.

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Because of his seizure disorder, this particular cold, for reasons we don’t understand, triggered a status episode that led to 12 days in ICU. Illness in general, tends to trigger an increase in seizures, but we have no idea why this one was so incredibly bad.

Now I know I can’t protect him from all illnesses. No matter what I do, he is bound to get sick. It takes time to build an immune system and there is no way he is never going to catch something at school. We all get sick and we all spread sickness, even if we don’t mean to.

But when you know you are at the peak of contagion.

When you know your kid needs Motrin to pass the nurse’s test.

When you know your kid is not only coughing their lungs out, but also is too young to understand about covering their mouth and hygiene.

When you know they attend school with medically fragile children.

Oh you didn’t know that? Your kid probably does, even if you don’t know it. In fact, it doesn’t matter if they don’t actually have medically fragile schoolmates. Because we never know when even a typical kid is going to have an unexpected reaction to an otherwise ordinary illness.

So please do your part. And by the way, I used to teach. Assuming your child is verbal, they love to rat you out that they were sick that morning and mommy or daddy gave them medicine so they could still go to school. So your kid’s teacher is probably aware you are a jerk with no regard for others.

It’s not just about inconveniencing people. Maybe it was just a cold or cough, or 24-hour virus for you. That doesn’t mean it will be for the next person.

It might mean an ER visit.

An ICU admission.

A ventilator.

Understand that in the special needs/medically fragile community, it might mean death.

This is Malarie.

Photo and story shared with parents' permission.
Photo and story shared with parents’ permission.

She was 10 and had the same genetic disorder (tuberous sclerosis complex) as my son. She got sick last June and her parents took her to the ER for what they thought would be a short visit to get a handle on her illness. Within hours she developed  pneumonia, went into septic shock and passed away. It was completely unexpected and devastating.

What might be nothing for you, could be fatal for someone else. If you know you are sick and contagious, or that your kid is, do the right thing.

Stay home.

 

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I disappeared because of weed.

Shameless clickbait title, but it’s technically true.

There are actually two major reasons I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog for the past year. 1. Burnout. I think I just hit a wall talking about TSC and I completely ran out of motivation. 2. Even when I did feel like posting I couldn’t talk about one of the most significant aspects of what was going on with Connor, which was that he was enrolled in an Epidiolex trial. I was not allowed to discuss it online while in the study.

In Venice, FL to visit Grandma Judy and Grandpa John.
In Venice, FL to visit Grandma Judy and Grandpa John.

I’m still dealing with intermittent motivation, but the other issue has been resolved.

Connor was fortunate to be included in an Epidolex trial last year by his neurologist. We were shocked to get in when so many were turned down. Epidiolex is manufactured by GW Pharma by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. Unsurprisingly, this drug is pretty controversial in the cannabis world. Most people who are using medical marijuana or in the cannabis world are not thrilled with a pharmaceutical company getting involved. I completely understand this, feel similarly and get why this is problematic, nonetheless, obtaining regular cannabis in every state was/is an issue and we were accepted around the time some companies were finally able to use a federal hemp law to start shipping cannabis oil with THC levels under 1 percent. It was still the same stuff that used to be illegal; they were just able to get it reclassified as hemp rather than cannabis because of the low THC levels. Right after we started, Georgia finally passed an immunity law protecting people for having certain types of medical cannabis for certain conditions if your doctor would sign off and you registered for a card from the state.  So the timing was weird. All that time with nothing, and then both options fell into our laps at almost the same time. We decided to try Epidiolex as it would present no legal issues with travel and other logistics (and I know low THC oil under 1 percent is in a grey area and theoretically okay in any state, but for those of us in Nathan Deal country and other states run by people with heads up their asses, nothing is guaranteed. For example, we aren’t allowed to administer the oil in the hospital without the card).

Meeting a manatee at Mote Marine in Sarasota.
Meeting a manatee at Mote Marine in Sarasota.

It was utterly pathetic to learn just how many parents were ready to attack other parents for making the decision to enroll in studies. Parents that seemed to forget that not so long ago, pharmaceuticals were their only option, too. So for those of you that feel the incessant need in the various cannabis “support” groups to do nothing but viciously attack everyone who isn’t using the strain you approve of, you can seriously kiss my ass. There is a huge difference between explaining why you feel one type is preferable and making a parent who is just asking questions in order to learn feel like an idiot because you are on a power trip. At any rate, as you’ve likely guessed, we are no longer in the study.

Captivated by the waves!
Captivated by the waves!

The first five months were fantastic. We went from 2-3 seizures a day to up to 12 days seizure-free at a time. His cognitive skills improved, as did his physical skills. He learned how to use picture cards around the house to tell us what he wanted in a day. Unfortunately, we had to take most of them down after a few weeks when he began to take pleasure in making us jump just because he could. He went from using them effectively to thinking it was funny just to make us do stuff. He also started tackling hills on our walks like it was nobody’s business. Unfortunately, in mid-July, things went to hell. He was worse than he’d ever been and it wasn’t even that his typical seizures returned, so much as he seemed to be having a lot of subclinical activity and was a blob on the couch. He’d fall all the time and could barely walk. It was a nightmare 2.5 months. This contributed to my lack of motivation on this blog and I also fell off my other project, which I plan to get back to soon. Since I was still following many cannabis groups to see how people were using whole plant oils made in legal states, I came to the conclusion that his CBD dose was too high, and as soon as we lowered it, he began to improve. Things went okay for a couple more months, but when we lost control again, we decided to leave the trial and start Haleigh’s Hope, which we order from Colorado. It’s made by Jason Cranford of the Flowering Hope Foundation. We chose it because we know several people in Georgia having success with it, including Haleigh Cox for whom it is named.

At Touch-A-Truck in Kennesaw.
At Touch-A-Truck in Kennesaw.

Right off the bat with the switch, whatever subclinical activity might have been going on started getting better. He was walking again within a week. The situation was much improved from months of being so floppy he couldn’t function and going to school many days in his chair. Seizures in general have still been a bit of a roller coaster, though not to the degree that he’s unfunctional, but the issue we are having appears to be that since he just started school, he’s catching every germ that comes his way. The slightest sniffly nose means lots of seizures, usually starting days before symptoms even show up. It has been very frustrating. However, when we are able to keep him healthy for a couple weeks at a time, he does very well. Now that we are sliding into spring, I’m hoping things will even out and we will see sustained seizure reduction.

But can I just tell you about his eye contact? That has become phenomenal since starting HH. Sometimes I feel like he’s practically challenging me to a staring contest. After a couple months, it started to dawn on me that his stimming had decreased as well.

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I have high hopes for the incoming warm weather.

I mentioned in my last post that just before I headed off to a blogging conference, Connor and Chris were getting sick. I returned home to Connor still exhibiting cold symptoms, and Chris the same. Though when Chris started having hot and cold flashes, I became suspicious that something else was at play. Connor slowly seemed to get worse and we celebrated his fourth birthday by having to give him two Diastat doses in one day, 12 hours apart for the first time ever. The next day he spiked a fever and had quit eating and drinking so we went to the ER where he was diagnosed with the flu. An IV perked him up to his old self so we went home, but he reverted the next day and we were admitted from Wednesday-Sunday. He developed pneumonia on top of the flu and almost ended up in ICU on Friday when he couldn’t keep his oxygen levels up. Thankfully, the next day he began to recover.

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Feeling better finally!
Feeling better finally!

So here’s to hoping we can make it to and through summer vacation without any further drama!

Governor Deal plans to block medical cannabis expansion.

I’m experiencing a serious feeling of deja vu. Except last year Governor Nathan Deal waited until after Christmas to drop the bomb on the sick and suffering of Georgia, along with their families. Happy holidays, citizens. You don’t matter.

Let’s do a brief recap. In early 2014, a parent lobby rose up, with the help of Rep. Allen Peake of Macon, to try and pass HB 885/Haleigh’s Hope Act to help people with epilepsy access cannabis oil. It was a very limited law, but by the time it hit the floor on the final day of session, it had been whittled down to nothing but immunity for possession of the oil. Political games were played, namely by Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (who has his sights set on the Governor’s seat), and the bill died, much to the devastation of the families. As the clock ticked toward midnight, several families ran to Deal’s office to beg him to intervene, to demand that the bill get a vote. He wouldn’t come out of his office. More families moved to Colorado in desperation. And three children I knew through this effort would pass away as the fight continued.

Over the course of the year, Peake led a commission to explore the idea further and how to make it work in Georgia. They concluded in December of 2014. Everyone was excited at the prospect of a bill that would include more conditions and allow a higher ratio of THC to CBD  (necessary for many people for whom CBD alone doesn’t cut it). It was also supposed to allow cultivation and growth in the state of Georgia as bringing it over state lines is federally illegal. Before the session even started, Deal made it clear growing was off the table. It was another devastating blow, however, HB 1 did pass with several eligible conditions. Residents could apply for a card that allowed them to possess cannabis oil with up to 5 percent THC.

Let me quickly say, I am for full medical marijuana. Legislators should not be able to dictate what conditions or stages of disease are eligible. They are NOT doctors, except in rare instances. But this is the sad hand we are dealt in Georgia. Too many elected officials that think it is their job to parent rather than represent the will of the people, who are largely in favor of medical cannabis. The goal for 2016 was to hopefully expand conditions and allow growing so that federal law doesn’t have to be broken to obtain it.

The signing of HB1 in 2015 was quite the production with the Governor’s office. He even shed (crocodile) tears as he signed the bill to help the families his staff strategically placed around him for the camera op. It was a performance worthy of an Academy Award.

Over the course of the past year, taxpayers have sponsored another committee to explore options for growing in Georgia. They have not completed their work or presented the final findings to Deal, however, yesterday he came out and said he will not support growing in 2016 either, even though the whole point of the committee he appointed was to make that happen.

He says law enforcement doesn’t want it. Well, last time I checked, that isn’t the branch of government that writes the laws.

He also says that the 300 people who have registered aren’t enough to be worth the cost of the program. Hear that, fellow card holders? Our loved ones aren’t worth it. He fails to recognize that many people can’t register because the restricted legislation doesn’t include their conditions, or if it does, they have to be end stage (yeah, you aren’t dying enough yet), and many need more THC than is allowed by the current law. Several patients are also encountering the issue of their doctor refusing to sign off simply because they oppose the idea or lack education about how it can benefit various conditions.

I find it funny that he considers the cost/benefit ratio not good enough to have in-state grow, but he supported pharmaceutical trials that cost the state an extraordinary amount of money, and have taken forever to benefit anyone at all.

He never intended to listen to either committee. But he was happy to waste your tax money putting on a show of fake compassion.

There are two things I really hate about epilepsy. The first is obviously what it has done and continues to do to my child, even though he has shown extraordinary improvement on CBD oil.

The second is how it has left me feeling about my state and my country. Getting involved in corrupt politics has been so incredibly disheartening. I was happier in the dark, but there is no going back. I just hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a majority that can override Deal’s veto. But that road looks a lot like a Georgia road in an episode of The Walking Dead. We need everyone to speak up. Please call and email your state senators, representatives and, of course, the governor. Let him know you are tired of him ignoring the will of the people.

This site will help you find out who your state officials are:

http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

Governor Deal, this is just one the many faces you are hurting. Look at him. He is a person. He is a Georgia resident. He is loved. Now do your job.

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For more on what happened last year, read this.

 

 

 

Pesky Questionnaire Problems for Special Needs

Connor has aged out of early intervention and will go into the school system where he can attend a special needs pre-school. You know what that means! Paperwork! Like this transition isn’t hard enough. Not only is it less time with my baby, but do you know how early schools start?! I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Connor is a great sleeper. When he wakes up during the night, he typically entertains himself until he falls back to sleep. For this reason I have been able to consistently sleep until 8 every morning (arising even then only because of the necessity of meds) while your toddlers were screaming for whiny Caillou by 6:30. I can’t believe I have to give this up.

At any rate, I’m sitting here filling out ratings scales on my kid. But sometimes

0 for not true/Never/Seldom

1 for just a little true/Occasionally

2 for pretty much true/often/quite a bit

3 for very much true/very often/very frequently

just isn’t sufficient to answer the question. So I will instead provide short answer responses to the questions that I think need further explanation.

Is odd or unusual. Well ya’ll just jumped right in there didn’t you? What does that mean? Define odd or unusual. My son is not the typical three-year-old thanks to tuberous sclerosis complex, epilepsy and ASD, but odd or unusual? He loves trucks, books and puzzles. Not odd or unusual. Has been able to listen to All About that Bass more than 1,087 times without getting sick of it or trying to throw himself out of the car window. Very odd and unusual.

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Gets invited to parties or playdates. He’s three. This question is clearly about me and my social skills. Three-year-old social lives  are very dependent on whether mommy can put up a front that she’s sane in front of other people. And whether my friends provide alcoholic beverages at kiddie functions.

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Acts before thinking. He’s three. I’m 34 and still trying to master this. I almost punched a girl in Kroger just because she mentioned attending an Ariana Grande concert while blocking my path to the Gerber Graduates.

*****

Is perfect in every way. Ooooh, you’re testing me again!

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Behaves like an angel. So basically this questionnaire is fodder to talk shit about me in the teacher’s lounge.

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Has trouble keeping friends. Well if his toddler buddies would stop taking HIS toys it would really bridge a gap. Or if he’d stop taking theirs. Or if the kid in the therapy waiting room wasn’t looking at HIS fish in HIS tank he wouldn’t have needed to push his head away.

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Is happy for others when something good happens to them. Well he doesn’t understand abstract ideas, only what he can see in front of his face. I’m sure if he understood graduations and promotions he’d be delighted for the recipients, but as of now, he’d much rather see you fall down or sneeze. But now that you mention it, he was pretty damn indifferent when I crushed his Daddy at Trivia Crack.

 

The scary thing is that I think Connor fares better on this scale than I do.

I’ve been informed that the way I eat candy bars is odd and unusual. (In sections, I eat off the surrounding chocolate and then eat the center).

Most of the stuff I get invited to these days is kid-related.

I probably should have thought to put a mug under the Keurig before turning it on.

The friends have been fading away. As much my fault as theirs. It’s not something I want, I just don’t have the energy to force myself out sometimes.. Have I been telling you we should meet for a drink? I actually mean it, I just need a kick in the butt. Relationships change. Sometimes when the gulf opens, I don’t know how to cross it.

Sometimes I’m happy for others. Other times I want you to admit you gave your kid a banana that wasn’t really organic. Or that your child didn’t recite Pi to the 1,000th place at 18 months.

But I am a perfect angel. So I guess that’s something.

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Connor’s version of March Madness includes an MRI and sedation

So much going on this Month but we made it.

We gave him a playroom, and he acted like he'd been sentenced to Riker's.
We gave him a playroom, and he acted like he’d been sentenced to Riker’s.

We still have a child named Connor, in case my lack of blogging made you think he had packed up and run off to Borneo as revenge for us regulating his iPad time.

Let’s back up to February when we heard a loud thump followed by crying from his room. We ran in to discover that we had a Defcon 1 situation and Connor had escaped the crib. He wasn’t so much hurt as I think he was surprised by the floor, so he transitioned to the toddler bed that week. I did not expect it to go well. We moved more toys into the room, added a gate to the door and removed all potentially dangerous and/or greasy objects from his drawers. The first night he cried and yelled for two hours and I had to rock him to sleep. Not because of the bed, but because baby gates have always inspired great rage in him.

IMG_3673But after that, piece of cake. He would actually get in bed and stay there. I was shocked. I had expected him to trash the room and pass out in various spots on the floor. Instead, he stays in bed until light begins to peek through in the morning, and then he’ll either go play or drag objects into bed with him. In the beginning I’d find him passed out in a sea of pants and diapers he’d dragged from the drawers (yeah, no idea) but he has since graduated to his puzzles and trucks. The transition has been incredibly easy as long as he has his Pillow Pet dog to shine on the ceiling.

Staring into is even better than watching the ceiling.
Staring into is even better than watching the ceiling.

March was probably the busiest month we’ve ever had.

Washington D.C.

Chris and I joined other TS Alliance volunteers from around the country again this year to meet with our congressional representatives and senators on behalf of our state. I’m excited to say that the Alliance got the most signatures ever in support of the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program. Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson was one of the authors of the senate Dear Colleague letter, and in the House of Representatives from Georgia, both Rep. Hank Johnson and Rep. David Scott signed on in support again this year. We were fortunate that the meetings were set for Wednesday March 4 since a snowstorm blew in and shut down the government on Thursday. Despite the cold, Chris and I got a lot of sightseeing done. And I only busted my butt on the ice once.

Boston

IMG_3995We flew home from D.C. on a Friday, picked up Connor from my parents and flew up to Boston on Sunday morning. I had booked an early flight since this was our last trip given Connor is aging out of the TSC study and I wanted to make the most of the day. I was not aware at the time of booking that we would be losing an hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings. We boarded our 7:30 flight, took off, and landed right back in Atlanta 10 minutes later due to an issue with the landing gear. I was tired and disinterested in dragging a sleeping toddler off the plane so my thought was, if we gotta land on it, let’s just do it in Boston. If it meant spending the day in the airport waiting  for a flight we weren’t going, but crazily enough Delta had a plane ready immediately so off we went. Boston was still covered in several feet of snow from the big storms the previous month. Roads and sidewalks were cleared, but space was tight with the mountains of dirty snow and abandoned cups on each side of the sidewalks (because apparently trash melts too when thrown in a snowbank).

While we were there we scheduled Connor’s annual scans. He had a brain MRI and an ultrasound (the recently updated IMG_4016protocol recommends an MRI of everything, but I just couldn’t seem to get someone on the phone that would make that happen this time). Since kidney involvement is common, we prepared ourselves for the possibility that Connor would have some sort of involvement by now, even though his previous scans at birth and six months were clear. When the tech came back to take additional photos after showing the initial pictures to the doctor we were pretty sure we were right. Connor does now have signs of TSC in his kidneys–innumerable minuscule angiomyolipomas. They are not problematic or affecting his kidney function, so we will just continue to monitor for growth. Hopefully they will not ever require intervention.

Weirdly, though I prepared myself for changes in the kidneys, I did not expect any change in the brain. There is no rational reason for that, I just didn’t. Turns out that one of his SENs in the ventricle has grown from 5mm to 7mm. It does not require intervention at this time, but the doctor recommended a followup in six months to be safe, rather than waiting the usual year.

So, not the best news, but certainly not the worst, or anything too crazy for TSC.

My crowning achievement of the trip was while Connor was having his MRI. I fell asleep in the waiting room, and awoke to the nurse telling us we could come back and see him. I jumped up in a half-asleep state of confusion not realizing my leg was completely asleep. I mean absolutely 100 percent numb and unfunctional. I crashed to the floor drawing a gasp of horror from an onlooker. I tried to get up, but couldn’t. My leg could not support any weight whatsoever. I looked really cool, but seemed unhurt…until we flew home that night. Then began the first of several days of my ankle looking like this:

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But I must reiterate — I looked really cool.

Katie Beckett and IEP

Upon return I dealt with the immediate turnaround of Connor’s Katie Beckett renewal paperwork. They give you like a whopping two weeks to get it done, plus it came while we were out of town and was due when we would be gone again. Thankfully, we had an easy renewal this year (assuming we get re-approved), requiring only some basic forms and not the common 10,000 pages of therapy notes.

Then we had Connor’s first IEP meeting since he’s aging out of Babies Can’t Wait. He will begin at the special needs preschool in April, attending Monday through Friday from 8 until 12. It went pretty well. Their goals were well in line with what we were looking for. He will receive 45 minutes of OT, 45 of PT and 60 of speech a week. Plus he will continue with private speech, OT, music and aquatic.

Connor’s 3rd Birthday Party

We celebrated Connor’s construction-themed birthday a week early since we needed to be out of town for a wedding on his actual birthday. He was very accommodating in that he doesn’t know what date it is anyway and never has objections to being given trucks on any given day. Rosie the dog donned her construction gear and I even tried my hand at amateur cake making:

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A few days later Connor went to my parents and we went to Antigua, Guatemala to round out a whirlwind month…but that’s my next post. Stay tuned so I can get all Rick Steves on you.

Tardy thoughts on the Superbowl, dadvertising, and that stupid fire dress.

Let’s start with the game. It gets my standard review. Didn’t care. Didn’t watch it. Well, except for that fight at the end. That was kind of entertaining.  I hate football. YES! I SAID IT! I live in the southeast where college football is king and I neither care about SEC football (I mean, I want the Dawgs to win, I just don’t need to watch it happen) nor do I care about the NFL.

As for the half time show — thank you, Missy Elliott. It should have been your half time show. Not that I hate Katy Perry or anything, but Cinna was right there on stage with you, and that was the best fire dress you could come up with?!

I always watch for the commercials, specifically the humorous ones, although it seems like those are fewer every year. Or maybe I just thought they were funny back when I bothered to go to Superbowl parties and started drinking at noon. Of course the humorous ones were always mixed in there with the stereotypical scantily clad, partying women selling booze.

This year was an interesting departure. Not a lot of naked chicks, but a lot of kids and dad commercials. It’s funny. If that change had been made just a few years ago, I would have thought, great, wonderful! About time. And then I would have gone on with my life. But watching the commercials, even as a mom was a strange experience.

Let’s start with THAT Nationwide commercial. I’ll give you props, Nationwide. You got the nation’s attention. You collectively sucked the breath out of every room that had a TV tuned to the game. Adorable kid, charming and quirky depictions of childhood imagination; we fell in love with this little boy in 15 seconds. Then you killed him. We were treated to visuals of overflowing bathtubs, cabinets opened to containers of poison, and a flat screen television smashed on the floor. I conducted a very unscientific poll and have gathered that 63 percent of viewers responded with What the f—! 32 percent responded with mouths gaping open. And the remaining 5 percent were lucky enough to be in the bathroom.

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If it saves even one kid, it was worth it. But as a parent that is faced with  the reality of childhood mortality every day, I sure didn’t like it or want to see it when I just wanted laugh at idiots doing dumb crap to get Miller Lite or Doritos. Connor does not have any life threatening complications, but seizures are always dangerous and unpredictable. And I know so many people via my involvement in cannabis legislation that are dealing with far more dire situations than I am. The TSC community has lost two teenagers recently, and I’m going to be selfish and say I didn’t want to think about that during the stupid Super Bowl.

That Dove ad with a sequence of young children hitting milestones and calling out to dad. Dad. Daaad! Sweet commercial. I was a little confused by the Cats in the Cradle Nissan ad. Seemed depressing. Here, buy a Nissan and drive away from your family! Not everyone interpreted it that way, but if you are familiar with the song, it was kind of hard to view the commercial in an uplifting manner. But at least dad was there to pick up his teen son at the end. Toyota depicted a dad raising his daughter and tearfully dropping her off at the end to her military deployment.

This shift in advertising should have been a welcome change to me, but it sort of wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of naked chicks spraying themselves with Coors Light. I’m not saying this a bad change. I just realized how different the experience of these commercials can be for some people in the special needs community, and especially for those who have lost or are facing losing a child.

Watching kids hit milestones and do things they can’t do yet, or may never do was extraordinarily painful for a LOT of parents, as I realized quickly from my Facebook feed. I know I felt a little funny, and I wasn’t even the target of the advertising. The Dove commercial with kids calling out for Dad…as I’m desperately waiting for Connor to say his first word made me stop and pause in the kitchen as I poured my drink. I read more than one thread online of parents that had clearly been taken out of the moment of enjoyment and festiveness by these ads. To be clear, no one was critical of the ads, it was just interesting to realize how much my own perspective has changed in the last three years.

As for me, next year I’ll probably watch Netflix upstairs, perhaps Nationwide Presents: The Never Ending Story 4: More About the Horse that Drowned in the First One. I’ll watch the funny commercials online later.

 

Who thought it was a good idea to take her kid along for a dentist appointment? This gal!

It turned out not to be a good idea. Not a good idea at all.

I wasn’t able to get an appointment within the planned window of time when I called. I had to wait until after the new year and slots were few. I just took the first available. I figured when it got closer I’d either ask someone to watch him or I’d take him in the stroller. He’s pretty mellow most of the time. I felt if he was in the stroller, it would be doable as long as I had access to YouTube on my phone.

Atlanta was entering a week of Seattle-esque weather so I was a little cranky to start with the morning of my appointment. As I began to put our stuff in the car, it hit me. The stroller was in Chris’s car. My husband mostly works from home, but today he was at the office.

There were lots of four letter words as I realized that this appointment was going down like the Hindenburg. A toddler at an appointment is one thing. A free and unconstrained toddler is another. And with less than an hour until appointment time, there was no way I’d risk a cancellation fee. Emotionally that’s akin to paying to park, when walking a couple blocks will get me a free space.

Ah yes, the space saver high chair that fits on a regular chair. He could be locked into it off to the side of the dentist cube, yes? That’ll do. I was feeling very MacGyver and brilliant. Connor is always fascinated when the chair within a chair is placed on the floor. He will sit in it just because of the novelty.

I discovered his love for sitting in the chair without a chair when I set it on the floor during a weekend in the mountains and he didn't want to get out of it.
I discovered his love for sitting in the chair without a chair when I set it on the floor during a weekend in the mountains and he didn’t want to get out of it.

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Problem solved, we headed off.

First he decided he was not sure he wanted to walk into the dentist office so he plopped down on the ground outside the door. I was losing my grip on the chair at this point so I set it inside the hall so I could encourage him to keep going. He came in the first door and then decided he wanted to hang out right there outside the actual office, so he plopped down again. He was eventually coaxed into the waiting room by the sight of his magical throne…on the floor.

My dentist is never on time, no matter what time of day the appointment is. I will say that this particular morning they were only 15 minutes behind, but Connor’s unwillingness to settle on one place to sit made it feel like much longer. At one point I thought he was going to try and make off with an older woman’s walker.

When the assistant finally came to get me, I made a point to loudly blame my husband for the odd situation. The part about him unexpectedly going to the office was a lie. The part about him making off with the stroller was true. A lady laughed and I could tell she was admiring my brilliance in the face of such hardship.

First problem was that they needed a full set of x-rays, probably because I have forgotten to go since Connor was born. So he had to sit in the chair outside the cube. He didn’t care for this plan and he let it be known. Loudly. One of the hygienists walked him around the cubes while my gag reflex went into the most overreactive state I have ever experienced. It was seriously ridiculous. Every time she stuck that cardboard in my mouth, I felt like a cat with a hairball.

Connor returned for my cleaning and he was locked into his precious chair. Except apparently he only likes the chair on the floor if he’s not locked in. And it’s his decision. Toys got tossed, his new toothbrush gifted by the hygienist got tossed — come to think of it, I haven’t seen the toothbrush since. Guess it got tossed in a corner somewhere. Or it’s at the bottom of my purse. Either way, gone forever.

I could hear myself thinking from just a few short years ago from another cube. “This lady seriously brought her kid to the dentist? It’s called a babysitter. I will never do that when I have a kid!

My hygienist tried to get him to color, despite my explaining that with his delays, we weren’t quite there yet. But she did give it the old college try. She was very nice, considering. I think it helped that her first, now adult, child had special needs, too. Another employee came to walk him around and keep him busy while I was being cleaned. He returned for the wait for the final check by the dentist. He explored the mechanics of climbing on me and jumping off me in great detail. When the dentist finally came, my hygienist corralled Connor for the check, where once again I was encouraged to remove the partially emerged wisdom tooth that didn’t make an appearance until my 30s (it is my only wisdom tooth, even on x-ray). I would have asked a couple of questions about my teeth, including if I should do anything about the one I recently chipped. It’s really small and Chris swears it’s not noticeable, but I’m kind of obsessed with it. But he took off before he could be handed toddler duty. Probably for the best, as one of my questions would probably have been answered with, “Stop drinking coffee.” That’s never going to happen. In fact, I chipped my tooth on my coffee mug.

Now that the visit was over, Connor decided to be cooperative and did a good job of waiting while I checked out and following me to the car. I congratulated him on the success of his mission. I will never try this again. But that’s okay. Vengeance will be mine.

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