Tag Archives: Micah

Five Month Radio Silence

From Family 2011

It seems I suddenly became a terrible blog administrator. I was doing fairly well for quite some time, only missing a month or two every once in a while, but then 2011 happened and it’s been five months since my last post (almost to the day!). I did do one little post on my personal blog in April, but that one wasn’t a very good one. So within the next couple of days I hope to have this one and my personal blog updated.

Going off our Family 2011 photo album, I can see that we’ve done quite a few things already this year. We’ve been to the tunnels of Crystal City, we went ice skating in Pentagon City, we’ve been to the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court, the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy hangar complex, and we enjoyed a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Haddad for Micah’s baptism. We all enjoyed our birthdays (they are all within the first four-and-a-half months of the year), Rochelle’s family had a wedding and a funeral (both of which she attended), and I may have finally decided on a career path (this is a big deal). Some friends of ours left the area, some came to visit, and we’ve made a few new ones. Overall, everyone has enjoyed good health, and we are doing well.

Oh, and I got to ride in a helicopter.

Books We are Reading

Brian

Despite the recently circulating rumors, I can read. In fact, I recently finished a book, and afterward decided it was time to catch up on the last eight months worth of magazines I had been letting pile up.

I’ve always been an avid reader of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, the former being my favorite, and the latter having several practical elements that prevent me from being able to ignore it entirely. As a subscriber, upon the arrival of either, I would have it finished before the day’s end under normal circumstances, but with work being as stressful as it has been, I began piling them up back in August and hadn’t gotten around to reading them until this month.

For more about the book that I read, you’ll have to wait to read about it at my personal blog (that post is up now).

Rochelle

Rochelle just finished reading the Harry Potter series again. This is something she does regularly.

After finishing that, she began reading The Poisonwood Bible. It took until about the  halfway point before she really got into it, but she seems to be enjoying it quite thoroughly now.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From Family 2011

While many of you share our religious views, much of our family may not be familiar with our beliefs.

In an attempt to quickly and briefly address any questions, I will share our views on what I think are the most common differences between religions when it comes to baptism: how to do it and who should do it (at what age).

We believe in baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, as taught in the New Testament. We also believe that the ordinance should be performed by one holding the authority of the priesthood, that same priesthood that John the Baptist held (he being a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses).

Finally, we believe that young children, before they are accountable for their own actions, have no need for baptism since they are not yet in need of a remission of their sins. Yes, we believe that baptism is a necessary step in our journey to Heaven, but small children are innocent before the Lord. Therefore, only after they become accountable for their own sins, knowing and choosing their own actions, are they able to make the decision to be baptized.

Micah, having reached the age of accountability, decided that he wanted to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He made this decision knowing that it was not something we required of him and knowing that he could wait to make the decision later if he should so choose.

The photo above is just moments after coming out of the chilly water.

I have to tell you, I felt bad for him. That water was cold. Preparations had been made so that the water would be warm. They filled the baptismal font earlier that morning with nice, warm water. Before dunking him in the water, we had a small service in which we prayed, sang and listened to some remarks about baptism from my father. He smeared peanut butter on his face. The children loved it. Then we all went into the room where the font is located and were shocked to find that all of the water had drained!

So, with only a little water in the hot water heater’s tank, they began to fill the font again. Of course, rather than wait several hours to fill it full of warm water, we had to settle for a little hot water and mostly cool water. We didn’t even wait for it to fill to the optimal depth. Having served a mission for our church and having done a few baptisms before, I knew that I could get him under water no deeper than my knees. So we filled the font until just after my mother’s remarks (she spoke about the Holy Ghost, a gift we receive after baptism as part of our confirmation into the Church). Then we all went back in to the font room. The water was pretty cool. Micah shivered pretty hard. With just one good dunk though he was baptized.

Because the immersion under the water must be complete, people often have to be dunked more than once if any part of them fails to submerge. Micah only had to endure the biting cold water for one submersion though. He was glad.

In addition to his baptism, he has enjoyed seeing the museums with us, he enjoyed the ice skating, and he’s been doing well in school.

Sophie

From Family 2011

Whether she’s cracking her mother up with the angry mean face, getting an MRI, or hanging out with me after work, Sophie is the brightest star in our home. She can cheer anyone up with a hug, melt anyone’s heart with a smile, or make even the angriest parent crack a smile with her antics. Undeniably, she has the cutest toes in the house, and she gives the best hugs.

Obviously, with five months having gone by, a lot has happened to tell about, but I can’t possibly remember it all. I’m really terrible about keeping a journal (these blogs are the best I can do most of the time, and we all see how well that’s working out).

In February she turned three. She is very aware of how old she is, and she knows she’ll be turning four next. She tells people this from time to time. Also, she understands relative age fairly well, tagging anyone younger than her as being one or two years old, and anyone older as at least four or five. Just recently she informed me that I am older than her, estimating my age as being four, then (seeing that I am obviously more than just one year older than she is) changing her guess to five (with an “oops, silly me” giggle).

Every now and then Rochelle and I share short little blurbs about Sophie on Facebook. Here are a few from each of us (more recent ones come first):

Rochelle:

I was watching a movie with Sophie. Two people started kissing in the movie and she said, “Look at those two people kissing.”
I asked her how that made her feel and she said, “Huhuhu, jealous.”

Sophie: Don’t sing anymore. It’s my turn to sing.
Me: Okay, you sing it then.
Sophie: I don’t know how to sing this song!

Me: We’re going on a toad trip tomorrow.
Sophie: Rearry!?!
Me: Really.
Sophie: Rearry!?!
Me:Yes. Really.
Sophie with a wistful look in her eyes: Can you take me to see the lanterns?

Brian:

Sophie (playing by herself) – “I did it! I am AWESOME!”

Sophie (holding MY flashlight): “I’m going to play with it.”
Me: “Can I please have it back? It’s mine.”
Sophie: “No, it’s mine.”
Me: “No it’s not.”
Sophie: “I’m Sophie and I’m the lost princess. It’s mine.”
I took it back. She’s getting better at this.

Rochelle: Sophie, say Wild Thornberrys.
Sophie: Wild Thornbabies. Wild Thornbabies to the sky!

As you can tell, we thoroughly enjoy having her in our family. She can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

Oh, and she’s in this video.

Also, her latest MRI looked clean again, so we won’t be going in for an MRI after three months like we had been. We get to wait six months instead.

Until Later

Despite five months worth of activity to report on, I wanted to keep this post short-ish to prevent you from taking one look and turning back out of fright. I promise I’ll try to be more regular than I have been so far this year. If you have anything you’d like to tell us, leave a comment or contact us using the contact information on the blog’s main page.

We love you all and hope you’re having as awesome a year as we are so far. Be sure to check out our Family 2011 photo album to see a few of the things we’ve seen thus far.

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Filed under Exciting, Travels

Christmas is Coming

From Family 2010

While there may have been no excuse for my negligence in posting here during the month of September, I hope that all of you know by now that I do not post normally during November. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I have participated for the last three years (and finished a winner every time).

Be sure to visit our Family 2010 album as the year is drawing to a close. There you will find photos from our recent date (no kids!) to an ice skating rink at the Pentagon Row in Pentagon City. Also be sure to visit our YouTube channel where you can see three videos that were uploaded since the last post.

Books We are Reading

Brian

I just finished NaNoWriMo. Give me a break. I’m still looking with guilt at my unchanging pile of books to read, and every day I feel that I inch closer to actually reading one. However, in the short term I really want to see if I can edit my NaNoWriMo novel into something bearable to read.

On a nostalgic note, I’d like to add that I’ve been enjoying playing an updated version of an old game I loved when I was younger. Nintendo recently re-released GoldenEye 007 for the Wii. It was originally one of the best Nintendo 64 games ever made, and they did a wonderful job refreshing it for the new system. If you ever played and loved GoldenEye 64, you must try it on the Wii.

Rochelle

Rochelle is currently re-reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran” for the third time. Reading has been relatively routine for her during the last several months, so she doesn’t really recall anything worth sharing. Keep watching this space for something interesting though, because I still haven’t been reading squat.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From 020

For the time being, I am giving up on trying to get Micah to write anything for this thing. Maybe it will be a summer only event. Until then, I’ll just fill you in on what he’s been up to.

He won three awards at school today. One for attendance because he thinks we’d sell him if he ever skipped school, one for being nice (while he is nice most of the time, we are a little surprised he got that one), and one for getting a 4.0 (the one in the picture, where he’s posing with his teacher, Ms. Reynolds).

He is both excited for and dreading Christmas, mostly because he really, REALLY wants a Nintendo DSi, but we’ve made it very clear to him that they are way too expensive for us to get right now, and we constantly remind him that he has a history of abusing electronics, and we wouldn’t want to let him have a DSi unless we knew he could handle it without breaking it. Plus, he manages to convince himself every year that he’s getting coal (and someday we’re going to get it for him as a prank, but when he’s older and won’t be scarred for life). Overall, he’s absolutely sure he’s not getting a DSi, but he’s still holding on to a last shred of hope that Santa will put one under the tree in spite of all we’ve said.

What he doesn’t know is that we have had a DSi for him sitting in my closet for over three months. We’re really excited about giving it to him, and we REALLY hope he doesn’t break it. We also got him a certain Pokemon game that he wants. I’m going to try to get good video of him getting this gift, because we’re sure he’s going to freak out. We are hoping for a reaction like this kid (YouTube Video), but it’s probably going to be more like this kid (YouTube Video).

I was going to just let you be excited with him, but in this case I decided to take you on our journey as the parents who are waiting as patiently as we can to give our child a gift he really, really wants.

Sophie

From Family 2010

No news for Sophie. She’s still just being cute. She now finds interesting words to append, “ies” to the end of (“pearsies for pears, “friendsies,” and many more). She has become quite a funny little girl. She even gets a lot more jokes now, and her little, “I get it” laugh is super cute.

Sophie has learned how to button buttons, and she helped extensively with the tree decorating (which happened almost two weeks late this year).

A long while back, when Sophie was learning not to be afraid of water, we used to have her lie down in the tub with a little water and we’d move her around “like a mermaid” (in her own words). I took a video with my phone, and finally posted it to YouTube. Yeah, it’s got a naked girl in it, but it doesn’t show anything she’d be too embarrassed about later in life, I hope.

She has had a strong interest in letters recently, learning to spell her name and recognize most of the letters in her name. Of course, when she spells her name, she goes through the, “S – O – P – H – I,” then she gets distracted by the “H, I” and continues with, “J, K, L…” She recognizes the “S” the “O” and the “P” most of the time, though sometimes “corrects” herself and says that the “O” is a circle (which it is, but not when that circle is being a letter).

For Sophie’s gifts, you get to be with her on her journey. I’m not telling what we got her, but it’s going to be good.

Oh, and in November we took Sophie in for yet another MRI. Things are looking great in that little girl’s head. No new tumor growth, and her brain is finally starting to look more like a normal one (some of the cavities that expanded when the fluid built up and where the tumor was may never go completely away, but they are minor and hardly noticeable now). Also, the one year anniversary of her surgery is this Saturday (the surgery was on a Friday last year). We are full of gratitude this year for all that happened last year and we are looking forward to spending the holidays with that beautiful little girl again.

As for what lies ahead, we still don’t know. We’re waiting to get an appointment with the man who can help determine what to do from here. We’ll let you know as soon as we know anything.

Until Later

Well, that’s it for this month. Shortly after Christmas I’ll make an effort to get all of the videos and photos we take posted. Thanks in advance to all of you who may or may not have sent or are sending gifts, money or love. We appreciate all that you do as our cherished and beloved family, friends and blog readers.

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Filed under Exciting, Holidays, Milestones, Sophie PMA

Really, Really Late

From Family 2010

I have AIDS. No, not THAT AIDS! I have Ambition Imbalance and Deficiency Syndrome. Sometimes I get a little overambitious, and other times I can’t muster enough ambition to even think about starting something. Often my ambition is killed off during the process of planning and anticipating an event.

For example, over two months ago I posted that we had some exciting things planned – and we did. And we did them. However, when it came time to do my favorite part – write about those events – my ambition was dead. I had planned on writing, I had anticipated writing, but when it came time to do it, I lacked the ambition to actually write about all the cool things we did.

So now, two months later, I’ll be scraping the bottom of my rusty memory bucket to attempt a portrayal of our exciting activities without leaving out the most important ingredient – the fun.

The first activity we had planned was the construction and use of a compressed air rocket launching system. The details of the build and our adventures launching the rockets can be found at my other blog in two parts. The first part details the building of the system and presents a few problems with it. The second part has some video of our launches, and includes solutions to most of the problems we encountered.

The cool thing about this system is that everything is reusable (no burning engines to replace for each flight) and the rockets can be made from common papers and things you have in your home already.

From Family 2010

Going out to launch rockets is a good excuse for a picnic.

In all, we uploaded five videos of the rocket launches ranging in length from ten seconds to a minute and a half each, plus two compilations – one lasting over two and a half minutes, the other being only forty five seconds. I suppose I could edit them into a single video for you, but I completely lack the ambition. So, instead I will take the time to list and link to each of them here.

Note that the first round of rocket launches were unsuccessful due to the rockets exploding. These launches were still fun though.

In addition to launching paper rockets, we took the kids camping finally. More about that under each child’s section.

The rest of the time since August has been spent doing nothing. Not really, but that sure simplifies the process of writing this post for you. I’d get input from Rochelle on what she wants to include in here, but it’s three thirty in the morning and I doubt she’d enjoy me waking her to ask what I should write about. If I don’t do this now, it won’t get done until next month.

Oh, and I’m not staying up late for fun – I’m on a night shift schedule this month. Hopefully, this should be the last round of night shifts for about nine months. I’m not holding my breath though.

Books We are Reading

Brian

Nothing. Still trying to tackle the ever growing pile of magazines that I subscribe to. My RAI (reading ambition index) is at a zero lately. I did manage to model a more modest dream home than the one I featured last time. Maybe I’ll make a video of this new one for next months post. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll actually start reading a book soon. There are so many that I want to read.

Rochelle

Rochelle has read or reread hundreds, maybe trillions of books since I last wrote, so we’ll leave this blank until next month when I will actually consult with her on what to put here.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From Family 2010

Micah has been struggling to come to terms with the fact that nearly everything Sophie does to annoy him she learned from him. I’m hoping he’s learning lessons that he’ll actually take and use from all of this.

Micah really enjoys the rocket launching, and he had a pretty good time on our camping trip. See for yourself:

From Family 2010

Really though, he had fun. He especially had fun when… well, I’ll get to that in a minute. It has more to do with Sophie than Micah.

Sophie

From Family 2010

Sophie also had a good time launching the rockets, and she was the one who insisted we take that cute picture of her and Rochelle above.

On the camping trip she was especially good and very cute (took lots of video – see the links below). She especially enjoyed trips to the camp restroom.

From Family 2010

We did have one minor incident on the trip though – Sophie burnt her hand while roasting hot dogs for dinner.

Funny story actually, she was really excited to eat the hot dog, and before we could properly instruct her on how to remove and eat the hot dog, she grabbed for it. The hot dog wasn’t what burned her though, it was the metal stick it had been cooking on. We had warned her that it would be hot, but she’s only two and these things are easy to forget. Actually, while she was still cooking the hot dog I decided to pull out my camera and take some video since everyone was doing such a good job and following directions so well. Just as I hit the record button, Sophie decided she couldn’t wait to eat any longer, and I got video of the whole thing. It’s the saddest camping video I’ve ever recorded.

Of course, when she dropped her stick it landed on Micah’s arm. While he tried to play it up for a bit of a bigger deal than it was, his burn was minor compared to Sophie’s. He looked like he got a light sunburn through a hole in a long sleeved shirt.

Sophie’s burn, though, was a pretty serious light burn. It wasn’t anything we had to go to the hospital for, but it hurt bad and took nearly a week to fully heal. After a little while she recognized it for the cool battle scar that it was.

From Family 2010

She had a great time climbing around and talking about Toy Story.

From Family 2010

Here are the links to the videos I took at the camping trip:

Finally, make sure you check out all of the new photos on this year’s family web album.

Until Later

Obviously, that’s not everything we’ve done for the last two months, but it’s more than enough update for you, I’m sure. If you’ve been counting months, you know that we should have taken Sophie in for an MRI recently. It didn’t happen yet, but we’re scheduling it this week (the referrals were just approved at the end of last week). As soon as we know what the results are, we’ll post something on this blog (just a quick update).

I can’t shake the feeling that there are big, fun things I’ve left out. Such is the nature of really, really late blog posting. I’ll be sure to post something next month. Thank you for all of your love and support. We love all of you, our dear family, friends and random Internet citizens.

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Filed under Exciting, Travels, Vacation

Five Days Late

From Cell Photos 2010

Wow, where did the last week go? On the 13th I remember thinking, “I’m going to write up that post for the family site,” and it didn’t happen. Then one thing led to another thing and here I am posting five days later than I ever wanted to. While not an official rule, I always hope to have something posted for you by the 15th of every month. So, here is an underwhelming and unforgivably late collection of goings on from the Haddad family.

Yes, we’ve engaged in various activities of varying levels of excitement, but we have, on every single occasion, neglected to bring out the camera and record anything for you to see. I know, we’ve failed you, and I also know you don’t really care. It seems you can’t make up your mind. I understand your frustration, even if it is only the frustration that I feel, superimposed unwittingly upon you in the wildly distorted version of the world that lives safely confined to my head.

For any of you who are still wondering, I am no longer working the night shift. This is a good thing. As of a few weeks ago, I am working days again. There has been much rejoicing. Micah’s final day of school was last Wednesday, Sophie’s 6 month MRI was a couple of weeks before Micah’s last day of school, and the local pool is open so Rochelle and the kids have been visiting it with much frequency. So, with more details on all of that, let’s get into the individual sections.

Books We are Reading

Brian

I haven’t read any books in so long, it’s starting to eat at me. How can I call myself an intelligent person if I can’t even make time to read? I’ll get there, I promise myself. I was doing so well for a while, then everything fell apart. When I finally pick a book back up with the intention of finishing it, I’ll let you know.

Rochelle

She recently reread Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island, which she just finished today. I remember we purchased the entire set of Anne books a while back, and, though I haven’t been counting, I’m pretty sure she’s read every book in the series at least fifty times since we bought the set two years ago. She really loves those books.

Tonight, before going to sleep, she will have to read, which means she’ll be picking out a new book. This usually involves several long moments of agony, in which she wishes she could simultaneously read several books that she wants to read equally, all while longing that her book collection were vastly larger. She’ll stand for what feels like hours in front of the bookshelf, staring at its contents, and if she can’t find anything there she’ll turn on her Nook and browse through the many books she’s downloaded onto the device, or peruse through the online selection, carefully pondering what she might purchase with her monthly book budget. In the end, if she isn’t feeling terribly adventurous, she’ll make her choice from among a very narrow set of books that she loves because she’s read them a hundred times or more.

Never mind, she’s not done with the Anne series. She’s on Anne of Windy Poplars. She’s reading it right now, as I type.

How the Kids Are

Micah

I haven’t taken any photos of Micah recently, and I would go in and take one of him sleeping right now if it weren’t for two potential problems. First, he’s been staying up incredibly late these days. So, I don’t want to barge in there with my flash blazing if he is still awake or just falling asleep. Secondly, he has been very hot in his room, so he hasn’t been covering himself very modestly. Sure, he’s got underwear on, but you don’t need to see it. And if he’s asleep, and I take a photo of him, you’ll probably wind up seeing some tighty whities. I’ll get photos of him up for next month. Promise.

Now, his self written content. For next month, I’m going to try to get him to write a little bit more. Also, I didn’t get a chance to go over this with him before writing up this post, so I’m just leaving all the errors in there (though I’m changing the letters that look like other letters to reflect the intended letters).

Almost everyday my family goes to the pool. We just went to the shallow part and of coarse, we went to the deep end. (1) Then at school, we had a picnic. And we had the last day of school with a pizza party. And we had feild day. (2) Have a great sumer folks!

  1. Just to shine a little light on why this is significant to him – he’s developed a borderline phobia of deep water. I remember him carelessly splashing around in deep water with those floaty things on just a couple of years ago, but something happened since then. Now, when we take him into deeper water, he literally freaks out – getting very tense, clinging on to anything he can as though letting go will mean instant death, and he becomes incapable of reasoning. This is often accompanied by sobbing and screaming bloody murder. Last time we went to the pool together, just yesterday, I worked with him for over an hour (at my own expense, since I was the only one not wearing sunscreen) and got him to calm down enough to be able to reason with him a bit. Though he remained very nervous, I managed to get him out to the deep end without him clinging violently to me, and once he stopped screaming hysterically, he even called out to his mother to show her how brave he was being. However, I had to keep at least one hand firmly gripping him at all times, preferably two. Every time I changed my hand configuration I explained very clearly what I was going to do in a calm, loving voice, I went over how I was going to do it several times, and I made sure he was ok with it. Then, when I actually executed the change, he lost it and it took many minutes to get him to stop screaming. Hopefully, if I can work with him with any regularity, we can prevent him from developing a real phobia that carries over to adulthood. I certainly identify with his feelings though, because, as many of you know, I am currently dealing with a phobia of needles that I developed as a child.
  2. The picnic, pizza party and field day didn’t happen in that order. I didn’t get all the details on the field day, but I think it was just a big outdoor sporting extravaganza at the school. It wasn’t a field trip (which, to me, would have been much more exciting). Now that I think about it, I think they had their field day, then the picnic, then the pizza party. Not that it matters, of course.

Like I said, I want Micah to write a little more for next month, so if you have any inspiring questions for him to write about, ask away in the comments. He may complain about having to write more, but he loves the attention, and he doesn’t have any school work to worry about, so it’s no big deal, right?

Sophie

From Cell Photos 2010

First off, Sophie had her six month MRI on Wednesday, the second day of June. She went down fine for the scan, but woke up afterward a little early due to a coughing fit. She had been somewhat congested, which was a concern with putting her under for the scan, but the doctors decided it was safe. She was safe, but the mucous had collected a bit in her throat, causing her body to want to eject it, inducing a coughing fit. She was still very groggy, and we had to endure a very cranky little girl for over an hour before she was able to show the nurses that she could keep fluids down and they let us go home.

The following Friday, I called to see what her scans looked like. They looked great. Thank goodness.

Other than that, she’s been very healthy and very happy. She enjoys going to the pool, and she has become a lot more vocal and expressive over the last month or so. Most recently, she has decided that she doesn’t want to go to bed on time. This is fine with us, as long as she plays quietly in her room. We put the gate up, sealing her inside, and for the first few days she would stand at the gate and cry for a few minutes until deciding that we weren’t coming. At that point, she would go play with toys. She would often take one particular toy that makes music into her bed with her and fall asleep listening to it. She’s very sweet.

The last couple of nights have been different though, with her deciding that she’d rather scream and cry than play and get in bed. Tonight I stood outside her door for several minutes listening to her cry like a mad woman before she started pitifully calling out, “Guys, come here right now. I’m crying. Pweeeeeeese.” Her voice was sobbing and whiny. It was really cute to me. Eventually, these calls turned into, “I need help. Please, I need help!” It’s quite entertaining. With it being Father’s Day and all, I decided to go in and comfort her for a minute. I held her, walked around her room for a minute, then sat by her bed until she fell asleep (which didn’t take long at all because she was really tired). That’s when I snapped the photo above. She always goes to sleep with her bear, her cat, and her Elmo doll. She is a very sweet little girl.

The other day we got some Summer entertainment equipment. The adults got roller blades and the kids got skates. We all have or purchased helmets too. Sophie’s skates are the type that snap on over the shoes. She loves looking at them and wearing them (they have Tinkerbell all over them), but not skating in them. She enjoys watching us skate, but she gets very nervous when we put her down on the ground with them on. I figure she’ll feel more confident after watching us get better at it for a while. I remember being very good at roller blading at one time, but now every time I strap them on I feel like I’m going to fall on my rump the whole time. It’s frightening.

Oh yeah, the only new video I’ve posted recently is of Sophie making silly faces. It’s fun, but it was taken on Rochelle’s old camera phone, so the quality isn’t great. Next time we go skating I’ll have to take some photos and video. And I’ll try to capture us doing other interesting things as well. No promises though, we’re still very busy with other life stuff.

Until Later

I know you don’t mind the post being late, but I am striving to post regularly enough that you can always come around the middle of the month and see the latest news. This month, I apologize for posting late, and I will do better next month.

Rochelle is taking the kids to see her family in Mississippi this next week, so we should have news and pictures from that trip to post next month. I would love to join them on the trip, but there is no way I can take any time off work right now. Plus, even if I could get away, it’s better for me to save the time off for later in the year when the holidays start coming.

We love all of you, and want to wish every father in our family a happy Father’s Day today (even though most of you are probably reading this after Father’s Day).

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Filed under Normal Life, Sophie PMA, Unexciting

Craziness

From Family 2010

Wow. It feels like so much has happened in the last month, but when I try to think about the details, there really isn’t much to tell.

For me, one of the most exciting events of the month took place today. After owning our 2003 Ford Taurus for about a year now, I finally got around to figuring out how to set the door keypad code. I always thought it would be horrible to have that keypad by the door handle laughing at us in the event that we locked the keys in the car – taunting us with the promise of being able to unlock the car if we had only received the code from the dealer.

Since we didn’t get any papers from the dealer with the code or instructions on how to reset the code (no manual was found anywhere in the car), I had to scour the Internet and the underside of the dashboard for information. Eventually I found the factory code, and fifteen minutes later (after several failed attempts) found the correct instructions for setting your own code. Now we have a code so that keypad can be useful if we ever lock the keys in there. No more locksmiths for our vehicle. Of course, we’re not going to lock the keys in the car, so I like to think of these as precautionary measures.

Let’s see… There’s got to be more to tell.

Ah, yes. Rochelle and I attended our first concert together on Friday night (the 12th). After discovering the wonderful world of Jonathan Coulton several months ago, I began following his blog and discovered that he was going to do a live show in Alexandria, Virginia (about half an hour away from us). So, we bought the tickets immediately.

We had so much fun. Even his opening band (Paul and Storm), the wild card of the evening since I couldn’t find any solid info on them, was a bunch of fun. They are, to me anyhow, primarily a comedy duo with some pretty respectable musical ability. Jonathan Coulton is the other way around – a gifted musician who has some comedic ability. Overall, the evening was full of great music, healthy comedy (definitely rated PG-13 though) and decent food (the show was at the Birchmere).

Well, I’ll pause to think for a minute while you read about Micah and Sophie. Then, if I think of anything else, I’ll add it in the farewell section.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From now on I’m going to try to get Micah to write his own updates. I’ll try to prompt him to include things you’ll be interested in, and if you leave questions in the comments, I’ll have him answer them next month.

Without any questions or prompting from me, here’s what he wrote this month (if you only read the bold text, that’s exactly what he wrote). After he finished writing it out on paper, we edited it together for his benefit. I’m including my edits here and making them apparent through the use of strikeouts, [brackets] and numbered comments/footnotes in parenthesis and italicised (1).Obviously, if he misses something of significance, I’ll include it in italics as an intro to his writing. Also, I’m hoping that, with time, his entries will get longer, because this month his contribution is meager, cryptic and… “fun.”

  1. Footnotes look like this.
From Family 2010

A few weeks before this week, I’ve been haveing fun watch[ing] my dad play Endless Ocean Blue World. Also I liked playing Wii Sport[s] Resort. The sport I liked was Swordplay.

School was fun. I got to play with the hundred block. I got to push the cart (1). You should read the books at my school. We went to [on] a field trip. We watched a screen (2) about The Star Who Could. It was fun.

There was a[n] MSA (3) at school. We sang to a 3rd grade and a 5th grade class. It was fun too. (4)

  1. The cart he’s referring to here is the lunch cart carrying all of the lunches that the students bring from home. The students all rotate through this position of “lunch cart pusher” and it was his turn recently.
  2. He meant video – he decided on “screen” after pondering for several minutes about what to call it.
  3. He wasn’t sure what the MSA was since only the older kids participated, but when I guessed “Maryland State Assessment” he recognized it as the correct meaning of MSA, though he still didn’t know that there was any testing going on.
  4. Notice how he failed to mention anything about getting in trouble in school TWICE in the last week? He had been doing quite well for a while, and then, last week, something inside him snapped. We’re working with him, and he didn’t do anything too terrible, but it was an unwanted surprise after so many days of doing so well.

Sophie

From Family 2010

Not much to report on Sophie. She can tell you everything I can’t if you just check out this video of her reading, and the new pictures I added to our Family Album (new photos can always be found at the end of that album).

If you recall, Sophie will be having MRI scans every three months this year, and she had her first one since the surgery last Monday. Within a few hours of the MRI, we were lucky to have our surgeon call us. He had seen the scans, and even though the radiologist hadn’t issued the “final reading,” they had spoken on the phone and they agreed her images look great. Everything appears almost back to normal. There is a bit of inflammation around the area of the surgery (not scar tissue, just the brain’s reaction to being poked around in), but it was much worse right after the surgery than it is now, and Dr. Magge believes it will be almost gone by the six month scan.

There were no other abnormalities present in the scan. All of the cavities, drainage pathways and everything else were in the right place, they were the right size, and there were no signs of new tumor growth. We were relieved.

Of course, that’s just one small leg of the journey ahead.

In other Sophie news, a couple of weeks ago Sophie had a “big girl day.” She went a whole day without soiling a single diaper. She had several instances of urinary tract activity, and even had a rectal egression. She did well, but the next day and ever since, she’s returned to her casual, indifferent relationship with the toilet.

Until Later

I remembered a couple more things to share before I let you go.

Micah and I did some work on our table last weekend. The table had two sliding ends to accommodate extension leafs, but we didn’t get the extenders with the table when we bought it used. This left a part on each end of the table for Sophie and Micah to pull on and play with, and one side never quite went in all the way, leaving a crack for food and spills to fall into.

So, I got some bolts and had Micah help me secure the sliding parts underneath the table. He had a good time, and learned a little in the process. That day ended up being one of the best he and I have had together this year (so far). To round it off that evening, we played a few minutes of a new Nerf game we got for the Wii.

As he mentioned in his section, Micah has enjoyed watching me play a game I got to help manage my stress levels. When I get home from work, sometimes I can be a little edgy with people, and I don’t like it. So, after doing some research and finding that this game has some therapeutic value, I bought the newest Endless Ocean game.

Oh, and Luke? If you don’t have it, you should get it! (You can train and dive with dolphin friends/partners! I named my first one Gandolphin.) When or if you have it, we can dive together over the Internet and use Wii Speak to chat while we dive. I think it would be fun to try sometime, so give me a call when you’re ready. Seriously, at $30, this game is too cheap not to get.

Anyhow, even Rochelle has noted that the game seems to have helped my edginess a little, and I have been feeling better.

If you have any questions that you would like to see Micah answer next month, please leave your questions in the comments.

Thanks for reading. Remember that we all love you, and we are grateful to call you a friend or family member (circle the appropriate response on your screen, but please don’t use a permanent marker if you’re borrowing my computer).

4 Comments

Filed under Normal Life, Sophie PMA

Sophie’s Adventure

From Cell Phone Photos

Let me tell you. This has been one heck of a month. Our little family has been changed forever. Mostly, our faith has been strengthened and our hearts are full of gratitude in ways they never have been before. You’ve become accustomed to me giving a brief overview of things up top then getting into how each of the children are doing in the “How the Kids Are” section. However, because all of us went through the same stressful events last week, I will give the details here, then give a post-mayhem view of how the children are down below.

What Happened

A couple of months ago Sophie reached the pinnacle of her walking ability. I looked through our YouTube channel and found this video from the middle of October where she jumps at the end. I uploaded three videos that day in which she showed remarkable balance and willingness to run, dance and jump.

I looked for a video of her walking just before last week, but couldn’t find one. What I found was that shortly after those videos from the middle of October, when she began to fall over more often, wobble and refuse to walk without holding a hand, we stopped taking video of her walking. Almost all of the videos of her between the middle of October and now are of her sitting down. The one exception shows a wobbly Sophie walking while holding Mommy’s hand, two and a half weeks ago. At first you might see that video and think, “she’s just unsure of herself because there’s snow on the ground.” The sad truth is, she had lost her balance due to a physical problem in her brain cavity.

Being the wonderful mother that she is, Rochelle was far more alarmed by Sophie’s walking problems than I was. I maintained that there could be less harmful explanations for her problems, but Rochelle feared the worst and insisted that we take her in to the doctor for evaluation, despite a lack of other, (and in my mind) more serious symptoms.

On Wednesday last week (the 16th of December) we went to see our family doctor at Malcolm Grow Medical Center on Andrews Air Force Base. Rochelle’s motherly intuition was right in line with the doctor’s impression of Sophie’s situation, and we were referred immediately to a pediatric neurologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (thirty to forty-five minutes away) with an appointment for the next morning (Thursday).

We spent a very long time at Walter Reed having Sophie’s blood drawn, having a CT scan done, and waiting around to find out more. Eventually, they called us in, sat us down and showed us a scan of Sophie’s brain. In the right hemisphere of her brain, down in the area called the cerebellum, she had a frighteningly large black oval area. CT scans have a low resolution, and all they could be sure of was that this dark “mass” wasn’t supposed to be there and it needed to be removed at once.

Sitting there in that cramped office the news that Sophie’s brain had a large dark mass affecting her coordination and balance hit me like a truck. However, in my usual, stoic-t0-a-fault manner, I assessed the situation logically. My conclusion? Our whole family was about to change forever. Nothing would ever be the same. My wife’s reaction was more motherly and woman-like. She had to fight off a strong compulsion to break down in tears. She found the strength to keep the tears back because she didn’t want to stir up distress in Sophie. Rochelle managed to keep the tears back until Friday afternoon after three pm.

Because the dark area in the CT scan of her brain was the same color as the other dark areas that are supposed to be dark, they guessed it was cerebral fluid that had formed into a cyst somehow. They speculated it was probably a blood clot of some kind, but it could also be a tumor. If it wasn’t a tumor, all that she needed was for them to stick a straw in there and let it drain, they said (not in those words, of course). She would need an MRI to rule out a tumor. The neurologist arranged for us to be driven out by ambulance to the Children’s National Medical Center in D.C. for the MRI where there would be pediatric neurosurgeons, something Walter Reed does not have on hand, in case she needed full-blown brain surgery. Also, they had us make Sophie fast in anticipation of the surgery. That fast ended up lasting over forty-eight hours. It made Sophie very, very angry.

The ambulance didn’t arrive until late at night. I met Rochelle and Sophie over at the Children’s Hospital where we were put up in a room until the next morning when they would sedate her and take her in for an MRI. I went home that night, but in the morning I took Micah to school and went back to join Rochelle while Sophie was in her forty minute MRI.

The MRI was over around eleven in the morning on Friday the 18th of December, and she went in to surgery with Dr. Magge (pronounced “Ma-gee”) at 1:30 PM. After the pre-surgery preparations, they officially began the operation at 2:10. It was then that it hit me: my little girl was having brain surgery. That’s a big deal. Knee surgery is bad, open heart surgery is significant. Brain surgery is huge.

So in three days we went from, “Let’s have the doctor check her out just to make sure there’s nothing life-threatening going on,” to, “They’ve cut a slab of her skull out and they’re scraping a tumor out of her brain.” Rochelle and I both shed tears, finally, and we found great comfort in prayer.

My mind went over the events between the MRI in the morning and the surgery in the afternoon over and over during the surgery. An hour and a half after the MRI, Dr. Magge had come to meet us in the room where we were waiting with our baby, who was hooked up to four IVs, a breathing tube, and a zillion sensors for everything from heart rate to blood oxygen levels. He told us that the MRI revealed what the CT scan couldn’t – there was a thin layer of non-brain material (a tumor) surrounding the cyst of cerebral fluid. They needed to get in there to drain the fluid and scrape out as much of the tumor as they could safely get to without poking around too much in her brain. The area of operation was close enough to the spinal column that there was a terrifying list of possible side effects alongside the surgery.

The possible problems that could come up during surgery were worth it though, considering the fact that if the cyst continued to grow, it would continue to squeeze her brain until the pressure would one day become “incompatible with life,” according to one of the neurologists.

Sometime around six pm we were waiting to hear an update from the nurse who was in the surgery. She had been coming out every once and a while to tell us how things were coming along in surgery. However, she hadn’t been out for a few hours, and we were getting anxious. When we least expected it, the actual surgeon walked in to the waiting room. That meant he was done. I had to remind myself to keep breathing. What had happened? Did he have good news or bad news? The look on his face didn’t alarm me, it must be good.

He said that they had been able to remove all of the tumor that they could see, and she had been fine the whole time with no complications. We wouldn’t know if all of the tumor was out until they did a second MRI at a later time, but they had secured the piece of skull with titanium brackets and sewn her up with a single suture that would dissolve in three or four weeks. When Sophie woke up from the surgery she was mad at the world. She was still groggy and cranky, and she was hungry. The first thing she asked for was chocolate milk and bananas, and after a while she began demanding an apology from the hospital staff (“I want say sorry,” she said through sobs and tears).

That night a friend of ours from Church came out to get Rochelle and take her home, and I stayed with Sophie. The evening brought the beginnings of a terrible snow storm (not so terrible for me being from the Rocky Mountains, but terrible for the East Coast). At first the snowfall was slow and beautiful, but by the morning when they began to sedate Sophie for her post-operation MRI more than a foot of snow had accumulated on the roads.

Saturday morning she had her second MRI, then we went back to our room and waited. Sophie was cranky and hungry after waking from the sedation, but I was happy to see her recovering so well from the surgery. She wanted all sorts of things she couldn’t have since we were still introducing her back into a diet of solids. They couldn’t find a sippy cup for her to drink from, so we cut the tip of a bottle nipple wide open for her to use.

From Cell Phone Photos

As you can see from the photo, she was still groggy and angry. She also refused to give up the bottle, probably out of fear that we would make her fast again. Slowly, they began removing IVs and sensors as she proved to them that she didn’t need them. At first she was hesitant to walk, probably because of the IV still in her foot, but once that was removed I let her roam around the room a bit, watching closely to make sure she wouldn’t fall down.

Sometime Saturday afternoon Dr. Magge (the brain surgeon who did her operation) had seen the MRI images from that morning and came by to share them with me. While Sophie slept and a nurse watched her, the doctor took me to a computer to show me what he could see. He reminded me that the radiologist was the expert who would analyze the images and declare the final “reading.” However, being a surgeon with lots of experience in these things, he felt confident that the radiologist wouldn’t be able to find any tumor left. He showed me the before and after MRI scans, and the difference was staggering. There was still a cavity where the cyst had squished the brain, but that would slowly return to its natural form over time, he assured me. The channel that normally drained the fluid that had caused the cyst had opened back up to its original size, and that was the important thing for recovery. He assured me that she probably wouldn’t need any additional surgeries for this instance, and as long as the tumor was benign (as had been his impression when he held the mass in his hands in surgery), she shouldn’t require any additional treatment in the future.

I breathed a sigh of relief, but anxiously awaited the same news from the radiologist.

By Sunday, she was more stable on her feet than before the surgery. We arranged to have someone experienced with winter driving bring Rochelle to the hospital along with her mother, who had flown in Saturday from Mississippi. Sophie had been asking for mom, but the snow storm had closed most of the roads all day Saturday, and even the hospital staff had to sleep in the hospital Saturday night.

From Cell Phone Photos

The visit with mom went well. Sophie held her and hugged her for a long time before falling asleep on her. By later that evening when someone else came to pick mom up, Sophie was much more content (and mommy had painted her nails, so she felt prettier).

Just as a side note, brain surgeons are probably all wonderful people, very intelligent and capable at what they do, but I would never recommend letting one of them cut your daughter’s hair unless it’s absolutely necessary. 😀

By the evening that day, the doctors were talking about possibly discharging her on Monday, as long as she continued to recover so quickly. The only problem was that her last IV in her hand was beginning to hurt. After an hour of working with the nurses I urged them to remove it. They agreed and Sophie felt much better. Also that evening, the official reading of the MRI from the radiologist came in. From what his expert eyes could see, all of the tumor had been removed.

I called my wife and my mother. A wave of relief could be felt rippling throughout my world, in and out of homes everywhere we had family or friends. Through the magic of smart phones and Facebook, I had kept people up to date with as much news as I had, but this was the best news I had shared so far.

The rest of her recovery was still going perfectly. She held down all of the foods we had fed her, and she had plenty of energy between naps and sleeping at night. She didn’t sleep all through the night, but she also didn’t wake up more than should be expected. She was filling all of her diapers with copious amounts of urine, but she still hadn’t had a bowel movement, which was my only remaining concern (and it was minor).

That changed Monday morning. Take a look at this face:

From Cell Phone Photos

She was horribly constipated and required some assistance getting the feces out. I had to call in a nurse after looking under her diaper and seeing what was trying to get out. Without being too gross, let me just say that the process more closely resembled child-birth than a normal defecation, only without all the blood.

After that she felt noticeably better and she was exhausted. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

The best part of Monday was when the doctor visited in the morning and he mentioned that she would “possibly” be discharged that day. When I asked him what made the discharge possible rather than definite, he said it would be up to me. So, knowing that Sophie was recovering nicely and she seemed to be mostly back to her old self without showing any signs of being sick or having additional problems due to the surgery, I said I wanted to take her home as soon as possible. He said he could have the paperwork done in half an hour.

I rejoiced. So, after the laborious bowel movement, the nurse brought us the discharge paperwork, loaded Sophie into a wheelchair, and we went down to the parking garage where I couldn’t find my car. A kind parking attendant walked all over the garage in the cold winter weather pushing buttons on my key fob looking for my car. By the time he found it, Sophie had fallen asleep. I drove her home, expertly navigating the snow and ice-covered roads like anyone who grew up in the mountains should be able, and at long last we arrived at our home. Sophie was so excited she exclaimed, “yeah!” louder and with more enthusiasm than I had ever heard her do it before.

Rochelle had wanted me to take a picture of the view from our window in the room, but without seeing the full resolution image you might not be able to tell that we could see the capitol and the Washington memorial (among other landmarks) from the large windows. If you want to squint at the photo and try to see what we could see, check out the Cell Phone Photos album, or click on this direct link for the maximum resolution.

How the Kids Are

Micah

Micah handled it all very well, but we’re not exactly sure he fully comprehended the gravity of the situation. He did ask a few questions that indicated his concern, but he didn’t seem to be too upset by the whole ordeal, despite our explanations and descriptions of the operation.

In fact, he didn’t miss any school due to Sophie’s hospital stay. We had to have people pick him up from school Thursday and Friday, but on Monday and Tuesday school was cancelled due to snow, and their winter break began Wednesday (today).

In news specific to Micah, he is doing pretty well. Yesterday he broke down in tears when asked about a book he had left on the floor in his closet rather than returning it to its rightful place in the bookshelf downstairs. After several specific questions it turned out he was so upset because he had the intention of lying about the location of the book before I stumbled upon it during a routine check of his closet’s cleanliness. He knows there are severe consequences for lying, but he was equally upset by the possibility of consequences for intending to lie. I assured him that there were no consequences since he didn’t actually tell a lie, but that this was a good lesson on deciding ahead of time to always tell the truth.

From Cell Phone Photos

Sophie

Sophie is doing very well. She’s laughing more, talking more, walking better and still a picky eater. She’ll repeat just about any word she hears, and is learning a lot of new words. She ate snow for the first time yesterday, she likes wearing bows on heard (present packaging bows) and can say, “bow.” She loves saying, “bless you” (buss-oo) when people sneeze, “excuse me” (a-mee-mee) when people burp, and saying “eyebrow” while touching your eyebrows. Also, she loves zippers, and is obsessed with operating them, no matter where they may be located (such as one’s crotch).

My favorite: Despite all the “bad” things the doctors did to her, she will tell you, “I like doctors.”

She came home to several new items mom and grandma had picked out for her, including a table place mat featuring the face of Sponge Bob Square Pants. She loves pointing to and naming the various parts of his face, and she even put a bottle of children’s Tylenol where the nose goes saying that it was his nose.

We’re really looking forward to watching her continue to gain her balance back and get back to where she can dance, run and jump. Her brain was squished pretty bad, and as it expands the capabilities that area is responsible for may get slightly worse before getting better (two steps forward, one step back, repeat). So far, though, she has made steady progress, and she has a prescription for physical therapy to give us an opportunity to work with professional children’s therapists to help her get back to where she was before the incident.

From Cell Phone Photos

The back of her head should heal quickly, but this was not what we were expecting for her first haircut. When a nurse began to remove little patches of her hair to make bald spots to place markers on her skull for the MRI, I informed her that she was the first person to ever cut Sophie’s hair. The poor nurse nearly died. She felt so bad, but I assured her it wasn’t a problem. We are looking forward to the day when we can even out her hair with a nice haircut that won’t look so odd. Luckily, the rest of her hair is long enough to do a kind of “comb-over” to nearly hide the large bald spot. It just makes her hair look really thin there.

The final chapter in this story will be written when the pathology of the tumor comes back in the coming week. Tomorrow I can call their office to check and see if the results are in. If the tumor was benign and harmless, then we will be mostly done with the whole ordeal and we can begin to move on with our lives without worrying too much more about this issue. If not, we may have chemotherapy or some other form of radiological treatment to overcome before completely leaving this behind.

Until Later

I didn’t think to bring our regular camera to the hospital (it didn’t feel like a vacation), so all of the photos I took are in the Cell Phone Photos album. I’ll take more photos with the regular camera for Christmas though. Also, you can find at least one video of Sophie at the hospital on our YouTube channel. I uploaded two, but only one is available because of some digital errors in the second video. There is a fourth video, but it is impossibly long to upload from the phone, and it may have errors as well.

In case you’re wondering, Rochelle and I handled the whole thing rather well, considering. While it was happening, I didn’t have time to stop and think about it, but when strangers began commenting and offering their condolences, I realized that brain surgery on a little girl not even two years old isn’t something people take lightly. Rochelle and I received a lot of strength and support from so many directions, I can’t possibly thank them all. Of course, the largest source of strength for all of our family has been the Lord and His gospel. He has blessed us greatly. There are a number of amazing facts associated with what we’ve gone through that, summed up, point to only one conclusion – we were highly favored of the Lord in this matter.

The care we received at the Children’s Hospital was superb. The nurses were all wonderful people who genuinely cared for our daughter and even for our own wellbeing. On several occasions the nurses cared for my wife or me with the same tenderness as they tended to our little girl.

A representative from Tricare (our military insurance company) called today and assured us that everything would be paid for and that if we needed anything else just to be sure we went through our primary care provider for a referral. Even my military unit has offered their support in anything we needed.

Geographically we couldn’t have been in a better location without living across the street from the Children’s Hospital. This, of course, is due to when it happened. Had it happened any other time, we would have been in a less convenient location. Where we were living in California the nearest facility that could have helped Sophie was over three hours away.

I could sit here and type about the many blessings we received through all of this, but I’ll spare you the word count. Regardless of whether you helped by prayer or by driving us through the snow, putting yourself and your property in harm’s way, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This holiday season, this Christmas, our family is celebrating Thanksgiving. We are full of gratitude beyond what we have ever felt before both to the Lord and to our friends and family. So before I run on and on about this, I’ll just leave you with one final thank you.

Thank you.

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Filed under Celebrations, Exciting, Holidays, Milestones, Sophie PMA

Big News

From Happy Baby

Sophie’s not a little baby any more!

Actually, I’m afraid I have two items of less than happy news. First, it seems that I am unable to post on or as close to the fifteenth of the month as I would like (which is alright with everyone but me, I’m sure) so I’m going to have to simply keep with my original promise of posting at least once a month.

As for the second item of unfortunate news, I haven’t got much to report or post this month. We haven’t done anything interesting, we haven’t taken any photos, and there were no significant events to speak of.

Unless you consider winning a million dollars significant!

We didn’t, but somebody did. And we watched them. It wasn’t that exciting though.

There’s just one little update for a few of you who may have known, Rochelle is fine, they didn’t find anything terribly wrong with her. For those of you who didn’t know she was being checked out by medical professionals, it wasn’t a big deal and like I said: everything is fine.

How the Kids Are

Micah

Micah has been doing pretty well in the first grade. He’s got a pretty good teacher, and so far we haven’t had any major reports from her. In case you were wondering (because I know you’re dying to know), Micah is still obsessed with Pokémon.

I always feel a little bad about writing so much about Sophie and not telling much about Micah. For one, there’s rarely much to tell about Micah. He spends most of his time playing outside, playing in his room, or reading. When he’s not doing one of those things, he’s asking to play video games or getting himself into trouble. It’s not that he’s a bad kid, he just lacks a frontal cortex (or doesn’t know how to use it well, we’re waiting for our CAT scanner to arrive in the mail so we can perform some tests).

I do have one quick story to tell about him though, and it should give you an idea of how he’s doing.

The other day he was playing outside. It’s not uncommon for him to burst in through the front door fairly frequently when he’s playing outside because he’s always got something to tell us (if you’ve spoken with him recently you know he never stops talking, even while alone). One time he exploded into the house and yelled out that he had been playing with some bug he found and that he didn’t know what it was. Being the infinitely wise and all-knowing parents that we are, our brains exchanged a series of parental communications and Rochelle was chosen (by way of a telepathic drawing-of-straws that she lost) as the one who would voice the only reasonable thing to say in that situation, “please stay away from bugs, especially if you don’t know what they are.”

As he often does, he yelled out, “OK,” before she finished what she was saying and started to run back outside.

Micah, like so many other intelligent children, believes he can sight-read life. When he was very young and learning to read (several years before his peers) he began developing a terrible habit of sight-reading that extended to words he had never seen before. I believe this behavior is a normal part of the process of learning to read, and we corrected it by having him slow down and sound out each letter or syllable of the words he was assuming he knew.

He now reads very well, extremely fast for his age, and he does so with a sight-reading accuracy that puts many adults to shame. He really is quite intelligent. However, this strength is also his greatest crutch – he has applied the sight-reading approach to life. He perceives the world according to the first clues he has, and rarely listens to the instructions of adults. He believes he has heard it all, so when we say anything he doesn’t listen – instead he guesses what we probably said based on the situation.

So, when his mother told him something that could potentially mean the difference between life and death (taking into account possible allergies to stings and unlikely but potentially deadly encounters with rare poisonous or venomous creatures), he blurted out the required acknowledgement that we had said something without actually listening to what we said.

I realized this and called him back. “Micah, what did your mother just tell you?”

He stuttered a little and eventually answered that he didn’t know.

So, we sent him to his room. This listening issue has been ongoing for a very long time now, and he knows that he has to be prepared to tell us what we told him at all times (and even that doesn’t ensure he’ll remember it long enough to do it).

Later, I went up to his room to address the issue. I knew that I couldn’t simply repeat what Rochelle had said, because he would forget it. So, I gave him a detailed and simple lesson on the animal kingdom, focusing on predators, prey and defense mechanisms and how we fit into the mix.

It was super effective, he explained the whole thing to Rochelle later that day, and it seems to have truly impacted him. Now the idea of not touching strange bugs is in the front of his mind while playing outside. Mission accomplished (this time).

Sophie

Every day I come home from work it seems like she has to recite everything that happened while I was away. She sure is talking a lot, and we all wish we could understand what she is saying a little better.

Sometimes, we can understand her just fine. She has all kinds of cute little phrases and words she uses regularly and with ease. Occasionally she’ll surprise us with something we didn’t know she could say.

For example, the other day I was opening a Fruit Roll-Up for her and she got excited and started counting, “one, two, three, four.” This was strange in two ways. First, we never count to her in any specific context (like when she’s in trouble, or when we are waiting for something exciting). We only count with her on random occasions when there are things to count. Secondly, she said (very clearly), “one, two, three, four…” whereas she normally only says, “two, two, two, two.”

Yes, “two” is the only number (until then) that she had ever said. She uses it well – two shoes, two eyes, two crackers, etc. She also uses it to mean other more abstract versions of two – again, more, seconds (of food), etc. However, when she was hungry and became really excited about getting a Fruit Roll-Up, she decided to pass the time counting up to four using never-before-heard-spoken-aloud numbers. I was floored, and (of course) there were no witnesses, so Rochelle still wants to hear it for herself.

Then, today she randomly blurted out, “seven!” in the middle of one of her normal “two, two, two,” counting runs.

She is as cute as ever though, and loves to play. She frequently finds reasons to sing out, “weeeeeeeeeeee.” Sometimes it’s while doing things mom doesn’t approve of, but other times it’s completely random and it’s just plain cute.

She has a couple of favorite songs that I have burned onto a CD in the car. The first one is a drum-intensive beat that only lasts around a minute or two, but it causes her to keep the beat (fairly accurately) on her knees. The second one is the Weird Al version of Micheal Jackson’s “Beat It,” called “Eat It.” Sophie absolutely loves this song, and she sings along with parts of it. Specifically, the background singers often interject with, “woooo” or, “ooooh” after various statements in the lyrics, and Sophie echoes them frequently (sometimes before they even do it).

It always makes us smile to hear her sing along with that song.

Until Later

So, again, I apologize to all of you who faithfully checked back recently expecting an update. Thank you for your love and interest.

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