Archive for January, 2010

Be Encouraged

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”      2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

A Few Updates

Elliot, as you probably guessed, is through with his stomach virus.  But he missed the entire week of school last week!  Ugh.

Zippy is home again today.  We had a pretty rough asthma day yesterday.  We went back to the doctor, who added some additional meds.  He said that it is highly unusual for an 8 year old to have experienced such respiratory distress from croup — at that age it is usually not that serious.  We were up all night last night doing treatments nearly every hour.  I think maybe (crossing fingers) he has made a turn for better in the last hour.

We have not spent anymore time with Chloe on her Proloquo2Go.  I really need to be using it with her, but I haven’t had the energy or time because of my sick boys.  Next week for sure!!!

I have missed my electric blanket the last few nights.  Zippy slept in my spot one night, we spent one night in ER, and then I slept in the living room to be closer to Zip and the nebulizer last night.  Tonight — it’s me and my blanket!

My van finally got to the shop!  And I don’t think my mechanic hates me.  🙂

Zippy is still terrified to fall asleep because of fears of dying.  He told me yesterday during a breathing treatment, “I might not ever go back to school.”  When asked why, he replied, “Because I might die tonight.”  Ugh!  Lord, please give him Your peace!!!!

Chloe had a rough day at school this week and slapped one of her aides across the face.  Ouch.  Wow.  That’s a rough day . . . (for both of them!)

I am tired and behind on everything.  Sleep is a beautiful thing, and I miss it.  But surely I will experience it tonight. (Again, crossing fingers.)

A Trip to ER

We were awakened by the sound of Zachary gasping for breath about 12:30AM last night.  He was in a panic, his eyes huge and terrified.  With every breath in and every breath out, his neck and chest constricted tightly as he struggled to breathe.  It had come on fast.

Before I even made it to him, Paul was working on a breathing treatment — our only defense in the battle.

Several times, Zach started to cry in his panic.  But each time I was able to calm him and remind him of his important job:  to breathe.  No breath for crying.  No breath for talking.  Just breathe.

You could literally hear his stridor and struggle across the house.  He was in the middle of a big, bad one.

Starting a second treatment, Zach’s condition had not improved.  While I tried to decide whether to call 911, Zach’s desperate question, broken up between labored breaths, caused me to make the call.  With huge, terrified eyes, he asked me, “Am I going to die?”

While huge tears leaked from his eyes, I assured him he was not going to die.  “Just keep breathing.  Look at me.  You are doing great.  Keep breathing.”

I called 911 and reported what was taking place.  They immediately got the ambulance in route.  While we waited for help, Paul held Zachary and I worked to keep him calm and breathing.  A few minutes later the ambulance finally arrived at our house.

Upon arrival, the paramedics informed us that he needed to be transported to ER.  While they prepared Zach for transport, I quickly dressed and grabbed my purse.

Zach continued to be an amazing trooper.  The lack of breath horrified him.  The pain in his throat and chest terrified him.  And the ride on the stretcher and into the ambulance made him panic.  He was shaking and wide-eyed as they hooked him up to machines and started an IV.

By the time we reached the hospital, he had had a dose of steroid intravenously and 4 breathing treatments.  His breathing was still quite labored, but the retractions were less severe.  Still, no stethoscope was needed to hear his wheezing.

I just sat beside him, holding and rubbing his hand, while the nurses worked to get him more stable.  About 15 minutes after arrival, I noticed that I couldn’t hear his breaths anymore.  A really good sign!

As Zach’s breathing became easier, he realized how sleepy he was.  It was 2:30AM.  But before he would let himself relax even a little bit, he turned to me with his big, scared eyes and asked, “Mom, if I go to sleep, do you think I will die?”

I again assured him that he wouldn’t die, that all of these people were watching him and would help him.  But he still didn’t relax at all.  I don’t think he believed me.

The doctor came in and told us that what Zach had experienced was a combination of croup and asthma.  We could go home, but we were to come back if it started again.

Finally a little after 3AM, Zachary said something to me and realized that his voice didn’t sound hoarse or constricted.  His eyes lit up, his burden of fear was lifted, and he beamed at me, “Mom!  My voice!  It’s better!”

And that was his turning point.  That is when he was convinced that he wouldn’t die.  His whole demeanor changed in an instant.  He finally let himself believe that he was, indeed, going back home.

“I can’t wait to see my daddy!”

“I can’t wait to see my house!”

We came home around 3:30.  (Thanks, Papa, for picking us up in the middle of the night!)  And Zach danced around a little bit in the dark living room — literally celebrating life!

Last night and today, we’ve had several discussions about asthma and about death.  He keeps asking about it.  He was terrified.  Oh, how it breaks my heart to know how scared he was.

And we find ourselves thanking God yet again for sparing Zachary’s life!  Thank You, Lord!

Not Me! Monday

Today I’m joining MckMama and lots of other bloggers in Not Me! Monday, where we are confessing many things that we absolutely did not do this week!  (Of course we didn’t!)  You can click on over to her blog to see what other bloggers have not been doing!

Here are a few things I have not been doing:

I did not cancel on my mechanic 4 times in the past week and a half.  Nope.  Not me! That would seem rude and flaky — two things I certainly am not!  I didn’t call him and say I would bring my minivan to him on Friday, remember I would be busy at a conference and call him back to change it to Monday.  I then did not call back a few minutes later after remembering my kids were out of school on Monday and reschedule to Tuesday.  I did not call on Tuesday explaining I had a sick child and would need to reschedule to Thursday.  And then, when my child was still sick on Thursday, I absolutely did not decide to just not show up simply because I was too embarrassed to call him again.  That would be the ultimate of silly and unreasonable.  And today I didn’t ask Paul to call the mechanic and schedule for tomorrow so that I wouldn’t have to embarrass myself again.  Nope.  Not me!

I have not spent 4 hours cleaning and organizing my bedroom in the last few days.  There is really no way my bedroom could ever require that much work.  And I do not need to spend about 4 more hours in there to get it in shape. No. That would mean that I’m some sort of slob or something.  Not me!

I did not use my electric blanket this past week even on the days that it got up to 80 degrees outside.  That would be crazy.  I am not absolutely spoiled by the toasty-ness of my new blanket.  No way.  Not me!

How about you?  Anything you have not been doing this week?

Looking up!

I love wispy clouds!

And, as I’ve said before, I love to see the moon in the daytime.  Wish the photos would show it.

It was there.  I saw it.  It made me happy!  🙂

Playing ball

Zippy is playing basketball and loving it!  He’s good at it, too.  His team is the Longhorns, and they are the burnt orange and white just like the Texas Longhorns.  It is a bit difficult as big ol Baylor fans to cheer for the Longhorns!

Zippy scored two baskets in his game last week.  He hustles, he listens to the coach, and he encourages his teammates.  We are quite proud.

(I will try to get some photos of our other favorite basketball player this weekend.)

How did she know?

At the boys’ basketball game last weekend, a lady sat in front of us on the bleachers.  When she first sat down she looked around and greeted everyone who would make eye contact with her — a nice lady.

Chloe had been sitting on Paul’s lap, but after a while she got down and sat on the bench between us and the lady.

Nearly immediately the nice lady turned around and greeted Chloe who was playing with an electronic handheld game of some sort.  The lady asked her some question like, “What are you playing?”

If Chloe glanced up at all, it was a quick and unemotional one with no response.  It was like a busy kid playing a game and not acknowledging that they’re being spoken to.  Not very unusual, right?

Oftentimes at this point, I would help Chloe answer the question.  This particular day I did not.  I just smiled at the lady and looked back up to the basketball game.

But the lady proceeded then to chat with me.  She asked me where Chloe goes to school.  I answered.  Then the lady told me that she works with “kids like her” at a school in a nearby town, that she has been doing it for years, and that she is so impressed with how much “they” can learn.

I mostly just nodded and smiled.  I chose not to be offended by the use of “those kids” and “they” and the surprise that “they” can learn; instead, I recognized that she was just trying to connect and relate.  She had no intention to offend anyone.

But I wondered, too, how did she know??  How did she know that Chloe had any special needs or any developmental disorder?  All that had transpired was the ignored question which seemed pretty ordinary and typical to me.  So how did she know?  What had happened that clued her in so quickly that Chloe had special needs?  I was baffled.

It was then I realized that Chloe had been growling constantly since the woman had first sat down.  The game was quite noisy, and Chloe was growling to drown out the noise.  She gets overstimulated and upset at loud, unexpected noises, and the cheering at games is the worst!  She was playing her little game and growling her little growl the whole time.

Ok, so her growl gave her away. . . .


Zachary has an anxiety disorder.  He worries a lot.  He is in a constant state of stress.

One of his anxieties is school.  Namely, failing school.  Last year he was always afraid of failing 2nd grade.  This year he is terrified of failing 3rd grade.

While all of his grades are currently passing, there is a big test that looms over the heads of all students in Texas’ public schools.  The TAKS test.  3rd graders are required to pass TAKS, or they are retained in 3rd grade.  And Zach is scared of it.

The TAKS test doesn’t take place until March or April, but today the students are taking a practice test.  As should be the case, this practice test is taken quite seriously.  It gives teachers, students, parents, and administration a good idea of where the students are in learning the required content.

I know that a speech from the teacher to reiterate the importance of the tests is sometimes in order for a class filled with clowns or goof-offs.  I know that since the test is of utmost importance to the teacher, the school, and the district, they feel the need to remind the students that their lives depend on their passing TAKS.

But I also know that a child like Zachary– who is already miserably dreading TAKS, who is already convinced that he is going to fail, who already takes the test very seriously as if his life did literally depend on it–  does not need a reminder of its importance.  And in fact, a reminder of its importance may have quite a negative effect on the results of his test taking.

Zachary came home from school yesterday and announced, “Tomorrow is the day I find out if I failed 3rd grade.”

Wow!  How’s that for pressure??

How frustrating to be trying so hard at home to get Zach’s anxieties under control only to be thrown this huge wrench of anxiety from school.  Ugh!

Remembering that today’s test is actually just a practice test, I tried to convince him that this wasn’t THE test.  But he wouldn’t be convinced.  But thankfully he didn’t mention the test much more before bed.

But then at 1:00AM, he came running to my room, crying.  “I’m going to fail 3rd grade!  I don’t want to fail 3rd grade!”

I, of course, told him he wasn’t going to fail . . . that we don’t have to worry about that because he’s going to do his best . . . that he is not going to fail 3rd grade.

He quieted down and got into bed with me.  We snuggled up close and tight just like he likes.  His little body fidgeted, writhed, and jerked as it so often does when he tries to go to sleep — his anxious little body fighting him while he tries to relax.  Every few moments his sleepy, sad voice would say that he was going to fail.  I realized that his anxieties were speaking loud and clear in his little mind, convincing him that he would, indeed, fail.

It was then that I got the idea of whispering to him a different phrase, hoping it would drown out the whispers that were haunting him.  I wasn’t sure how he would respond to my whispering.  I thought maybe he would tell me to stop and get frustrated.  But as I watched his little body jerk nervously and listened to his whimpers, I decided to take the chance.

While we cuddled, I placed my hand on his face — a tactic which has had a calming effect on him since he was an infant — and got my lips up close to his ear.

“You are smart and you will pass,” I whispered so gently.  “You are smart and you will pass.  You are smart and you will pass,” I repeated.

He did not tell me to stop.  And after a minute or so, his writhing slowed and his body relaxed just a bit.  My words were working.

“You are smart and you will pass,” I repeated with each breath.  And I prayed as I spoke that my words would penetrate his mind and heart until he believed it.

For 10 minutes or more, I whispered the sentence in his ear.  When he got a little fidgety, I thought maybe he had heard enough so I stopped speaking.

But he immediately whispered sleepily, “Do more of that.”

So I continued for quite a while, even after his body had relaxed into sleep.  While he snored, I whispered, “You are smart and you will pass.  You are smart and you will pass.  You are smart and you will pass.”

He woke again later in the night and whimpered a little bit.  Then he snuggled up close and requested, “Do more of that.”  So I whispered again, “You are smart and you will pass.  You are smart and you will pass.”

This morning he didn’t want to go to school.  “I’m going to fail 3rd grade today,” he said.

But big brother came to the rescue!  Elliot was able to convince him that today’s test was not the real thing so Zach went off to school feeling okay.

pray like crazy that he passes today’s test!

And I pray that as he sat in the quiet classroom taking his test today, that Zachary heard my whispered words in his ear:  “You are smart and you will pass.  You are smart and you will pass.”

Sick Boy

Elliot.  Poor Elliot.  He is a sick boy.  He has a terrible stomach bug.  A stomach bug that I’m hoping he doesn’t share.  It’s a bad one.

He started vomiting at midnight last night, and then he vomited every 20 minutes until the sun came up.  It. was. bad.

He was so miserable all day today.  We finally went to the doctor at 11.  By that time his vomiting had slowed to every hour.  Ugh.  The doctor gave him some medicine to stop the nausea.  Thankfully, the medicine was fast-acting.  He hasn’t thrown up since.  And he has even kept some saltines and Gatorade down.

After our trek to the doctor, Elliot was feeling so exhausted and yucky and wanted nothing more than to get back on the couch and go to sleep.  We were getting home just in time before he melted down completely.  But to our disappointment, my garage door opener wouldn’t work.  It wouldn’t work!  And I didn’t have a key to the house.  We were locked out.

I quickly devised a plan:  first, stop at my dear neighbor’s house to see if she has any saltines; second, drive 10 minutes away to the battery store and get a new battery for the garage door opener; third, rush home and put the miserable boy on the couch.

My dear neighbor had saltines!!  And she even had some Sprite for Elliot to try!  Bless her!

The battery store had the right battery!  The nice man installed it for me, and only charged me $7.77!  I handed over my credit card, explaining that I would have paid WAY MORE than that at this point!  That lifesaver is definitely going on the Christmas card list for next year!

I ran (yes, I literally ran — my sick boy was counting on me to hurry!) to the car and rushed home.  As we pulled up in the driveway and watched with relief as the garage door opened, Elliot had reached his limit.  He. was. miserable!

But he was home.  And he’s been on the couch ever since.

And now we wait and we pray until we learn if the stomach bug is done with Elliot and if it’s going to stick around our house or not.  Let’s hope the mean ol bug makes his way down the street instead!  I mean, not to my dear neighbor’s house, of course. . . .

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today was a great day because there was no school.  Today was a great day because it was sunny and in the 60s.  Today was a great day because we played with friends.  But today was also a great day because we took time to remember a good, brave man who helped change the heart of our country.

This morning after breakfast, I called the boys to the living room and had them sit down to have a chat.  I asked them why we didn’t have school today.  They both answered that it was because it is Martin Luther King Day.

I asked Zach to tell me one thing he knows about MLK.  “He got shot,” was his answer.  Now there’s a place to start.  Yes, he got shot.

I asked Elliot to tell us why he got shot.  Elliot did a good job of explaining that it was because MLK “didn’t like the way that . . . um. . . . what do you call it?  Um . . . what do you call people with white skin?”  Isn’t it something that we even need a word to call a person with white skin?  To call a person with black skin?  Not just a person.  But a person with a certain color skin.  He was somewhat satisfied with “white people” so he continued:  “He didn’t like the way that white people treated African Americans.  They wouldn’t let them do the same things that white people did.”

“And someone with white skin couldn’t be friends with someone with brown skin,” Zach chimed in and then began to list some of his friends who have white skin, saying if it weren’t for Martin Luther King, Jr. then maybe they wouldn’t be able to be his friends.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an important man to our family.  King’s principles, beliefs, and dreams are fundamental to our family.  You see, our family — black and white — is a picture of what King described in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  To see Zach’s dark brown hand in mine . . . to see my boys with very different pigmentation with their shirts off, wrestling together and laughing together . . . to see our parents who lived in our country before MLK and the Civil Rights Movement embrace and love Zachary without concern for his race . . . is to see some of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamt of.

After our discussion about MLK, we gathered around a beautiful picture book of his speech and listened to a recording of the speech together — Martin Luther King’s actual voice.  The words of the speech have such power and such emotion.  He speaks such obvious truth.  We want to remember him and what he did for our country and for our family.  We want to remember the wreck our country’s heart caused before African Americans stepped in closer to the dream.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was a great man.  A hero.  A voice.  A dream-giver.  And we honor him today.

“I have a dream that one day . . . little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

“With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.  This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning — ‘my country ’tis of thee; sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride; from every mountainside, let freedom ring’ — and if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”

“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and to sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

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