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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ohio's Grass is Showing Its Roots

You ever heard about the mom who was asked where she lived? And with a straight face she answered, "In a white suburban."

I felt a little like that today, only I was living in a Big Green Van. Conner had a soccer game about as far away from our house as you can get and still be in our little corner of suburbia. Then Olivia had dance yet another eight miles away or so, closer in to The Big City. Oh, and there was the little part about going home only to find the house locked up and I didn't have my key, so I had to go back out to find John, who was holed up in a coffee shop trying to get some Master's work done...

But that's neither here nor there. My point is what I saw while driving hither and yon, at every major intersection along a certain main street/highway in this Dayton area.

Conner took most of the pictures (for some reason it made him nervous to have me drive and take pictures at the same time?) -- I'll let them speak for themselves. The video at the end? Well, that was my attempt to get an audio of the cacophony of fellow drivers joining in on the protests, "Honk if you oppose government run healthcare."

Conner wasn't with me in the van at that point, or I would have handed him the camera lest he up and faint right there in the seat beside me. Sheesh, I don't know what the big deal is. The video's only 17 seconds long...

Like I said, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves -- or at least for the people demonstrating in them. So far I haven't found anything in the news highlighting these protests; we'll see what comes out in the Sunday news. When we were stopped at a light I hollered out the window (Conner just loved that, I tell you what) and asked one of the ladies who they were, and she just kind of shrugged, "We're just grass roots, trying to get our voices heard."

Any other voices out there you've been hearing about the healthcare plan? Demonstrations? Local Town Hall meetings you've attended or heard anything about? How about the voices in your own head? Do tell.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I didn't put a title on this. Oh, whatever.

Yes, the kids started school! And I would've given a shout out regarding that a bit earlier but we've been having computer woes. Technical issues. Router problems, to be specific. It took a couple of tries, and a couple of days, and a couple different model numbers (and a couple returns to the store...) and more than a couple conversations with Punjab in the international customer service but John seems to have finally squared everything away. Just not soon enough to get his weekly Master's assignment in on time, unfortunately. Too bad Punjab couldn't write him a note.

"Please to excuse John's late assignment. His computer was very broken and he was working very hard to repair the problem. It wasn't his fault, I assure you.


Oh-bright too early is grand central bus station in our ne
ighborhood. Not because we necessarily have that many neighborhood school kids, but because the few we have apparently go in all different directions: there's preschool, and elementary school, and early elementary, and middle school, and high school... Don't forget the special needs kids, of which Sean-Peter is one. Oh, and there's also the Catholic school...

Imagine Olivia's excitement when one of the buses finally stops right by our house...Only to learn that it wasn't hers after all.Poor thing.

Of course, her turn finally came. And then it was...


Conner's turn! He did oblige me with a photo.I told him he owed me because I bought him pop tarts.It helped that the bus actually stops right in front of our house this year -- otherwise he would have given me nary a glance and skedaddled off down the street to meet up with his friend at the old bus stop.

As it was, I got a little carried away with the camera. It was all he could to not run onto that thing.


Is officially better! His stool sample even says so. You know, just in case you were wondering.

But really, kids are just amazing. Just a couple of days after coming home from the hospital he was already trying to keep up with his big sister.

Though methinks she will not be his "big" sister for much longer. They already wear the same shoe size, for Pete's sake. Pun intended.
I just couldn't resist this photo. The lighting was so good. But certain readers will be relieved to know that Sean-Peter has gotten a haircut since the photo above was taken...Though he was none too happy about it.

"Are you done YET??"

I didn't blame him. I'm perfectly capable of cutting my kids' hair (usually). But I. am. slow.

Sean-Peter's in afternoon preschool again, four days a week. Same school, same teacher, same bus drivers! I really don't know what to do with this kind of continuity. It's like we're living a stable life or something. In our life, stable is anything over two years. We're about to hit that mark for our time in Ohio. Two down, two to go? That's just crazy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They say it comes in threes. I'd take that.

First we get an "extended vacation" because our car breaks down while we're in Kansas. No sooner are we back home in Ohio then Sean-Peter contracts e-coli from Lord knows where and lands himself in the hospital. Olivia starts throwing up, and I break my stupid toe. I should write a country song. Thank God we don't have a dog or a pickup truck. Although my mom did tell me we should get rid of our cat. (No surprise there.) (Hi mom!)

Poor, poor Sean-Peter. Have you ever known anyone who suffered from e-coli? It ain't pretty, especially when you don't yet know why your child appears to be expelling half his bowels. Poor, poor Peter. Don't he look pitiful?

We started out at the ER on base, where they tested him for everything under the sun and ruled out what they could. They then transferred him to Dayton Children's Hospital where they continued to run tests and I couldn't have been more impressed with the care. Seriously. If I'd had nurses in the hospital like that when I'd had my babies I never would have wanted to go home.

Sean-Peter went through so much. You know how it is when a child is so sick and pathetic and lethargic and weak and so, so pitiful?

He cried so pathetically when they put in the I.V. which, really, is so much more than a shot. (Have you ever had that tube stuck up your arm?) I soothed him and assured him that the worst was over. Then they taped a sack around his nut sack (ahem) so they could collect some urine to test and when they had to tear that off he screamed and wailed and I said I'm so sorry I was wrong because I was sure that was the worst.

The little guy got his first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride, with the nicest people ever, two confident, take-charge women who must be saints to spend their lives helping hurt and hurting children.

They transferred him from the base ER to Dayton Children's by ambulance "just in case" -- the little guy had been so dehydrated and of course they don't know me, his mom, from Eve, so why take chances?

While sitting back there in the ambulance with those lovely ladies, and a wane little boy so unlike the one I know, one of them attempted to spark some life out of him with some idle questions.

"So, you have an older brother and sister?"

"Uh, huh." So, sooo pathetic. You could barely hear him.

"Are they nice to you?"

Sean-Peter suddenly looks alert and starts shaking his head.

"My brother is mean to me and calls me stupid and a loser." Then he lifts his hand and makes the two-finger loser L sign.


The woman laughs appropriately and I am a bit taken aback at the biggest display of life he has shown all day. She asks me how old his brother is and when I tell her 13, she rolls her eyes appreciatively. But still.

Oh, Conner. We have told him time and time again what a powerful role model he is to his younger brother and sister. They look up to him so much and everything he says affects the dynamic in their relationship. No matter that he thinks he's being funny or that he thinks they're annoying; they are not his peers and being the oldest bears a certain responsibility.

I wasn't surprised by Sean-Peter's response -- just by his animation -- but apparently Conner was. Surprised and hurt. I think it made quite the impression that his brother -- his sick, little brother, thought of him this way in his most vulnerable moment. What, you going to accuse a sick little four-year-old of making this stuff up?

Partly in redemption? But mostly because he really is a kind-hearted soul, Conner helped his sister make a card for their little brother.

"Jellyfishing isn't any fun without you, Peter."

"We love you, Peter.

Hey, Peter, can't wait to see you, it's really boring without you! I miss you and I hope you're feeling better!

You will get better."

I especially like the last part.

The country song didn't go into full effect until yesterday, though, when I managed to break my toe -- running to change out laundry? Answer the phone? I really can't recall. But it was sometime after Olivia threw up but before Public Health called with Sean-Peter's diagnosis: I vividly remember massaging my foot with a bag of frozen peas while attempting to process "your son has e-coli" and intelligently answer her formula questions.

Is anyone else sick?

Is your son in daycare?
When did you go to Kansas?

In all honesty, we'll probably never know exactly how or where Sean-Peter contracted the e-coli. He simply doesn't fit the standard profile (e.g., he won't touch hamburger) nor does he have any connections with any other cases. It is sobering to note that, at the same time Sean-Peter was in the hospital, at least two other small children were there for the same thing -- and they're still there. Public Health called again today with more questions, desperate to rule out any and all correlation between our son and the other cases, and a bit credulous that he was home and doing so well, as the other children are still suffering so much. We are very fortunate.

My broken toe notwithstanding. You all can feel sorry for me now.

And I apologize for this photo in advance, I just couldn't resist.**
Before the whole e-coli, Thang, I started uploading photos for a Trip to Kansas post. I will recommence on that shortly.