In today’s post over at White as Milk, I discuss my experiences breastfeeding in Singapore, and some areas where improvements could be made to better support new moms.
Today the Supreme Court chose to uphold the ACA.
Today is a Thursday. What that usually means is that we have a sitter to give me a break and Ravi comes home late. Tonight he was home before 10, specifically so we could watch the decision come down. Ravi and I watched the SCOTUSblog live feed, knots in our stomachs. When we heard that it was upheld, we cheered (likely scaring our babysitter in the living room).
Please excuse me while I do a happy dance and resist the urge to go wake up my child, so I can hug her and tell her she actually has a future, and she really can be anything she wants to be. After that I’ll be donating to the re-election campaign (again).
I am reposting this entry because it is important to share WHY this law is important. Elanor, along with thousands of other people with chronic issues, now no longer needs to live in fear of going 60 days without health insurance, or blowing through her lifetime cap of coverage.
************* original post below*****
I try to keep the political stuff, particularly the American political stuff to a minimum here on the blog. I generally feel like there’s a time and a place for it, and that it generally doesn’t jibe with the spirit of what I’m trying to do here.
I would like to one day be able to say that the most important piece of legislation passed in my lifetime was a Marriage Equality Amendment. It is the Civil Rights issue of my generation, and I am deeply committed to seeing it through.
The most significant piece of legislation that has been or will be passed in my lifetime is Healthcare Reform. This weeks marks the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in the US, aka Healthcare Reform. People spend a lot of time trying to tear it down, and bitching about its many imperfections, but it is a life altering piece of legislation for our family, and for thousands of families like ours. Until it happens to you, it is impossible to understand that without insurance everyone is just one health care crisis away from financial ruin, no matter how well-off they might be.
This is not going to be a post that takes on the entire ACA. Rather, it is the story of how the ACA gave Elanor a future she would never have had otherwise.
Warning–This post is going to be long, and it will contain graphic details and photos. It may serve as a trigger, particularly if you’ve ever dealt with a child who has a life-threatening illness. I’m going to strongly encourage some readers (my parents, my inlaws, friends with young babies) to stop reading now, as what Elanor went through is the stuff of nightmares for parents.
I remember thinking at the time that the most dramatic part of Elanor’s birth story was going to be the pain I felt due to a bad reaction to my epidural (one too many top-ups had caused fluid in my spine, resulting in agonizing pain across my shoulders and into my neck) and how my OB had been yelling at me that I had exactly 3 pushes to get this baby out before she gave me an emergency C-section.
Ellie was born with the cord around her neck. Every movie, every tv show, every story had prepared me to be ready to hear my newborn crying out from the shock of entering the world. Elanor made no sound at all. I remember that she looked blue, and that her first apgar was low. I felt very lucky that a NICU team was in the room (I needed a vacuum assist and it was hospital policy that they be there), and they got her breathing fairly quickly. However, I was only allowed a brief look and hold (not more than a minute or two) before she was whisked away to the NICU.
Initially we thought that we’d gotten off lucky when she only needed oxygen blown at her face via a tube for 3-4 hours. We were told that they were going to give her some antibiotics until blood work came back to clarify that she was healthy, and that it was standard procedure in a case like hers.
Antibiotics are given via IV for babies.
The first tests came back contaminated, so they had to be repeated, causing what should have been a two to three day hospital stay to become a four day hospital stay. During those four days (Monday-Thursday morning) Elanor somehow managed to knock out four IV’s (one or two may have been that the veins blew, a common occurrence in babies this age, but at least two were her doing). We all laughed and shook our heads in mock exasperation. Our baby wasn’t going to stand for such nonsense as an IV!
I remember breathing a sigh of relief that the second set of tests showed a healthy baby. We took her home Thursday and thought that the biggest challenges that lay ahead of us were sleep deprivation and helping her and I figure out how to breastfeed.
On Friday she met her pediatrician for the first time, who noted that she had “mottling” of the skin. It could be a sign to worry about, she said, but it’s also not an abnormal condition in newborns that could mean absolutely nothing at all.
Looking back with the eye of a more experienced parent, she was so clearly losing ground that weekend. But we were first time parents, and everyone told us that babies are often quiet on days 5 and 6 of life. She was so hard to feed…I had to practically force feed her by pushing on the end of the playtex drop-in, and I was stressed about that, but things seemed okay.
Then Elanor stopped eating on Sunday night. I called the 24 hour nurse line for our pediatrician, and they told me that as long as she was peeing and pooing (she was) that it could wait until morning. She wasn’t running a fever.
We were exceptionally lucky that we were able to get an appointment first thing in the morning. Our pediatrician, a former ER doctor, didn’t sugarcoat her condition. Elanor was running a very low temp. The mottling had spread. Our baby was very, very sick. We were told to go straight to the emergency room. Her exact words were “Don’t stop for red lights.” At the time we took it to mean “don’t stop and grab some coffee and donuts,” but we later realized that she actually meant “don’t stop for red lights.”
Americans know that hospital waiting rooms usually mean a ridiculous wait time. We were heading to Mass General Hospital in Boston, a busy urban hospital, which should have meant an even longer wait.
We were triaged immediately, and rushed into a room, where doctors immediately asked me to remove her sleeper and they started trying to IV her.
We were moved into “acute emergency”, and our corner of the room was suddenly flooded with doctors, residents, and nurses. One nurse was assigned to Ravi and I specifically, to try and handle us as the seriousness of what was happening began to really set in.
The picture above is what is known as an intraosseous system. It looks, and sounds, like a woodshop drill. When a team can’t get an IV via normal methods, they use this to drill a hole into a bone (in Elanor’s case, her left shin) to get fluid into the body that way. I’m not a doctor so I don’t fully understand why this works. What I do know is that it has to enter the bone perfectly. It took them two or three tries to do it properly. I also know that the sound of this machine entering her body is something I will never be able to forget. Without looking, my fingers can find the scar that her shin still bears.
Heat lamps were aimed at her body as they tried to get her temperature up.
People swarmed around her, trying to stabilize her to the point where she could be taken up to the PICU. Ravi and I stood off to the side, both of us sobbing, holding each other. Yes, we thought she was sick, but this was so far from what we had imagined as a worst case scenario.
This was the first time I realized that my daughter might die.
Ellie was stabilized to the point of being able to be transferred and she was whisked away to the elevators used for patients and doctors.
The nurse whose unfortunate duty it was to deal with us had to take Ravi and I up to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) through the public elevators. She pushed the empty baby stroller, while we numbly followed her. I was clutching the sleeper I’d removed in the first room like a lifeline. In the elevator journey to the 6th floor, a well-meaning woman glanced into the stroller and said “where’s the baby?” I crumpled against Ravi, moaning.
We were led to a private room and given water. That day was a blur of waiting, crying, fear, doctors who couldn’t answer the most important question of all “Will our baby live?”, my father in law sitting with us, and pumping. Pumping was the only thing I could actually DO. The only time I put the sleeper down was when I needed my hands to pump.
About six or seven hours later, we were led to a private room in the PICU. Elanor was alive, but they weren’t sure if she would make it through the night. I’ve read her medical file since and I know that she went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.
If we had waited even one to two more hours to get to a doctor, she would have died.
Maybe five people have seen the photo below before today because it is so graphic. Elanor has never seen this photo, although she will one day when she is ready to hear the full story of her medical history.
I took this picture of Elanor that night because I was terrified that I would never have the chance to take another picture of her again. Dreams of birthdays and graduations were reduced to one…that she would live through the night.
November 10, 2008. PICU, Mass General Hospital
The long and short of it is that somehow she had gotten an infection that had turned septic. Sepsis is when your blood becomes infected. Infected blood circulating through your body means that all your major organs take a hit. When Elanor got to MGH, she was in septic shock and early stage organ failure. At that point in the illness, sepsis is fatal in somewhere between 20 and 50% of all cases.
In Elanor’s case, their priority was to hit her with a ton of broad spectrum antibiotics because they didn’t have time to wait for a blood draw and tests. As a result we do not know exactly what bacteria it was that infected her, how she got it, or why it almost killed her. The most likely scenario that the Infectious Diseases team could come up with is that when Elanor dislodged those four IV’s after she was born, they created four perfect entry points for bacteria.
It was, basically, just bad luck.
November 11th and the morning of the 12th were good days. It seemed that the antibiotics were doing their job and that she was bouncing back with a vengeance. There was even talk of removing her from the ventilator on the 12th.
Then an ultrasound of her brain turned up bad news. There were two small bleeds in her brain; she had had a stroke. For several days she was put on anti-seizure medication as they did more detailed imaging (CT Scan, and then on the 13th an MRI) and tried to figure out how bad things were and whether they were getting worse.
On November 15th, they were able to take her off the ventilator (she’d been kept on it longer in case she were to have another stroke, I believe…I’ve reviewed my carepages updates from those days, and I’m not completely clear whether she needed it for other reasons or if it was discovering the stroke and waiting to see what happened). Apart from about 10 minutes while they changed her bedding on the 13th (when I was allowed to very carefully hold her), it was also the first time that we were able to cuddle Elanor since her admission.
Testing over several days, such as a spinal tap were able to rule out a few potential illnesses (for example, the lack of white blood cells in her spine ruled out spinal meningitis), and she was weaned from five antibiotics to either two or three. Elanor was put on a feeding tube (a tube inserted in her nose) and my breastmilk was given to her slowly via that tube.
On the evening of November 15th, Elanor’s blood pressure began to go up, and she was put on labetalol, a drug that would be part of a major drug shortage starting in 2011 (story here) and if this is correct, is still not easily available (a fact that scares the hell out of me). She would remain on this drug until March or April of 2009. A nephrologist was brought in, as high blood pressure in a baby of her age almost always means that there are kidney issues. It wouldn’t be until February that imaging would show that one of Elanor’s kidneys had failed permanently-the hypertension was caused by her body trying to keep it alive, basically.
Elanor was moved to a regular pediatric floor on November 22nd.
On November 23rd she started drinking milk from a bottle. She drank expressed breast milk, which they added calories to. This allowed her to drink less and get the same number of calories, as she was still a bit weak. On November 25th they removed the feeding tube as she’d been able to drink all her milk from bottles for two days.
On November 27th, which coincidentally was also Thanksgiving that year, Elanor was disconnected from constant IV medication. It marked the first time I could pick her up and walk more than a few feet from the IV pole with her (which had still allowed us to cuddle her while sitting in a chair or laying on a cot next to her crib in the room). I remember carrying a sleeping Elanor down the hall and describing the paintings on the wall to her, thrilled to have the freedom from the constant IV’s.
In a stunning blow of irony, Ravi and I both caught gastroenteritis that week. Ravi had to stay away from the hospital starting the 25th because he was ill. I came down with it the evening of Thanksgiving, and ended up in the emergency room of MGH myself. I was admitted for observation for about twenty hours, and received a number of bags of fluid rehydration (as I was pumping through the whole thing). This is only relevant because Ellie would likely have been able to go home on either Friday November 28th or Saturday the 29th, but with sick parents, they elected to keep her until the 30th when both of us were healthy again.
November 30th, home again, sharing a moment with her Daddy
However, being released from the hospital was only the start of her journey.
What were her medical needs after the initial illness?
Elanor’s medical care was my full-time job for over a year after that (by which I mean driving her to appointments, attending early intervention sessions, reminding everyone about what medications she could/couldn’t have, and just trying to stay on top of everything).
- Home Nurse–For several months she had a nurse come to our home to check her blood pressure three times a week, then twice weekly, then once weekly and to weigh her as her dosage had to constantly reflect her blood pressure and be adjusted for weight.
- Nephrology–Elanor saw her nephrologist regularly, and her kidneys were monitored closely until we were able to determine that one had gone necrotic (failed permanently) and the other seemed to be healthy.
- Neurology–Elanor had muscle tone issues and there were concerns about how she would do in terms of developmental milestones
- Pediatric Stroke Team–Elanor was followed closely by a pediatric stroke team to follow the progression of her bleed and to monitor her for issues
- Gastroenterology and Nutrition–Ellie lost weight while in the hospital and she had trouble gaining after being released. Eventually we would discover her food sensitivities and put her on prescription formula at about 5.5 months. She only stopped being followed by them at age 2.
- Early Intervention–Having a stroke qualified her for EI services automatically. For her this meant a weekly visit from a nurse who specialized in helping babies and assessing developmental progress
- Physical Therapist (from EI)–When Elanor began crawling at around 8 months, it started to become clear that she wasn’t using both sides equally, so a PT was brought in to work with her. After she began walking, her PT noticed that she had motor dysfunction (her right foot basically pointed in and down, and was not moving properly) and referred us to the Orthopedic Surgeon/CP specialist.
- Orthopedic Surgeon/Cerebal Palsy Specialist–Although Ellie walked at 10.5 months, she had motor dysfunction, her PT noticed that there were issues. Our Orthopedic specialist was able to asses her early enough that we were able to put her in a brace early on that corrected the problem by age 18 months.
- Occupational specialist (from EI)–Every few months the occupational therapist would come in and help assess Elanor.
Oh, and of course she had the usual pediatric appointments with her pediatrician for well baby visits and vaccinations.
Elanor ended up needing two pieces of medical “equipment.”
Portland Children’s Museum, Maine, December 2009
Her first piece of medical equipment was a helmet as she learned to walk. She was at increased risk of a repeat stroke if she were to fall and have head trauma, so she was helmeted from the time she started walking until about 14/15-ish months, when she was determined to be a skilled walker.
Foot Brace, taken January 2010
The second piece of equipment was a foot brace to correct her issues with her right foot. She wore this from 14 months of age until around 18-24 months of age (with less and less time wearing it daily once she was 18 months).
Where is Ellie today?
Ellie, age 3. Photo taken March 2012 by Kirsten
We are lucky.
Three years later, if you were to meet Elanor, you would never guess at her history. She is an active, social and bright little girl with a passion for life.
We are lucky.
Ellie still sees her stroke team annually. There are potential issues down the road, such as learning to read. Some stroke patients have trouble with their vision when reading left to right (crossing the mid-line), so they’re keeping annual tabs on her for now. She’ll get another neuropsych work-up at age 6, after which she may be released. I don’t know at this time. Her risk of another stroke is low, but not 0%.
We are lucky.
Elanor had her first neuropyschological assessment last September. While the stroke did cause some white matter damage (white matter controls the muscles and such, so it’s no surprise that she did have some motor issues early on), her grey matter is intact. She is developmentally where she needs to be with no signs of any sort of development/emotional/behavioral/learning disabilities.
We are lucky.
Elanor has one working kidney. It is growing at an accelerated rate and she should end up with 60-75% of normal kidney function. She will not be allowed to play contact sports (and for lower contact sports like basketball, she will need to wear some kind of guard/vest/thing). Should she ever become pregnant, she will need additional assessments, and may need high risk care, depending on the the toll clearing both her and the baby’s waste takes on her kidney. At this time, her nephrologist does not think she will ever need a transplant. She will, however, need annual kidney checks for the rest of her life.
What does any of this have to do with the ACA?
While Ellie was sick, if we had been uninsured, I don’t know that we would have gone to the doctor as quickly as we had. However, if we had waited to see a doctor because of lack of insurance, even waited two or three hours, Elanor would have died.
We had good health insurance at the time of her illness. We paid a relatively low co-pay ($250 USD) for her hospital stay. However, the bill for that stay was 250,000USD, not counting Dr’s fees. Obviously an insurance company doesn’t pay 250k, but if we had been uninsured, we would have been on the hook for all of it. Even though we were fairly financially stable, the bills for that stay would have bankrupted us.
When Ravi parted ways with his former employer in November 2009, we are lucky that we were in a place to afford COBRA insurance. Had we let our insurance lapse, Elanor would never have been able to get coverage again. While you and I might look at Elanor and see a triumph of medicine and her own stubborn spirit, insurance companies see nothing but a pile of pre-existing conditions that they want no part of–they see a potential transplant or dialysis, stroke, more expensive pregnancies, and a thousand other potential complications.
When Ravi was considering his current job with GNB, insurance was an issue that almost tanked his acceptance. Had we not been able to get insurance that the US accepted, Elanor would have been considered without insurance for 60+ days and therefore everything would then have been a pre-existing condition. We could not accept a job, dream job or not, if it did not include access to quality (US accepted) health insurance. With the passage of the ACA, insurance is one less consideration for potential expats.
Before the ACA, Elanor would have needed a job with insurance within 60 days of graduating college. Once we could no longer cover her, Elanor could not go more than 60 days post graduation without insurance. This meant that no matter how talented, she could never think of pursuing a career in the arts (unless she had a day job with insurance) or any other career without immediate insurance. It meant that her FIRST criteria in picking a major and finding a job would be insurance; not happiness, not location, but insurance. While we love her and would do anything we could to support her dreams, we are not wealthy to the point where we could just pay for her medical care out of pocket for the rest of her life…and a transplant or dialysis would bankrupt us.
Look, insurance companies are scum, and I will be the first person to say that the ACA doesn’t go far enough. BUT, thanks to the ACA and the fact that my daughter can not be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions, her future is now in her hands.
Now I’m not lying to her when I tell her she can be anything she wants to be.
Unless the ACA is dismantled. There is a Supreme Court challenge coming up. The Republican candidates are using dismantling it (among other divisive issues) as part of their platform.
The ACA is modeled on my home state of Massachusetts’ health care reform. While it is has not been perfect, one thing you can say about it is that post health-care reform in MA, we have the lowest rate of uninsured children (and adults) in the country.
We still have so far to go, but I urge you to contact your elected officials and urge them to support the ACA. Healthcare is not something that anyone ever goes their entire life without using, and you never know when the unexpected will happen. The consequences of the unexpected can be devastating.
I edited this entry the day after I wrote it to clarify a few words, and fix some awkward phrasing. I finished it and published it at 5am originally, so it needed a few fixes.
I realize that I was struggling to find a blog post topic, but it was a bit cruel to drop one into my lap in the form of a parking ticket. Please do not be so literal in addressing my pleas for post topics in the future.
To some extent, the only thing that shocked me about getting a parking ticket is that it took so long (almost 6 months). I almost never park in the lots that use the parking coupons, instead almost exclusively ending up in the lots that scan the cash card mounted on the dashboard. It was pretty inevitable that I would one day park in a coupon lot, get out of my car and walk away. Which I did on Monday.
One of the other moms at Ellie’s Preschool was kind enough to take me to a tailor in Little India to get my sari blouses adjusted. But between parking, juggling Rhiannon and the bag of fabric, it just slipped my mind. While in the store, one of the women pointed out that I was getting a ticket.
I dashed out and begged my case, but it was too late. Which sucks, but I wouldn’t have been able to talk my way out of the ticket in the US either (once they’d entered my car info).
The price for a moment of forgetfulness? $30 SGD (about $23.50 USD), which is cheaper than the same offense in Boston or NYC (which is 30-50 USD, if I recall).
The experience did give me a chance to finally use the AXS machine, though. I first ran into one of these in Great World City when I was in the first month of expat life, and I tried to use it as an ATM (which is about the only thing it doesn’t do), and walked away beyond confused. Since then, they’ve remained this strange, mysterious presence whose purpose I just couldn’t figure out from a distance of 10 feet, and after making an idiot of myself at one, I guess I was a bit gun-shy at walking up and poking at it to figure out its purpose.
One of the things the AXS does is that it lets you pay parking fines, which is kind of cool. It’s also confusing, and I learned far more about parking tickets in Singapore then I ever probably wanted to know.
- There are 4 different agencies that issue parking tickets (yet somehow NONE of them have the least interest in fining the illegally parked motorcycles that swarm the sidewalk outside my condo, making it impassable by stroller most evenings while the riders take a leisurely dinner at one of restaurants across the street on River Valley Road)
- Depending on who gave you the ticket, there can be a waiting time of X days before you can pay it at an AXS machine (but don’t wait too long or you’ll get into more trouble!)
- Your ticket will say which agency issued the ticket (after you stare at it, totally baffled, for about 5 minutes–yes folks, I have a Master’s Degree but can’t pay a parking ticket!)
- Follow the onscreen instructions (try not to look like you’re illiterate as you hesitantly re-read them 10 times before pushing a button out of fear of fucking it up)
- You’ll get a receipt showing that you’ve paid
It was definitely easier than trying to remember to write a check, find a stamp and mail it in. I believe there was also a web option to pay.
May my bad ticket karma not rub off on you, and may this be my last ticket (although it probably won’t be).
I’m a little late in linking last week’s White as Milk column.
I recently paraphrased “The Princess Bride” on Facebook, noting “Never enter into a land war in Asia or a battle of wills with a three year old,” alluding to the two day face-off Ellie and I had over cleaning up her room. In last week’s post, “Crime and Punishment” I talk about the less fun of being a parent–drawing a line and having to carry out a punishment.
One weekend in August or September of 2005, Ravi and I decided to drive to Vermont on a whim. This was back in the day before we had children, and the prospect of a 3 hour car ride was fun-a chance for us to talk, listen to music, and just hang out.
a covered bridge
Vermont is famous for many things. It’s good skiing country, a beautiful place to drive through in the fall when all the trees are changing color, place of origin for delicious maple syrup, home of the Trapp Family Lodge (owned and operated by the family that inspired “The Sound of Music”), it’s where Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream got their start (and you can tour the factory) , and it is home to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, which was our destination.
Ravi and I have always been fans of teddy bears. So it made perfect sense to us (who were barely engaged) that we go tour a teddy bear factory. But not just any factory. Vermont Teddy Bears are handmade. They’re delivered in bear-grams. They are utterly adorable.
This is the exterior of the factory, walking up from the parking lot.
I absolutely loved the paw prints on the path leading you the entry
You can pose up to four friends in this interactive photo op
We entered and got our tickets for the tour. We had some time to kill, so we made some new friends….like this giant teddy bear Ravi is posing with. This may be one of my all time favorite pictures of Ravi.
The tour began with some general history about teddy bears, the company, and their process.
As we were there on the weekend, no one was working on the floor. However, if you tour during the week, you’ll actually see the employees making the bears. This is the cutting area. The tour is really great for kids, as it’s interactive at every step of the way. During the cutting stop, they passed around the fabric that is cut out to make the bear.
Sewing and pinning come next. Sewing is where they sew the cut pieces together to make the various parts of the bear. Pinning is where they assemble the bears. Vermont teddy bears have articulated legs, arms and heads (meaning you can move them to stand, sit, look in a specific direction, etc).
Here we have Ravi illustrating how to pin the head on a bear. Or maybe he just decapitated it. Either way, I think he looks a little too happy when regarding the headless bear. On his chest you can see the adorable bear shaped cut outs we got to wear to mark us as part of the tour group.
They guarantee the bears for life. If something happens to your bear, you can mail it back to the factory where it will be “admitted” to the “bear hospital” “healed” and sent back to you.
Of course the tour ends with a showroom.
If you ever find yourself in this corner of the US, I absolutely recommend the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Tour. The awesome part is that it’s a short drive from there to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour (we did both in one day). There’s also great bed & breakfasts in the area. We stopped in at a glassblowing studio in the area as well.
Ironically, I did not get a Vermont Teddy Bear on that trip. I still don’t own one.
Ellie received one from a family friend for her first Christmas, when she was not quite 2 months old. Lucky girl!
Twelve cupcakes is a relatively new yet delicious cupcake bakery in town. Generally speaking, I find cupcakes and cakes here a disappointment, as Americans like a much sweeter cupcake than the local palate seems to enjoy. But this is the real deal if you like the traditionally American style of cupcake. Pictures were taken over a variety of visits.
This year’s American Celebration of the 4th of July will happen on June 30th (the Saturday prior) at the Singapore American School. Details here.
This will be our third 4th of July in Singapore. Read about our first here, and our second here. This is the first time they’ve held it at SAS instead of the Terror Club, so I don’t know how/if that will change the experience.
Unfortunately you won’t be able to read about our experience at this event, as it conflicts with Pink Dot 2012. Pink Dot is far more important to our family, so we will be skipping the 4th of July celebration.
A very small part of me is sad, as the 4th is one of my favorite annual events we’ve done in Singapore. However, when I think about which event I’d regret missing more, without a doubt it’s Pink Dot. My daughters can connect to their cultural heritage in a thousand different ways every day of the year, but Pink Dot and a public event supporting the LGBT community in Singapore happens only once a year. I think it’s more important that we be there. I hope to see some of you there with us!
Sorry I’ve been in absentia since the posting frenzy last Wednesday. To get back on track, here are some odds and ends that are happening but have not (yet?) merited blog posts.
Most of the latter half of the last week was spent trying to pull together Ravi’s Father’s Day present. That took all of what I’m told is commonly called “free time.” For those who are interested…here it is.
Elanor has stopped violin classes for now. She was struggling to keep up with the group class, and our daily practice sessions were devolving into shouting matches (hint-never get into a debate with a three year old–they will keep going until you’re in a fetal position on the floor).
It is frustrating to know that I am a teacher, but that I’m possibly the worst teacher for Ellie (and kills any remaining thoughts I’d had about homeschooling her–HELL NO, not going to happen now or ever). It is also deeply ironic that this was a surprise to me–I have told parents for years that the reason I can say the EXACT SAME THING to their child as they did and get a different result was that I wasn’t their kid’s parent.
However, I have chosen to continue with private violin lessons, which I take once a week while Ellie is in school. Rhi comes to the lesson with me. Yes, I’ll share a video of myself playing…sometime in the future. Currently, Ravi did not recognize London Bridge when I played it, so I’ll just be sitting over here, practicing in my “free time.”
Rhiannon had her 8 month well baby visit today. Frustratingly she hasn’t really gained weight since her 6 month check up. For those who have known us a long time, this is a moment of deja vu. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt with Ellie. Luckily, Rhiannon is hitting all her developmental milestones, so we’re just going to keep an eye on her, encourage more solids on top of breastfeeding (and no, breastfeeding is not to blame–Ellie went through the exact same thing while on formula) and hope for the best. But considering my 3 1/2 year old only weighs 24 lbs, I’m not holding my breath that my 12lb 8 month old is going to be radically different.
We took Ellie to see “The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark” two weekends ago. It was enjoyable, but as I sat there, I couldn’t help but fantasize about that (still somewhat) far off day when I can take the girls to actual Broadway plays and musicals instead of children’s theater. However, beyond enjoying the experience, I know that going to shows will help Ellie (and Rhi, as she gets older) create a love of the theater, and build their ability to focus on a show for a longer period of time.
However, I am thinking of instituting “Musical Mondays” at home. Come home from school with Ellie and put a musical on the tv. I certainly have enough to keep us going for months on end without repetition.
We will next be visiting Boston in August. Dates are forthcoming, but the current plan is that we’ll be there for most of the month. A dear friend is getting married, so we’ll be staying a bit longer than we have on the past few trips. I need to firm up a few more doctor’s appointments and then I’ll book tickets and let you know.
My college roommate and good friend Love joined the Peace Corps. She’s been posted in Mongolia and has started a blog! We may live on the same continent again, but we are living VERY different experiences in Asia.
My primary phone broke. I’m getting a solution to the problem via fedex in the next few days, but expect a far smaller internet presence. I’ll try to catch up on blogs and such when I have the laptop, but the phone I”m using until my actual phone is fixed doesn’t have a lot of the apps and is much slower than my actual phone.
In the category of first world expat problems…I’m pretty sure that I want my next phone to be a PadFone (drool) but although it is currently on sale in Singapore, the model sold here doesn’t have any of the 3G bandwidths used in the US, which means when I’m in the US, I’d have 2G at best, which I can’t live with. In theory AT&T might be selling them starting some time this fall, but I’m going to have to sit and pine and wait until they do. My primary phone better hold out until then. Yes, I live where many of the hottest phones come out before they do in the US, but unless they’re equipped with the right bandwidths (or whatever the correct term is) for US useage, it’s just like Lucy and the Football and I’m Charlie Brown.
When I was creating Ravi’s Father’s Day video, I had to go to my backup harddrive, where my older pictures are stored and I found a ton of photos I’d forgotten I even had. YAY!