Monday, September 16, 2002

September 16-20, 2002

SEPTEMBER 16, 2002

My son is fascinated with the idea that the MRI he had on Thursday took pictures of his brain. He's sure that when we see the doctor today, she's going to give him some snapshots that he can take to school and show around. He's been promising people that they'll be able to take a look at his brain soon.

He'll probably be disappointed when he actually sees what the camera took, if the doctor even has the results there to show. Clearly, he's expecting something along the lines of a nice little brain sitting on a tabletop, posing for Polaroids. His first words to me upon waking up were, "Where's my brain?" Although I tried to explain how the camera takes its pictures of the brain through skin and bone, I think he's still pretty sure we removed it for its screen test.

As for me, I know the MRI results don't look like anything a 9-year-old would consider to be a brain photo op, but my expectations are probably pretty unrealistic, too. In my dreams, those scans will unlock some secrets of my boy's lobes, illuminate his strengths and weaknesses, suggest ways to help or hinder. And of course, I'm hoping that those indications will match the ones I've cooked up in my own personal brain cells. Whether they'll answer any questions at all, much less the way I want, is for us to find out this morning at 10 a.m. I hope useful information isn't as unlikely as 8x10 glossies.

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2002

Well, the bad news is that my son really did have a seizure last week. The abnormal spikes on the EEG backed up with the inability to move his left arm and leg that I reported were enough to convince the doctor that he'd had one, and what I saw was the aftermath. Since this is only the second seizure in the eight years he's been with us, the doctor's advice was not to panic, but just to keep a closer eye on him. Hard to imagine we could watch him any closer than we already do, but I don't mind trying.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that I got a little validation for my observations. I was pretty sure that the EEG would show nothing, and I would be left with no relief for the vague feelings of guilt over making a big fuss over something that might have been nothing. Now I know that it was something after all. It's nice, once in a while, to know you were right.

That small feeling of triumph wasn't quite drowned out by the way my son behaved at the doctor's office, although he sure tried. What is it about doctors that make kids bring out their most extreme behavior? My son is never more wild than when he's being examined, and my daughter is never more shy and inarticulate. It makes me want to place secret cameras all around our home and school and compile videotapes of my kids being their funny, ineractive, wonderful selves. Then maybe I could leave the kids at home for the exams entirely.

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2002

So a new TV season is beginning yet again, and again I'll probably miss most of it. It's hard to watch TV before my daughter and son go to bed, because they've got our two sets locked onto the Disney Channel and the Food Network, respectively; and it's hard to watch it after they go to bed, because I tend to fall asleep the moment I sit down. I have a couple of old favorite shows I make time for, but they're getting fewer and fewer as my stamina decreases and cancellations increase (okay, so I'm still not entirely over the fact that "Once and Again" got the hook). There's not much this year that looks so wondrous as to remake my schedule of kids and sleep.

The one show I did set my clock for was Bonnie Hunt's new sit-com, called "Bonnie" or "Bonnie Hunt" or "The Bonnie Hunt Show" or something original like that. I'm a big enough fan of the actress that I'm putting my self-imposed ABC boycott (see "Once and Again," above) on hold for half an hour on Tuesdays to see if she can survive on the "Now You See It, Now You Don't" network. I was even able to convince my daughter to turn off Disney's other channel long enough to watch it with me, since she's seen "Return to Me" with me a dozen times and was up for watching "that blond lady" in something else.

Turns out a large slice of the cast of "Return to Me" is in the sit-com with her, and it was fun for my daughter to see all those actors in new roles (and confusing, since she hasn't completely grasped the fact that the characters in a show and the actors who play them are two separate entities, and I know she was secretly wondering why Charlie the Veterinarian and the waitress and the "water lady" were all doing different jobs and wearing different hairstyles). She liked it all enough to watch it again next week, and so did I. Any family show that can make my family seem calm and organized by comparison is going to keep me coming back.

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2002

Lovely news this morning from European researchers, who report that the germs in dust actually protect kids from developing hay fever and asthma. Don't you love it? All of us slovenly housekeepers have been magically transformed into health-minded moms, just like that. Put down the feather duster, girls, and have another cup of coffee.

I'd be feeling really good about this news except that, alas, my mother did keep a dust-free house, and now I am beset by horrible hay fever. Clearly, Mom did not pass the Need to Clean down to me, and so I may be able to keep the Need to Sneeze 10 Times in a Row from my own kids. The Need to be Lazy, though ... ah, it may be too late for that.

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SEPTEMBER 20, 2002

My son put himself to bed last night. That's a remarkable occurrence, because we're talking about a boy who usually has to be lassoed, wrestled, and forceably restrained to get him under the covers. But last night, Mama and Papa both fell asleep themselves well before kiddie bedtime -- me, because of an allergy medication that was not kidding when it said it would make you drowsy, and my husband, because, well, because falling asleep in front of the television is what he does -- and the little ones were left to fend for themselves. Our daughter used that freedom to watch a Disney Channel movie all the way to the end, then sit in her room listening to music and combing her hair and waiting for someone to stir. But our son, we found in his bed, all tucked in and sound asleep.

Now, of course, the system's not perfect. He was tucked in with the blanket under his chin on a warm night, and so was covered with sweat. And he hadn't gone to the bathroom pre-tuck-in, so we had to wake him up and go through the whole bedtime routine anyway. And of course, it wouldn't have hurt either of these young people to just GO AHEAD AND WAKE US UP when bedtime came and went. But if we can refine things a little, get the little guy to remember his pre-bed bathroom trip and the big girl to stop combing her hair and go to sleep, maybe we could just go ahead and stop pretending and set the adult bedtime in our house a half-hour or so earlier than the children's bedtime. Goodness knows we're the ones who are really tired at the end of the day.

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