Thursday, September 28, 2006


Tomorrow we poison the baby. Then, the radiation.

Have I ever told you about the time my old friend Jay nearly died? We were at Perkins with a group and Jay took a drink of soda while talking or laughing and choked. This was not the typical sputtering and gagging that we all encounter when something "goes down the wrong pipe." Jay stopped breathing. You've probably been around someone when this happens: they gag and try to swallow, being casual, not making a big deal. A worried look comes over them and they try harder to clear the problem by flexing and expanding the throat muscles. People stop talking and exchange concerned looks. Someone might make a joke to gauge the seriousness of the situation. A straight question would be more appropriate but few of us have been in this situation often enough to think clearly. Panic overtakes the victim, who stands and tries anything to begin breathing. Everyone else is up, wondering if they can live up to this moment--do what is required. With Jay, we were at the point of getting up and clearing space around him in case the heimlich would need to be done, when suddenly, spontaniously, he began to breath again. I had no idea that a person could choke so severely on a liquid. It was terrifying.

Something like this happens to Simon a couple of times almost everyday.

So, he is going to a "Barium Swallow" tomorrow.

Wikipedia says:
[He] will swallow a suspension of fine particles of Barium Sulfate in an aqueous solution with sweetening agents added. Then, we'll X-ray his esophagus. The suspension appears white on the x-rays, and outlines the internal lining of the esophagus.

Barium sulfate is the white crystalline solid with the formula BaSO4. It is very insoluble in water and other potential solvents. The mineral barite is composed largely of barium sulfate and is a common ore of barium.

Although barium is a heavy metal, and its water soluble compounds are often highly toxic, the extremely low solubility of barium sulfate protects the patient from absorbing harmful amounts of the metal. Barium sulfate is also readily removed from the body.

The compound works due to barium's relatively high atomic number (Z = 56), since large nuclei absorb X-rays much better than smaller nuclei.

It doesn't sound too traumatic. I'm not sure how they will do the X-ray. Ideally we would wait for him to fall asleep in order to hold still enough, but I don't know how much time we'll have after the swallow.

I also don't know what they are looking for or what they will be able to do when they find it.

As a matter of fact, if it were not for Wikipedia, I wouldn't know squat--a sad state of affairs indeed.

Of course, I'll completely forget to post an update after this is over to let you know how it went, so just imagine the best.

Later, Perkins fans

Thursday, September 21, 2006


This very blog is #18 out of 147 returns in a Google search for "amloidosis."

It is also #20 out of 145,000 returns for "worms in raisins."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

toddlers tumbling--duh

Tonight, David and I paid five bucks to hang out with about 20 other toddlers in a big room with springy floors covered in inches of foam. A room full of padded ramps and things to bounce on and climb over and and and


They had a big inflated runway for toddlers to bounce down over and over and over and over and over. Remember the parachutes we had in gym in grade school? They had one of those!

For me, the most interesting thing was watching David try to grasp a new skill--paying attention to a teacher in a group setting. It's hard enough to get him to listen to me when we are the only people in the room, he is inches from my face, and I am bellowing. In a room full of two-year olds, some lady is trying to make herself heard and he is supposed to pay attention? Read the instructions for setting the clock on your VCR to a room full of cats and see what happens.

Fortunately, we, the parents were present to keep things moving along:

Ok, she said walk sideways, David, no this way, see how she's doing it, wait, ok, she said go the other way, no, wait come back--no, sidew--oh wait, now we are--come back, no--now we are jumping, we are jumping backwards, I think, now wait watch like this--no, stop--come back wait, ok, 1, 2, 3, jum--oh wait, now we are running--follow that little girl--woops! don't step on her! just go around, follow that one with her mommy--

My main reason for going is that I really want David to meet and interact with others his own age. Maybe form some friendships so that he can have a social life that we don't have to pay five bucks for. Problem is that, like paying attention to the teacher, striking up friendships with strangers in a group situation is not a skill he was born with. This is where I come in. This is where I come in and stand uncomfortably in the corner looking at the floor. If memory serves, the last time I tried to introduce myself to strangers, they laughed at me from their tree house, so that is not something I'm best qualified to teach the boy. Fortunately, we have the five bucks.

I think we'll have to bring mom along sometime. She is one of those people that talks to people in line at the store and chats with the cashier. I went to Wal-Mart yesterday and the credit card swiper displayed the question, "Did your cashier greet you? Yes, No, Ignore" There was no option for "No, thank goodness, I was spared small talk with someone who, when distracted, will bag five pounds of potatoes on top of my eggs." Jaime wouldn't have waited for the cashier to greet her, she would greet him. And, in tumbling, she would have had David a play date with the cutest two-year-old girl in the room by the time we left.

But we'll be going back. I think David has Olympic somersault potential.

later, cat fans

Monday, September 18, 2006

a nearly proverbial suffering almost unlike any other

David loves sticks. With the high value he puts on them, you would not think they grew on trees. He picks them up, he uses them as guns (don't ask) and fishing poles (I don't know). He insists that you have some. When we go for a walk, he wants to stop and gather every stick we cross. He'll ask me to carry his trike so that he can walk and gather sticks.

He loves to take big heavy sticks and fling them carelessly up into the sky.

If you don't see where this is going, you are as naive as he is was.

I've watched him do this, the stick flinging, and I've thought to myself that he is asking for trouble, but I have not thought of any way to adequately explain the physics of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. So, I figure the worst that can happen is a scratched cornea. Corneas heal. And if it doesn't, well, so he won't be a fighter pilot.

Sure enough he comes in the house tonight all crying and moaning and bleeding out of his eye and wah wah wah.

In fact, he was smart enough to close the eye as the stick approached and just scratched his eye lid. Nothing poetic or eternal about a poke in the eye lid with a sharp stick, and I am sure that there are plenty of things worse, so we let him go back out and try for something a more literary.

later metaphorical fans


Val, Bas, and Dar came by last evening (eventually) for some barely-controlled chaos. Regrettably, Ed had to work (killer fact: every member of this family actually has a polysylabic name!) David was thrilled to be host to the boys. Loudly thrilled.

First, stair games. This began with David asking "do you want to see my room?" But their cumulative attention span is simply not adequate for such a tour. Bas and Dar (B&D, for short) live in a vertically-challenged environment, so our flight of steps is a delightfully distracting treat for them. The primary activity was to sit on a step, slide to the edge, and drop down to the next step over-and-over, giggling squealing with each thud. This is something that can only be done by the diapered. I think if I were to try this, I would have to use a donut to sit for the rest of my life--even with the ample padding in that area I got for my 30th birthday.

Stair time led into squealing time, which was followed by pulling out every toy David owns for experiments in "sharing." "Sharing" was defined by David as grabbing a toy out of someone's hands and declaring that the original possessor is now sharing. This a similar concept to Lenin, Mao, and Bush defining "Liberating" as the use of force against the liberated.

We also witnessed the Great Circle of Imitation. B&D (BD, for short) watch David and imitate him, David also watches them and imitates. So, I had to give David very clear instructions not to jump from the third step up and they were not in the house for five minutes before David started using their 23-month-old verbiage.

It was great fun. The three toddlers are now old enough to really interact despite a six-month age difference. They have also been around each other enough not to be shy. Three non-shy toddler boys in a small room together full of toys--it was like being inside a tin of Jiffy Pop. I can't wait until they can play together again!

later bas and dar fans (BDF, for short)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

here thar be asphalt

At the edge of the park behind our home is an asphalt area with basketball hoops, some broken-down pic-nic tables, and tennis courts. It is an area of crooked railroad ties, cragged asphalt, and the occasional broken bottle. Metaphorically is the chaos lurking around the edge of our play area of orderliness. It is the edges of our map beyond which lie dragons where no one under 36 inches should venture for fear of life and limb. It is the unknown regions of the world, nay, of existence.

David loves it over there. He likes walking along ties, leaping down the steps, examining rocks, etc.

Well, today, our little Captain Cook got bit by the dragons--a stumble on the steps and a face plant on the asphalt, his first true sacrifice to his spirit of adventure.

Update: I totally forgot to tell you the rest of the story.

So, he comes back home with grandma Susie bloodied and crying and we get him cleaned up. He immediately wants to return to the scene of the accident and give the offending steps a good scolding, which they do.

When he returns, I fix him lunch. He has, or rather had, this habit of putting chunks of food in his mouth that are entirely too large to manage. This, combined with a gag reflex that is as delicate as a codependent's sense of self-respect, makes for explosive family fun. He attempts to swallow a piece of grilled-cheese sandwich the size of his fist, gags, and barfs on himself.

So his clothes are now stained with blood and vomit and I think to myself, "we could take him down by the university and lay him on the lawn of one of the fraternities. They would surely mistake him for one of their own, take him in, and raise him."

later, frat fans.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

from st francis

from st francis, originally uploaded by jandjgilbert.

Simon's first home page

Here is the official hospital page for Simon. Click on "August," then on "Simon Jonathan . . ."

Monday, September 04, 2006

simon david

So, how is David adjusting to Simon so far?
For the most part, he behaves as he always has, but the context has changed, creating some problems. He is used to being the one that is the center of attention and he still demands the attention that he has normally gotten--but he isn't getting it. Instead, he is getting on our nerves as we try to take care of the baby, talk about the baby, sleep with the baby, etc. The same is true with attention from his mom. I can't say that he has been more demanding of her per se, but she doesn't have the normal amount to give that he is used to getting.
So, how is he responding to that diminished attention? Well, he is not showing jealously or resentment yet. He simply persistently demands more until we get irritated with him. So, he's getting called down a lot more often for simply trying to maintain the status quo.
There is some unfortunate timing with his normal 2.5-year-old behavior conflicting with parents-on-the-edge. Being stubborn and contrary would be fine if we had all of our energy to cope with it. The zig-zag pattern of a new-born is lovely, as is the criss-cross pattern of a toddler. But they don't go well together in the same room--the drapes don't match the curtains--if you will. Something to get used to.
But it's no worse than that--not for us, anyway. David is still exceptionally well-behaved and seems to be coping ok. I try to remember to take time to focus just on him, which is pretty easy since Simon only sleeps and eats. Grandma Susie is here to provide a buffer and take up some slack with things like household chores. So far, nothing adequately dramatic to report.
Plenty of uber-cuteness, though. Every time Simon cries, David rushes to him and squeaks "it's ok, it's ok." When he is not crying, David is still squeaky, "ahhhh, hey little guy, hey there, hey little guy," patting and fawning. It amazes us how big David seems next to his brother. It really drives home how much David has grown; we can hardly imagine that he was so tiny (were it not for a well-illustrated blog accounting for every step of his growth).
The two of them together are a delight, but a rare event. Simon is generally eating or sleeping and David is either demonstrating the latest height from which he can jump or falling off his tricycle. I hope that I can get them together soon for a photo shoot.
I promise I'll share.
Later, zig-zag fans.