Category Archives: Doodicus

Thumbs Down

We just returned home from my son’s appointment scheduled two weeks after he broke his thumb. This doctor is Dood’s pediatrician as the doctor who originally diagnosed and braced his thumb practices at an urgent care clinic.

The wait between the nurse and the pediatrician was long. The wait for the radiologist to take a new x-ray was long. The wait for the radiologist and pediatrician to read the results was long. And then the wait for the nurse to return and give Dood the last of third Gardisil vaccinations AND the second half of his Hep A vaccination (SURPRISE!) wasn’t long enough, according to my needle-phobic son.

Two hours later, he is fully vaccinated until who knows when. That’s the good news. The bad is that the fracture is not healing as well as the doc would like. The aluminum thumb splint has been replaced with a soft cast that immobilized his thumb and wrist. We also have another appointment in two weeks to check it again. If the progress is still not ideal, we may get ourselves a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and thumb screws. (See what I did there?)

For as rock’em and sock’em my daughter is, I know she will never enter a medical-related field. A friend of hers at school had to have a tonsillectomy, so I enthusiastically showed her images from google. She fanned her face delicately, averted her eyes and said to show her no more. Occasionally the topic of my Caesarean come up. She is quick to say she will never have children while she wrinkles her nose in disgust. And today, as she watched Dood get his shots, one to each arm, she first flushed and then quickly blanched.

If I had been considerably smarter, I would have loved to go into medicine.

Marshmallows

My daughter, Aitch (6), came to me asking for a mid-afternoon snack. I asked her what she wanted. Her reply, “Marshmallows!” When I told her no, she asked why then was the bag was already opened.

It’s a new bag, brought home Christmas Eve, and it’s the s’more style, which are rectangular in shape (genius, right?!). Both children are sneak-snackers and pantry-raiders. I have to keep candies hidden. I usually find out that the stash has been discovered when wrappers are found stuffed between couch cushions, in their bedroom trash cans, or under the coffee table.

I called both of them to the kitchen counter and explained very simply that neither of them was to get out of their seats until someone had confessed to opening the bag of marshmallows without permission. The accusations and denials streamed out of them, even going so far as to blame dad, who in fact loathes marshmallows.

As for me, I made good use of the time by emptying the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen. After ten minutes, I was impressed neither had caved. By twenty, I was wondering if in fact the mice had somehow learned to coop their resources and used the scissors to open the bag. After all, It was crudely cut open…

Doodicus (13) worked the angle that if Aitch would just admit to the crime, her punishment wouldn’t be as severe. Aitch’s defense centered around Dood being a self-confessed sweetaholic. I had nearly cleaned up everything in the kitchen when Aitch confessed as dramatically as one could when admitting to opening a bag of marshmallows without permission after 30 minutes of duress.

I dismissed Dood from the counter. I asked Aitch to bring the bag of marshmallows over to where I stood by the sink. Once she did, I opened the cabinet to the trash and instructed her to throw them away. I saw the flush of humiliation immediately bloom from her neck to brow line. She let out a plaintive whine, “Why??” I calmly explained that it was her punishment. A couple of minutes of silence passed as she stared into what must have appeared a shiny white maw of a monster slurping eagerly for its unexpected treat; I stood looking down at the part in her hair, now also very pink with rage.

She threw the full bag into the trash and ran from the kitchen in tears.

A few minutes later, she returned to tell me that because I had made her cry, it had given her a sore throat and now hurt to talk. I said nothing. My throat hurt too.

Broken Bone

Doodicus turned 13 earlier this month. A week ago he broke his first bone: the middle finger of his thumb. Funnily enough, he did it playing dodgeball at school. I got the call while I was at the farm visiting my mom. It was a good excuse to clear out. I had just asked her if she knew who I was.(1) She didn’t. It confirmed my suspicisons.

The nurse said that Dood probably sprained his thumb, but he was in a lot of pain and it was swollen. He has a tendency to dramatize so I decided to just pop into a convenient clinic to have it examined. The doc’s guess was that he had hyper-extended it when the ball hit his hand, but they took x-rays to confirm. Both the doctor and nurse were surprised when the film developed and the bone was clearly broken.

He fashioned a finger splint that he can remove when he showers, and in two weeks we will see his pediatrician to see how it’s healing up.

(1) I was helping mom get together an outfit for her Christmas Party with her Red Hat Society ladies. She kept asking “What are we doing?” and I’d tell her. Over and over again she’d ask, and over and over again, I’d tell her. Even though I remained calm, inside my patience was strained. We all took her nodding and giggling as interaction and passive acknowledgement to what was going on around her. It wasn’t. It isn’t.

Popcorn

Doodicus called while Sparring Partner and I were out having supper Friday night. Usually he does just to ask if he and Aitch can have some ice cream or if they can play on the Wii. We rolled our eyes at each other when we saw who was calling.

He announced that he had burnt the popcorn in the microwave and wanted to know how to get rid of the smell. I advised him to turn on the fan over the stove, and if the smell was really bad, he could crack the deck door and turn on the ceiling fan in the powder room.

We arrived home about 30-45 minutes later and pulled into the garage. When I opened the car door, the stink of burnt something hit me like a wall, but it was infinitely worse when we walked inside the house. This wasn’t just your typical “couple of burnt old maids at the bottom of a popcorn bag” kind of smell. We asked Doodicus if he had removed the bag of microwavable popcorn from the plastic packaging. Yes, of course, he said. How did you lay it in the microwave, we asked. Like this, he demonstrated. Ah. He had put the bag in upside-down. He had totally ignored the printed instructions that said, “Place this side down in the microwave.”

SP showed me the remnants of the bag Doodicus had thrown into the garbage can in the garage. There was no “popcorn” left, just a black, charred mass of clumped stink surrounded by perfectly normal looking butter-colored salt. He BURNED the popcorn alright. It’s a miracle that there weren’t actually flames (however, judging by the aforementioned bag, I can’t swear that there WEREN’T flames.).

We wanted to know what he would have done if there had been flames. Doodicus extended the sprayer from the kitchen sink. Dood! Electrical appliances like microwaves and liquids?? Not a good combo. Not too long ago the fire extinguisher that had been in the garage was disposed of as it was 10 years past expiration. Saturday afternoon I bought a new one. On Sunday, we installed a small camera in the living room that allows us to look in on the kids remotely.

As a kid, I often dreamed that I wasn’t able to use the rotary phone we had on the farm. I would try to dial 9, but I would accidentally release the rotary before it made it all the way to the stop. I would try and fail multiple times. I also had nightmares about not being able to describe where we lived. I grew up simply with the address of “RR2”. Everyone had RR2 as an address in my hometown!

You can believe I made sure to review with both kids our address, phone numbers and who to call in an emergency.

November 9 – Emergency Date Night

Aitch and Doodicus are at those ages that my husband and I are comfortable going out for the evening for dinner and a movie. It’s nice to have the free time without worrying about rounding up a babysitter days in advance. Tonight we had made plans to go to our neighbor’s house for his birthday party. Keep in mind that this “neighbor” is a mile over, not next door. We make sure that the cell phone we keep in the house is charged and not muted and that Doodicus knows he can always call us if he needs something.

We first drove into town to get something for the cooler since the party was BYO, and then headed back out to their home, which all-in-all, took about 35-40 minutes from the time we left our house. We had just parked our truck when my cell phone rang. It was Doodicus. I answered and I immediately could hear Aitch screaming in the background. Doodicus quickly told me that the iPad had fallen on her nose and that it was bleeding quite a bit.

How does an iPad fall on one’s face? Those details are not important.

I got out of the truck’s passenger side and climbed back in behind the wheel and headed back home, leaving Sparring Partner at the neighbors. When I arrived home minutes later, Aitch was sitting on the couch, her face red from crying and a tissue held under her nose. She had a small pile of used tissues next to her, all with blood on them, but I could tell much of it was a mixture of blood and mucous from her recent head cold. She told me that Doodicus had advised her that crying would make it worse. He had even showed her how to pinch her nose and upper lip to slow the bleeding. She went on to tell me that “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me!”

Both kids are now deep asleep. Aitch might have some swelling tomorrow, and she’s got some dried blood up the one nostril, but luckily she’s fine. Doodicus handled the situation, his first “emergency” on his own, exceedingly well. He addressed her needs first, getting her tissues and an ice pack, and then called us. He’s always made us proud, but there are these moments that help me see that he’s maturing and that he’s on his way to becoming a responsible adult.

November 6 – Yes, we actually pay someone for this advice.

After two years of seeing the psychologist, Dr. Rita, there were a few key points that were hammered (gently) into our heads. Arguing with Doodicus is pointless. Of course, logically any one knows this, but we are talking about illogical arguments. The other day Dood told me that he was running out of loose leaf tablet paper that he uses for his math assignments. I took one of the dozen tablets we had left-over from last year and starting tearing out pages along the perforations. The resulting shitfit was spectacular. He told me that his teacher wouldn’t let him use it because the paper wasn’t the same. These are the illogical statements that for whatever reason, Sparring Partner and I would try to address, first calmly and then with ever-increasing frustration and anger. It was the type of confrontation that Dr. Rita has worked with us to avoid. Instead we are to agree with Doodicus: yes, the paper IS different, and please let us know if she refuses to accept your work because of it.

“His brain is stuck,” per Dr. Rita. Dood will take a thought and zero in and obsesses over it, which is compounded by his anxiety. Dr. Rita once very wisely said, “You can’t use logic to win an illogical argument.”

More recently, we were reminded of the old chestnut, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This is in regard to how much time Doodicus spends on video games, which has been quite a bit lately because he hasn’t had to bring as much homework home, and he hasn’t shown any interest in extracurricular activities. As it was explained yesterday, hungry kids aren’t as particular about what they eat as long as they get to eat; thirsty kids aren’t as particular about what they drink as long as they get a drink; bored kids aren’t as particular about how long they get to use their video games as long as they get to play.

It’s easy to sit back and think, “Well, duh!” when things are calm and quiet and you’re in the eye of a storm, but when you’ve been sucked into the edge of a storm by an 11-year-old who seems to be a magnet for conflict, then it’s a major exercise of restraint.

We have to learn to not to get sucked into an argument. We don’t have to prove we’re smarter. Even when we’re likely not.

November 5 – Progress

Too tired to do much more than announce that due to Doodicus’s progress and maturation, after this afternoon’s counseling session, we will go from scheduling once every four to six weeks to once every eight weeks, if not less frequent than that unless the need arises.

Touch wood.