Tag Archives: Parenting

Our Meeting with Dr Brain

It was a week ago that I told my mom that I had set up an appointment to see a neurologist, and how’d that go? Not so well.

Today, which is Monday, is my mom’s day to stay with the kids, but it was also the day of the appointment. I didn’t say anything when she first showed up, but left her and Aitch to do their thing and ran some errands (I’m normally at work, but had the day off). While gone, I psyched myself up to remind her. When I finally did, while she didn’t want to, she said, “If it will make YOU happy…” No, it wasn’t going to make me happy because I knew what it meant.

When Dr. Brain introduced himself and asked why she was there, she shrugged, mute. I then had to explain that there has been some memory lapses and that she repeats herself in her story-telling and questions. I felt like an ass; like I was somehow throwing my mom under the bus or at the least, complaining about her. I tried to explain that we were there to see if was indeed the normal progression of aging or if it was something else we should be aware of.

He then went into a series of questions that I initially thought were rudimentary in nature:

What is today’s date? The 11th. (It’s the 19th, and we had just signed at least four pages of paperwork that required both her signature and today’s date.)

What year is it? 1980. No, that’s not right. *long pause* I don’t know.

Who is the President? Kennedy! (answered almost too quickly and too enthusiastically) Wait, no…. *another long pause* I don’t know.

How many grandchildren do you have? 10. (she has 11)

There were several others including some simple calculations and where she lived. She struggled with the math problems (What is 100 minus seven?), but was able to answer what city, county, state and country she was in. He also had her draw something similar to a Venn diagram, but instead of circles, she was supposed to do hexagons, which were already drawn on the paper. He then asked her to write a sentence at the bottom of the page. She wrote: “Right [sic] a sentence on the bottom.” At least he laughed at that, but he did make her write an original sentence.

Afterwards, he took several seconds to review his notes, including several hash marks he had made in the margins. Her score was 23 out of 30, which he explained as he presented his opinion: beginnings of dementia, which usually means Alzheimer’s. He explained his scoring system and that he’s going to put her on a new medication. He told us what I had already known about the meds and that is they don’t make things better; they just help to keep things from getting significantly worse too soon.

In a year he will test her again (but yes, we will be following up with him much sooner). In a year, her score should be the same if she takes her meds regularly. Without the meds? She might only score a 19, maybe a 20, at the annual exam.

I could tell as I watched my mom’s expression while he described his findings and the medication that she was upset. Her face flushed and for a split second, she even teared up, but my mom, who is quite stoic, quickly reigned it all back in. Dr. Brain noticed it, too, and went on to explain that we were there to help make sure she stays as independent as she is now. She’s able to cook, clean, drive and basically look after herself and make choices for herself. The medication could potentially give her four more additional years before nursing home care may be required.

Dr. Brain was efficient and frank in his examination and delivery of his news, and yet he was still compassionate. It was hard to hear and I can’t imagine what it is was like to be in my mom’s shoes. She’s seen so many of her friends go down this path and never come back. Understandably, she was in a very subdued mood after the appointment and it was soon that she had to leave to head home. For me, I am also feeling deflated. Four years, even under the best of circumstances, is such a short time. My children will be building memories; my mother will lose them.


I consider it a shame that while we live on an acreage surrounded by nature, my son shows little – if no – interest. I use to walk him around the yard and tell him the names of plants and trees, both wild and planted, because that’s what my mom would do for us. Of course I don’t think that contributed to my adult love of landscaping, but it didn’t hurt.

I make Doodicus play outside when I am out there weeding or trimming. The drama that accompanies that makes me want to bean him with the rake. The other day I let him water the flowers (which translates to spraying everything BUT the flowers with the sprayer attachment on the hose) and he saw a wasp.

“Mom!! There’s a wasp!”

*eyeroll* “Just spray it, Doodicus.”

“IT’S STILL MOVING!!!!!!!!!!”

“Then go step on it! Stop being such a pansy.”

“I HATE being outside!!”

“Suck it up ’cause you’re not going inside.”

Yes, I’m sure you would have handled that differently, but you know it’s been five years since we moved out here and I’m over trying to show him how much more interesting it is to explore the outdoors rather than sit on the couch and watch Spongebob or play video games. He doesn’t care. That doesn’t mean I’ve completely given up though.

I’ve noticed over the past week that each time I drove on the lane, a killdeer would be frightened into flight. I knew what this meant and this weekend I went for a walk down the lane. Sure enough, an adult killdeer started running away just yards in front of me. When I would pause to look at the rocks, it would call out. Then it would fall down, its “broken wings” flashing orange. I could get within only a few feet of it before it would get up and run ahead of me again before falling down “wounded”.

This is how killdeer distract predators from its nest, pretending to be injured. I wanted to show Doodicus so we headed outside for a walk. I pointed out the bird and told him to try to catch it. While skeptical, because what nine year old child isn’t skeptical ALL the time, he walked towards it and sure enough it limped away. The bird led him all the way up the lane before it flew up and away and back to its nest.

I had found the nest earlier, so I brought my son over to the general vicinity of it and told him to find it for himself. I’m sure he thought I was playing a joke on him until I stepped him right up to it and pointed directly at the four, round specked eggs, perfectly camouflaged in the rocks.

As we walked back towards the house he said, “That was COOL!”

I hope I’ll have the chance to show him the babies after they hatch because they are seriously some of the cutest baby animals I’ve ever seen. Cottonballs on toothpicks is the best description I can give them. I’ll let you know in a month. This is the picture I took after I showed my son the nest:

She may be cute, but she’ll gouge your eyes out over an M&M.

Today my sweet widdle punkin was THAT kid.

I took her to the small play area in the mall to burn off that sugar high before heading off to pick up Doodicus from school. There were two other kids there, both girls. One was the same age and the same size as Aitch. The other was  about the size of a one year old or so, but I think that was due to some kind of developmental delay as she just seemed to be probably closer to 18 – 20 months old. Either way, she was a tiny little thing with bird-like bones.

A poor night’s sleep, attributed to a cold, plus being significantly past her nap time made her like a monkey hopped up on crack. She went up to the older girl’s father and just started chatting him up. “My name is Aitch. I’m two! See that big girl. She’s my mommy!” and then she’d run off to jump on the rubber lion or hippo or climb inside the tree and then UP the tree. The other two-year old would try to follow her but dad was a bit of a helicopter and would pull her down as she started up.

The Tiny Toddler screeched and ran (always on her tippy-toes) around the small, padded confines of the play area. At one point she climbed up the three stairs to make her way down the slide. Except Aitch suddenly was pushing her down the steps to go in front of her. I stopped my texting (shuddup, I was paying attention) and scooped up Aitch and reprimanded her while reminding her to take turns.

Then she started climbing the tree again and so did the other girl, only to be yet again pulled down by Helicoptor Dad. After a few laps running from one end to the other, Aitch ducked inside the tree and sat on the floor to catch her breath. Following her was Tiny Toddler who sat down in front of Aitch on the floor inside the big rubber tree. That’s when I saw Aitch kick Tiny Toddler, which elicited a gasp from her mother standing next to me watching.

I quickly went over, pulled Aitch from the tree, and told her that she was done playing and we were leaving. I told her to apologize to the little girl, which she did, but screamed and cried the whole time we walked away from the play area to the exit.

Now I KNOW I did the right things in removing her from scene and making her apologize, but still. When the roles were reversed (and they were when Doodicus was that age as he always seemed to be on the receiving end of an aggressive player), I thought the other child’s parents were assholes for not reining in their little deviant. Now I’m the asshole parenting that deviant. My sweet widdle punkin deviant.

What? I always look this cute before delivering a round-house kick.