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In This Episode of When My Tires Get Slashed…

January 18, 2018

I’ve got no one to blame but myself.

Let me just say that it’s been a week. Between worrying about the Little One’s leg and the impending government shut down, add on that I’ve had a terrible migraine for three days, let’s just say I am over it. Done. Let’s just end the week today.

So that’s where I am at when this happened…

The Little One and I were just chilling after school. The Big One was still at school (today was yoga club after school) when a gaggle of 10-12 middle schoolers from a neighborhood school came walking up our street. They were loud. They were using vulgar language. They were strutting down the middle of the street like they owned it. The Little One said, “What the heck? Did you see all those kids? Who were they?”

I was in the kitchen so I didn’t see them, I just heard them. I told her I wasn’t sure but went out on the front porch to see who they were and where they were headed. About half of them were wearing black sweatshirts, while the rest of them were wearing their school uniform so I knew where they came from.

They stopped a couple houses past mine and were getting increasingly louder. I was chatting with the men working next door when a couple of the kids started fighting in the middle of my street. I watched the other kids circle around the fighters while another appeared to be videotaping the fight with his cell phone.

Not cool.

So I began walking towards them to put a stop to the behavior. As soon as one of them noticed me coming, they shouted something I couldn’t understand and then the others all took off running. One kid had left his backpack on the sidewalk, I got to it before he did.

As he sheepishly approached me, he began apologizing. Saying he didn’t know who the kids were. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I admit I didn’t handle this one too well. I busted out my mom voice and gave this kid an earful about being disrespectful and making stupid decisions. I let him know that he and his friends need to keep their antics off my street.

I gave him his backpack as he continued to apologize.

It was time to go pick up the Big One so I did. After I picked her up (from a different school than these kids go to) I decided to drive around the block. I wondered if the kids were dumb enough to go back to their school. Of course, they were. So, I parked my car and approached the group.

I told them that they were fighting and acting up in front of my house. I told them that it was not acceptable behavior. I told them it wasn’t funny. A few of them wandered off as soon as I told them who I was.

I thanked the ones who stuck around to listen to me. I also acknowledged the one kid who was brave enough to look me in the eye. He was very agreeable. He told me I was right about everything I said. Then I asked them if their moms, dads, teachers, siblings, etc would be proud of the way they were acting. All but one them looked me in the eye and said no.

I again acknowledged them for looking me in the eye and being honest. I told them it gave me a little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe they would think before they acted stupid again.

They probably won’t, but I am trying to remain hopeful.

And to the kid who left his or her blank tri-fold presentation board behind, I’d be happy to return it to you if you have the courage to apologize. It might be easier than admitting to your parents or teacher why you couldn’t finish your project.

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Adventures in Orthopedics

January 3, 2018

We’ve always been open about sharing the Little One’s bone and joint injuries and issues, so here is our latest adventure in orthopedics.

I know some of you have very strong opinions about the need for bubble wrap and some of you live in the “kids will be kids” camp. I am somewhere in the middle. What I have learned over each visit is everyone has an opinion, and I, as the mom am just doing the best I can to manage risks while allowing the Little One to just be the Little One. Today, as I got a little emotional with the orthopedic doctor, he assured me (again) that she is fine. She is normal. There is nothing wrong with her. There is nothing wrong with her bones. There is nothing wrong with the way we parent her. He, himself had 13 broken bones before he turned 13 so he knows what we are going through.

Last week the Little One was at a friend’s house playing on the trampoline. As she tried to do a handstand on the trampoline, her friend some how hit her foot causing the Little One to twist her ankle awkwardly. She was in immediate pain, but was able to bear some weight so we RICEd it for a week. (rest ice, compress and elevate). She went through the typical ankle injury symptoms of swelling and bruising. We used lots of ice and Ibuprofen during the week.

Her pain was not getting better so I took her in to see her pediatrician yesterday (Tuesday, one week since the injury). The x-rays showed no ankle fracture just a sprain (ATFL – anterior talofibular ligament injury), but also a “large mass” above the ankle joint. So, we got a referral to orthopedics and by some miracle got a next day appointment.

Today we went to orthopedics. We learned that the “large mass” is most likely an NOF cyst (non-ossifying fibroma).  It is a benign bone tumor that is fairly common in kids. Typically, they will resolve on their own. As the bones continue to grow, this bubbly blob-like cyst will fill in on its own. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the cyst or there are also injectable treatment options to fill in the space. We are hoping that neither of these options are required. We will wait and see.  The doctor told us that based on the size of the cyst, it’s likely been growing for at least five years. My understanding is that this type of cyst grows out of the growth plate. There isn’t a lot of statistical data on them because not everyone gets an x-ray. These cysts are discovered by chance, typically because of another injury or unexplained pain.

The other thing we learned is that the Little One also, most likely, has a hairline fracture in her fibula just below the cyst. The cyst can cause weakness in the bones, so when the ankle twisted the cyst had weakened the bone causing the hairline crack. Of course, we won’t know for sure until they take more x-rays and compare them to see if there is any changes/healing in the area under the cyst.

So now she is in a boot for four weeks. Not fun at all. We will gladly take an arm cast over a foot injury any day of the week. At least the boot can come off for showering and sleeping.   She can’t do any PE for one month. Fun times. She is allowed to swim, walk in the water and can ride an exercise bike. Anybody got one of those laying around that they don’t use anymore?

A Case of The Mondays

November 13, 2017

So the Big One is 12. She is in 7th grade. That means we have some unpredictable days. Some days she is sweet, quiet and studious. Some days she is moody, cranky and difficult. Most of the time the mornings before school she is pretty mellow. I think she’s too tired to really put a lot of effort into being difficult so she just does what she needs to do to get ready for school. Today was a challenge for her.

It started with something irritating the back of her ear. Weird, I know. She asked if I saw a bug bite or anything because it was feeling itchy. I didn’t see anything but suggested a little hydrocortisone might provide some relief from the itching.

She walked off to the bathroom and emerged just a few second later, looking absolutely deflated.

FIXITMOMMY: What’s up?
BIG ONE: I dropped the hydrocortisone… in the toilet.
FIXITMOMMY: So fish it out, it’s not a big deal.
BIG ONE: There’s PEEEEEEEEEE in there!!!!
FIXITMOMMY: (trying desperately not to laugh) Ooookkkayyyy… go get the one in my bathroom. I’ll take care of yours.

Crisis One, dealt with.

We typically walk to school. It was getting close to time to leave, so I hollered out, “Are ya coming?” She was still in the bathroom. Her laptop, charger, phone, lunch and water bottle were still sitting next to her backpack. Heaven forbid I try to help her. You all should know that I am not capable of effectively packing her backpack. There is a system and I inevitably screw it up.

She emerged from the bathroom finally as time was getting tight. Now it’s not critical that we walk, I can drive her so I was not stressing too much. She pulled out her clean PE clothes and then began packing all the other stuff around her binder, notebooks, and God only knows what else that is in her backpack. The big stuff securely in the correct spot, she begins to work on the smaller pocket.

Now again, there is a system, most items come out, then her phone goes in first. That way it’s on the bottom and out of the way for school. For some reason, the phone was “not fitting!” She was frustrated. Again I was trying not to laugh, as was the Little One.

I told her to take a breath and it would all fit just fine. I told her not to worry about time, we would just drive. So finally that pesky phone slid in place then she grabbed her calculator and protractor that had been removed to make way for the phone. Then it happened, she noticed that her beloved blue protractor was broken.

BIG ONE: OH NOOOOOOOOO. It’s BROOOOOOKKEEEEEEEEEENNNNNN. UGGGGGHHHHHH!
FIXITMOMMY: Sweety, it’s okay. I can buy you another one. (seriously it’s a 97 cent piece of plastic, I’m surprised it’s lasted this long)
BIG ONE:  I knoooowwww but WHHHHHHYYYYYY??
FIXITMOMMY: It really will be okay. Do you want to tape it for now?
BIG ONE: NOOOOOOOOOOO then I can’t read the numbers.

FIXITMOMMY: Ummmmm the tape is clear. Just one little piece of tape will hold it together and you can still see the numbers.
BIG ONE: *SIGGGGHHHHH* No It’ll be fine. If you tape it, then it will be crooked on the paper and won’t lay flat so the lines will be off. It’s FFFFIIIIIIINNNNNEEEEEEEE. *SIIIIGGGGHHHHHH*

Okay, Crisis Two sort of dealt with.

Of course, we now have to drive or she will be late. So we get in the car. It’s crazy cold. Don’t judge we live in San Diego, below 70° is cold.

So I start the car. The temp thing says it’s 56° degrees.

FIXITMOMMY:  YIKES! It’s chilly this morning.
BIG ONE: *SIIIIGGHHHHHH* Yeah, well you don’t have to go put PE clothes on for first period. I’m going to FREEEEEZZZEEEEE. OHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Crisis Three will be dealt with when I go buy her some sweats so she doesn’t freeze in her PE shorts. In her defense the kid has no fat on her body so in shorts and T-shirt she might actually freeze a little bit.

Again it took all that I had to not laugh. If these are the worst things that happen today, I think she will be just fine. But she might disagree.

 

A Slippery Slope for Scouting

October 12, 2017

So y’all know I am a Girl Scout troop leader. I was not involved in scouting as a child, unless you want to count the maybe three months in first grade that I was a Brownie before my dad got orders and we moved across the country.

My in-laws, however, are uber involved in scouting. The Husband is an Eagle Scout and is also a lifetime member of Girl Scouts USA. He has two sisters so, by default, he was involved in all aspects of both Girl Scouts (GSUSA) and Boy Scouts (BSA).

When the decision was announced yesterday that Boy Scouts would begin accepting girls, he was all for it. He thinks it’s great. He thinks the opportunity for our girls to earn Eagle and Gold is fantastic.

I disagree because I am a cynic!  I have two major challenges with this whole topic. One concerns BSA and one concerns GSUSA.

Both organizations are facing decreasing membership. There is just too much competition for kids’ attention. Scouting, which is fabulous, is losing out to club sports, electronic endeavors and homework overload. Instead of focusing on recruiting boys, I think BSA is taking the easy way by pretending to be all inclusive and welcoming girls. Only time will tell if there are any marketing efforts put into recruiting girls. I highly doubt it.  Instead I think BSA is hoping that all the girl siblings, who are already hanging out at their brothers’ events, will join the ranks thus increasing membership. They don’t really want the girls involved, but have figured out it makes good business sense to allow sisters of current boy scouts to join. It’s all about the mighty dollar, not about providing girls with leadership skills, confidence, team building and independence, instead girls are being used as pawns in BSA’s feeble attempt at increasing membership. There are countless boys who they should be focusing on.

By default, the girls who participate in BSA will, of course, learn valuable life skills. But I contend they will get much more from participating in a girl scout troop. The Husband has argued that the girls are not afforded as many opportunities for outdoor activities as the boy scouts offer. I disagree there are plenty of troops who do quite a bit of outdoor stuff (just not my troop because that is NOT my thing!) I will agree that GSUSA makes it extremely difficult to do outdoorsy stuff. The amount of training, paperwork, forms, contingency plans, etc are daunting. GSUSA has made it very difficult to just go camping or do anything outside.

Alas, my biggest challenge with GSUSA in this situation is their lack of focus on branding the Gold Award. All of the news stories last night discussed the prestige associated with rank of Eagle Scout.  I agree it is a wonderful thing. It’s beneficial for college applications, military rank, general leadership skills, community building, etc. but guess what? The Gold Award carries the same prestige, but not that many people know about it. GSUSA has done a terrible disservice to girls with their lack of focus on the benefits of earning a Gold Award.

People who I have talked to whose children have earned these awards almost all agree that earning a Gold Award, is actually more difficult than earning Eagle Scout, but the vast majority of the population have never heard of the Gold Award.  People also agree that the path to Eagle is harder than the path to Gold, but the actual requirements for the final project is where Gold is more difficult. I’m not arguing that one is better or more difficult than the other!  They are both fantastic awards that encourage scouts to develop amazing life-long skills. My point is that GSUSA needs to create a whole branding campaign for the Gold Award so that society recognizes the girls who earn it equally as they do Eagle Scouts.

Bottom line with this change, will it really affect me or my girls? Not really. If my girls want to go for Eagle Scout, I will support them through it to the best of my abilities. I just hope that we can find a pack where they will fit it. My concern for BSA is that while some packs will accept girls with open arms, I am afraid others will dig their heels in and not allow girls to participate, which in this crazy society we live in will likely result in even more legal issues for BSA; something they certainly cannot afford.

I admit I would rather let my conservative flag fly on this one and leave Boy Scouts to the boys and Girl Scouts to the girls, but I’m just one voice in a sea of millions.

 

Just an aside, as a PR professional, I think GSUSA could have maybe worded this statement a little better. While I agree with the sentiment, it’s harsh! WOW!

When My Tires Get Slashed…

October 6, 2017

Or my house gets egged, we know to blame the Little One.

By now y’all know the Little One is a bundle of energy. She plays hard. She’s never met a stranger and she always says exactly what she thinks. Yes, I often cringe when she opens her mouth, but it is part of her charm.  Last night the Husband took the Big One to youth group so it was just me and the Little One at home.

After we finished painting her cast, I was back in the bathroom washing my face when all of the sudden I hear the Little One racing around the house, with the dog chasing behind her. We have hardwood floors so there is no sneaking around our house. My face was wet and soapy so I just hollered, “You okay?” in response to the running footsteps. No response. Oy vey, again those of you who know the Little One….

I quickly rinsed the soap and proceeded to the front of the house to see what the commotion was about.

It was cool last night, so as usual we had the front door open, screen door shut. We also have a ginormous window on the front of our house. The Little One loves to watch the world go by so the blinds were wide open. Apparently she watched an older model white Honda Accord drive by. There was a female driver and two late teens/young adult males riding on the trunk of the car. Intrigued by what was happening she raced to the play room windows to further watch the car after it drove past our house.

She climbed up on the play room bed and watched out the side window (it’s a pretty high window, I too have to stand on the bed to spy outside!). As the car approached the stop sign at the end of our street the two males, hopped off the trunk and proceeded to “push” the car. As they did this, according to the Little One, the female driver accelerated quickly around the corner causing both males to fall on their faces.

So she and I walked outside to see if the car was gone and/or the males were alright. We got to the end of our street and saw the car parked on the side of the street, around the corner from our house. The three people in question were all standing next to the car. They appeared to be laughing and having a good time.

There’s the idiots, Mom!” the Little One said rather loudly. “One of them is even smoking. EWWWWWWWW!”

At this point, they have now seen us looking at them, but continue with whatever they are doing.

Convinced that nobody was injured in this little stunt, the Little One and I returned to our house.

Now I have a routine in the evening. After washing my face, I typically also brush my teeth. This is my feeble attempt to prevent late night snacking.  So I returned to the bathroom once again this time to brush my teeth.

As I am brushing, mouth full of Crest sudsiness, I hear the Little One say, “Hey there’s one of the idiots!

Oy vey, this kid. So I finish brushing and start walking towards the living room, the Little One intercepts me in the hallway. She is sheepishly giggling, “Mom, the idiot heard me call him an idiot. He stopped and stared at me through the window.”

So she and I have a quick little chat about watching what we say and how loud we say it, YES! Even within our own home. Then we quickly closed all the windows and blinds.

I can’t really fault her honesty. They are idiots. But unfortunately in this day and age, I am now waiting for my tires to get slashed or house to get egged.

Picasso, I am Not

October 5, 2017

Lots of people think I am really artsy and creative, I hate to burst any bubbles, but I am not really all that creative on my own. I am really good at finding ideas and then manipulating them and making them my own. So when the Little One asked me to paint her cast for Halloween I panicked a little bit. You see I am pretty good with manipulating and creating things on the computer, but actually putting paint to paper (or in this case fiberglass) I was a little intimidated, actually I was a lot intimidated.

But you see my poor child has had rough last five weeks. It started back in August, right before school started. She and her friend were trying to build a fort in the backyard. One thing led to another, led to another and the Little One fell backwards landing funky on her wrist. The x-rays were a bit inconclusive whether or not there was a fracture, so they labeled it a “growth plate injury” and put her in a long-arm cast for three weeks. Now this, of course, is not the first broken bone for this kid. We had the epic fall when she was six. Then two years ago, she got a scooter for Christmas, fell off of it and broke her left wrist.

So starting school in the midst of a terrible heat wave while wearing a long arm was tough but she managed it. Her three weeks were up, we got the cast removed and all was good.

I specifically asked about restrictions with the cast off and was told, “her only restrictions are her own pain.” Having her whole arm immobilized for three weeks takes its toll. They gave us a brace, told her to wear it for 7-10 days and then all should be fine.

So it was TWO DAYS after getting her cast off, when the next adventure began.  I picked her up from school, she was white and cradling her arm tightly against her body. I knew this was a very bad sign. So I asked her what happened.  She said, “Well, I kinda tripped over the soccer ball and fell on my arm.” Now mind you I knew they were playing soccer for PE, so I specifically said to her, “stay away from the soccer ball. You can ‘play’ soccer without being in the thick of things.” The child clearly does not listen well. It’s “too hard” to not play she said.

That was a Friday. I was in denial all evening. Then I cried myself to sleep that night because I knew she hurt herself again.

On Monday we went to see the doctor and got the diagnosis. She fractured her left elbow. OY vey! So the doctor sent us off to orthopedics cast room to get a soft cast applied while we waited a couple days for the ortho referral. So then on Wednesday, ONE WEEK, since we got the other cast off, she got another long-arm cast for another three weeks.

Fast forward two weeks and she was complaining that her cast was too tight. She had been complaining since it was applied, but I told her it would be fine once the swelling from the injury went down. Well that never really happened so we went back in to the cast room yesterday because she has some nasty and painful blisters all around her fingers where the cast has rubbed the skin raw (fiberglass vs flesh is what the ortho tech told us… fiberglass always win!). They replaced her cast and then as we were leaving, we met a woman who had an amazing phoenix painted on her cast. It was gorgeous. I really should have taken a picture of it.

So now the Little One decides she wants her cast painted. We had talked about it before, but again, a painter I am not, so I had managed to put her off. But now she was fired up after seeing this amazing art work.

The Little One got a black and purple cast this time and asked for Halloween stuff painted on it so we went to work this afternoon. (side note she has now had a cast in every color that Kaiser offers!) I am not going to lie, my expectations for myself for very low. The Little One’s expectations for me where also very low (thanks kid!)  But I surprised both of us with how well it all came out. They are clearly not difficult pieces. They certainly do not look professional. But hey they are readable. I think it’s pretty clear exactly what they are!

   

Since I really have no artistic abilities, I printed out clipart, cut them down to make stencils, traced them and then painted them!

 

 

Yes, Again!

August 23, 2017

As the Little One and I sat in the Cast Room waiting area, yes there is such a thing, I contemplated sharing about yet another apparently fractured wrist.* We often joke about people thinking that I must be the worst parent in the world because of the number of fractures this kid has had. She had the epic fall that resulted in surgery and pins, then the fractured wrist as a result of the brand new Christmas scooter (December 2016), then the fall just a few months ago in May and now this latest fall last week.

I really was doubting my parenting skills as we sat there. Yes, it’s silly to feel this way. The epic fall was at school. The other falls did all happen at home, but she was outside and I was inside. The kid just plays hard. She has no other speeds. It’s all or nothing.

The other thing about this kid is her curiosity. She has never met a stranger. She will talk to anyone and everyone. So as we were sitting there for 45 minutes waiting for our turn in the cast room, the Little One talked to every single person who walked by.

It started when I went to the restroom. I returned and she was fully engaged in a conversation with a mom and her son, who was about the Little One’s age. He had fallen off his bike and broken his ankle. He just got the hard cast off, but is now in a boot for three more weeks. Super bummed for him to miss his soccer tournament this weekend, the Little One shared her tale of woe with them.

Then the next guy she talked to had a nasty looking wound on his forearm when we first arrived (he was between casts). When the guy emerged from the cast room with a beautiful new green cast. Little One asked what he was in for. He explained how he fell off his roof while watching fireworks on July 4. (!!)  In addition to the originally visible stitches he told her about the 5 rods that now live in his wrist.

Next out of the cast room was a middle-aged woman with her arm in a sling. The Little One asked her what her problem was. She simply said, “I tripped,” And walked away. She didn’t want to talk to us. But that was okay, because once she was out of earshot, her husband was more than happy to fill us in on what happened to her. She actually tripped while hiking and had already been in her cast for 5 and a half weeks. She was apparently not happy to be getting another cast. He said she was itching to get back to work. The husband then asked the Little One her story, so she happily shared.

After that, a good-looking 20-something year old guy sat down across from the Little One. He had just had his cast removed and was waiting for the follow-up X-rays. Cody, was his name. He fractured his forearm playing football with his buddies. He was tackling a guy and the guy’s knee came down on Cody’s arm breaking it. He then asked Little One her story, so she happily shared again.

Cody got called back to x-ray, so we were again alone. Then another couple arrived. The wife was using a knee scooter she went to x-ray and then returned, sitting next to me. The Little One grilled her on her story next. She happily shared that this time was a scheduled surgery to correct a flat foot and a “host of other issues.” She told the Little One about all the bones she’d broken over the years. She said she’s had stitches, pins, rods, casts, you name it she’s had it.  Her advice to the Little One was to slow down, but keep being active and having fun!

Next out of the cast room was a 25-year-old woman with long braids and tattoos. She was a hoot. She sat down next to the Little One, having no idea what she was in for. Little One, started the conversation like most of the others, “Soooo what’d you do?”

The gal said she too had tripped. “Where were ya?” the Little One asked. At this point, the gal knew she was in for. She matter of factly replied said she tripped over a gym bag, but it was NOT her own and she had not placed it in her pathway.  She was at a hotel on a staycation. Someone put their bag down, and she proceeded to trip and fall. She had already been in her cast for 5 weeks and was told she’d be in a cast for 12-18 weeks. She apparently has a really bad break. She and the Little One discussed cast colors and what they should each get next.

At that point, our funny friend was called back for her x-rays and our friend, Cody returned. He saw us, broke out into a huge grin and said, “I’m back and you are STILL here.”

Yes, Cody we were still there. While Cody was hoping to be released, he was not so lucky, they told him they were re-casting him for three more weeks.

Finally they called the Little One back. The cast room guy asked if she’d had a cast before. We both laughed. So he said he’d be quick then since we knew the drill. Little One picked her colors – blue cast with green stripes and the tech got to work. A few minutes later, the tech apologized for the delay and sent us on our way. As we emerged from the cast room, Cody was waiting. “Hey nice colors!” he exclaimed. “Thanks,” the Little One replied. “Maybe we’ll see ya again in three weeks!”

Then I had to burst her bubble because our follow-up appointment will be at a facility much closer to home. So we bid adieu to our friend Cody and went on our merry way.

So the bottom line here, each of the people we met had tales of many broken bones and injuries prior to their existing conditions. So, hooray!  I am not a horrible parent; lots of people break lots of bones every day!

My kid also does not have freakishly weak bones. The doctor said, part of the problem is growth plates are challenging. He didn’t see anything on the x-rays that indicate there is anything physiologically wrong with her bones. She just plays hard and falls hard.

As the mom, I was honored that we met plenty of “her people” today. They all seemed like nice, normal, intelligent folks (well except for maybe the roof guy!)  If you don’t believe me, park yourself in the Cast Room waiting area some day and listen to the stories people tell!

*I say “apparently” because who knows if it’s truly fractured. The doctor said he didn’t see a fracture but there is so much swelling and pain (just like in May) that it’s hard to tell. Growth plate injuries are very difficult to definitively diagnose. Her discharge paperwork does say wrist fracture though, so who knows!