Stress and Challenges

I find myself in a weird situation where there are things going on in our family that I would very much like to talk about, but I also feel like talking about them amounts to a “poor me” situation, which is not the experience that I look for here. I tend toward being something of a reticent/shy person (for all my willingness to talk endlessly about my dogs and my kids, there are things I don’t talk about and don’t share, though I likely will as time goes on.)

I’m very conscious of the fact that people abuse this medium and I don’t want to be mistaken for one of them. I feel so badly for the people who need and crave that level of attention, but, by the exact same token I know that people who need support, whose very existence depends on that support, can and do get it through the internet. It’s a double-edged sword, the internet. Really, it is.

So, here we’re undergoing a great deal of stress and it is showing in the parenting that we’re doing, the dog stewardship that we’re doing, and in the lack of some things that we’re doing.

On Twitter (I’m adjunctmom, if you’re looking), I made a comment about the new plagues being surgery on small child, ants, canine ear issues, and mouthy, stubborn 3 yo. So, to take those in my own sort of order:

Mouthy, stubborn 3 yo: this is not surprising. He’s my son. He’s P’s son. If he were neither mouthy nor stubborn, I would demand a DNA test. Seriously. He’s reacting to the stress around him and he’s doing things that he has never done before in an attempt to gain some of the attention that’s going in other directions at the moment. It’s true for both dogs and children, negative attention is better than no attention at all. We made a concerted effort this weekend and today to draw attention to the great things he’s doing and give him lots of support and praise. I think it’s working; we’ll see.

Canine ear issues: Peyt went to the vet on Friday. The good news is that her ears look 80% better than they did three weeks ago. The bad news is there’s 20% more still to go. Approximately three more weeks of ear meds twice a day and then a week off and THEN another trip to the vet to see if the ears have improved. Added to the ear issues, I had a quiet word with the vet explaining that when we bring Sam in (for her semi-annual exam) we need to make sure to discuss, IN FRONT OF BEN, that there are things that Dr. Chip just can’t fix. Fortunately, we have a great vet who both has kids and loves kids, so he knows what I’m getting at. He asked how she’s doing and if she’s slowing down. I confessed that she hasn’t slept on the bed in almost a month. Sam has slept on my bed every night since she was three years old. I was horrified to discover that her choosing not to sleep on the bed may indicate that she’s in pain. So, during Peyt’s week off, we’re doing a medication trial for Sam to see if twice a day pain meds would improve her situation or if it has little to no effect. She’s been up on the bed once in the last month and it was a struggle for her to get up. It worries me.

Ants: Wednesday of last week, P went into the closet to get a shirt for work. He started to put it on and realized that it was full of ants. Not fire ants, but not little sugar ants either. Those in-between ants that are both annoying and unpleasant. The contents of our closet are now spread across our bedroom, the living room, and the office. I can no longer see my desk. The closet has now been ant free for five days. This is promising. His plan, assuming things stay ant free today, is to move the stuff in the living room and office back into the closet, but not to completely refill it because we have plans for that closet that he would like to enact.

small child having surgery: when Katie had her four month well baby check, her pediatrician commented that her forehead seemed a little narrow to him, but he wasn’t concerned. When she went in for her six month well baby check not too long ago, her forehead had not changed it’s shape at all, as in it was still as narrow as it was before, there were obvious indentations that look like those grab thingies on large plastic containers (the spots cut into the plastic for you to pick up the awkward jug with) where her temples should be, and her eyes seem to be a little too close together. At this point, he was concerned. Concerned enough that he wanted us to make an appointment with a specialist for these issues.

We made the appointment, but were called shortly thereafter to move the appointment from the main office to the clinic where more of the team would be present. We were hoping that this would be a rule out appointment, but that was not to be. On Monday we found out that Katie has trigonocephaly. This is not life threatening and aside from causing lots of stress, is a relatively benign condition, though they’re concerned that she may have vision problems if we don’t take care of it. So, we’re going to deal with it. It feels too much like a gamble to wait and see when it’s much harder to correct when she’s older. I would rather gamble with surgery now than gamble with her development later. So, the last week has been a flurry of phone calls trying to set up appointments and organize things. We’re looking at surgery in the middle of September as they’d like to wait until she gains a bit more weight and, right now, there doesn’t seem to be any significant risk to her.

So we’re under stress. P and I deal with stress in different ways. He gets angry. I tend to eat, read, and play video games. I’m something of a Sims addict and now? They have Sims for the iPhone. I love it. Probably too much, but right now, I’m not going to worry about it. The thing is, we both need healthier methods of dealing with stress so that our son can learn better methods than the ones that we have. We’re working on it.

So, this blog may be hijacked for the next little while with discussions of doctor’s appointments, coping strategies, and general stressiness. To me, this is part of parenting in the 21st century.

Finally, I want to say that we’re so grateful to our pediatrician who caught this, to our friends who have immediately offered all kinds of support (from the shoulder to cry on [virtual and local] to offers to take Ben, the girls, or both), to our medical professional friends who have helped us better understand what we’re dealing with, to both of our places of work whose immediate responses were how can we help and what do you need rather than how will this affect us, and, finally, for the faith that will sustain us in the days to come. If we can remember to turn to rather than away, we’ll be okay.