This year we did something different and drove up to my dad and stepmom's in Bellingham to spend Thanksgiving with them. It's the first time I've lived so close to them (about 270 miles away), so it was fun to be able to do that.
We drove on Thanksgiving day and had our feast on Friday. I can now add "single-handedly putting out an entire Thanksgiving spread (with 'help' from her mom)" to my stepmom Juli's long list of talents. Of course the boys were more impressed with her video game skills. Of their three grandmothers, she's the only one who plays Lego Batman.
On Saturday my dad took us to the children's museum, which was refreshingly low-tech. The current exhibition had a nautical theme. Nels liked the "submarine" most.
Willem was pretty good on Thursday, but he got naughtier and naughtier as the days went by. We usually see a "grandparent effect" with the boys--they tend to get cranky and more disobedient than usual when they're out of their normal routine. Plus we haven't stayed on top of Willem's three-year-old orneriness as well as we should. Add a recent open-heart surgery to all that and you've got yourself a recipe for a good old fashioned tantrum. Or ten. Shaun and I had to tag-team bedtime duties because it was so difficult to deal with him. Most of the problems were in the evening though, and it wasn't enough to keep us from having a very nice visit. Thanks, Dad and Juli!
So, what better to do the morning after arriving home than take the aforementioned willful three year-old to the doctor? No, Willem won't stand on the scale. A chest x-ray? Are you kidding me? After 10 minutes of useless cajoling, I finally broke it to the technicians that they were wasting their time. I told them I'd be happy to hold Willem in place if they thought they could get a good picture that way.
He screamed, he ran, he writhed. Another girl and I had to hold him still, hold his arms back, and hold the radiation shield over his vulnerable bits. And not just once, because the machine wasn't working properly. We'd let him go, he'd run screaming for the door, and then I'd go fetch him again. You know that move where they go stiff as a board and won't bend in the middle when you're trying to sit them down? Very effective. But we held him down and they got their pictures.
On to the next office. Turns out that if a three year-old doesn't want an electrocardiogram, he's not going to have one. Because it requires the patient to be still. At this point, I was the one crying. And when he tore the oxygen reader off his finger and threw it across the room, well, I needed a tissue. By the time the cardiologist finally arrived I was feeling 1. like a total failure as a parent and 2. mad, mad, mad at Willem.
Everything looks good, though. The doctor can still hear the valve leaking, which is to be expected since they didn't do anything to it; they just fixed the other things to keep it from getting worse. They'll do an echocardiogram in six months from now, and at that time I figure we'll ask all our questions about the likelihood of the valve function deteriorating. My guess is that it will just require long-term monitoring. Back to that again.
Did you know that November was National Adoption Month? Well, it was. And that's why it is incredibly fitting that just last week Shaun's cousin Jared and his wife Amy brought home their adopted daughter Sunita from India. And Jana, my best friend from second grade, and her husband Rob brought home their adopted son Elias from Ethiopia. I could never tell it as well as they do; please visit Amy's and Jana's blogs and celebrate this affirmation of the priceless worth of each human life.