Thursday, December 29, 2005

To knee or not to knee?

Well the dust has finally settled somewhat on the whole knee thing so it's time to report (okay, you saw through me, I've just been slack about writing about it). Paul had his surgery last Tuesday night (despite being scheduled for 4pm, he finally made it into surgery around 7pm). All went as well as these things do, I gather. That is to say, his anterior cruciate ligament was completely torn apart, but it's a fairly routine (if painful) procedure to replace that. For the queasy among us, I won't mention it involves taking a third of the patella tendon complete with bone plugs, drilling holes through femur and tibia, threading the donor tendon through the holes and securing it with screws. That part was simple. The complicating factor is the stress fracture of the femur... This is not common (one in 25o, the surgeon said) and there is not a whole lot that can be done about it at this stage. Paul has to stay on crutches for four weeks (in a standard ACL op, often they don't get any crutches at all) and avoid any weight-bearing or pivoting. After that, he will have an MRI to check on the healing of the stress fracture (which is not technically on the bone, but in the hardened cartilage right on the end of the bone - think the shiny white end of a chicken leg). If it doesn't heal properly by itself, he will probably have to have a bone graft. I'm guessing that's not a fun operation.
By all accounts, Sportsmed and Dr Keene were great (as you would expect with an url like as were the nurses. I don't think he was so fond of the passive movement machine which continually forced his knee up to 90 degrees almost immediately after the operation, for three hours. Ouch. One cool thing is that the doctor took photos as he did the operation and Paul got a neat little write-up of what happened. That's this pretty photo right here.

Recovery has been slow and arduous. He has a bunch of exercises to do several times every day. He is just now able to get the leg to 90 degrees himself, but still can't straighten it fully. The pain was and is constant and strong, helped now somewhat by the illegal possession of very strong painkillers courtesy of Stan 'in the hospital they call these morphine' F. The leg swelled up big time, and along both sides of the foot it looks like a giant bruise where I assume the blood has pooled. Swelling has gone down now, and there is more movement with a little less pain, so things are slowly improving. Next week is the physio appointment, where they will be expecting him to be able to do the straighten and 90 degrees thing, then the week after is the follow-up with the surgeon. From there, they will book the MRI to see how the stress fracture is doing.
So no prospect of returning to work any time soon, although he did drive today for the first time.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Growing up, throwing up and sewing up

Tonight Sophie, at six months and three days, had her first solid food. That, combined with her improved crawling and just a hint of tooth under the gum, means she is well and truly growing up. A baby's first solid food is always a big thing for me, partly I suppose because it signals they are already halfway through their first year, but mostly because, up til now, other than that one little sperm contribution way back when, every cell that has grown and developed in that little body has been nourished from my body. That's fifteen months or so of total dependence, and the formation and growth of a beautiful human being solely from me, without even trying! And now, with that spoonful or four of pumpkin tonight, everything changes. Okay, so technically she was probably also nourished from the pieces of paper she ate last night, and the little bits of green fluff she pulled off the carpet the other day, and whatever she sucked out from under Ryan's fingernails, but you get the point. Not only does she now get nourishment from other sources, but oh, the mess! I just know with my crowd, the novelty of feeding the baby will not wear off for a long time. Feeding a baby is messy enough when it's me feeding her, but when it's the two year old...! Tonight's pumpkin was well recieved, two spoonfuls given by each sibling and all caught on videotape (plus the Mars Bar that Paul decreed should be her second solid food). Now just to wait for that first solid-food pooey nappy tomorrow.

And onto the throwing up - Bethany's turn tonight. She started feeling sick in the early evening, which is definitely better than 11pm. Lots of stoic sitting around with a bowl held up to her mouth. The actual vomit came after sitting at the toilet bowl for a while. She decided she really had to wee, so she stood up and turned around to sit on the toilet, just in time to spew all over her dedicated mother, sitting next to her keeping her company. Oh yay. But, like the others, once the vomiting was out of the way, she felt better and is now sleeping soundly. Some weird bug this one - a couple of days incubation period, seemingly very weak transmission (otherwise you'd think everyone would get it at once) and actually a very mild illness. At least it's not Listeria.

And the sewing up? Well, technically that happens tomorrow when Paul gets his knee done, almost two weeks to the hour from when he injured it. But I liked the title. :)

Picture: A few of Hannah's favourite things (Picasa is my new toy)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Here are a few of Bethany's favourite things

 Posted by Picasa

Ick ick sick

A couple of nights ago, Hannah woke up crying, which quickly turned into that chesty cough thing that made me run and grab a towel. She spewed up all in the towel and on her quilt. Yay. She was quite happy though once she'd got it out of her (must have been my spaghetti bolognaise). I brought her into my bed (first judiciously covering every available surface with beach towels) and gave her a little drink of water. Ten minutes later, vomit everywhere again. Hooray for beach towels! I wised up after that and got her a bowl. She slept fine all night long, then had another drink of water at about 5am. More vomitting. This time I got the bowl under her, so there was very little mess. I think, though, that she thought having the bowl there was what was making her vomit. She kept trying to push it away so she could heave in peace all over my bed. At about 8am I gave her some toast and water and she kept that down no problems, which was good because I sent her to childcare anyway. Knowing the rules about vomitting, I kind of stretched the truth and said she only vomitted once at 11pm. I know it's a bad thing, but she really was just fine, and had held her breakfast down. Besides, I had to take Paul to Sportsmed to get his knee looked at. That was challenging enough with Bethany and Sophie, never mind adding Hannah to the mix!
And just when you thought too much vomitting was never enough... Two nights later, Ryan came in to my bedroom saying he felt sick. I was just about to dismiss him politely (Bethany had already snuck into my bed at some stage of the night, otherwise I would have invited him in to sleep) when he did that lovely gutteral cough/belch thing. I told him to run to the bathroom while I extricated myself from between Bethany and Sophie. When I made it to the bathroom, he was vomitting all over the floor. I told him to move across to the toilet, but he only made it a bit further along the floor before vomitting again. By the time he actually made it to the toilet, there was no vomit left. What a waste of great veal schnitzel (his favourite food too!). Now, I will note, that when vomit hits a hard tiled floor from a small height, it splatters. Everywhere. I should also add that, on account of being part of my house and subject to my own peculiar housekeeping, there is all sorts of stuff on the floor of my bathroom. On this occasion, for example, there were: Ryan's sneakers, Bethany's slippers, a bath mat, some toys, my pyjama bottoms. All of these were undeniably enhanced by the colours and aromas of regurgitated schnitzel. As were his feet, my feet, and the pyjamas we were wearing.
At least it motivated me to give my bathroom a very thorough clean the next day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Out of headings already?

Oh dear, so I just realised how long it's been since I put an entry up. I wish I could say it's because life has been so exciting and busy lately, but that's not really the case. Well I mopped the floor and cleaned the mantel off today, does that count as exciting? Hmm.
Lots of things have been happening I suppose, but without the digital camera to prove they happened, what's the point of writing about them?
We went to the Christmas Pageant which is always fun. Went swimming last week. Bought a Bumbo (Sophie loves it). Went for a few walks. Planted some plants.
Ryan is determined to paint his bedroom. I promised him we would in the school holidays so he's ready to start right now. He has taken down most of the pictures in his room (mostly Paul's football and music ones since it used to be the study). Now I have to somehow modify his colour choices just a little. I'm not really sure how bright red walls and a bronze feature wall will look...

Photographer: Bethany
Subject: Photo Self-Portrait

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Flood pictures

Dad took these pictures of the footbridge near their house over the last two days. The first one is of the height of the flood, the second one of the day after. Amazing how much water there was (20-year flood, they say) and amazing too how quickly it disappeared. Unfortunately it will be a while until traffic in our little city is back to normal - there are only two ways in that weren't flooded. At least one of the fords was totally destroyed by the water (bitumen washed away like paper) and I guess they will need to test the others before reopening them.

Death of a fish

A little while ago, I wrote about the little bird we found and Bethany's difficulty in dealing with its likely death. [Incidentally, I found another bird from the same nest a few days later in the corner of the yard, next to the very dead first bird. I didn't share with the children.]
Today Ryan went to feed the fish with a comment that he hadn't fed them for three days. Then I heard 'uh oh, I think something's wrong with a fish', and sure enough, Ryan's goldfish was lying very dead on the filter. The water bubbling through the filter was making it bob up and down a little so Ryan was sure it was still alive. After school we checked again, and it was still in the same place. Ryan and his friend Nik retrieved the fish, buried it, created a headstone and decorated the grave with flowers. The headstone says something along the lines of 'Amphiby [yes apparently that was the fish's name, although this is the first I've heard it.] We love you and will always be with you.' Very poignant.
All was fine until bedtime, when he suddenly got very sad about the fish 'I just want my Amphiby back'. How he could say that so sadly and still keep a straight face I don't know. He wanted to know why it died and why we didn't take it to the vet. How do you explain that a fish costs $2 and there are plenty more where that one came from without cheapening life? Perhaps I succeeded. Although he did cry himself to sleep.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cruising blogs

I have *got* to stop staying up so late peeking into other people's lives. Tonight when I checking in on a friend's blog, I found a link to this beautiful letter to a baby. That blog lead me into a whole circle of really hardcore infertility blogs. So so sad. I think I'll give my kids an extra cuddle when I head off to bed in a minute.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Pods ahoy!

To celebrate finally selling the Land Rover (on Ebay, of all places!) Paul bought an iPod nano today. Of course I've heard of them but I've never actually seen one til now. They are so small. And sleek. And sexy. I just want to touch it. Ryan and I, geeks that we are, rushed to install the software and play with it. Paul also bought a car kit for it, so we installed that too. Then Paul spent the evening ripping cds into it, then fell asleep on the couch listening. After several solid hours of messing with cds, he filled 5% of its capacity. He is in heaven!
Ryan was entirely envious, he's wanted an iPod for months, despite not really knowing their actual purpose. He was sad that Paul was monopolising the thing, but I found him an old cd walkman and he happily lay on the floor listening to a Hot Chocolate cd for a while.


Feels kind of naked to not have a picture to go with this, but I'll do my best anyway. Two days before Halloween we got a notice in the letterbox that the kids on the street were planning on trick or treating, and we were welcome to come along, or have treats ready if we wished. We very quickly decided to join in. There are only four families with children in our street, and I suppose 10 or 15 with elderly people (and one with a young childless couple). We know the other kids well enough but this was a nice opportunity to get to know their parents too. Bethany and Hannah dressed as fairies (is that a surprise?) and Ryan was a ghost, with a sheet sacrificed to the cause at the last moment. It was a very good idea to give the neighbours advance notice, as they all had little goodie bags ready for the kids (or hid when they saw us coming). It was lovely to get a chance to have a little chat with them all.
I do feel sorry for the one guy who lives directly across from us who hadn't got the notification - the boys put it in the front door and they only use the back so hadn't seen it. He is Canadian and so couldn't let Halloween pass un-treated. Fortunately we have a deli on the corner of the street just perfect for this purpose, so he told the kids to come back later and quickly snuck to the deli while they were at the house next door, returning laden with goodies (and many dollars lighter I suspect). It was a lovely warm evening, daylight saving had just started, so after we collected all the treats, we sat on a neighbour's lawn and the kids ate and checked out the hauls while the mums chatted. Somehow I suspect we've created a tradition. Very nice one too.
Ryan, ever the pessimist, when we were talking about it later, was sad - 'there were three houses where no-one was home, we could have got more lollies'. What a fab attitude, sigh.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Life lessons

Tonight we found a little baby bird inside. The cat had obviously brought it in, whether it fell out of its nest first or the cat got it out of the nest, who can know? It was still alive but not moving very much, other than to open its beak occasionally. The kids all had a close look at it, and then we tried to work out what to do with it. It was cold and rainy outside. There were a couple of agitated birds flying and calling outside that we decided were its parents. We couldn't see a nest in any of the trees. Anywhere that we could put it, the cat could reach it. The kids wanted to keep it inside, but I explained that we didn't have the right things to feed it and we couldn't get to a pet store to buy baby bird food (Ryan's suggestion) until the next day when it would probably already be dead. We ended up putting it under the tree the birds were in and locking the cat inside, to try and give it at least half a fighting chance. I explained that it would probably die as it couldn't fly up to its nest, its parents couldn't lift it back up, it was cold and rainy, and there was no food and a cat. Optimistically, Bethany decided that it would grow up and then it would be able to fly back up to its nest. I did weaken from my realism at all costs stance and concede this was possible.
We moved into the bedtime routine and Bethany got quite upset about having to get dressed in her pyjamas. Out of nowhere she then burst into tears and said 'I don't want the bird to die'. I gave her cuddles and let her cry. She said 'I'm so sad because birds are my favourite flying things'. Again we talked about it, and I stressed the positive possibilities (like maybe the parent birds would grow opposable thumbs and be able to lift it into the nest) while also mentioning the negatives. It all seems forgotten now, but I daresay we will be checking outside in the morning to see how it fared.
This all got me thinking a bit about my stance on death. Now Ryan is as logical as me, and the thought of things dying and not being here any more is just part of reality for him. We have had very few problems of this sort with him. Bethany is a little more, um, sensitive? A few weeks ago she got very upset about growing into an adult, which was actually about having to die eventually. Paul talked to her about heaven which made her happy (the thought of being an angel, i think). I was a bit unsettled about this as neither of us have ever pretended to be Christian or religious in any way. But then I realised, it gives Bethany some solace, and is essentially equivalent to the tooth fairy in terms of me having to not be as truthful and honest as I usually try to be with the children. So I try to answer her questions about it ('how do you fly to heaven when you're dead?') as well as I can, without putting my usual 'some people believe' qualifier on it (though Ryan will often chime in with that).

'Nose' by Bethany

Monday, October 24, 2005

Swimming blind?

I've lost my digital camera (or it's been stolen). It doesn't seem right to not put photos on this page. But I hated that camera anyway so I'm glad I now get the chance to buy a new one. This time I will get one that has optical zoom (that one only had digital zoom, which sucks - it pixelates straight away). Also one that takes photos almost straight away. This one takes forever for the flash to warm up or whatever so you can't take photos quickly.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Seven years in the blink of an eye

It's incredibly hard to believe, but Ryan turned 7 yesterday. It's cliched of course, but it seems such a short time since he was born.
We had a fun day for his birthday - pancakes on request for breakfast (yes he's his mother's son alright), then off to visit Nanny and Poppy, who of course had some fun presents and lunch for us all, then back home to pick up Ryan's friend Nik, who came ten pin bowling with us, which was also lots of fun. The birthday boy won with the amazing score of 102. On the adults plus Hannah team, Hannah won! She beat me by one point, despite me getting three strikes (had to slip that in there). After that it was off to the madness of Fasta Pasta, always good for the kids who can be noisy and run around without seeming too out of place. Ryan and Nik shared a bowl of spaghetti which was a scary thing to behold. Sophie was her usual fourth-child happy, and slept all through the bowling, then all through dinner.
The cake was a fabulously home-made caramel mud cake (Ryan's request again, following in mum's footsteps) delicately decorated with a Bart Simpson icing picture. Hannah was very fond of the cake, except the 'brown stuff' which would be the icing and the cake, ie she only liked the Bart picture.
The highlight of the day for me was Ryan coming quietly up to me at Fasta Pasta and giving me a big hug and saying 'thank you for everything, I've had a great day'. How thoughtful and pleasing it was for him to take the time to do that for me (and I asked around - none of the other adults suggested he do it). What a great kid. And seven already!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

School holiday frolics

We've had such a busy week these school holidays. It's been good fun. On Monday I booked Ryan into an activity at Carclew which involved an inflatable skydome, I thought it sounded kind of cool and I was quite disappointed when they said it was kids only. Ryan enjoyed it, he came home with all sorts of information about the stars.
Tuesday we went to a play at the Bakehouse Theatre. Ryan and Bethany enjoyed it but it was a bit beyond Hannah. The stairs of the theatre were much more exciting for her.
Today Hannah was in childcare and I took the two older ones to town to see a Lego exhibition, always a winner. They sat for hours building lego, then we thoroughly explored the toy section of Myer (Bethany's top Xmas wish - a Furby!!) and the Xmas section (yes it's nearly that time already).
Our drama of the day came when Ryan wanted to take the escalators to the ground floor (from 5) while we took the lift with the pram. When we got to the bottom, he wasn't there. We waited and wandered around at the bottom for a while, then finally left the pram at the information counter while I took the girls and did a quick run up and down the escalators, checking even the Terrace (basement) and all the ways out into the Myer Centre. No Ryan. Bethany was just wandering along behind me, not noticing quite how frantic I was getting. I asked the girl at the info desk to put a call out, but there was some whole big procedure to that - she had to ring security, the manager, security again, the switch, on and on... eventually they put the page over, and at the same moment, a security guard walked over with him. We were both very happy to say the least. It turns out that when he'd said he would meet me at the front, he meant the front of the Myer Centre (ie OUTSIDE) and not the front of the down escalator (as I assumed). He said he walked to all the entrances in case I was at the wrong one, and also went up and down the escalators himself, waiting for a while at the Lego displays as well. He said he was just about to approach a shop-person when the security guard came and got him. Phew.
So we hugged a long time and both cried a bit. Then we worked out that we have now learned to really confirm where we intend to meet. :) And to ask for help a lot quicker. And to stay in one place (since I'm sure our paths crossed several times).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Spot the odd one out

This is dessert last night, three bowls of boysenberry icecream and one of pumpkin soup. After devouring an almost-vegetarian risotto (it had bacon in, alright), the middlest child decided that soup was preferable to icecream. Bethany-world must be a wonderful place...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bethany took about 60 photos with the digital camera. They show a good eye for the ordinary. This is one of my favourites. Posted by Picasa

Bethany: Self Portrait Posted by Picasa

Playground of adventure

Went on the long trek down to Port Noarlunga today. We thought it would be fun to check out the adventure playground there, and it was. Mum as usual packed a great picnic, the kids played on the different things there, Ryan got bored and wanted to go home. What's new? We also went to the beach - it was fun to see how much it hasn't changed from when we used to spend hours down there as children. We couldn't believe that our parents would leave us abandoned on the beach for hours on end while they fished on the jetty. I guess it was a more innocent age (not that I'm that old!).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I took this photo with my mobile phone so it's a bit hard to read. It's on the window of one of those noodles in a box places, I just thought the "We apologies for any incontinent that had occur" sounded like they may have been closed down by the health inspectors or something. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 23, 2005

Strangers in the night

So if you really want to chat with your friends, only everyone is offline (probably they've got a life, right?), have a chat to . My favourite bit was when I said I had four kids and she asked if it was an IQ test. Probably still in beta mode...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Career aspirations

Since Ryan was three, he wanted to be a palaeontologist. That has now broadened out to scientist (and sometimes movie producer). Bethany's goal in life? To be a fairy. Gotta aim high.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hard hearted mum

So am I a terrible mum? I was just videotaping the girls as they jumped on our little jumping castle, when Hannah fell out and flipped over. While I was looking and thinking how much that was going to hurt, I was trying to keep her in frame with the $10,000 from Funniest Home Videos in mind. I didn't quite succeed but I might send it in anyway. Have a look here (but it's about 4mb so be patient and I'm not even sure it works) or for the little blurry version click here.

Limping along

I love my Phil and Ted's pram but something happened today that I'd never considered. I got a flat tyre! Who'd have thought that you should bring a puncture kit and pump when you go for a stroll? The culprit was a thorn we must have collected as we walked through the field next to Ryan's school (since Bethany wanted to walk all the way around his school after we dropped him off today). Afterwards we wheeled lopsidedly through BigW and purchased a little puncture kit to keep in the pram.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Wee wee wee all the way home

Sophie had her MCU today, because of her one urinary tract infection. She did really well despite just falling off to sleep in the pram as we were waiting to be called in. She was quite happy to be undressed on the examination table, and thought it was lots of fun that I stood above her head and held her hands. She wasn't quite sure about the nurse holding her legs, or the one that sponged her down with plenty of warm water (she weed on that one). The nurse had problems getting the catheter in, and Sophie cried a bit while that was happening, but once the catheter was in, she was happy and laughing and talking to the Xray machine that was lowered over her. She did all she was supposed to do, letting her bladder be filled with the contrast, and urinating on cue. They did that twice and she was quite happy, sucking my fingers and talking away. She didn't even flinch when they pulled the tape off to remove the catheter. The doctor was very happy with the results and said it was all fine, meaning her UTI was not caused by a physiological problem (probably just my lousy nappy changing habits!).
That leaves Hannah as the only child not yet requiring a hospital procedure. Ryan had grommets in his ears, Bethany a hernia operation, and now Sophie an MCU. At least hers didn't involve general anaesthetic.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ryan is learning about Ancient Egypt. He traced around his sisters and designed their sarcophagi. Not sure how soon he intends them to require them.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Can we fix it?

First post on the blog - I wonder if we'll become a clog. Most likely...
What is it about Bob the Builder that Hannah loves? She's 2 and can sing the song. She even nags me to go to the Bob the Builder website! Toddlers are far too techno-savvy these days.