Sunday, August 31, 2008

Got a kick out of

talking to my grandfather. He was telling me about how he worked on a freighter on the Great Lakes the summer before he finished High School. And how that was in the 1920's. Can you imagine? His mind is sharp as a tack, even if he's not moving so fast these days. But moving he is - he insisted on personally giving me the grand tour of the new apartment they live in. I thought it was an assisted living facility, but it's actually independent living retirement community. So they have their own little apartment, that looks like a small condo, with an attached garage and a patio in the backyard.
I can't believe how well he and his wife handle everything at their age. What a blessing.

Makes me miss my dad, though. He never saw Wood and I get married, and G and A never got to meet him.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Road trip

We are headed to Ohio to see relatives - my grandfather, his wife, my aunt and uncle and some of my cousins. We are celebrating my grandfather's 99th birthday. Wow! Because everyone lives so far away, this is the first time we've seen them in several years, so they've never met A.

This is my father's side of the family. My father died over 10 years ago, when he was only 55. My grandmother died in her early 50's. Hopefully, I have my grandfather's genes!

We'll try to get to Detroit tonight, then head into Ohio tomorrow. So it's a LONG trip, as it takes us about 8.5 hrs just to get to Detroit. Lots of videos for the car. We'll head back on Monday. School starts Tuesday.

I need to get Miss A's hair done before we go, so it will look good for the trip, and for the start of school. Trying to think of what will be fairly fast and easy, but still last through the first week of school.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


A friend told me today "don't worry so much about A - you know how kids are so resiliant."


The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.
The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed; elasticity.

Kids are resilient. So are adults. We learn how to stretch until we think we will break, how to recover, bounce back, but we are never exactly the same again. Some are forced to learn this earlier than others, but we all have to be able to move on with life, flow with what comes, and even if we don't do it well, we do learn to somehow bounce back.

Resilient, however, does not mean impenetrable ... everything sinks in and stays there ... and bouncing back does not negate the bruising that happens in the process.

Yes, kids do bounce, but they bruise. And the bruises take a long, long time to heal.

Telling the preschool....

that A would be going to G's school starting next week. Wood had to do it yesterday. I would have burst into tears.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The decision is made

We will be putting A at G's school for pre-K. Part of the decision is financial - We are still feeling the impact of Wood being unemployed for 6 months. To have 2 children from the same family at one school is significantly more affordable than having 1 child each at 2 separate schools. Both girls will still go to the preschool afterschool and in the summer, so there won't be a complete break with the staff or the teachers for A.

Our older children's college tuituion has risen almost 8% each this year. However, we aren't making 8% more, and all our expenses have risen significantly. Prices are high up here - for gas alone, we pay about .20 a gallon more than those outside the UP. I'm always envious when I hear the reports of the nationwide average for gas - I really wish those were our prices. Woods driving 22 miles each way for work these days. Fortunately, I only go a few miles. One tank of gas lasts me about 3 weeks.

Wood thinks we have created enough of a stir that the school will work hard to make it work. I hope so.

I am fiercely protective of A, more so than with any of my other children. My instinct is to shield and protect her. Physically, she is a tough kid. Emotionally, she can be very fragile. I've been her mom for 2.5 years and I don't always know where the line is, what is going to trigger her.

Perhaps I should just be thankful we don't live in England. I read this yesterday:

Monday, August 25, 2008


Woke up freezing - it's currently 41 degrees. Apparently summer is over.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Mass....

"Momma, why are there no other chocolate people like me?"

Ouch. We have diversity in many areas of our lives, but our parish is not one of them. There are only a few black Catholics in our community.

African American Catholics are still very much the minority, not only among African Americans in general, most of whom are Protestant, but also within the Church. While as many as three million African-Americans are Catholic, they make up only about three percent of all U.S. Catholics. And while there are more than 1,000 parishes that are predominantly African-American, most of the other 18,000 U.S. Catholic parishes are predominantly white.

There have been many influential black leaders and Saints in the Catholic Church, including one of my favorites, St. Augustine. St. Moses, was an Ethiopian desert monk born around 330. There have also been 3 Popes from Africa. There are 200 million Catholics of African decent worldwide.

But that is not what my daughter sees when she looks around our church on Sunday.
We are apparently not alone in this struggle - only 5% of all churches in America are truely integrated, according to this CNN article.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I was civil...

Really, I was. The principal cited changes to their program, that were almost exactly word-for-word from my letter to the superintendent last spring. So, are those really the changes, or does she know that's what I want to hear? After my impassioned plea to allow the A's preschool to start a kindergarten program (which the Diocese shut down immediately - can't have competition, you know), and detailing the great program and excellent teaching staff at the preschool, the Catholic elementary school actively recruited the lead teacher at A's school to be the new pre-K teacher at their school. That was so not my intention. But A would have a teacher that I love and that she knows well.

I had left the school last spring with a packet of information on adoption and schools, and she did appear to have read it. She seemed facinated with positive adoption language that was from an article in Adoptive Families. Apparently they've never given it much (if any thought). I know G had at least 2 children in her classroom last year who were adopted. But after the mother's day presentation last year, where motherhood was tied to birth only, I'm not sure it registers much. I offered to give a presentation to the teachers and buy some books, both for the teaching staff, as well as the school library. The principal took me up on those offers, so it's a start. In our conversations last year, she honestly thought adoption and/or race would never come up in a school setting. I gave her enough examples from our personal experience that I think she has rethought this position.

When we got to the point about the Gesell, Wood asked her if we were in agreement that A wouldn't participate. I could see that wasn't sitting well. I jumped into the issues I had with how the test was "normed" and it's rather dubious purpose and history. I believe this was the first time they had heard this information. Hmmph, you'd think they'd know a bit more about a testing system they use, wouldn't you? She quickly agreed that A wouldn't have to take the test. I'd feel better if they abolished the dang thing. Our public schools use it too.

This is our first foray into non-public school. Wood and I are both products of public school. I went to inner city Detroit schools. Our two older children, M and B, went to public schools. I felt so weary of battling and advocating for my children through their years in the public schools. Schools say they want parental involvement. What they really want is for you to sell magazines, wrapping paper, and be on the PTA. What they don't want is valid questions about the curriculum or any other issue in the school. BTW, least you think this attributable to where we live, we didn't live here when my older children were going through school. We lived in Metro Detroit, and my children attended one of the "top" public school districts in the entire state. One of my older children had a learning disability, and that took a tremendous amount of effort with the schools to ensure his needs were met appropriately. In frustration, I pulled him out of school and homeschooled him for 7th and 8th grades. He very successfully entered High School in 9th grade. When both of my older children graduated, I felt such a sigh of relief. Now, here we go again.

We have two options where we live - public school, with 26-28 children per early elementary classroom, or Catholic school- with about 15 kids per classroom. that's it - no other choices. We thought that as a paying consumers, we'd have more of a voice. Guess we thought wrong. G did very well last year, but she was on the far one side of the spectrum - her strengths were not adequately addressed in school because she was so far ahead. Even though she was an extremely fluent reader, she would come home with the same sight words to memorize as the rest of her class "to" "the" "and". It bordered on ridiculous. I really don't think the school handles EITHER end of the spectrum well - struggling kids and kids who need to be challenged and advanced both suffer. Everything is geared towards the middle.

The principal and I went head to head last year when I thought the kindergarteners (or at least MY kindergartener), being transported in volunteer parent cars for field trips, should actually be in boosters or carseats. Nope, they just buckle them in...because it's legal. Needless to say, we drove on every field trip and wouldn't allow any children in our car without a restraint. I think that's where I got my reputation for being a troublemaker.

I do like that our faith is an integrated part of our children's school day. It is part of just about everything they do. The rest I'm not so sure about.

I have until Aug 31 to make a final decision. School starts on Sept 2nd.

Edited to add: On July 1, the State of Michigan changed their carseat laws: children under 9 years old or under 4'9" must be at least in a booster seat. We won't have THAT issue this year!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School meeting

We meet with the principle of G's school today to discuss the possibility of A going to Pre-K there. Wood called her last week to set up the appt. Yesterday, there was a message on my answering machine when I got home from work. It was from the school secretary, trying to set up A's Gesell testing appt. Ok, 1) I haven't decided to send her there yet, so it seems more than a little presumptuous, and 2) We made our feelings quite clear about Gesell testing last year. So obviously, the principle didn't listen to us at all. While I strenuously object to the test for Kindergarten placement, I have absolutly no idea why it would even be done for Pre-K.

Facts about Gesell testing:
1) results can be 30-50% inaccurate. You might as well flip a coin.
2) it is not unusual to have as many as 60% of children tested not be "ready" for Kindergarten.
3) Child development has more accepted theories than those of Gesell. Gesell believed the child development was strictly a result of biology. Environment played no part.
3) The test is "normed" on only 640 Connecticut children between 1911-1930. Incidentally, the children were all white.
4) whatever 1/2 of those children did, was considered "normal".
5)In 10-15 minutes maximum, an unknown teacher to your child in a strange environment is supposed to be able to determine your child's abilities and decide educational placement.
6)It is part of the reason that kindergartens across the country have become increasingly academic.
7)any so called "advantage" of delaying kindergarten a year for certain kids has completely vanished by Grade 3. In fact, studies have shown that kids held back are at higher risk of dropping out of high school, and will achieve less academically than if they would have been placed in the "regular" kindergarten.
8)Studies have also shown that parents who object to D-K placement and pull their child out and place them in regular kindergarten over the schools objections, are more successful in school.
9)Kids who "fail" the Gesell test are frequently put on a slower "track" and treated differently from kids who "pass".

Here's the great part. Want to know what Gesell's testing was used for, back when he developed it? It wasn't kindergarten screening.

It was for adoption placement. Gesell (along with his other contemporaries), were "worried" about placing "bright" children with dull parents. Or more often, worried about placing a "dull" child with bright parents. Gesell believed that adoption was risky and even inappropriate for some children, but he also believed that the risks could be scientifically measured and predicted in advance. He believed that some children were unadoptable because they were products of bad heredity. Gesell trusted developmental testing to prevent the adoption of defective children. He believed that child development occurs solely according to a predetermined, naturally unfolding plan of growth

Here is one of his pre-adoption evaluations, on a 2 year old child, that he feels is "subnormal".

"An Attractive Infant, but Subnormal—Child B (age 26 months)

This child was not seen before the age of 2 years. She was born out of wedlock. Concerning the mother there was only the brief annal, “she is untruthful and peculiar.” The child was boarded in a high-grade family home where the foster mother became deeply attached to her and made plans for her adoption and education.

Postponement of adoption has been urged, because the child just now seems much brighter and “more acceptable” than she really is. She is in the “cute” stage of development which conceals her limitations.

In physical appearance she is attractive; in demeanor she is smiling, responsive, playful. She waves “bye-bye” very genially and plays gleefully with a ball. She is just the kind of child who would smite the heart of questioning adoptive parents. If they yielded to the impulse of affection on the first sight, they would then and there resolve to take her into their own home, give her every educational advantage, and rear her as a charming, refined daughter.

These parents would not be entirely disappointed, because the child is not mentally deficient and her personality make-up is relatively favorable. However, the examination proved that she approximates the 18-month level much more consistently than the 2-year level, and the general quality of her attention was far from satisfactory. On the basis of all the clinical evidence it is extremely doubtful that she will ever be able to complete a high school education. She may have some difficulty in completing the grammar grades. In 10 fleeting years the educational limitations of this child will be more palpably revealed; and there may be genuine pangs of regret.

The economic status and educational purpose of the parents are an important factor in this particular adoptive situation. If at the outset the parents are not ready to relinquish their educational expectations, another child should be sought. Some parents are quite content with a favorable, likable personality irrespective of grammar-school success."

Gesell's writings have been criticized by other psychologists because he did not acknowledge that there are individual differences in child development, and his focus on developmental norms implied that what is typical for each age is also what is desirable.

Why are we subjecting our children to these outdated tests again? When I objected to having G testing, I think they assumed that I felt she wouldn't pass. I knew she would do fine, and she did. I always find it odd, however, that schools always have about 1/2 the kids tested recommended for D-K. Convieniently, just enough to fill a class.

I wonder if I hadn't have thrown a fit over the test, if they would have "recommended" G for D-K, based mostly on her age - she is a June birthday, and one of the younger kids in her classrooom. She also was at at the very top of her class last year. Even with the 6 and 7 year olds that are now in Kindergarten. She is currently reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". She reads at a third+ grade level, and probably does classwork at a second grade level.

My belief is that parents are the best judge of their child's readiness. We know our children best. If we feel they need an extra year, it should be our choice, our recommendation. And kindergartens should be child centered and play based, not task and skill oriented. Which would help ALL children fit in to kindergarten better.

Off my soapbox now....I'll let you know how it goes. Wood is afraid I'm going in today ready for a fight. Not if they listen to me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thoughts and prayers needed for family

The closest ET family to us is 100 miles away, here in the Upper Peninsula. They adopted about a year after us - a sibling group of a 5 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy. We are the only two ET families in the entire Upper Peninsula. Sometime last year, they also adopted a 6 year old ET boy from a disrupted adoption. They have a large family, including about 6 bio children as well.

This family endured a long, dramatic 6 month delay in getting their daughter home (she had been dx'd with TB shortly before her scheduled departure, and wasn't allowed to leave the country with her brother). Their son came home on June 6th, 2006.

only 4 months after his arrival to the US, the older boy, David, was dx'd with leukemia. They traveled to Marshfield, WI on a regular basis for treatment. They began maintenance treatment in April, 2007. Before David was done with his maintenance phase for the leukemia, he suffered a relapse in early January, 2008.- an extremely bad sign. This drastically cut his chances for survival. Their best option for him at that point was a bone marrow transplant. After some initial difficulty finding a match, they matched with some umbilical cord blood. David had his transplant several weeks ago down at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. He's been there since July 15th.

David is extremely sick at this point and is suffering from several complications, including internal bleeding of unknown origins. His parents take turns being constantly down there with him, and the other parent travels 8 hrs home to be with the rest of the children in the family.

Here is a link to his caringpages site:

Please keep this family, especially David, in your prayers. This little boy has been through so much since arriving here in the US.

From the Gockenbach's website:
"The quality of our lives is transformed not only by our initial response to Christ but also by the daily answer of faith to whatever a day holds." E. Elliot

We have learned the truth that no one can tell what a day will bring forth. Please read about David's journey - and ours.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


As someone who has a nickname, I never wanted any of my children to have one. I have an old fashioned name that no one under, oh, let's say 75 has anymore. I have always gone by a shortened version of it, which is still fairly unusual.

All my kids names were chosen carefully with the "no nickname" policy in mind. With my first three, no problem. Their names really don't have any other version or shortened form.

A few months after we got home with A, big Brother B started calling her "Ozzy". I glared and growled about it, but figured it would pass. It has instead, caught on. Increasingly these days, she is called, interchangably, "Ozzy", "Oz" and her given name, "Asrat". True confessions here, I have recently starting using them too. Egads!! The nannies at the care center used to call her "Ahs-ru" or "Ahs-ratti". She answers to them all. I'm hoping that when she formally starts school, we can go back to "Asrat". "Ozzy" just, well, isn't a name. And it seems to re-inforce to people that her name should be pronounced "Oz-rot", instead of "Ahs-rrot" (you hear an "s" sound, not a "z" sound.)

My list

Found this on Dani's blog and liked it :) The story is that apparently the National Endowment for the Arts estimates that the average adult has only read six of these books.

Here are the markup guidelines:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Star the ones you love
4) Reprint this list in your blog

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien *
3 Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *
6 The Bible *
7 Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women- Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. The Complete Works of Shakespeare -
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien *
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald-
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis *
34 Emma - Jane Austen35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis *
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne*
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code -Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi- Yann martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert -
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen5
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time- Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White *
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart Of Darkness- Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl *
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fall is here...

The leaves are turning on the trees already. We d0 get the most spectacular fall here - it's the most amazing and beautiful thing I've ever seen. It's now cool enough at night to close windows. We are getting in winter coats and snowsuits at work. And lots of our customers are plenty interested in them. We will get our first snowfall in the next 30 days, although it won't stick - yet. Trick or treating here could be done in complete snowsuits. Summer was way, way, too short this year.

We get about 240" to 260" of annual snowfall here. It snows for about 8 months of the year, including May. For us that means snowfall every single day (from 2" to 8" each day from November - March, with periodic snow in Sept, Oct, April and May). We usually get at least one major, major snowfall (like 3 or 4 ft) in April. We are not winter people. I'm cold all the time. Most foks up here cross country ski, downhill ski, jog (yes, a ton of people jog even in the winter - crazy) or whatever. Asrat is our only snow lover in the family - she can't get enough of it. It depresses me just to think about it ....I need to go eat some chocolate!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

US Census and adoption

The government has been repeatedly sending me a copy of the US Census for the past few months. No, the reason I haven't sent it back is NOT because I didn't receive the 7 prior copies that you sent me. So they started calling me. They got ahold of me last night on the phone, and I had to reluctantly answer their questions. I figured soon, someone would show up on my doorstep if I didn't get it done (who knew that there was a penalty for not answering??)

Why about each of my children, do I have to answer if they are my "biological son or daughter" or "adopted son or daughter?" What programs does the government run that they would find this information necessary to know? They can track foreign adoption through immigration and visa documents. They could probably track domestic adoption through state reported statistics on adoption.

If you can think or know of why this information is helpful to our government, let me know - I'm very curious.

Giving the information, we do have an interesting family makeup (I think). DH is 100% Irish. I'm English/Hungarian. G is Irish/English, although she has mainly Irish characteristics and we usually just refer to her as Irish - especially since we don't really associate with my side of the family anymore since the ugly situation with my mother over A's adoption almost 2 years ago. Big Brother B and Big Sister M are Hispanic. A is Ethiopian. We live in a predominently Finnish/Norweigian community. We'll add a little diversity to our community's census report.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

almost gone...

After dealing with G's skin issues for 2 months, it's hard for me to even see where I need to put the meds on. And still, no breathing issues. God is good!

School starts Sept 2 for us. I can't believe G is in the first grade. She can read just about anything these days, and it's so much fun as she actively participates in reading the newpaper, magazines and road signs of all sorts.

We are meeting with the principal from G's school to go over the possibility of having A go to pre-K there. Although I was vehemently opposed to their so called curriculum for pre-k, and voiced my concerns loudly to them last spring, the school went and stole the teacher that A would have this year at her preschool. I know this teacher very well, and would have no qualms about putting A in her classroom - provided the school will allow her to teach pre-K as I've seen her do it at A's preschool. Although I love A's preschool, with our minimum wage hike in Michigan to $7.40 per hour, the preschool has had to substantially raise their tuition. It would be much more affordable to have both kids in the same school because we'd get a second child discount off A's tuition. But I need to make sure that A will do well there. I'd still use the preschool for afterschool, holiday and summer care.

Wood is driving big brother B back down to college this weekend. The girls (and me!) will really miss him.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

update on G...

Her hives have completely dissappeared. Just that alone has made her skin look considerably better. And then new creams we are using on her skin have accomplished wonders - some of the areas are considerably reduced, and almost gone.

I had to take her in yesterday to get her stitches removed. I was wondering how this would go with our dr, since we received the diagnosis through Children's and his was completely wrong.

First of all, NEVER tell a child "it won't hurt". G was scared and didn't want to go, and I told her it wouldn't hurt. When I picked her up from Summer Camp, her teacher also told her it wouldn't hurt at all. Well, guess what? He had a lot of trouble getting the stitches out. He said the physician had made extremely small stitches and he really had to pull hard and try two different pairs of scissors before he got them out. It actually DID hurt her, and it made it bleed because of all the pulling. She looked at me with those eyes, and said sadly "but you said it wouldn't hurt". Uggh.

The dr disagreed with Children's that she needed to be on the antihistimine for 2 weeks after the last hives. He said one day. I think I'll go with Children's on this.

It has been extremely dry here for the past few weeks. Today we promised the girls the County Fair. It has been raining since last night.......

A might be turning into a genuine yooper - a term used by folks who live in the UP to refer to those who have spent their whole lives in the UP. As opposed to those from Lower Michigan, who are referred to as "trolls". Why are they called "trolls?" Because they live under the bridge (Mackinac Bridge, the 7 mile long bridge that spans the Lower to the Upper), of course! Last night she said "mommy, I'm so excited about the County Fair!!:" We are all city folks in this household, and I have never been to a County Fair or even a State Fair in my life until we moved here..... she is all excited about seeing the llamas, chickens, pigs, bunnies and cows. She won't ride the Tilt a whirl, though. That's a mommy and G thing. G laughs so hard that she can't stop on the Tilt a whirl. Wood and A feel like they will throw up, so they watch.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Test Results!

Wow, I never expect test results early! I got a call from the dr at Children's Hospital yesterday. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of dealing with a complicated diamond trade in at work, and missed the call. So then we played phone tag for the rest of the day.

Good news - it does not appear that anything remarkably scary is going on. Happy, Happy, joy, joy! The dr said the G has two separate, non-related things going on, causing her mysterious skin issues, that occurred simultaneously. One is actually a form of hives. The other is a non traditional form of psoriasis. Viewed together, they either 1)resembled something very scary or 2) something that didn't really have distinct features of any one issue. Both were caused by......are you ready for this? Her strep infection back in late May.

Strep apparently can be a trigger for causing psoriasis in people who have had no previous indication or family history of this disease. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease. G was dx'd with Strep, put on antibiotics AND prednisone because she also had hives - the hives were the reason we took her to the ER initially. Bad call on treatment on the dr's part, apparently - the body is dealing with strep and you are weakening the body's immune response at the same time. I was told that the preferred way of dealing with this would have been to first use 2 different antihistimines, 1 taken in the am and 1 in the pm. Prednisone should have been used only if there was no response to the antihistimines or if we had a life threatening reaction. Also, they really dosed her with too much prednisone - they didn't take into account her low body weight of only 36 pounds.

The hives are, in part, actually an extension of the SAME hives from late May. Hives can, in some cases, go on for up to 2 months from the same reaction. Especially when prednisone is added to the mix. Her hives were never sufficiently or adequately treated. Then, the one steriod cream that we have been using on her skin for the "eczema" was also causing her skin to react, and aggrevating the skin reaction.

This is what I've feared with G for the past two years - issues actually caused by drs. Especially the dr here in our hometown, who make instant, snap decisions based on only the most common issue they can think of. And don't listen to us one iota. We've been through 2 dr's for the kids - one was a family care dr, our current one is a pediatrician. It is just not feasible to drive to Milwaukee for everyday, routine care. But to think that this current issue and G's misery was CAUSED by something that was supposed to help her......

So, we are to immediately cease with any of the creams that the dr prescribed for her non-existant eczema (ok, I'm sure you can sense a bit of bitterness there....).

She is to take Claritin in the AM, and a stronger, prescription antihistimine at night (it is supposed to make her sleepy - it seemed to jazz her up last night, actually....). We are to continue both antihistimines for a full 2 weeks AFTER we see the last bit of the uticaria.

G has two new creams for her skin. One is a actually form of Vitamin D3. We use these to try and get the autoimmune reaction to settle down on her skin. When we got back to Children's in October to see the specialist we see for her asthma/breathing issues, we are now to also make an appt as well for the dermatology clinic so that they can follow her. One thing that is concerning them (and us) is that G is reporting joint pain since the strep infection. Psoriasis can trigger Psoriatic arthritis (which is completely different that rhumatiod arthritis) and be quite serious. So we need to report any worsening of this condition and any swelling immediately. I still can't believe that this was all triggered by the strep.......

We are now down to 8 medications.

G, as usual, takes everything in stride, even making jokes about us having the opportunity to see the rare, "elusive spotted, G"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

When I was a baby......

A is becoming more and more firm that we knew her when she was a tiny baby - before she had teeth, could walk, wore diapers, etc. I have been correcting her, and telling her all the baby-like things she WAS when we met her, but I don't want to perpetuate her fantasy. But she is insisting, and it seems very important to her. I don't know whether to temporarily ignore it, or to continue to gently provide the correct information. She completely ignores me when I talk about her Ethiopian mom, or mention her name, like she didn't hear what I just said. She doesn't deny it, she just won't acknowledge or discuss it.