Monday, March 28, 2011

Virginia Beach: Part Two

Vitals:  Ruslan meets his friends who are visiting from Ukraine and he gets the perfect walker, all in the same day.  Everybody cries. 

Details:  So, the purpose behind the trip to Virginia Beach was really a reunion/surprise between Ruslan (7 yo), Sandie, who met Ruslan in Ukraine, ( and a couple named Sasha and Olya, who have a ministry to orphans in Vorzel, where Ruslan lived.  (

Back in February of 2010, Ruslan had surgery on his legs.  He was born with CP and his legs were "scissored"--so tight together that they could hardly be separated. The Ukrainian solution was to put him to sleep, make a few small cuts to his tendons, then cast him with his legs spread apart at about a 90* angle with a metal bar at his knees to keep his legs apart.  Here is a photo of a similar casting.

This surgery is done in America in extreme cases only.  The usual alternative is to just stretch the tendons every day.  They saved us from a lot of stretching and Ruslan is lightyears ahead of where he would be without the surgery, but at an enormous cost.  Besides the pain of the cut and stretched tendons, the muscles are also over-stretched and have a tendency to cramp as a result of the stretching.  Unfortunately, they couldn't afford to give Ruslan any painkiller or muscle relaxers after his surgery.  I can only imagine how incredibly painful it must have been for him to wake up from surgery in that cast without any painkiller!  Since Ruslan did not technically belong to us, we were not notified about the surgery at all.  If they had just informed us, of course we would have gladly provided everything that Ruslan needed, but no one told us a thing.

Relief came through Sasha and his ministry.  Sandie actually called us, well after the fact, and told us that one of the caregivers had called Sasha because Ruslan was in so much pain, he couldn't sleep.  Sasha bought the painkillers and muscle relaxers that Ruslan needed.  We are so grateful that God provided for Ruslan through Sasha!

I tell you all this because Sasha and his wife were in Virginia Beach this past weekend hosted by David Daulton of Father's Heart Inc. (  We decided to surprise them by bringing Ruslan to Virginia Beach.

What we found, when we arrived was a surprise waiting for us!  Sandie had found a better (much, much better) walker for Ruslan.  I won't even go into the long drawn out saga we have been through getting Ruslan a walker.  But,  suffice to say, the walker we have been trying to order is no longer necessary for Ruslan.  We initially tried him out in a traditional walker and he sunk right to the floor.  His legs were too weak to hold himself up and he relied almost entirely on his upper body strength. Therefore, the physical therapist had ordered him a special walker with a hip stabilizer, hand breaks, a fold down seat and whole list of accessories.  We never did get this one and I realize NOW that it was God's mercy, preventing us from spending money unnecessarily.

The one we brought to VA Beach was a free cast off, similar model, made of heavy steel and was on four wheels, much like the one we planned to order.  Ruslan couldn't maneuver it well by himself.  Even though he can hold himself up on his own legs now, he still doesn't have the torso strength to keep from toppling over.  He probably could have with the hip stabilizer, but ours didn't have one.  Someone had to constantly walk behind him holding the stroller back, otherwise, he would take two steps and fall forward.

The one Sandie brought only has two wheels and they are in the front.  The back legs are on rubber stoppers and offer resistance.  This was the first time Ruslan had both the right walker and sufficient body strength to walk on his own.  I don't know which one of us was more ecstatic.  I had just carried a heavy Ruslan and a heavy walker in from the parking lot and across an enormous church building and was looking at carrying him for most of the weekend.  Words cannot express how glad I was to see him walking independently.  A lot of hard work and time went into those steps.  It was incredible to see him easily walking vs. falling right to the floor when we had him in a similar walker only ten weeks ago!!

To make the day even more amazing, I actually saw him need to turn and instead of making a broad circle as I expected  him to, he just lifted the whole walker, pivoted and set it down again.  He did this quickly, but he still did it.  Amazing.  He could hardly lift his own torso, let alone a walker, even a few weeks ago.  If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed it.  The lift and pivot is a regular occurrence now.  Each time he does it I am amazed.

Anyway, we stayed at the meeting place for about an hour and then everyone went back to the Daulton's for lunch.  It was a wonderful afternoon!  The Daulton's have twelve children, many of them have Down Syndrome and were adopted from Ukraine.  It looks like about six or seven of them are still in their home.  They had a whole back room full of walkers and wheel chairs that they take with them to Ukraine on trips.  I wasn't sure whether to keep the old walker, or donate it to their cause, but Sandie said that children usually start out in the four-wheel-steel walker that we had brought and graduate to the aluminum walker that Ruslan was now using.  That was enough for me!  I left the old heavy thing with the Daultons (to take along on their next trip to Ukraine) and drove on with my smiling crew to VA Beach!!

Ruslan had his walker at this point, but he ditched it as soon as he saw the sand.  Most likely, he was imitating me.  As soon as I get to the beach, I can't fight the urge to drop to the ground and kiss the sand....or roll in it like a dog. 
This is Will.  I can post this photo because his eyes are closed.  If they were open, someone would call DEFACS.  He smiles ALL THE TIME now, by the way.  I still suspect that he has the IQ of a tulip, but he's so cute and cuddly, I'm fine with it.
I love the beach, but I realized as I took this picture that my girls are more wonderful than the beach because they are every bit as beautiful, AND they're portable. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Virginia Beach: Part One

Vitals:  The boys are doing well.  Everyone keeps asking me if the probation period is over.  The answer to this question is, "YES.  Just don't tell Bill, because he doesn't know it yet."

Details:  Will had his eye surgery on Wednesday (3/16).  It was both better and worse than I expected.  We had two preliminary appointments with the eye doctor.  At the first appointment the doctor measured both eyes with a few instruments and said that Will has no dominant eye, which is good, but that his eyes, instead of being crossed, actually point outward.  So that while one is focusing forward, the other is looking away. 

A few weeks later, we had a second follow up appointment to make sure the initial measurements were accurate.  This is where things got tricky.  The doctor only measured ONE EYE.  He measured Will’s right eye and then went right to his Dictaphone and recorded the measurements and notes from our visit.  I wasn’t really sure how to handle it, but I was certain he had only re-measured one eye, while he had measured both eyes on our initial visit.  So, right or wrong, I asked the doctor about it.  He didn’t seem to take this well.  Apparently, he is not used to being questioned.  He gave me a sort of shocked look and said something dismissive. 

I really wasn’t sure what to do.  He is the only pediatric ophthalmologist in my “area” and I’d driven 20  miles to get to him.  It was either continue with him or drive to the next biggest city and start the process all over again.  So, I sat there with Will on my lap and finally decided the man looked pretty darn old.  If he’s been in practice since he was young and hasn’t been sued yet, he must be a reasonably safe bet.  I tried one more time, because I really would have been more comfortable if he re-measured both eyes, since both were going to be operated on, but he actually told me it was only necessary to re-measure one eye, which I didn’t really believe, and then he quickly moved on by telling me details about the surgery and pre and post operative procedures.  What can you do?
So, the surgery was last Wednesday.  We couldn’t feed Will anything after midnight, but luckily, he was so distracted by the drive and the waiting room that he never even asked for food.  Will sat quietly on my lap while they checked him out, then they gave him some medicine to make him loopy before they put in the IV.  Will was hilarious.  He started giving me hugs and kisses and talking loudly in a kind of lofty voice.  After a few minutes, they came to take him to the surgery room and I had to pass my little drunk off to a relative stranger. 

This was more difficult than I expected.  A nurse was holding him, so I was free to go.  But as I was leaving,­­ I saw that the nurse was still in the room, holding Will and talking to another nurse.  Try as I might, I just couldn’t leave the room with her standing there.  It was like my feet were glued to the floor.  I just sort of hung out by the EXIT, fiddling with my stuff and glancing over at the nurse hoping she would leave so I could move my feet again.  I could see Will’s little legs, still in his braces, hanging over her arm.  He’s very little.  …. Anyway, she finally went out to surgery and I went out the exit and collapsed into the nearest chair. 

There were only two bits of relevant post-op information. One: they over correct the eyes. Will’s eyes pointed out,  for the next few weeks, they will be pointing inward.  Again, there is no use questioning this, because the doctor is not inclined to discuss the issue.  Apparently, in the pre-op paperwork, I agreed to the “one question per visit” policy (answers are optional) that is strictly enforced here.  It is what it is.  Two:  keep the eyes dry.  Not really an issue except in the tub.  Just keep a dry cloth over his eyes when you wash his hair and all is well.  … no swimming, by the way.

Therein lied the rub, since we went to VA beach over the weekend.  Bill stayed home so Matt and Paul could go to their soccer game and I took the four little ones with me to the beach.  I just love it there.  We stayed at Spring Hill Suites, in an Oceanside room.  Anytime I wanted to for a full 24 hours, I could look up and see light brown sand, white surf, the clear blue sky and the white-yellow sun.  Endless beauty was just a quick glance away.  I could live in that room, even with six children. 

Of course, we weren’t in there much, but it was still worth it.   We spent most of Saturday playing in the giant sand box, and letting the boys put their feet in the waves.  Then, as you might guess, in the evening we went swimming.  I had no choice about this.  We HAD to go.  Every time we went to or from an elevator, we passed the indoor swimming pool.   It was the boys first time seeing a swimming pool.  I couldn’t walk them past it over and over again without letting them try it out.  They were already drawing attention to themselves just by existing: the walker, the braces, the loud shrieks of excitement at EVERYTHING, and Will, with eyes now crossed inward and looking like I had spent last 24 hours hitting him in the head with a shovel.  If I said “no” to swimming, I’m certain someone would have reported me to DEFACS.

So, yeah.  I took them swimming.  I got them both in bathing suits, life jackets, water wings and goggles.  They had SUCH a good time.  Will really loved it.  He spent most of the time with Reilly so I could watch Ruslan.  Ruslan had a harder time in the water because his feet are not heavy enough to go DOWN and keep his head UP so I really needed to stay with him and trust Will’s eyes to my ten year old.    

I have to confess, I did feel a little guilty this.  I know I sounded like a neurotic lunatic to the rest of the people in the pool, but theoretically, as long as Will kept the goggles on, his eyes would stay dry and there would be no problem.  I just had to keep reminding Reilly and Will about this and check constantly to make sure the goggles were on right and not leaking. 

Lest you are reading this and thinking, “what an idiot,” take comfort in the fact that I heard your voice, along with the voices of every one of my Type-A-non-risk-taking-friends shrieking in my ear about stitches, infection, swelling, and the resulting blindness.  You were there.  Trust me.    

Anyway, all that worry was over nothing.  Will’s eyes stayed bone dry the entire time.  He loved the goggles so much, he actually slept with them that night. 

We drove home Sunday and his eyes still looked fine.  I started to relax a little since the redness was diminishing and there are no indoor pools in my county. 

On Monday the kids all played outside after school.   It was a relatively nice day here and when I went out to check on them, I found Will totally drenched.  They had filled up the kiddie pool and Will, who just loves water, was sitting on the edge of the pool and dumping water on his head with a cup.  He smiled up at me, blinking water out of his eyes and said, “Look mama, water!”

Yesterday, Tuesday, was the follow up appointment.  I used my one question to ask if Will’s eyes looked OK, since he had been dumping water on his head.  I thought the doctor might ask me some questions like; When? How much water? Was the water especially dirty?  Have the eyes seemed more painful or bloodshot since then?  Has Will had a fever, swelling, etc.   However, the doctor sort of waved me off, gave Will a quick glance, got out the familiar measuring tool, measured the same ONE EYE that he did on the last visit (though he operated on both), declared that all was well and went straight to the Dictaphone.  Apparently the one-question-answers-optional policy is the only thing that is really strictly adhered to when it comes to eye surgery.  Things like keeping the eyes dry and measuring both of them after surgery are not as vital as one might first believe.  …Now I know.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God's Mercy and My Mouth

Vitals:  This post is not about the boys, but once I realized what God was doing to me (or I was doing to myself, depending on how you look at it), I decided the story was worth the ink.  

Last weekend, God had mercy on my humble state and sent us a baby sitter.   Thank you God, for my babysitter!  She is an adult (teens no longer fill the bill), and a mom, and a special ed teacher and she is wonderful!!

So, Bill and I had our first date since  ….well, in a long time.  We had a great dinner and then we decided to go shopping. 

This was a mistake.

Bill (whom I love) competes in triathlons and he has mentioned that I might compete as well.  He has also joined a local health club and he has mentioned that I might join as well.  Just mentioned it, mind you.  He didn’t actually sign for me on the dotted line; although he did create an account for me at “” and bought me a combination lock, just in case.  This was not a problem.  You see, there was no reason for me to join the health club.  I didn’t have a decent bathing suit, sports bra, running shoes or anything else I could think of to mention. 

So, after our large and remarkably filling dinner, we went to the sporting goods store to buy me a bathing suit.  

Do you know that if you go shopping at a store (other than Goodwill), there are fitting rooms with huge mirrors that take up a whole wall?  Now, let me just say here that I am 45 years old and I’ve had three children.  It’s all over.  Really.  Yet, for some reason, I had agreed that a good ending to our date night was to stand in front of a giant mirror (that I’m certain has some sort of distorting curvature around the middle) and try on bathing suits. 

What was I thinking?   I haven’t stood in front of a mirror like that since I tried on wedding dresses, which was all well and good when I was 25, but let me just say right here and now that I don’t think it’s right for stores that sell bathing suits to have great big mirrors that take up a whole wall, especially if they might be used by 45 year old women on date night!  Stores should have ONE fitting room for “Childless Women Under Thirty” and other, separate fitting rooms for “Middle-Aged Moms.”  Furthermore, the mirrors should get smaller for each decade.    I’d say the room for the 40 to 50 year-olds should have something from the waist up (like the mirrors in MY house) and by the time I have to do this again, when I’m 65, all I will really need is hand mirror.  At 90, I want those ½ inch by 3 inch mirrors that come on the side of expensive lipsticks.  Why has no one thought of this?

The next day was Sunday and I was still depressed.  We started going to a new church.  I can’t see any reason to drop my kids off into a room full of strangers for Sunday School, so I decided to stay with them for the first few months until they get to know the teachers and the routine etc. etc.  I’ve also been able to see what they are learning and get to know the kids in the class (SO cute).  Well, God had mercy on my pitiful state a second time that weekend, thankyouverymuch.  Not that He owes me anything, of course...But we all know that He was well aware I was going to have to face a full length mirror in a bathing suit the night before.  It did cross my mind that He could have sent something like a flat tire and saved me from that….visual. 

Anyway, as we were standing up to go to some activity,  a little second-grade girl came over to me and tugged on my shirt.  Then she looked up at me with blessedly sincere eyes and said, “I think you’re pretty,” and ran away (I am not making this up).  I threw my hands in the air and yelled, “HA!  Take THAT Dick Sporting Goods!”   Then I went off to find her and explain about Maybelline. 

This wasn’t enough to negate the reality of the night before, but I was grateful (Thank you God, for near-sighted eight year-olds) and it was enough that I felt the jinx of “Face Your Reality Weekend” had been lifted and I was back to living in safe, blissful ignorance, without the dangers of wall-size mirrors. 

However, there were more nuggets awaiting.  You will remember, “man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” 

I can’t remember what disaster came my way on Monday, but Bill was on a business trip so it was just me and the kids.  It was probably the general din of homework, neighbor kids, fatigue and poor parenting that threw me off.  I can’t remember exactly (not like I remember the mirror and the eight-year old), but I do remember that when dinner time came, I was in trouble.  I don’t always plan ahead when it comes to meal times.  This was not a problem when the kids were little, but I have two growing boys (12 and 13) and they are starting to complain about cheerios for dinner—OK, not really complain, but their eyes get a sort of crazed, hungry look about an hour after “dinner” and I know I have to do something more.

Anyway, I was in trouble and just as I was about to dive for the old stand-by (spaghetti), there was a knock on my door.  One of my friends was standing on my porch holding a full hot meal: lasagna, warm garlic bread, and brownies for dessert.    As I stood there with my mouth hanging open, she explained that she had just come from a funeral.  A man in her church had died and they were expecting 90 people but only 30 showed up.   She thought maybe we could use the meal. 

You might think that gracious words of thankfulness flowed from my needy mouth.  Something like, "Thank you so much for thinking of us!" or "This is wonderful!"  But, no.  I digested all the information she laid before me: the meal, the funeral, the leftover food… and what came out of my mouth was not a sincere, “thank you” but rather,  “Wow.  So….. popular guy?”

Then we both looked at each other with blank faces for a few seconds trying to figure out if I had actually allowed such words to COME OUT OF MY MOUTH, and I made an important mental note:  don't make jokes about funerals.  

Thank God the man wasn’t her relative. 

And, there it is.  She gave me the lasagna, by the way, so I think we’re still friends.  Now I’m left debating whether it’s worse to stand in front of a full length mirror in a bathing suit or listen to myself speak.  This is why I like to have a lot of kids around.  The mirrors are quickly broken and usually, no one’s listening to me.   

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Head Bobbing Outside the Castle Walls

In general, things are going well.  Ruslan (seven year old) is still making slow but sure progress.  I noticed the other day during homework time that he is writing with his hand, using his hand muscles to move the pencil instead of keeping his wrist and elbow raised and moving his whole arm.  This is huge progress since I was certain he would never have that kind of hand dexterity (such a blessing to be a pessimist, because when you’re wrong, it’s a pleasant surprise and when you’re right, well, you’re right.)

He also sat on the floor yesterday criss-cross (Indian style) unsupported, and was able to keep himself up long enough to eat his breakfast.  We have endless debates over his sitting because when we got him, he could only sit in a “w” with his knees on the floor and his feet on either side of his butt.  On the one hand, he has been doing this all his life.  Our Orthopedist is a laid back, gentle sort of doctor and he basically said, “Don’t worry about it.”  He is of the camp that Ruslan’s body was made this way and if “w” sitting works for him, then let it go.   He is also the least ambitious about Ruslan walking, but that may just be because of his general personality.

Everyone else that we come in contact with is in the other camp—“w” sitting will stretch Ruslan’s tendons, making it hard for him to walk, causing him to rely on his tendons rather than his muscles to hold his torso upright, flat out ruin his knees which will become knobby and bend outward and if he EVER sits in a “W” again, we might as well just put in him a wheelchair and forget walking forever!! 

I fall in the second camp and I hate myself for this. “W” sitting is Ruslan’s favorite way to sit and no wonder, since it is really the only way for him to be on the floor upright.  When he first came, he could not get his knees in the criss-cross position at all.  He was so tight.  We could cross his feet, but his knees were at his chin and he would fall straight backward.  After a few weeks of butterfly stretching, he could sit criss-cross, but he still couldn’t hold his torso up.  If he didn’t have a pillow under his butt or something behind his back he would fall right on his back.  This made it hard for him to sit and play since we were always moving the pillow or back support.  We have been working on sitting faithfully, and as I said, yesterday, he ate his banana breakfast on the floor sitting criss-cross without the pillow and without back support.  

As you can see, he looks about to fall backwards, however, he managed to sit through the entire banana.  This is a small miracle in our world.  The kids were going nuts for him, clapping and telling him what a great job he was doing.  I didn't tell the kids this, but when I thought of all the work that went into that banana and how far we had to go, I couldn't help thinking of Wesley in The Princess Bride.  If you remember, although he had been mostly dead all day, he needed to storm the castle in order to save Buttercup and help Indigo fight the six fingered man.  While they were staking out the castle, he told Fezzik, "My brains, his skill and your strength against 60 men and you think a little head-jiggle is going to cheer me?"

However, perhaps there is more reason to hope because this morning, I put him in the criss-cross position again and he changed his legs himself to a side sitting position and, again, kept it long enough to finish his breakfast. 

The other kids were all over him, so we got a photo of the whole crew (minus Matt, 13, who was still asleep).

That's about where we are.  The draw back is that criss-cross/side sitting is only possible when Ruslan’s braces are off.  So, my solution when his braces are on is to keep him playing at tables so he is standing up, but it’s a long haul.  We have a few small tables for playing and I got a coke crate for him to stand on at dinner.  It puts the table just below “elbow level.”  His therapist said to keep the tables higher rather than lower, because that way he can’t lean as much and keeps the weight on his legs.  I won’t do this to him forever, but he really needs the exercise and he seems happy with it. 

Will (five year old) is also making huge strides.  We had a breakthrough with potty-training.  About a month ago, he had pooped in his diaper so I told him we had to change it.  He can dress himself, so I have him take off  his own shoes, braces and pants alone and then call me to get his diaper off and wipe his butt.  When he didn't call me after about five minutes I went in to check on him.  He had taken the diaper off himself and played in his poop.  He got it ALL OVER the bathroom; on his shoes, on his braces, on his clothes, in his hair, on the floor, on the toilet, on the walls, all over his body etc. etc. etc.  It was everywhere.  

There was NO WAY I wanted this to become part of our lives.  So, I yelled and spanked him with my hand on his bare butt.  The spanking was horrible for both of us, but I’m telling you this for your benefit (O Mothers Everywhere) because that was the LAST time he pooped in his diaper.  EVER. Thank You God!!!   It’s been over a month and he hasn’t had a single accident since then.  I mentioned this to my father, who said in his compassionate way, “Ah yes.  Pain is a marvelous teacher.” 

Lovely.  However, I have to admit, it worked.  He’s been so good that yesterday morning I sent him to pre-school in underwear.  He asked for the underwear and he’s been dry for about a week, so it seemed worth the try.  Thankfully, he made it.  ....phew.

Will has also been much more pleasant to be around.  He’s actually gotten really cute.  He loves to sit on the counter when I am cooking and he loves to sit in laps.  He follows the other kids around, trying to imitate what they are doing.  He likes to play in the sand box.  He’s still water obsessed, but the kids have been much better about keeping the bathroom locked.  He used to wail whenever we told him, “no.”  He still cries, but not nearly as often and he is easily distracted now so it doesn’t disrupt the whole house. 

His English is coming along as well.  Yesterday I gave him the wrong cup and he said, “actually, this is mine,” taking the other cup.  He also spilled his cheerios this morning, then looked at me and said, “darn it.”  Totally void of emotion, but the words were appropriate.    

When we do his morning or evening routine, I’ve started asking him, “what’s next?” and he will tell me what is next in the routine, only one or two words, but the steps are there.  After we wash his hands at bedtime, he’ll smile, look up at me and say, “Kisses!”  because getting in bed and kisses are the next step.  This is quite a change from the boy who didn’t know what kisses were and used to fight all attempts at hugging. 

So, we are making progress, which is good because Bill is still not too sure about this whole thing.  He usually gets overwhelmed with work every February so I was expecting a little relapse, but it was hard.  He’s been traveling so much and sleeping so little, he hasn’t seen the progress the kids have made.  Construction projects are beginning and he has a huge load of work on his head getting them planned, getting them manned, getting equipment/materials, getting the digging started and then keeping things running.  This year is all the worse because there is more work than normal and a deadline involved.  He barely has time to think, which only makes things worse. 

I have faith that his perspective on the boys will get better as his work load lightens, but he said over the weekend that if he could go back in time, he’d talk himself out of it.  UGH!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toilet Training and Deficit Spending

So, I finally got a call about Ruslan’s walker on Friday afternoon.  The insurance company will cover $600.  The walker originally cost about $2,000 but the man on the phone said they would reduce their price to $1,350, leaving us to cover about $750.   Apparently, I paused effectively enough during our conversation to evoke pity because when I didn’t respond right away the man on the phone mentioned that he had a walker on hand (that someone donated recently) and it might work for Ruslan.  It needs a minor repair, so he was going to try to get a part for it and offered it to me for the cost of the repair. 

This was great news because our toilet is clogged again.  You may remember an earlier post in which Ruslan, our brilliant 7 year old, spent some time in the bathroom flushing the contents of the girls “Hair Stuff” drawer down the toilet.  We called a plumber and finally had to replace the whole toilet for $600.   

Well, a few weeks ago, Will was sitting on his personal, miniature potty and spraying urine all over the floor.  So, I got out a little plastic disk that fits into the front of his toilet to take care of that “garden hose” effect.  When Will got up, he knocked the plastic disk into his little potty and when I dumped his poop in the big potty (aka toilet), I forgot to take it out and therefore, I flushed it. 

It’s stuck somewhere in the middle of our brand new $600 toilet.  This was actually a few weeks ago.  I’ve been putting off calling the plumber.  I just couldn’t handle it emotionally.  I’ve actually been using the plunger every time someone uses that toilet.  It only takes a few plunges to get the stuff past the plastic disk and I’ve been secretly hoping that I might be able to plunge it out and down to the septic and save us the cost of another new toilet.  HOWEVER, it’s been a few weeks now and I’m starting to lose confidence. 

Will was kind enough to justify my stalling on Sunday.  I wanted desperately to take a Sunday afternoon nap.  I’d had a rough Saturday night (explanation to follow) and I really wanted some afternoon shut-eye.  Bill was on a business trip, so it was just me and the kids.  I knew it was risky, but I was desperate.  So, I put up one baby-gate and secured Will in the playroom with Matt and used the other baby gate to block-off the stairs.  Then, since Will is still water obsessed, I locked the water dispenser on the fridge, locked the downstairs bathroom, got the kids locked onto the TV, and then locked myself in my bedroom.   

Order of Events for Naptime:

1:00  Nervana.  I lay down in my quiet room, on my soft pillow and I think if I wasn’t so tired, I would have cried with joy.
1:01  Sleep
1:05  Sharon picks the lock on my bedroom door and tells me that she’s bored.
1:06  I tell Sharon to go away, she tears up.  I feel terrible, pause for effect, and then tell her to go get some stories so we can read together.
1:10  Sharon falls asleep next to me and for the next 20 minutes, life can get no better. 
1:30  I hear Reilly call for me in a somewhat panicked voice…..

I slide Sharon off my arm, totter downstairs and find Reilly in the bathroom doorway.  She is yelling at Will who is on the floor, soaking wet, and sitting in a puddle of toilet water.

Apparently, the Order of Events REALLY went like this:

1:00  Nervana.  Mom is upstairs and kids have 30 minutes of TV.  If they weren’t so engrossed, they would have cried with joy.
1:01  Argument over channels, Sharon loses and makes her way upstairs to Mom.
1:05  Reilly goes to the bathroom and forgets to re-lock the door.
1:06  Will tell’s Matt that he wants out of the playroom and Matt kindly lifts him over the gate.
1:10  Will makes his way to the bathroom, finds the door open and for the next 20 minutes, life can get no better. 
1:30  Reilly discovers Will in the bathroom and calls for Mom in a somewhat panicked voice. 

So, I grabbed a bunch of bath towels, threw them on the floor and re-locked the bathroom door.  After I cleaned up Will and the bathroom (were well past 2:00 by now), I went back downstairs and tried to flush the toilet.  Of course, it wouldn’t all go down, but it seemed a little slower than usual.  So, I got out the plunger and was lucky enough to get a few things back from the depths.  The toilet coughed up the American Girl hairbrush, two American Girl hair rollers, a marble and a plastic barrette.  

Apparently, Will was very busy, since we don’t keep anything in the bathroom anymore.  My boy made a few trips for flushable goods.  There’s more to be found.  It’s good and clogged now.  I had to call the plumber.  He’s coming tomorrow.

You may think that such a weekend would be depressing.  However, I’m an American.  I made $700 by not buying a walker and $600 by skipping a toilet replacement.  In the eyes of congress, I just made $1,300 in budget cuts.