We love getting Christmas cards from friends and family, and we're especially grateful to remain on those lists despite not sending a card ourselves in at least four years. I am even beyond thinking, "Well, there's always next year." I think I've moved safely into "My blog is my card." So here's a greeting from our house to yours:
Merry Christmas from the Kenyons!
We hope to see as many of you as possible in 2012.
Christmas is coming. School's out in 30 minutes. The boys are already beyond whacked-out with anticipation. I do not know how they will survive the next five days. Is there any way to avoid a let-down when an event is this hyped in their minds? Especially when Edward seems to be changing his Santa list by the hour and the one thing he finally said out loud to the big man is not, in fact, awaiting? (At least not the specific Lego set he happened to mention; fingers crossed for an acceptable substitute.)
On the other hand, I'm hoping for a magic moment when he discovers the item he told his teacher he wanted from Santa but was not planning to tell Santa himself or anyone else but the beloved Mrs. Smith. She sent me an email, which sent me scrambling to make the magic happen; said item has been procured. (Funny that she said, "Sometimes I'm like a bartender--privy to all sorts of things no one else knows!") There is also the possibility that Santa and the Tooth Fairy may visit on the same night as Ed has a couple more loose teeth. When questioned, Santa denied knowing Ms. Fairy, but Ed said, "I hope they talk to each other loud enough to wake me up so I can see them!"
Note the even distribution of ornaments all over the tree this year. I am surprised at how much I miss the "only at kids eye level" decorating style, but Edward took the initiative to get a chair to hang ornaments at different heights. Daniel attempted to follow suit, but was returned to low ground when his efforts almost resulted in him doing a face plant into the tree. Just for my own record keeping, I'm noting that we purchased and decorated the tree the weekend of Dec. 10/11. Even this far in advance, only a small selection of trees remained at our favorite tree lot (fundraiser for the local Optimists.) We've been burned before by waiting too long, so I'm glad we went against my "week before Christmas is plenty of time to have the tree in the house" instincts.
And in case you were wondering about my level of school-break neurosis, No, I do not have an activity grid for the two week break. The boys and I will spend part of that time with doting aunts, uncles and grandparents, so that takes some entertainment pressure off the parents. Otherwise, we have baking, library visits, movie(s), and friends to invite and are hoping we'll emerge unscathed in 2012.
Will's tree is decorated for the season. We invite any friends and family who stop by our house during the holiday season to take an ornament from the tree and remember Will as you hang it on your own tree. All the ornaments are the same, except that Edward found a stash of left-overs from previous years and couldn't resist adding a few for variety. It's an evolving tradition.
The other innovation in this year's tree decorating was Edward's careful apportioning of the ornaments to be sure each boy had exactly the same number to hang on the tree. The main pile is in the middle and here you see "One for Daniel, one for me..." (You also see a pile of random clutter, but please try to ignore that.)
(Special shout out to our AZ crew for today's wardrobe selections :-) )
Sunday afternoon, a friend and I took our kids ice skating in an effort to fill an afternoon with some fun physical activity. We'd been once before and the boys enjoyed it. They weren't terribly mobile, but they didn't seem to mind the slow stagger and frequent tumbles. This time we were better prepared with snow pants to cushion the falls and fend off the freeze. Daniel was quite the go-getter, scooting out in front of all of us requiring neither an adult hand, nor the wall for support. When he fell, he just got right back up and kept going.
Until he didn't.
I looked up from helping one of the other kids when I heard him scream and saw him splayed out belly down on the ice. I attached the other kid to the wall and skated up to assess the damage. He was screaming so much I didn't know what exactly had happened. I thought at first someone might have skated over his hand. But he finally screamed, "I twisted my ankle!"
Of course we were at the far opposite corner of the rink from the exit, but thankfully the hockey team pens (or whatever they're called) were just a few feet away. I managed to scoot him over and get us both to the bench and get his skate off. I noticed the laces had come loose from one of the upper hooks. I held him for a little while thinking he'd calm down after the initial shock. Nothing doing. He was simply screaming. I didn't think I could carry him across the ice on my own skates, and was a bit at a loss for what to do. Luckily my friend noticed that there was a non-ice exit from the other hockey pen, so we scooted over there and got out. I tried taking off the other skate to see if he could walk and he just crumpled to the floor.
With help from Edward and my friend (who also had her own kids to help de-skate) I managed to get him out to the car, where I called John and asked him to meet us at the urgent care clinic near our house. There the P.A. was able to manipulate the foot up and down and, noticing no bruising and only limited swelling, was confident that we did not need to head to the ER for an x-ray. We took him home to rest, ice and elevate.
Monday morning he still would not put an ounce of weight on the foot so he obviously couldn't go to school. I decided it was worth a trip to the pediatrician for further examination and possible x-ray. But again, he did not indicate excessive pain from pressing at any point on his leg or foot and allowed his foot to be moved in all directions. So we went home to continue rest, ice, elevation ( P.S. How on Earth does one entertain an immobile child whose life's work is centered around dashing from one place to the next? Lots of books and games and much more TV and computer time than is standard around these parts.)
On Tuesday, the frustration level ramped up as he still would not bear weight. If he had been slowly improving, I would have been more patient with waiting, but I was almost ready for the tough love approach. Still, I had that nagging doubt: "what if it's really broken." I would feel horrible if I forced him into that kind of pain. So I took him back to the doctor to request an x-ray, just to be sure. Thankfully, the x-ray showed no break. John met us at the doctor and took Daniel home while I went to a meeting that was impossible to reschedule. My meeting ended just as his began in a building across the street so we met in the hallway to exchange the kid & stroller. (Note: I loved pushing my babies around in the stroller, but I am SO glad not to hassle with it on a daily basis any more!) John had a chance to tell me that he and Daniel had been practicing walking at home, heavily supported. This did not happen under my watch, but the next morning, it was tough love, baby: back to school whether you like it or not.
My back was screaming from lugging his 43 lbs. around for three days so I tried to force him to walk from the car to the school door. Inside, an elevator awaited, but this was not enticing enough. I ended up carry/dragging him up the walk and through the door, much to the horror of the head of the school, who stands outside each morning to greet the arriving children. She's not aware that Daniel's favorite attention tactic is to scream "Owie! Owie!" regardless of whether any part of him is actually afflicted. I explained that he had hurt it on Sunday (this was Wednesday) and that he'd been to the doctor three times and had it x-rayed. He would be fine. She did not seem convinced.
His teachers, on the other hand, were fabulous. The whole Montessori program is about fostering independence, so they were fine with letting him get around by whatever locomotion he chose, which turned out to be crawling for most of the day. (This apparently was a bit disturbing to several of his female friends, whose parents stopped me in the hall the next morning to get the full story after hearing dramatic tales from their daughters.)
He made it through the day and then seemed to be more willing at home to try putting weight on it. I should say that through all of this, HE was totally convinced that he could not walk. This was not a "milking it for attention" situation where he'd walk if there was something he really wanted and then turn around and pretend he couldn't. I'm sure it was a combination of actual discomfort and memory of the pain of the original injury that made him afraid to risk a step. He would push against our palm, and bend his foot in the up and down motion of walking. But actual walking was simply out of the question.
When he started taking steps again on Wednesday night, we made a BIG deal about it, cheering and jumping and high-fiving. I also reminded him that once he was all better and walking on his own we could celebrate by going out for ice cream. This morning he crawled out of bed, but then once downstairs was willing to take some tentative steps. He did much better at school until he slipped in a puddle and hurt it again (though not as badly.) I think he'll be back to normal by the weekend. Such drama!