Friday, September 16, 2005


91 Days to Go! Woo-hoo, double digits!!

Ten-yr olds are weird. I can say that with the smugness of someone whose oldest child is only eight, therefore I have two years to go before someone can accuse *my* ten year old of being weird, although I’m sure that day will come. But for now, I am positive that all other people's ten-year olds are weird. How do I know this? I am speaking with the authority of someone who has spent fifteen hours this week “proctoring” the ITBS testing in a 5th grade class in my children’s elementary school.

Now, I have to say, that even though I am *only* a stay-at-home mom, and not exactly out finding the cure for cancer (wouldn’t that be nice?) or saving baby whales or the rain forest or feeding orphan tree monkeys or anything like that, I DO have a life, and fifteen hours cut quite a bit of chunk out of it this week. Which is basically my cheesy way of saying, “Sorry it’s taken me an entire week to update this site.” Thanks for checking in on us despite my lack of an update.

Now, back to the weird ten-year olds. Here is a partial list of their weirdness, compiled by me, during my proctor duties:

They dress weird. They either spend way too much, or way too little, time on their hair in the morning. They bring bottled water to school with screw-top lids and spend ten minutes puncturing little holes in the top of the lid, so they can dribble the water into their mouths. It would be much quicker to just unscrew the lid, but they don’t see that. They think it is funny to place a snack-sized bag of potatoe chips on the ground and stomp on it to make a loud noise, but rendering the actual snack into dust. They are extremely uncoordinated, as evidenced by the eight million pencils, books, and test sheets that fell or rolled off their desks this week. One girl came to school with a price tag hanging out of her skirt (Although I shouldn't poke fun because that has happened to me as well.) Many of them refuse to blow their nose and prefer sniffling and snorting their way through life. THIS, especially, is not entertaining to me.

The role of a proctor is excruciatingly boring. I would have driven spikes into my own brain but couldn't summon up the enthusiasm. Besides trying to surreptitiously pass Kleenex to a few of them, I spent all week praying to the Heavens that someone’s pencil lead would break so I would have something to do. What does that say about my life, when sharpening a pencil has become a high point in my daily routine? In an attempt, however, to not convey my extreme and total boredom to the class, and also to prove myself in my quest for “Cool Mom” status (you all know what I’m talking about, don’t you?) I had the following conversation with one of the students the first day, while I was collecting their library books off their desks:

Me: “Oh, Harry Potter, I love this series”

Boy: grunting noise.

Me, still trying to be cool and hip: “Have you read them all?”

Boy: “uh-huh”

Me. Still undaunted: “Did you know the new movie is coming out at Thanksgiving?”

Boy: “uh, huh”

Me, floundering a bit: “I’m very excited to see it, are you?”

Boy: grunting noise again.

Me, still trying: “I’ve seen all the movies so far, have you?”

Boy: “uh-huh”

Me, accepting defeat: “OK, good luck on your test”

Then, I walked away, but not before I caught, out of the corner of my eye, the look he exchanged with the girl sitting next to him. NOT, as I would have hoped, the “Wow, I wish my mom was cool enough to like Harry Potter” but rather, the “Oh, my, GOD, some grown-ups are so pathetic!” look. As I skulked away, I wondered if I could break his pencil lead without him noticing.

This morning, I took doughnuts to celebrate the last day of testing. If I can’t impress the class with my Harry Potter prowess, then I’m not above blatant bribery in an attempt to try once more for the elusive “Cool Mom” status. And I had the following conversation with another student:

Boy: “Hey, did you bring those doughnuts for our class?”

Me (feeling quite proud of myself): “Why yes, I did”

Boy: “Dibs on chocolate!”

Me: “Well, actually, I brought all glazed”

Boy: “You men there’s no chocolate?”

Me: “No, I thought it would be easier if they were all the same:

Boy: “No sprinkles?”

Me (wondering why I am explaining myself to a ten-year old): “No, all the same”

Boy: “No crème filled?”

Me: “I thought it would be easier this way”

Boy: “No raspberry glazed? No bear claws? No munchkins?”

Me: “No, you ungrateful little shit, I brought GLAZED! I spent fifteen dollars buying three dozen GLAZED donuts and if you don’t like it then I will take them and I will eat every single one and NONE OF YOU WILL GET ANY!!!!!!!!!”

No, wait, that was only the thought that went through my head; I didn’t really say it.

So anyway, that’s how my week went. And I can only imagine that you're wondering what on earth possessed me to share it with all of you. Hmmmm. No idea, really. So, since I can’t come and regale you with tales of my Mom-Coolness, I’ll regale you instead with photos of Kendrie’s birthday party. Never mind that her birthday was two weeks ago, and by the time I get the update posted she will be eligible for social security …..

Much to her dismay, we did NOT have a Spiderman party …. which everyone knows is the dream of every 6-year old girl on the planet. Instead, I had the audacity to plan a pony-party, with moonwalk, hayride, horses, and a horse-cake. (Sigh--- I’m obviously not getting any cool points with my own kids, either.) Despite her initial hesitation that this would be the most boring party EVER, everyone seemed to have a good time. Naturally, I thought I would share some of the photos with you. (I pay for unlimited photo storage and transfer with Geocities, but seem to have a problem getting little red x’s instead of photos whenever I put several pictures up in one journal entry. So if you see any little red x’s, curse the forces that be at Yahoo, and come back later and check again when the site has re-set itself.)

Brayden, the only one of the three, that would consider wearing boots to the horse party. But at least she *looks* cool, doesn't she?

I am the biggest hypocrit on the planet. This summer, during our Ohio visit, I threw a complete fit about how Kendrie is not allowed to go to any kind of petting zoo because they are nothing but germ filled cesspools, full of disease and illness .... but at her birthday party, I let a horse practically lick her hand off.

The highlight of the day, getting to share her special moment on the hayride with the ever-present Nicholas. PS. Notice she has not only a crossbite, but *also* an underbite? We have years of dental therapy ahead.

Horses, pony rides, a moonwalk, a hay ride ... and what is her favorite thing? The plank of wood hanging from a rope in the tree, otherwise known as a "swing".

A friend of mine made the special horse-cake... which was adorable, even though Brayden was disappointed to discover the entire horse's head was NOT actually filled with icing.

Kendrie and a few of her cronies, determined to make sure Spiderman still has his rightful place as action hero of the day.

Our family, posing for an image of happiness and togetherness. Shortly after this, Kendrie freaked because Brayden touched one of her gifts, and Kellen panicked because there was a fly in the van. And such ends a fabulous day!

And in other news -- cancer related, imagine that! -- Kendrie had her monthly chemo appointment on Monday of this week. The appointment wasn’t until 1pm anyway, and then she received another IVIG transfusion, which takes several hours…. we were hungry and stopped for dinner ... and wound up not getting home until 9:30 that evening. She was perky because she slept for two hours through the transfusion --- next time, I think I’ll take a nap at the same time!

Speaking of next time, despite the fact that her counts have remained strong on 100 percent of 6mp and 66 percent of methotrexate, I was given the option to continue the IVIG transfusions through the end of treatment in December. It was an odd feeling, to have the oncologist look at me and say, “We’ll totally leave the decision up to you” ….. I don’t know if I *want* that kind of power!

Considering “cold and flu” season is coming up, and the only downfall to the transfusion is the time it takes to administer, I opted to go ahead and have Kendrie continue receiving it. We’ve already driven 100 miles to the clinic, and have another 100 to go to get back home; might as well get the most bang for our buck while we’re there, right?

Making the appointment for next month was both complicated, and surreal. She is due for a spinal, so must be NPO (no food for six hours before hand) but also needs a block of three or four hours for the IVIG transfusion ….. We had to coordinate transfusion rooms, sedation/procedure rooms, etc., how long will she have to go without eating that day, etc. But what made it surreal to me is that this will be (God willing!) her last ever spinal tap!!! One final time of someone sticking a needle in her spine, sucking fluid out to look under a microscope and make sure it is still leukemia-free, and then injecting poison into the empty space left by the fluid to prevent leukemia cells from hiding out in the spinal fluid/ central nervous system area. Yahoo, only one more! Who knew I could get so wound up about such a barbaric procedure???

And, it’s obvious we are in the midst of a steroid week here. No hellacious attitude, or hellacious appetite, but she sure feels punky. Lots of whining, lots of tears. And that’s how it affects ME, think how Kendrie must feel. In fact, I just returned from picking her up at school for the second day this week. She comes home and sleeps all afternoon --- and this is the kid who never naps. So I know she feels pretty crappy. Funny, they lowered her chemo doses due to low counts, but steroids are one drug that apparently never gets reduced --- it will definitely be the drug I will miss the LEAST when we get off this crazy chemo train. And that's saying something, ha!

Lastly, car #400,000, where are you??? Whoever the 400,000th visitor to Kendrie’s Caringbridge site, you didn’t let us know in the guestbook! So, like horseshoes and hand grenades, “close” is going to have to count! So, the winner, at 399,996 is Sarina from Pennsylvania! Thanks, BIG thanks, to all of you for checking in on us so faithfully, and Sarina, we will be making a Caringbridge donation in your name…. thank you! And thank you to everyone for continuing to hold Clare and Jay in your thoughts, and for visiting their websites.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I am missing a perfectly good cooking activity and reading time today at school because I don’t feel good. It’s barely 2 in the afternoon and I’ve already put on my new Yu-Gi-Oh pajamas that I got for my birthday. Now, I like my creature comforts as much as the next girl, and those pj’s *are* pretty darn soft, but I do not like feeling so icky and laying down during the day!

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Only two doses of steroids left this month … that’s the best thing I can think of so far.

PS --- Please visit Julianna Banana's Journal Entry from 9/16/05 for a very touching tribute to a wonderful angel named Marcus. I consider myself a devoted JB cult-ee and never miss an entry --- but this one especially spoke to me.

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