Childhood Maladies & Healthcare Systems

So, been awhile. Nuff said.

Habtamu had an osteochondroma removed from his right leg last September. It is all healed and he has not had any problems from it since. We had known about it for a couple of years. It is the source of one of my finest parenting moments. Not. He'd been complaining about his knee hurting and swelling up. I'd been telling him to toughen up, in so many words. Finally I took him into the Dr who took one look/feel and said "Oh yeah. It's osteochondroma.... that probably hurts." D'oh.

We had a lovely Christmas in Florida with the Gardners.

Day after we got back, Yordanos broke her collar bone at soccer. Some things I didn't know about broken collar bones: if the person is young enough, the broken parts of the bones will send out bony tendrils and reconnect and grow together and remodel over time. Yordanos was right on the edge of this age and it didn't look like it was growing back. At her recent checkup, however, there was definitely bone connecting the two pieces! In adults, the broken bits will be held together by scar tissue, basically, and will not have the new bone growth.

Then in March, Habtamu had an emergency appendectomy. Is there any other kind? It didn't burst, but it laid him low for awhile.

The morning before he had appendix out:

Just got the bill for the appendectomy... the hospital charged insurance $50,000. Are you kidding me? We could go round in circles about how wrong this is, and all that is broken in healthcare... But literally, people are one appendectomy away from financial ruin. We were still paying for the osteochondroma, so I called to set up a payment plan for the appendectomy. They were kind enough to tack it on to the end of the first bill. So I said, "Ok, so basically I will just keep paying indefinitely..." 

Now I've got to get an MRI on my knee. It's been a-hurting for awhile, and I finally went in to the kids' Ortho. See above issues to understand why we have our own Ortho Dr. now.


Shot down just like the good old days

Things here are pretty status quo.  Soccer games, sleep overs, roller skating, etc...  Yordanos had a dance on Friday.  Saturday we were eating and I asked her how it went.  Before she could answer, Habtamu chimed in, "Did you kiss any cute boys?"  She sputtered in frustration and Chris answered, "She kissed as many cute boys as you have cute girls at your dances."  Yordanos smiled.  Habtamu quickly did the math, "So, zero?"  I thought I wasn't getting enough attention so I added, "Unless her good looking father counts." 
My daughter looked straight at me with those big brown eyes, her smile fading, and said, "No Dad. You don't."

Ah, nothing like a sixth grade girl to make you so very very glad you're no longer in sixth grade.

When my father ended up as the butt of one too many jokes I've heard him say, "I don't have to take this kind of abuse from you.  I can go home and get it." 

I used to think that joke was funny.


Reality Check

So Chris and I went to a Roller Derby Bout tonight and we decided that everyone would be better off if we left the kids with their favorite babysitter, NetFlix, instead of dragging them along.
I got home first, walked through the door, and proclaimed, "Ok, people it's bedtime!" 
I was distracting enough that both kids broke away from the TV, looked around, and asked, "Where's mom?"
"She'll be home shortly."  I said.
"Why didn't she come with you?" Yordanos asked.
"Because she's popular and has friends she wanted to talk to," I responded.
"No seriously, Dad. Why didn't she come with you?" without giving my initial response an ounce of credibility.
I probably should have defended my wife's honor as that was the actual answer, but it was easier to say, "We took separate cars.  Quit stalling.  Go to bed."

Music 101

Yordanos is officially at the "cycle through every station preset button on the car radio as quickly as possible then do it at least one more time trying to find the best song" stage of life.  I try to be patient, especially since I revert back to it every once and awhile myself.  Habtamu though has no tolerance for it and will tisk, sigh, and whine louder with each passing station.  He apparently doesn't remember way back when he went through it.
Part of what's frustrating is I think she can actually recognize the songs faster than I can.  My ego can handle not knowing the new stuff, but when she flicks past the light rock station and I say "Wait, Go back!" and her response is, "I don't want to listen to Jessie's Girl," well then, let's just say the Name That Tune gloves come off pretty quickly.

So the other day I'm in the car driving Yo to a soccer game and she pauses on an 80's station.
"Dad, is this song by Roses and Guns?"
"The band you're thinking of is Guns and Roses..."
"Oh, right. that's what I meant."
"... which is WRONG because the song is by HALL AND OATS"

And as much as I was enjoying my shallow victory, I couldn't decide which would be funnier: H&O covering GnR or the other way around.

Because your kiss (your kiss) is on my list...


Someone's Been Working Out.

Lee and friends from this summer's Warrior Dash.  Like the uniforms?  Yes, that's Green Lantern underwear... proof to my friend's 4th grader who claimed he was too old to wear comic underwear anymore.  Au contraire mon ami!  You are never too old. (Apparently.)


Not Even Possible

Doesn't seem right that we are parents of a Middle-Schooler and a High-Schooler.  Weren't they little kids once?  Didn't I used to actually carry little Yo around the block?  Didn't Habtamu have a high voice?  And why is he taller than me? (sigh)

Habtamu is doing very well in school.  He has several ELL (English Language Learning) classes with the same teacher, in a small class room.  This has really helped him get the attention and focus he needs.  He got mostly A's and B's and one C this last semester.  For being here only 4 and a half years, every one agrees that he is doing a fantastic job.  We are so proud of him and how hard he works. 

First day of 9th Grade:

Yordanos is also doing well in school.  She recently tested out of her extra reading help, and is now in mostly regular classes.  She is still in a special math program with a smaller class size and an EXCELLENT teacher who has made math her favorite class.  We want to encourage her to do her best, but not well enough to test out of this class. :) Just kidding.... kind of.

First day of 6th Grade:

Both are playing indoor soccer this winter.  Yo played soccer all fall. Habtamu played football, which is a post unto itself.  Habtamu tried out for basketball this year, but got cut early on.  He did not seem disappointed. I asked him how he felt about getting cut.  "Ok."  Really?  Why is that?  He shrugged, "I didn't know what I was doing. Can I still play soccer?"


Picking at a Scab

What is it with me?  Why do I pick and pick, when clearly it does NO good with teenagers.  Yes, that's right, teenagers. (Well, a teen and a tween.)  Anyhow, there is a child here that has gone through countless watches and headphones.  We find watch carcasses in very strange places.  When asked re: condition of said time-piece, we get genuine confusion as to what could POSSIBLY have happened.

This weekend, said child displayed a new pair of headphones (bought with child's own money - fool me once, and all that) broken off at the plug.  Later this weekend we received a set someone didn't want, and this child claimed a right to it.  Oh, no, we said, this will go to the other child who has been using headphones for quite awhile with only one working side.You can take the one with one side working.

We look over later, and child has new headphones given by sibling (guilted into giving them), and is using them.  I can't say "them" because child was using ONE ear-bud, with the other one dangling.

People, I tried, I really did, but doesn't it beg the question... WHY?!  WHY?!  When you were only going to use one stinking ear-bud anyway would you.... oh, never mind.


And Then That One Time...

Here is a list of all the things we've been up to since, um, January...

Yeah, right.

Ok, I'm not even gonna apologize for "life" that got in the way, and punched this blog into last year. 

New blogs coming soon.


Happy Independence Day!

As I'm writing this, winter is just getting started.  It's January, but still no snow.  For your viewing pleasure, I present Yordanos, who, by the time you see this video, will probably be able to say what she's trying to say.



This was not my finest hour

Looking back through the blog I realized that we have not been diligent about posting the trials and tribulations of sending the children to public/private school. As I suspect is true in most families, we have one child who is soaring academically and the other who is struggling just to hang on. Needless to say, most of the drama surrounds the latter.
I go back and forth. On one hand, he's a boy with only 3 years in the States, thrown into the pit of 8th grade. His reading is low so 8th grade curriculum is going to be tough and we should cut him some slack. On the other hand, I feel there are skills he should have and that certain things should be sinking in by now that haven't. The most infuriating example is when he says, "But Dad, this is the first time I've ever seen this. You want me to remember it on the first try?" Everything inside me wants to scream "YES! That's called learning! Sometimes you only get one chance to learn things, and part of your education is to figure out how to do that!" And yet, I get it. Friction is a completely foreign concept. VietNam is a dot on the globe. Algebra is algebra no matter how old you are.
Unfortunately, conversations like the following are not terribly uncommon:

H: Dad, Can you print off the Amandments for me?
Me: What? It's bed time.
H: I know. I need to memorize the Amandments tomorrow.
Me: The Amandments?
H: Yes. The 10 Amandments.
Me: Commandments?
H: Yes. That's what I said. The first 10 commandments.
Me: Sigh... you could just look them up in your Bible.
H: It's hard to read that way.
Me: (Can't argue that...) Fine. I'll put them on your backpack for the morning.

Wife: Are you actually going to print them? He should have done that himself hours ago.
Me: Eh, no big deal.
Wife: Chump.

(Next day, dinner time)

H: Oh, Dad... you did it wrong.
Me: What are you talking about?
H: The thing you printed for me. It was wrong. I needed the 10 Amandments. (He holds up a sheet of paper)
Me: The Amendments? To the Constitution? Yeah... those are different.
H: That's what I said the first time. The ten amendments. I need to memorize them.
Wife: Chump.

(Note to readers, this is not an accent thing. This often happens with words longer than three syllables. This child feels, or has learned, that if he can get part of the word, that's usually close enough for native English speakers to fill in the blanks. He also gets really frustrated if you point it out, because you obviously know what he meant if you can correct him.)

So he hands me the list of 15 amendments... Then we go through each one and I explain what they mean. I try to make them interesting and understandable, but to me, it doesn't feel like anything is sticking.

Me: Ok, now it's your turn. Read the list to me.
H: Ok, I'll read the list.
Me: Please read the list to me.
H: Why? I'm reading to myself.
Me: Because I want to hear you and it'll help you learn.
H: I can't pronounce some of these words.
Me: Exactly. That's why I'm here. I'll help you when you get stuck.
H: I can read it myself! (goes silent and stares at the paper again)
Me: Listen... you won't learn what you can't pronounce. That's why you need to learn how to say the words as well as what they look like.
H: Fine. Dad. Take the list and read the whole thing to me about 3 times.
Me: What? Why?
H: Then I'll learn what the words sound like.
Me: What? No, that's not how this is going to work.

(Big argument ensues...)

I start rhyming.
Me: Four. Warrant. Five. Silent.
H: Why are you doing that?
Me: It will help you remember them.
H: (genuinely baffled) No it won't.
Me: It can. If you can remember the most important word, then you can remember the rest.
H: No I can't. I don't need to know one word, I need to know the whole thing.
Me: You don't get it at all do you? You can't remember it because you're trying to remember the whole thing. There's about 6 words in each amendment you don't know. Work on the most important word. Amendment Fiiiive. Siiiiilent. Right to stay silent.
H: But then I'll get it wrong on the test because I won't have it memorized!!!

(Bigger argument ensues involving multiple family members)

H: You think I'm stupid!
Me: No, I think you don't have the skill to learn this quickly. Staring at that paper and calling it 'studying' isn't effective. I'm trying to teach you that blah blah daddy's character building speech blah blah life skills blah blah education blah blah
H: (silently stares at the list of amendments...)

Evening ends with yelling, door slamming, crying, and a child pounding on his bed with the covers pulled over his head. I calm down and go up to his bedroom.

Me: Rough one tonight, huh?
H: Leave me alone!
Me: Tomorrow will be better.
Me: Yeah, I heard you. I still love you. I'll see you tomorrow.
Me: Well you're in luck! In America, you can! The second amendment states that you have the right to bear arms! I remembered that because I have two arms. Get it? Second? Two? Arms? Good night! I loooooove yooou!

Sorry folks... all I had left at that point was sarcasm.

Now before the internet calls DCFS, my son does not usually threaten to hurt himself. I 'joked it off' because that was not the time to have any kind of serious conversation. Tempers were still too high. But seriously, something's been bugging him this week and it's interesting (though that's not quite the word I'm looking for) that he still reverts to some of the behaviors we saw very early on. He hasn't told us what the root of the problem is yet, and we just end up fighting about the symptoms. Hopefully he'll open up, but he is growing up... Guess we'll see.