Tuesday
Jun302009

Confronting the Unseen

"Is her hemangioma continuing to fade?" Alexis' pediatrician asked me at her annual exam back in February.

It felt like a trick question. If I said, "Yes," would the conversation go away? The conversation that required that I acknowledge that my kid isn't perfect? If I said, "No," would there be a magic bullet? Some sort of instant treatment that would make the spot on her forehead disappear?

I knew the true answer. I just didn't want to admit it.

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I don't see it. I never have. In fact, back when it was bad, notable, and maybe even a little frightening, I was frequently thrown off guard when looking at a photo of Alexis. I would stare at the photo, the bright red strawberry very obvious, and look at Alexis, wondering why it photographed so differently than reality.

The answer, of course, is that to know Alexis is to truly see Alexis. When you have lost yourself in her blue/green eyes and swam in the waves of her charisma, you just don't see the mark. Photos don't even come close to capturing the personality that is bigger than the hemangioma.

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Alexis and I stood patiently in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for our Lima beans and bread. Our turn finally arrived and the cashier glanced up at us. "Hi, honey! Ohhhh, how did you get that booboo on your head?" she asked.

Alexis looked at me dumbfounded. She doesn't know that she has something on her forehead that makes her "different."

I don't see it, but other people do.

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I've never talked to Alexis about her hemangioma. It seems so stupid, so shallow. It's just a couple of blood vessels that aren't quite right. They are no cause for concern, not any sort of danger, just purely a vanity issue. I don't care that the red mark is there, and she certainly doesn't care. However, kids can be cruel. Kids have the power to make her care. Kids have the power to make her hurt.

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I've ignored the pediatrician's recommendation to call the pediatric dermatologist to discuss follow-up for the hemangioma for five months now. Really, it just seems so dumb to even care about it when there are kids with much bigger battles to fight. A simple Google image search of the word "hemangioma" is like a drop in the ocean of potential awfulness. Alexis is nearly perfect.

We are so very lucky.

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I ran across this photo today. It was taken a little over a year ago.

It's a great photo of Alexis, certainly one of my favorites. Given that I have thousands of photos of the kid, that's saying something. But, the problem with having thousands of photos of your kid's smiling face is that you can't ignore the evidence. The mark stopped fading a long time ago.

It's time that I confront that which I don't see.

But I don't want to.

Alexis is beautiful exactly the way she is. Hearing a doctor tell me otherwise doesn't make me happy.

Monday
Jun292009

I Didn't Really Need to Learn the Hard Way

I will forever remember the exact moment Alexis figured out that which I was REALLY hoping she wouldn't figure out. I knew about it thanks to a little comment from Megan81 on the post about the Drama with the Play Room. Alexis made it really freakin' obvious that Megan was so, so, SOOO right. OMG. She. was. right.



As Mr. Husband slaved (seriously--major kudos to him) over a couple of things at the new house the other day, I struggled to keep Alexis content in a house with no toys, no furniture, and a whole lotta nothing to do. We engaged in a good old-fashioned game of hide-n-seek, and the kid was happy. But, then she stepped into the loft and she found joy. Utter and complete joy.



She figured out that sounds echo from up there. A lot. The best comparison I can come up with is that a normal speaking voice magically transforms into Megaphone Voice. Only louder. And more echo-ey.



Alexis LURVED it. She halted the game of hide-n-seek instantly, and started scoping out just how loud she could get. The answer? REALLY FREAKIN' LOUD. LOUDER THAN A MEGAPHONE. LOUDER THAN ALL CAPS.



Once she realized that the entire tri-state area should be able to hear her, she busted into song and dance. Of course her tune of choice was something or other from High School Musical. It seems that the tiny brain cell responsible for maintaining sanity blocked the actual name of the song. THANK YOU TINY BRAIN CELL.



On and on and on she sang, louder and louder and louder. I sat with my hands over my ears watching her dancing her heart out. It turns out that if you muffle the song, it's pretty entertaining to watch a kid go nuts. Unfortunately for Mr. Husband, he was directly below us working in the dining room.



Let's just say he didn't think to put on some earmuffs.



I'm pretty sure that if I were to try to put the playroom in the loft, Mr. Husband would freak the hell out. I'm gonna have to agree with him on that one.







(Video from tonight when Alexis tried to recreate the scene for Cody. He wasn't amused. Neither was I because while I was editing ten minutes down to one, Alexis heard herself singing and joined in. There's nothing quite like loud off-key singing in stereo.)

Sunday
Jun282009

Phenomenom? Or Strange Coincidence?

There were many things we were looking for when we were searching for a house, and really high up on that list was a decent-sized backyard. In a perfect world, we would have found a mansion on three acres within our budget, but in reality we found a McMansion on an OK-sized lot. It's not a huge yard, but it'll do for the purposes I had in mind. I have big plans for a vegetable garden, a whole area reserved just for a perennial garden, and that should leave a bit for what I like to call Get Out of My Hair Land. Alexis is very nearly old enough for me to evict her from the house with the infamous words, "Just go play outside, will ya'?"

Truthfully, I can't wait. It's going to be BEAUTIFUL to just kick her out of my hair.

With Get Out of My Hair Land in mind, I recently started paying attention to swing sets and play sets and the like everywhere I go. I've been known to slam on my brakes in traffic to scope out the size of a slide. I've gone around the block like a stalker a few times just so I could catch a glimpse of a particularly cool looking tower. I've scoured every store both in person and online to start figuring out who has the best prices.

Yesterday we made a quick run over to the (New) House to take care of a few minor inspection issues. As we rolled through the neighborhood, once again I paid close attention to the play sets in several yards. I even found two that I was all sorts of excited about as I imagined the fun I Alexis would have hanging out in the tower. Then it dawned on me.

I have spent weeks scoping out the play sets in people's backyards, and I have yet to see a single kid playing on one of those play sets.

Now, I could blame this strange phenomenon on time of day. I could consider it just odd luck. I might even be able to hold the weather responsible. However, I suspect that maybe, just maybe, those play sets represent the ultimate in toys that the kid thought was cool for ten minutes, but then decided the box was cooler. I mean, every Christmas we go through the fun game where Alexis is all sorts of excited about a particular toy, but weeks later she no longer cares if it's still in the house. I know she's not alone in this whole It's Fun While It's Shiny and New thing. In fact, I suffer from the same disease.

So, dish people. If you have a play set or swing set or whatever you call it, do your kids actually play with it?

Cause momma could find somebody who could make hair look fabulous even with a kid in it for that kind of money. For sure.