Tomorrow marks one month that June has been in the hospital, and we had originally planned on just a 4-day stay. To recap, the various reasons the stay has lengthened include the switch from the two-stage LTR that was planned to the one-stage version, difficulty extubating after the LTR, which led to the need for a new trach to be placed, and most recently, June’s difficulty eating after the surgeries necessitated getting a gastronomy-button (g-button) and Nissen fundoplication. Hospitalizations are always a wild ride for us.
During the hospitalization, I’ve been staying at June’s bedside during the week, and Greg has been working and caring for Rowan with help from family. On the weekend, we switch, and Greg stays with June while I hang with little dude Rowan. This is the first hospitalization that we’ve been able to switch off at the bedside because previously I was still nursing June. It’s so nice to have this flexibility! But it’s far from the ideal of having everyone at home. I’ve gathered several amusing quotes from the kids recently which note ways in which Greg was particularly missed in the situation at hand. Some things are simply a job for Dada.
Out of nowhere in the car, Rowan formulated a manufacturing business plan that I know Greg- proud Papa and engineer- would have loved to ask him more about:
R (holding the new T-rex model he saved up for): Do we have model stuff at home?
Me: To make dinosaur models?
Me: No, we don’t. It takes big machines to make dinosaurs.
R: It’s ok, we’ll just buy a big machine.
Me: Well it takes a lot of money, so what if we just buy a model that someone else made with their machine?
R: No, models cost $25. I need my own dinosaur pressing machine. Is dinosaur rubber expensive?
R: I want to buy expensive things but not use much money.
(Welcome to Capitalism 101, bud!)
At bedtime Rowan was scared by loud thunder.
Me: Do you know what thunder is?
Me: Yes, well lightning is electricity and thunder is the sound.
R: And can electricity go in water if lightning hits it?
Me: Yes, it can zap you if you’re in water.
Me: That’s just how electricity works. Would you like Daddy to teach you more about it?
R: I want you to teach me more about it.
Me: Well, I didn’t learn very much about electricity in school, but Daddy studied it a lot.
R: Did Daddy have more school than you?
(I briefly discussed how Greg and I have the same amount of schooling- a lot- but Greg needed to learn about electricity to be an engineer and I didn’t need to in order to counsel people. And I made yet another mental note to learn some basic physics.)
Also on the topic of science, this came up in the car randomly:
Rowan: Why did the forest catch on fire in Walking With Dinosaurs?
Me: Lightning hit it, and lightning has energy in it that made the fire.
R: Is it the same energy that’s in our muscles?
Me: Kind of. The energy in lightning is electricity, and the energy in our muscles is from glucose, sugar. [I’m questioning my answers as I say them at this point]
R: And why does fire eat everything?
Me: That’s just how it works…let’s ask Daddy….
I am expecting our third kiddo in September, and Rowan insists that he is growing babies, too. His 10 dinosaur babies will be born in September as well. While I was driving home from the hospital recently, Rowan surveyed the back seat of the Prius and asked,
“Where will all of the car seats go?”
Me: Your baby brother’s seat will go right between you and June. Does that sound ok?
R: What about my 10 dinosaur babies?
Me: Hm, there’s no more space in that seat. What should we do? Are their car seats small?
R: Yes. Me and Daddy will have to build 10 more car seats. They can go in the back where the dogs sit.
At the hospital, volunteers brought the toy cart to our room, and June got a Rubik’s cube. I put it slightly off center and handed it to her.
She looked up from it and signed “Dada.”
(It’s true, Greg is the Rubik’s cube expert in our house.)
I was just napping with June in the hospital bed and she woke up before me. She signed all about wanting to listen to the voicemail Daddy had left for her. So I played it about 5 times, but I was so tired I fell asleep between each 45 second playing, and June had to wake me up again each time. Finally losing patience, June signed “want” “you” “me” “stand up.” She proceeded to stand up, emphatically signed “you,” and towered over me in the bed indignantly with all of her 2.5-foot-tall height until I sat up.
And other gems from this month:
While waiting for surgery, June wanted to put on some of her real clothes over the hospital gown. June seems to have inherited a fashion gene that skipped a generation in Greg and me. After helping her dress, I asked June excitedly-
“Are you wearing a beautiful shirt?”
She replied quite seriously in sign language: “And shoes.”
Later she kept pointing to her pile of clothes signing “hat” even though there weren’t any hats there. Clearly she felt her ensemble was not complete.
June loves shoes. She insisted on wearing some into surgery, excitedly signing to the surgical team all about her shoes during the transfer down to the OR. The team kindly waited until she was under anasthesia to take them off.
Several staff have joked with June, asking if they can have her shoes. She answers matter-of-factly in sign, “You have your shoes.”
While he was waiting to visit June in the hospital, a kind stranger asked Rowan about his prized T-rex that he bought at the dinosaur museum recently. After roaring and playing pretend with Rowan, the stranger remarked,
“What a neat dinosaur you have!!”
Rowan stopped in his tracks and replied, “This is a *model* of a dinosaur.”
Driving home from the hospital one day, Rowan asked:
“Are we going in the direction of home?”
Me: Yes, we live northwest of here, so right now we are driving ‘north.’
R: And is this the road the snow comes down?
Me: Um, no, we don’t get much snow here. Why were you thinking there might be snow though?
R: Because there’s snow at the North Pole.
Me: Oh, well we’re only going a little bit north. Not to the North Pole.