Logan and Jax - Palo Duro Canyon 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Road Divided

Meet Jax once and he’ll remember your name, the names of your children plus any other significant fact that could perhaps come in handy later. He’ll delight you with ridiculous knock-knock jokes, coined on the spot. He’ll probably ask you why the chicken crossed the road. You can be certain that he’ll temporarily blow your eardrums with his joyful noise level.

Last Friday, while at the doctor’s office awaiting instructions, with blood sugar levels at 1000 (100 is normal), my little man was agitated about the blood work. Waving his arms and glaring, he shouted, “What’s wrong with me is all that coughing and yelling at you at night to bring me water!” He did have a point, because we were up every 45 minutes all Thursday night long.

He got the croup Thursday before last. We did the usual. Sit out in the cold night air for an hour until he could breath. Started steroids the next day. Coughed continuously for 5 days. He didn’t seem right, but we were busy with special services at church, I was working and I didn’t stop to take a good look at him until the following Thursday. By Friday, bones were protruding, his eyes sunken with deep, dark circles and he was peeing buckets.

What I didn’t know is that Thursday night, so full of peeing and coughing, would be our last normal night. The last night we won’t worry about his blood sugar going below 70 during the dip that normally happens around 2 am. The last time he would go to bed without an injection of insulin to get him through the night. The last night before my worry level would shoot as high as the 1000 level of his blood sugar.

This extraordinary child has charmed every nurse in the hospital. He uses everything we say against us later. Pulled out two IV’s. Sweet talked a technician into bringing him Jello before his morning snack, which could actually be dangerous. And he will take 4 insulin injections a day for the rest of his life.

If you haven’t been around diabetes – here’s the short version.

Day 1:
Finger poke at 7:20am.
Breakfast (45 carb grams) at 7:30 am.
Insulin injection at 8:00.
Snack (15 carbs) at 10.
Finger Poke at 11:50.
Lunch (45 carbs) at noon.
Insulin injection at 12:30.
Snack (15 carbs) at 3pm.
Finger poke at 5:20.
Dinner (45 carbs) at 5:30.
Insulin injection at 6:00.
Finger poke at 7:30.
Insulin injection at 7:35.

Go to bed and pray his insulin levels will not drop below 70 during the night, because if they dip too low, he could possibly go into a coma.

Then, we’ll wake up and do it again. And again. And again. And again. We don’t vary the times. They are to be followed strictly. Forget one snack and his levels go low. Too low and things get very scary. One innocent cookie slipped in would upset the insulin levels we are working so hard to keep steady.

Type 1 diabetes means his pancreas can no longer make insulin. Insulin is needed to process sugar. Basically, everything we eat is broken down into sugar. Sugar levels too high mean we can no longer process food, even water. This is what caused Jax’s severe dehydration. He was drinking ample water, peeing excessively. But none of the water was going into his cells. His body was simply dumping it out because it could not be processed.

And, so, that special little boy with the huge brown eyes will eventually get used to the injections and finger pokes. We will all spend our spare time checking blood sugar levels and measuring his behavior for signs of low blood sugar. The unsung hero in all of this, big brother Logan, will be the third wheel as we focus on what is best for Jax. What time can we do this or that? When is the next snack? Treat the high blood sugar level. Treat the low blood sugar level. Poke the finger. Inject the insulin.

I grieve. I cry for the normal that we lost. I weep for the little boy who will never again jump on the trampoline, run through the sprinklers or spin for hours on the tire swing without ever thinking about low blood sugar.

Yes, my child will grow up to do anything he wants to do. Miss America 1999 has Type 1 Diabetes. Athletes are Type 1 diabetic. We will adjust to our new normal.

But for today, I miss the old days. I liked things the way they were. They were just fine, thank you very much. And so I cry. I weep. I sob. I lean on God. I pray for a miracle. I hope for a cure.

There is, however, one thing I know for sure: I can trust Jesus with our lives. I can trust Jesus with our lives.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The House of Mayhem - My Running List of Funnies

Jax is learning about the Presidents at school. "George Washington and the one that looks like a monkey ." (Poor Abe)

Last St. Patrick's Day, Shamus the Leprechaun wrote a note to the boys, (his s' were backwards). They are determined to catch that fella. The trap is set. A nifty Lego staircase is covered in a trail of Lucky Charms leading to the trap. And this note: Dear Shamus, Do you give toys out? If you do I would like a DS. Love, Logan. P.S. You should work on your s's. P.P.S. I'm not being mean.

Overheard while the boys were studying our large world map: Jax: "Where does Indiana Jones live?" Logan: "Actually, he lives right here . . . in Indiana."

Jax: "Mom, guess my favorite bird." A Blue Jay? "Nope." A Cardinal? "Nope." A Parrot? "That's my third favorite bird." 10 guesses later I gave up. And I now know that Jax' favorite bird is a VULTURE!

Logan can't stop talking about the Jolly Rancher "Juice" he saw at Albertsons . . . . " I'll bet it took a lot of Jolly Ranchers to make that . . . I think I know how they made it: A bunch of people probably sucked on Jolly Ranchers and then spit out the juice."

Jax' room looks like a cyclone came through. So, I march in, barking orders. Painstakingly slow and lazy, Jax begins to put them away. When I start to pick up toys, Logan intercepts me. "No, Mom. Leave that to the professional." He then dumps the entire toy box onto the floor. I give him my famous Laser Eye Look and he responds, "I'm organizing them correctly."

Part of Logan's Six Week Assignment is to write a manual for "Kid Swap," where a kid will come and take his place here. First he fills in time slots, then on the back of the page he explains Jax' diabetes and Keeper. Tells the kid to sleep in his room and reminds him not to lose the Legos. And last: "P.S. Mom's a little cranky."

While discussing Heaven during dinner, Logan says he can't wait to see the streets made of yellow gold. Then Jax pipes up, "YEAH! And we can steal the streets and be RICH!!"

Sure sign there are boys at my house: Yellow patch of snow just outside our back door keeps getting larger by the hour.

12 months. 11 days at BSA. 4 blood tests. 2 IV's. 4,251 finger pokes. 1,337 shots. 65,020 carbs. 14 doctor visits. One year down. The rest of his life to go.

I am the parent who buys play-dough and doesn't care if it gets on the floor. I also let the kids break a dozen eggs over the sink last night, just because. Jentry kept saying, "Ok. That's enough," when they dripped egg on the floor he's never cleaned. He also sneaks behind my back and throws away the play-dough. Then ...he leaves dirty socks around the house and refuses to throw away 20 years of t-shirts. HUHHH??

I asked Jax why I keep finding him asleep in his rocker instead of his bed. "You know how you rock me before I go to sleep?" He responded. "I just curl up, think about that and go right to sleep."

The first thing Logan is going to do when he gets to Heaven is "go straight to the medicine aisle and get a bunch of dolphins (yes, the son of a health food nut loves gummy DHA fish oil dolphins). Then he'll "Probably take a nap. To get away from all the screaming." "Why will people be screaming?" I ask. "Oh you know, there might be an amusement park next to me or a huge slide."

Logan tried to wake Jax up at 2am to see if Santa had come. Apparently, Jax didn't want to be disturbed. But by the time I heard them, both were chattering like a couple of birds. Logan was clutching the glucometer and said, "Mom, Jax was acting a litttle droopy, so I checked his sugar. It was 170 so everything's fine."

I've experienced stress this year. Not a high fever. A messy house. A naughty child. Problems at school. Paying (or not) bills. Real stress. And I have discovered that what I once thought stressful is now a delight. Shopping in crowds. Decorating. Endless lists. Multiple parties. It's not stressful, it's Christmas. Kiss your healthy kiddos and thank Jesus for being born. I can't remember a Christmas this wonderful.

Things I love about Christmas: Digging out beloved decorations from the attic and remembering where each came from. Knowing my kids will wake up Christmas morning in the same rooms they slept in as babies. Finding ormaments clumped together at the bottom of the tree. Forgetting to hide our Elf and scambling in the middle of the night to find a new hiding place. Jax insisting we have a surprise party for Jesus.

As Jax and I were holding hands while walking across the parking lot last night, I glanced down to see his free hand extended upward. He noticed the question on my face and said, "I'm also holding God's hand."

Two parties with Santa today. Good thing Mrs. Claus told the boys that Santa's beard must be trimmed every night because it grows so fast. This morning it was almost to his waist, curly and in the words of Jax, was a "very dirty, dirty beard." Interpreted: Not cottonball white.

Jax feels sorry for the trees. Because "they must be lonely without their leaves.

So, at dinner last night, Logan (who is 8) asks me if Rudolph is real or made up. "Who would make up Rudolph?" I wonder. "Santa would," Logan responds.

Buying Christmas presents online (especially those from Santa) can backfire. Like when you and the kids get home from school and there's a box on your front porch. Pick it up, trying to be inconspicuous, and imagine your surpise as the box growls, "Looking for me? I. AM. MEGATRON!!"

Jax is on a roll: "Why is dad saving all that money?" (referring to the 5 gallon container filled with coins). "Oh wait, I know - for rain."

Jax: "Mom, I've been thinking about this question all day. If I break the TV will oil of all the TV shows come out?"

Logan (who is supposed to be in bed and instead is working in a dark bedroom): "Mom, the present I'm making for you will be all flat and look like nothing. You probably won't even want to open it." Me: "Honey, presents that come from the heart mean more to me than anything. I'll be anxious to open that one FIRST." Logan (with a nervous sigh): "Oh, I hope so." He perked up when I gave him a box. I love Christmas time.

Found two little boys under lots of blankets on Logan's bed, playing Pirates. "Well," I announce, "No playing Pirates. That kind of rough housing is how you guys get hurt." "Don't worry, Mom. We're the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything."

Overheard on the way to church this morning: Jax to Logan, "Bub, do you want to see this Diarrhea Wimpy Kid book?"

Just spent 45 minutes listening to Jax weep as he followed daddy around the house "sweeping" for wayward toys and Legos. Daddy had a trash bag and if he found them first, in they went. Jax was beside himself that so many toys were thrown away. "Not my Spiderman costume! My Legos!" The piece de resistance: "Now I won't be able to sleep at all because all I want to do is get up and look for toys."

You know the drill: Put kids to bed and then spend 30 minutes listening to them want a drink or need to go potty or at the very least turn into Chatty Cathys that need to give you a play-by-play of their day. So last night Jax yells for me. And as I walk down the hall toward his room, I hear him rapping at the top of his lungs "Yo. Pick up your cell phone. Jax is calling. Pick up your cell phone. Yo. Jax is calling."

Loud noises in the backyard led me to an upturned trash can with delighted giggles coming from inside. "BOYS!" I yelled. "That trash can is filthy." Then out pop two completely naked children. "We know, Mom. That's why we took our clothes off."

In typical Jax fashion, there is no napping going on in his room during nap time. So I march in, barking orders. "No more messing around and getting out of your bed, understood?" Jax nods and in his best military voice replies, "On top of stood."

When Jax grows up he wants to be an animal doctor and a cowboy. You know, so he can tie a knot at the end of a rope and swing it around. Then he'll catch cows and we'll eat 'em.

Today's Loganisms: "Some people think that 'hypothesis' is spelled with an 'i,' but it's actually a 'y.'" Later, while he was standing next to me, "Mom, you should be prepared because this is going to be unusual." Then two sweet little 8-year-old arms wrap tightly around my waist with a perfect hug.

Jax doesn't want to grow up, "Because I won't get to put on a costume or buy Lego sets." "That's it?" I ask. "That's the only reason you don't want to grow up?" He thinks about this for a few seconds and then asks, "Well, do YOU want to put on a costume?"

While eating dinner, Jax asked, "What made God?" My reply was quick, "He's been around forever, Bub." There was immediate quiet as we all tried to grasp that. God has no beginning and no end.

While creating words with "oy," Logan's 3rd grades class came up with "Boycott." His teacher asked the students what Boycott meant and Logan proudly raised his hand, absolutely certain he knew the answer. "You know in Kindergarten, when everyone takes naps? The boys sleep on boy cots. . . . "

While creating words with "oy," Logan's 3rd grades class came up with "Boycott." His teacher (Allison Lloyd Lewis) asked the students what Boycott meant and Logan proudly raised his hand, absolutely certain he knew the answer. "You know in Kindergarten, when everyone takes naps? The boys sleep on boy cots. . . . "

This morning I overheard Click the Bionicle tell Jax that he's never been to our church. So, Jax invited him to Sunday School. Now this mommy wonders if her son is cunning enough to know I was listening and thought he found a way to break the "No toys at church" rule.

After a very LONG three-day weekend (Jentry's out of town - having fun, by the way), the boys are on each others' nerves. Logan wants Jax out of his room and punches him in the chest. They are both ordered to their own rooms; from which Jax yells, "You hit me right in the heart, Logan. You could hurt my Jesus!"

Logan and I were trying to keep Jax awake in the car by telling silly stories. Jax opened his eyes for a minute, let out a huge fake laugh and sighed, "Now, that laugh just worked my socks off."

Jax to Logan, "Bubby, you scared the whips out of me."

Jax wonders why our family has only 2 kids. Because 2 kids are perfect, I say. Then my jaw nearly breaks when he tells me he wanted our family to have 11 kids. I remind him that having 2 kids who don't listen is bad enough, just imagine 11 kids that don't listen. The solution: "Well mom, we could train them."

I pick Logan up from school today and 12 LONG minutes after the bell rang, he finally made it to the car. Along the way, I watched him meander around a couple of trees. Wave at a few friends. Drag his backpack. Make a long jag left (completely out of the way). Stop at playground. Toss backpack and spend 4 minutes trying to grab the highest monkey bar. Finally, he grabs backpack and dawdles over. I love little boys.

Jax is 5 today. We've said when he turns 5, he can do his own insulin shots. This am he took his sugar for the 1st time all by himself and said, "Guess I'll have to do my own shot too, since I'm 5. . (thinks). . but I'll be very scared." He was relieved when I suggested he take his own sugar for awhile and I'll do the shots until he's ready. No mother should ever have this conversation with her son on his birthday.

I'm trying to pull two very cute boys out of their imaginary Lego world of Star Wars so that we can go run errands. Having no luck. Roger, Roger.

I dropped Logan off at school this morning and prayed for him as we watched him walk across the school yard. After I finished, my precious little almost-five-year-old adds, "And God, take away his food allergies. Amen."

Logan wants to know if it's illegal to be a parent and not have a cell phone.

"What was your favorite thing about today?" I have asked Logan this question every day since he started Kindgarten. It's the only way to hear details about school from a boy. "Playing chess. The grilled cheese at lunch. P.E." All relatively short with no embellishment. His reponse today, "Do we HAVE to talk about this EVERY day?" Moms of sons everywhere - this line will only work until 3rd grade.

Items in Logan's "Me Bag" - Something that makes him cry: Onion. Something that makes him laugh: Book of Knock Knock Jokes. Something that is warm: Ski hat. Something that is more precious than gold: His Bible. He asked me to help with an item more precious than gold. I told him it was his bag, not mine, so he had to decide. His response, "Mom, I'd bring you if I could." I was so proud when he chose his Bible.

Logan says I can walk him into school tomorrow if I really need to, but he'd rather I not. I need to. I'll hold back my tears and relish every minute. Then I'll come home and add it to my "List of Lasts." Already on the list:The last time he held my hand in public. The last time he asked me to read him a book. The last time he asked me to sing him a song before bed.

Logan bets that when he's a grown up and I'm "just an old grandma," that I'll still be saying, "Logan, are you eating that oatmeal?"

Jax is supposed to be taking a nap. Instead, loud yells are coming from his room. "Daaaaaddy, coooooommmmmme here. I have a present for you." After five minutes of this nonsense, Jentry peeks into his room to find Jax curled up in an empty shipping box. Jent tells him that's the best present he's ever received. And my adorable son replies, "It's a Jax in the Box!"

Logan wanted to know why I told daddy that I can't wait for school to start. I reminded him about all of the bickering and said they could use a break from each other. "That's just what we do, Mom," Logan responded after thinking about it for awhile. Then Jax chimed in, "Yeah, how else can we practice defending against the bad guys?"

Jax: "Mooooommmmm. Logan is breaking my life." Really, how is that? "He keeps saying mean words to me."

Logan is telling me about the chicken bone he found at camp last week. Jax immediately wishes it would have been a chicken heart, so they "could see God, or at least say hi to Him." Completely confused, I ask, "How would that help you see God?" Logan, who didn't even blink, says, "Oh, because God lives in your heart."

I'm outside standing on the window sill, shears in hand, thinning out the English Ivy that is taking over our brick. Jax, who is keeping me company, says "Hey, you have a spider on your head." I jump down, pull out half of my hair, trying to shake the spider out. While I'm dancing around in the front yard, my four year old son walks back into the house muttering to himself, "Now, THAT was a cool trick."

Logan is telling me about the "bone fire" they had at K!DS Camp. You know, the kind where you sit around and tell stories.

Jax: "I'm taking tiny sips of this awesome trop-i-cal [sounded out slowly because it was a new word] 7-Up because it tastes so good. I have great taste butts."

Very few things delight me more than driving up to the house to find a precious little face pressed against his bedroom window. Patiently waiting for mommy. And surely passersby had to smile at such big brown eyes in solemn concentration on every black car. I love the life God gave me.

Jax knows where your food goes after you swallow it: "your asparagus."

Carefully balancing his Chess board with pieces in place, Logan follows me and Jentry from room to room; challenging us to yet ANOTHER game of Chess. Don't I have a dentist appointment right now?

After an exhausting day at Underwater Wonders Summer Camp (learning about octopus and squid), Jax says, "My legs are out of ink."

When your 8 year old son suggests you name the dog Sperm, a thousand things go through your mind. And a whale isn't one of them.

We were driving (I promise, the best conversations take place in the car) and discussing dog names. Logan says, "How about Sperm?" Using every ounce of willpower I have not to shriek in laughter, I say, "Well, I've never heard of anyone named Sperm. What made you think of THAT name?" So sweet and innocently, Logan replies, " You know, Mom. Like the whale." "Oh, of course. Like the whale." I could barely get the words out.

Sometimes it's best to pretend that you didn't overhear a conversation. Like when Jax told our mail man, "Your breath stinks." "What?" Asked our mailman of 10 years (whom we know well) as he leaned down to talk to Jax. My son then wrinkled up his nose and made a face, "You haven't brushed your teeth." I just kept on walking . . . didn't hear a thing.

"You know what the challenge is?" Jax comments while peeing. "To get bubbles into all the corners that don't have any."

"I know what that commercial says - 'Germs don't stand there and chant against the Oreck Halo.'" Jax, on the way to his room for a nap. And for those of you who haven't seen the commercial: Germs don't stand a chance.

Mom seems like a great word to teach a four year old. Easy to spell and special, too. We practiced for awhile and then I said, "Ok, how do you spell Mom?" Jax raised his eyebrows, "Did you forget?"

At the top of his lungs, Jax will sing, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies aren't great."

Did I mention that Jax loves to sing? A clip from his favorite song, Shout to the Lord: "My Comford, my Shelturd, Tower of refuge and strength. . . ."

"My burp tastes like coke. I know what it tastes like because dad gave me a sip of Dr. Pecker." Jax (I was so sad when Logan corrected him).

I should have been suspicious when Jax looked intently into my eyes and asked, "Mom, are you seeing good?" But it wasn't until I discovered bubble gum flavored toothpaste inside my contact lens case that it all became clear.

He was standing in the aisle waving as the bus pulled up. Flew off the bus and into my arms. Missing items: Two towels, one pair of shorts, pillow, underwear and camera case. The best news? "Mom, I didn't even poop once while I was at camp!" Yes folks. I am one proud mommy of a BOY. (Logan, getting home from his first K!DS Camp)

Jax: "I'm glad my brother is away so he won't naughty me around."July 24

A couple of minutes after getting into our very hot car (note to self: never buy another black car with black leather interior and a sunroof), Jax says, "Mom, I'm watering."

The best kid conversations are held in a car: Logan: "Why does Santa put things in your stocking that you see at the store? Does he just go in and rob?" Me: "Santa has connections, bub." Logan: "How does he know? He doesn't even have a TV." Jax: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Santa doesn't have a TV! That's hysterical."July 22

Jentry and the boys play a sweet game of getting sugar out of their ears with tiny kisses right below those cute little ears. So this morning, Logan says, "Dad, you know that sugar in my ears is EARresistible."

Jax walked into the kitchen this morning, stopped dead in his tracks and joyfully sang, "Mommmmmyyy, you look BEAUTIFUL today." That folks, is how to start your Monday.

Tonight, after Jax spent time playing outside (a wild trampoline jaunt normally brings on hypoglycemia), I asked him to close his eyes and tell me what his body was saying about his blood sugar level. He squeezed his eyes shut and they fluttered as he thought, “Hmmmm . . . it says don’t take my blood sugar because I’m tired of being diabetic.”June 28

Logan and Jax were boxing with big green Hulk boxing gloves. When they moved into another room I shouted, "Hey, get out of there. You need supervision to use those gloves." Logan: "Mom, I DO have super vision -- I see great." Jentry and I laughed until we cried.June 20

Logan just noticed Popeye's on Bell closed down. "Mom, why don't they have a 'This Property Available' sign out front?" Me: "Hmmmm. . . don't know." Logan: "I wish we could get it." Me: "What for?" Logan: "My Legos. My table is getting full; I only have one drawer left. (pause) That would be spectacular."June 12

I'm watching two very cute little boys try to sneak by my window to turn the water on. Crawling on their tummies like little soldiers. Just one problem: no one has taught them that white baseball pants are highly visible in green grass. AND I am not exaggerating here - as I was typing this, I just knocked on the window pane to scare them and busted the glass. OH MY GOODNESS. Should I be mad at myself or the boys?

Jax wonders what the wii judge would think if I play a kids game with him.June 2

Logan really needs to get a $6.99 Lego set today. If he doesn't, the droids are going to go CRAZY without a Captain.June 1

"Mom, did you know you can't catch clouds? It's 'cause they're made of tiny chips of water and flour." -Jax May. May 27

Getting into the Christmas spirit, Logan shared his poem: "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, everyone was drinking beer and watching NFL on Fox." What?? This mother almost choked while trying to not to laugh and sob at the same time.

After I complimented Jax on his great hugs and kisses, he replied, "Why, thank you. My body makes them!"