Sunday, June 29, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Forgive my lack of updates for the week!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Maggie asks a ton of questions about her birth mom and her background. I can remember the exact moment when Maggie realized that she wasn't "the same" as Chris and me. She was about two years old and sitting on her potty chair before she got in the bathtub. She was completely naked, and for whatever reason, she looked down at her belly, then over at the dog and declared, "I'm brown like Dempsey. You're not brown like me and Dempsey." And so it started.
Maggie has always had an intense curiosity about birth mom. We have tried to answer her questions as honestly as we could, at the level she was ready for. A lot of her questions we don't have answers for, simply because our knowledge about her birth mom is limited. Some questions she asks over and over again, as if wanting to solidify certain facts in her mind, lest she forget them. I would say that at least once every two weeks, she asks me some question about her birth mom, her adoption, or something that relates in someway to her background.
Being only seven, Maggie doesn't have a real solid grasp on how the whole adoption thing works. In reality, you fill out scads of paperwork and have every angle of your life examined top to bottom. You give intimate details of your marriage and upbringing to complete strangers at the agency. You have people come to your home and measure and inspect. You take classes to educate you on adoption and parenting. You pay money. And then you wait for the phone to ring.
I think in Maggie's mind, she envisions us walking among the little baby beds in the hospital nursery, carefully inspecting each baby before we finally settled on her. I have tried to paint a more accurate picture for her, but I can't seem to dispel this fairy tale notion that has settled in her head. I know that when she is older, she will be better able to understand.
As for Aleita, the child has yet to ever ask a one question about adoption. Now granted, she is only four, but by the time Maggie was the age Aleita is now, the questions had already started to come. In fact, Aleita has yet to ever mention one word about the fact that she is a different skin color than Chris and me. She has, on occasion, made reference to her own brown skin color, but it has never been in contrast to the white of Chris and myself or to question why we are different from each other. She has been in the room or in the car several times when Maggie has asked questions of her birthmom and such, but seems to have no interest in pursuing the conversation further regarding her own adoption or birthparents. One time, when sitting at the table at dinner, Maggie tried to pique Aleita's curiosity about her birthmom by throwing out a few random things that she remembers from when Aleita was born. I pulled Maggie aside and told her that when Aleita was ready and wanted to know more, she would ask the questions and that it wasn't Maggie's job to instigate it. As for Aleita, she has made reference several times to the fact that she came from heaven - - I think as far as she is concerned, that is all the background information she needs to know.
I am not bothered by Maggie's need for answers about her history, or for the lack thereof on Aleita's part. I just find it interesting the difference between the level of curiosity of each of them regarding this topic.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
But in addition to loving her favorite foods, Aleita has also discovered that whatever is on your plate perhaps tastes better than what she herself just consumed. Take for example, breakfast. She usually gets some choice of what she has, within reason (she knows better than to ask for, say, pancakes, on a weekday morning.) Ordinarily, she will eat a bowl of oatmeal or cereal, or perhaps an English muffin with jelly. No matter what she has just eaten though, it never stops her from coming around to my side of the table when she is finished and asking for a bite of whatever I am eating. Sometimes it is the very same thing that she herself just ate. Sometimes it is a different type of cereal - - no matter. She will beg, whine and cajole until she is either given a bite, or sent to the other room so that she doesn't stand there and stare at you as you finish your meal.
That glass of water that you're drinking? She wasn't thirsty until she saw you with one. Now she would like a drink of yours, please and thank you. Ask her mid-afternoon if she would like some carrots or an apple and the answer is usually "no thank you." However, walk into the room while you are eating the aforementioned food and she immediately has to have some as well.
The same holds true in restaurants. Soup or salad come with your meal? Guess who is going to ask you for a bite? You got mashed potatoes while she chose the fries? Hers are good, but she wants to try a bite of yours just to make sure she isn't missing anything. She of course, likes the burger she is eating, but she needs to know how the chicken pot pie you are eating tastes as well. Again...and again...and again.
I know that we are to blame for allowing it to be so. We have surpassed so many other common mistakes that often drag parents down, like allowing your kid to sleep in bed with you or serving them hot dogs or chicken nuggets for every meal because they refuse to eat anything else; I guess we were due.
So a word of warning - - if you join us for dinner, guard your plate. There is a little four year old lurking close by, just waiting to move in on your plate. Beware the mooch.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Our vet said our only options at this point are:
A) take him to the U of I vet school and spend $4,000 - $5,000 in chemotherapy that may or may not work, and could possibly actually shorten his life.
B) continue to give him prednisone and the cough suppressant that he has been getting and let nature run its course until his quality of life becomes an issue.
We chose to do that latter. Our veterinarian said that if was hard to tell how much time he had left because the tumor has been so fast growing, yet seems to have been temporarily slowed by the meds he has gotten the past few days. She estimates anywhere from a month to a year, though a year was the absolute best we could hope for.
Dempsey has been with Chris and me since our first anniversary. He has lived in all three of the houses we have owned, and was there when we brought both our children home from the hospital. He sleeps in his dog bed on the floor next to my side of the bed every night. Every day when we come home, even if we have only been gone a short period of time, he still wags his entire backside for us because he is so happy to see us. He is obedient and smart and loyal and I can't believe he's dying.
Today I am sad.
Monday, June 9, 2008
He could tell I was repulsed - - I am not sure if it was the expression on my face, or the gasp I gave and then telling him " don't you ever do that in front of me again." He looked surprised at me and then said, "What? My ear itches."
I explained that seeing men pick their ear with a car key completely and totally grosses me out. (I have no doubt that there are some women who likely do it as well, though I have yet to actually see it happen - - thank goodness.) I witnessed my dad do the same ear-pick key thing for years and had to bite my tongue about how vile I considered it. However, with my husband, I felt more than obliged to let him know that what he considered an innocent scratch of his ear with the car key was utterly deplorable to me. In a word, YUCK.
Belch in front of me. Fart if you must. Just please don't stick your car keys in your ear for a quick scratch.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Dempsey is still very active and is eating well, so that is good. The day that he doesn't want to run and chase his ball in the yard will be the telltale sign for me that things are going to seriously go downhill. I have never known a dog that loved to chase a ball that way that one does. When he was a pup, he would play until your arm was tired and you refused to throw the ball anymore. As an old dog, he will chase it several times, then lay down for a rest....but after a few minutes, he brings the ball back, ready for more. He still gobbles up his food each morning and evening, and is more than happy to clean up any wayward food that falls off the table during dinner. For this, I am grateful. But though his activity is high and eating is fine, his bronchial symptoms continue to worsen.
Chris and I actually had "the talk" that I have been dreading this morning: at what point do you decide that you have to put on the brakes and say, "enough is enough" when it comes to vet treatment? When do you resolve that you just can't spend any more money in medical care for your much loved animal companion? I know that some people would say that there is no price too high for ensuring that a pet has any medical treatment in order to extend its life as long as possible (so long as the animal was not in pain, of course....though I am sure there are people who would keep an animal alive who was hurting for the selfish reason of not wanting to let it go yet.) I actually know someone right now who is paying a few thousand dollars for chemo treatments for their dog. However, we both agreed that we are not willing to go into debt to provide care for an animal that may not even be successful. We will do what we can, within reason, but can't justify spending tremendous amounts of money for an aging animal without any guarantees of success.
To top things off, in the past few months, we have spent about $1,100 in bills for Dempsey. He had two dental surgeries that amounted to about $900, and his treatments for his bronchitis have been about $200 so far, just for vet visits and medicine. The next step will be Xrays and then God-only-knows-what. I have tried to explain to Dempsey that for what he has cost us the past few months, he at least owes us another few years. He hacks at me in return.
This morning as I was getting ready for work in my bedroom, Maggie was sitting on the floor petting Dempsey. He was wheezing and gagging, and she said to me, "Dempsey doesn't feel very good, does he?" I said, "no sweetie, he doesn't." She then asked, "when is he going to get better?" I truthfully said, "I don't know, Maggie. I hope soon, but he may not get better either." We then talked for a little bit about the fact that Dempsey was sick and didn't seem to be getting any better, and that the medicine the doctor gave him doesn't seem to be helping. She looked at me morosely, and said, "Is Dempsey going to die?" I told her that I didn't know, and that I hoped not, but only God knew that for sure. She looked a little dejected, but didn't say anything and just continued to pet Dempsey. I then walked in the bathroom to continue getting ready.
I ran the blow dryer on my hair for a few minutes, then when I turned it off, I heard her talking softly from the bedroom. "Are you talking to me?" I asked her. "No," she replied, "I'm talking to God. I'm asking him to get Dempsey better." Talk about a lump in my throat.....
I hope God's not too busy today to hear a few prayers about an old dog that one family isn't ready to let go of just yet.