July 11, 2008

Me: Confusing Doctors Since 1971

So the plan was, for me to go in and get allergy shots this summer. I'd start them, see whether they killed me (apparently that can happen, though it's extremely rare), and continue during the school year.

Before mixing up the magic serum with which to inject me, the allergist wanted to do another skin test, just to make sure the primary culprit was actually still dust, and that nothing had been added to the mix. I went in Tuesday, and here's the thing: NOTHING showed up as a positive allergen.

This is bizarre.

A year and a half ago, the dust mite spot was clear and obvious almost from the moment the little needle touched me (the nurse commented on it as she was setting the timer they use to give you enough time to finish reacting). I also had, according to the doc, "minor" reactions to cockroaches and something I now forget. So when I saw the same doc this time, she said she was frankly perplexed. We both agreed that we'd try the test again in a few months (3 to 6) to see what we can see; she said that it does happen, sometimes, that people just don't react at one point and will at another. I said, "Could I be *cured*?" and the reply was that it was, just like everything, possible.

Personally, I have a few theories, but since there's only one in the test group and no controls at all, it's difficult to verify cause and effect. So here they are, in no particular order:

  • Maybe getting really, really, really sick and then taking the Prednisone last winter somehow "reset" my immune system (to be honest, I have felt top-notch the last few weeks.)
  • Maybe more distance from the whole ordeal of child-bearing and breast-feeding has let my body heal itself and replenish some nutrients it needed to not be so tense and sensitive.
  • Maybe eating almost all organic has somehow lessened my reactivity (that's been since February).
  • Maybe the tech who mixed the test-prick potions messed up.
  • Maybe my life goal is actually to show up in as much medical literature as possible before I die (no one had heard of the asthma attacks with C-sections thing, either...)
  • or, Maybe I really am better.

So far, that's all I can think of.

On the up side, I don't have to have shots unless and until I have a positive skin test again. And maybe I'll enjoy our coming beach escape even more than I was expecting, if the furnishings don't make me so sneezy!

Don't Cry for Me, Little Laura

This is what happens when you marry a metrosexual. Who watches show tunes clips on YouTube. With a four-year-old nearby.

I would just like to point out that, apart from asking her if she'd do it for the camera, we did not encourage her in her dramatics. She was, apparently, born a star. (She has been doing this for about a week, at random times and places.)

July 8, 2008

A Lovely Addition to the Household

We've been on a long-planned, long-anticipated (but not long-lasting!) spree. (I use those qualifiers so nobody thinks we've gone completely nutso; we've been fairly cheap for quite a long time, first to prepare financially for house and children, and then to be able to stay in the former with the latter. Now, things are different).

So please know that I mention this not to brag, but because Matt will kill me if I don't at least give it a post: we are the happy owners of a 2008 Toyota Sienna.

It is lovely.

The Way It Shouldn't Be

Let's say, just for fun, that you're looking for a preschool for your children. You pick two to do site visits for; both are nationally accredited. They cost precisely the same amount.

Enter one preschool.

You see the play area; it is not tiny. The guide shows you the basement meeting hall the children play in when it rains. In case you didn't know...it rains here. Often.

You see the pretty classrooms, with the busy children, and ask about the curriculum. They talk about letters and numbers.

You ask, "What do you do with a child who already knows all their letters?"

They are silent. They look at each other. Then they stammer, "Uh...well, we'd work on the letter sounds, and maybe move on to word recognition?"

They assume that I am talking about the four and a half year old. I do not tell them that Laura already is pretty solid on the letter sounds, and that Emily is actually the one I was thinking of when I asked the question.

The scene shifts to a different preschool.

A smaller setting, both in size of classes and of classrooms. It is homey, and not very institutional. (There is a room full of infants, and none of them are fussing, although at least two or three are being simply snuggled by some grandmother-types). They have a sandpit outside in a large fenced play area. When you comment, you are told, "Oh, yes, and we play outside even when it rains. We encourage boots in the winter!"

When you ask how they handle children who are starting to read, they answer with no hesitation that they "just try to take students where they are, and help them move forward academically."

Can you guess which place we (unanimously--all four of us) chose?

As an independent benefit, it's close to work for both of us, so the girls may get to visit speech practice from time to time and catch up on their idols.

The Way It Should Be

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting the retired teacher whom I'll be replacing (who? dammit, I have trouble with those...). He spent about two and a half hours giving me a guided tour of my new classroom, showing me the textbooks for all the subjects I'll be teaching, providing me advice and cautions about various and sundry things and people, and assuring me of two vital things: that he *hoped* I would certainly change the curriculum around to suit my own style, and that he was planning to sub but would not be back for a while, to give the students a chance to transfer their loyalties. (Although I assured him that--especially as a not-new teacher--he was most welcome any time).

Can you imagine the state of the world if every teacher in a new spot had an introduction to their job like that?

In addition, he decided to donate almost two whole four-drawer filing cabinets full of teacher materials (over and above the textbook supplements; these are the kind the individual teacher picks up on their own. I do not plan to sell them, but rather, use them; but if I priced them all out, it's probably in the neighborhood of $2,000 worth of literature. Maybe more.)

As a final gift, when I asked (a bit timorously, I think) about how he organized 8th grade graduation (that task comes with the job), he said: "Call me in April, and I'll walk you through it."

To be sure, I've got challenges ahead. But one guy and couple of hours of his life have suddenly made mine a whole lot easier.