Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reuben back at school (14 September)

Or perhaps this post should best be entitled Manic Monday. I am inducting a new nurse in the morning since Fanaye is unable to work Mondays with Reuben and the new nurse* is very late so I am all prepared to not go to school since I can't take Callum into class after circle time and that would mean Reuben would have no nursing coverage.

I had 4 blissful days by myself with the boys ahead so I really had my hands full, but utterly loved the time with the boys. I wasn't able to bring my camera along to school because of everything else I had to carry and because I knew I'd be all over town afterwards and didn't want to risk losing it, so instead, the above is more of a record of the before and after.

8:30am: Set up the pic of the boys and I just as we're about to leave home and Jenn kindly presses the shutter.

8:45am: Leave for UCLA driving along the freeway.

9:30am: Arrive at school just as it's starting and I'm immediately filled with the warm feeling I always get from being in this wonderfully nurturing school, the teachers full of endless patience for the chilren ages 18 - 36 months. Have Reuben press the door button and he walks independently into class. The return to school goes beautifully well, Reuben settling right back in as if he's never been away and happy to see the familiar faces of teachers and friends. How far he's come from the early days when he was so very unsettled and I wondered if he'd ever transition. The boys sit on my lap for circle time, Reuben signing and singing along to the songs, making the choice of "Wheels on the bus" and later signing "Frog" because he's greedy and he wants another choice too. He anticipates Jack in the Box when all the children lie on the floor, waiting for their loving parents to shoot them up into the air when somebody opens the lid, his absolute favourite moment, his turls curled in excitement and his fingers tapping the floor, counting down the moments to life off. And then we watch from the Observation Room, Callum and I, Reuben actively engaging in playtime with the other children, at first studying them as he does and then becoming engrossed in the toys they've put out for the day. After snack time, it's out to the playyard, the wobblin bridge, the gorgeously quaint tea house surrounded by cedar trees, the climbing frame and swings. After lunch, we finish with closing circle time, "and this is the way we say bye bye", Reuben saying "bye bye" to his teaches and friends. Hey! It's wonderful to be back.
12:00pm: After school, I get the boys back into the car with the inept nurse, take the boys around Whole Foods with Reuben pushing the stroller although insisting on skidding with his knees, an act so beautifully boyish I half fret over and half hide with unsurpassed love. Callum tries the lovely taster cheeses on display.

1:15pm: Load the boys into the car for the 30 min drive to Occupational Therapy with Julianna.

2:00pm: A good session at OT but I walk in to find the nurse has left Reuben unattended on the changing mat.

3:00pm: Load the boys into the car and drive for 50 mins to Children's Hospital.

4:00pm: Drop off nurse near hospital. Make an additional stop at ENT for them to look at Reuben's bleeding ear which it seems has been caused by one of his very many bumps banging against his left ear tube. Get a prescription.

4:15pm: Rush to the other side of the hospital with the boys and all the equipment and paraphanalia that accompanies us to make a Speech/Feeding appointment. It's something we're trying out, but I cannot imagine commiting to this long term along with the rest of the day; the pressure is just too much too to go to Children's every week. That said, I want us to give it a try. So the initial session goes well although no great surprises in approach, it's just that our speech therapist doesn't cover feeding and our Occupational Therapist doesn't cover speech so this session will cover both these therapies.

5:15pm: I've forgotten to eat today so I break a 20 year tradition of not going to McDonalds as there's one in the hospital and I know I won't get to eat when I'm home. Callum sucks ecstatically on my vanilla milkshake and I remember why I haven't eaten in McDonalds for 20 years prior to these hospital days.

My head is totally booming by this time, a thunderous roar going on inside it and yet I still have the hour long drive back from Children's to go through, all the while driving West and into the sun. It's one big thing about Los Angeles that totally exhausts me: living close to the beach, we're always driving into the Eastern rising sun for appointments in the morning and into the setting Western sun in the evenings.

I have to call our Speech Therapist Johanne to cancel our 6pm appointment at home as I still have an hour's drive ahead of me.

6:36pm: Arrive home 10 hours after leaving. It makes me beg the question: how much therapy is too much? Get all the gear out of the car, clean the suction machine, Gtube feed Reuben, bottle feed Callum, give both boys a bath and massage, let them have a play on the big bed. Leave a tidy playroom though for Nursie Jenn as we haven't been in it all day.

Bedtime boy antics

10:30pm: Nursie Jenn arrives. Godsend. I can go to bed for an almost repeat day on Tuesday.

* that nurse since sacked for leaving on a school excursion without Reuben's life saving suction machine. Her boss too is sacked for the manner in which he dealt with it. Running around Westwood Village in the scorching heat looking for them having left Callum with another Mum is a traumatic experience I'd rather not go through again.
I think it makes sense to have the Best chocolate fudge brownies ever post straight after this.


hannah m said...

Oh, my goodness, what a day, Catherine! There are days when I wonder how in the world so much is squeezed in - and at what cost!??! I love that Reu is so happy to be back at school.

*And aren't McD's milkshakes terrible? I had one the day before Vivian's heart surgery after a day of pre-op and not eating...I remember it tasted warm. Weird. :-)

Kristi said...

Whew... what a day!
Super Mama!
What a lovely picture of you and the boys for Reu's first day! Noticed it in your profile first when I realized you changed it and then scrolled down to find it in this post!

Glad you sacked the nurse... those are mistakes are non-negotiable.

Ooh... and the brownies... those look delicious! Adding them to my list of new recipes to try!

ellen charge said...

good on sacking that nurse there r some tragic people otu thre i wonder soemtiems how they got through school