Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thank you!

Yesterday, the Matron woke to her youngest's sobs.

Merrick: "I have a headache! I haven't seen you ow Daddy in FOUW days! Please don't make me go to school. I hate that place."

Now, the Matron and her husband arrived home at 11:30 pm on Tuesday night. All three children were asleep (thanks, Grandma) and welcomed home their parents on Wednesday morning before school.

Or sort of before school.

The Matron watched the newly diagnosed Merrick blink, open his mouth and lick his lips every twenty seconds on Wednesday morning while he wailed about school. He plastered himself onto each parent and both dogs, one by one. He begged for a mental health day. The Matron's household has a 'mental health' policy. Every child gets two days to skip school for no reason whatsoever but for rejuvenation and mental health. Merrick has used his up (he's tidy that way).

Quick consultation in the bathroom as the Mom/Dad team compared notes on the puddle that would be Merrick.

Matron: "Honey, you can stay home today. Mom and Dad both have to work, but if you're okay with watching television, playing with the dogs and eating snack food, you can skip school."

Merrick: "Mama?"

Matron: "Yes?"

Merrick: "Is that what heaven will be like?"

Junk food, TV, dogs, and no school. Yes, my dear. Heaven.

Merrick? Your mother was happy to have you home yesterday. Yes, she just got back from an intensive work conference and had -- has -- about 2 million assignments to grade. But she called in sick and threw work to the wayside so she could cuddle with you, play with dogs, watch TV and snack.

Heaven, indeed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Merrick (Late Again)


You know you're the third child when your mother --- on the actual DAY of her other children's birthdays -- posts long, loving picture-filled posts about these babies.

The third child?

Well, she forgot!

Worse yet, she went to Florida for a work conference and MISSED your birthday.

Merrick: "I can't believe you'we leaving me for my biwthday! Don't go!! Cancel that twip!"

Matron: "Honey, it's four days out of nearly 15 years. I really do need to go for work."

Merrick: "Then I'm asking Daddy to stay home."

Matron (same line she uses a lot): "Remember, Daddy and I are on the same team. If one of us says something, the other agrees."

Merrick: "I hate that team."

Honey, she fully appreciates that you do hate that team. But the team is sort of essential to mental health and parental stability.

And darling youngest child, your mother knows this has been a rough couple of months. You were recently (potentially - waiting for the neurologist) diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome. At first, your mother thought it best not to mention this to you until the official confirmation but here's what happened at your 8 year old check-up:

Pediatrician (after observing Merrick for ten minutes during her exam): "Merrick? Mom? Do you mind if I ask another doc to come in and we can play a game with Merrick. Mom, you can watch or wait in the hallway."

Immediately, the Matron knew something was up. How many times do TWO doctors play a 'game' with an 8 year old for his well child check up? It was a nerve wracking game for the mama who watched the the ten minute board game.

Both were in agreement: Tourette Syndrome . And they sprung this on the Matron in front of Merrick -- whose teacher actually called a few days earlier to note that she was worried about the 'tics.'

Teacher: "Mary? Have you noticed that Merrick has some odd habits with his mouth and with blinking? Is he under stress? Other students have started to notice and make comments."

Matron: "I think he needs lip balm and more sleep. But thanks for asking."

And then after the 8 year old well check up in the car on the way home . . .

Merrick: "Do have tuwnip disease? Will I die fwom it?"

Matron (who at this point, fresh on the heels of the diagnosis she knows in her heart to be true, really wants to pull over and throw up and then cry): "No, no. You can't die. It's not turnips but Tourette's. It's when your muscles want to pull. You can't stop it and it's totally okay."

Merrick, in a statement that really did break her heart: "Is that why I need to blink and open my mouth? Sometimes I need to blink weally weally hawd and I can't stop it. And my mouth too. It feels good."

Matron: "It's just who you are. Just like I yawn or wiggle with my hair."

Merrick: "Kind of like Stwyker having braces, wight?"

Matron: "Right. No big deal."

For the rest of her life, the Matron will be grateful to this observant pediatrician who--in ten minutes -- explained many of the things about which the Matron and her husband had been wondering.

Neurology starts in April. This, after five hours of tests last month to follow up on the heart arrhythmia. The irony is that this is her athletic, body-bound kid who can hit a baseball and win a tennis tournament without any effort.

But for Merrick's 8th birthday? A bit of a fork in the road, friends. Guess who plans on heading the National Tourette Syndrome Association in about ten minutes after the official diagnosis. Only half joking and she's now an expert.

Merrick -- The future might have shifted for you. But your mom and dad are steadfastly by your side. You're a beautiful, shining spirit. And that's what everyone sees first.

And it took the Matron a long, long time to decide she could blog about Tourette Syndrome .

My baby.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shock to the Matronly System

The Matron and her beloved, John, have a 14 and a half year old firstborn. That's 14.5 years of parenting.

And they have not traveled alone together for 14.5 years until now.

Yours truly undertook a major technology training, conveniently located in FLORIDA. Where there is no snow. She is currently sitting on the beach grading papers and hoping no one notices her absence at workshops and presentations.

John is completely idle. He feels like he should be cleaning bathrooms or driving fellow hotel guests to dance, theater, voice, baseball, debate, school or other activities.

John: "Mary? Can I get you anything? Are there chores to do?"

Matron: "You're on vacation."

John: "Can you send me a link to a definition of that concept?"

The Matron marvels that everyday someone comes into their hotel suite, cleans the bathroom, makes the bed and does dishes.

Wait. Isn't that why she had children? Hmmm. . . . let's just say the last time any offspring in her lineage loaded a dishwasher might have been 1975. And that would have been a much, much younger Matron.

There are 12-18 inches of fresh snow in Minnesota. The state is closed down. Here, people are drinking adult beverages at 9 am by the pool or on the beach.

So no distinct narrative today, just a sigh. Vitamin D is pouring into her veins and nobody needed a fourth drink of water last night or got up at 6 am for school. And here she thought heaven was just a myth.