With Keyla off to California yesterday, we’ve closed the chapter on having au pairs in the house. It’s been about 8 years since the very first one, we started in 2008. Yvonne, Eliana, Denise, Se Hyun, Nat and Keyla. There are so many stories and memories of all the girls, mostly good, but like everything in life, there were also little mishaps and arguments and misunderstandings – but I’m happy to report that we are generally in touch with all of them and there is a fondness back and forth. I like thinking about these young women, out an about all over the world, growing up! And when they tell other people their life story, they’ll have a bit that goes – “…and then I spent a year in the US near Washington DC with this family, taking care of these couple of kids, Vince and Edda…” Since I will never raise a typical girl, it’s nice to think of these girls as my surrogate daughters, teaching me all the things about having a girl -> young adult in the house.
We are busy turning the au pair room into a study and a guest room so we spent a lot of time upstairs today. I like thinking about all the conversations and adventures the girls had from that room. And our cars! Our cars! They went on a million adventures without us (And only one fender bender backing out from our driveway into the parked car behind us, I thought for sure there would be a car accident – most of the au pairs needed to be taught how to drive.) Who knows where they drove to? As long as they paid for the gas, I didn’t ask them and now I have only the car – and the car won’t tell me any their secrets.
After our Thanksgiving dinner, I was putting Edda to bed and she was shivering and couldn’t settle to sleep. I thought she might be getting sick, but she wasn’t running a temp. I snuggled up to her and fell asleep until 1 am when Jeremy came in and we switched places. At 2 am, Jeremy thought Edda was shaking too much and thought maybe it was a seizure. Her temp was still kind of lowish – 38.2, but he wanted to go to the hospital in case it really was a seizure that was lasting a long time. I was totally not up to making decisions at 2 am, but I just really don’t want anything that Edda does to be classified as a seizure because then we go back on seizure meds and then all the schools and camps need to go on seizure precaution protocols where every odd movement from Edda bring phone calls and days at home. And, I just don’t want her to have seizures again – which I thought may be a possibility when she hits puberty because of the fluctuating hormone levels.
Anyways, we did go to the hospital where her temp was 105, so the shaking was from the high fever. She tested positive for the flu, despite the fact that we all got the flu shot. Poor girl. While we were waiting for the test results (they also straight cathed her to get a sample for a UTI – neg), I crawled into bed with her and turned off the lights in the room.
So, I took today off (first day with no child care! of course.) – between Edda being sick and giving Keyla a ride to the airport to see her off. Edda is zonkered out on the ride back from National Airport.
The pharmacy forgot to actually compound the Tamiflu. I’ve been on hold for 20 minutes trying to figure out how much water to add. The bottle says 60 mL, but I’m reading Genentech literature for pharmacists that 55 mL of water should be added to get the require 6 mg/mL. I guess the Tamiflu particles take up some space. I have no graduated cylinders in the house. I’m going to have to weigh the water with the kitchen scale.
For Keyla’s last dinner with us before she leaves, she wanted roast turkey. Jeremy just happened to have bought an extra (?) turkey for Thanksgiving last year, so we decided to do a Thanksgiving in April.
Famous green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup.
I’m into time lapse video, so I propped up my phone to take time lapse of us making the dinner. I watched it a bunch of times, entertained – mostly by how little Ruby is moving at the end. But after closer viewing, I realized that Maxi was caught snitching cheese from the counter when no one was in the kitchen.
Various household duties need to be reshuffled – Vince is going to cook dinner a couple nights a week. I think I’m also responsible for one night a week. Oh, it’s been a long time since I planned any meals. I had one year when I was a stay-at-home mom where I cooked a different meal every night for a year. That was amazing, but unsustainable. I used paprika. I’m going to have to haul out that skill set again. Vince is going to do more dog duties (doodies too – ha ha). Jeremy is on morning Edda bus duty, he learned from Keyla this week how to French braid hair.
Nat is back, she’s helping with Edda on Monday and Wed. nights.
Edda’s new chores are the same as the old ones, just be fabulous. She’s not extremely excited about it, or maybe she’s just fabulous in a fierce, rbf kind-of way.
I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air, a memoir of a neurosurgeon (Paul Kalanithi) who passed away in his late 30s from lung cancer. I’m drawn to memoirs of suffering (but I guess no one writes a memoir of a purely joyful life, maybe they do and I just don’t read those) and this one is suppose to be beautiful – how can you resist a memoir that ends with this paragraph (addressing his 8 month old daughter):
When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.
There are 10,000 reviews of this book from every book critic and they all loved it, not a single slight written about this polymath’s final words, but I was heartbroken to read that he tied having a meaningful life so much with language. I mean, I get it, if you don’t have language, you are missing out on a lot – but there’s gotta be something else to hold onto and I hold onto it all the time. There is even a scene visiting kids in an institution with traumatic brain injuries who may have or may not have smiled at him and who wailed non-stop. These kids with broken brains did not have the ability to “form relationships and make life meaningful”. Just slay me now. When I ask Jeremy – if you had to choose for Edda, would you choose her to have a voice or to be able to use her hands Jeremy always chooses voice, I always choose hands. I argue you can still have language with your hands. Heck, Vince talks to me a lot over text.
The grass is high. I need to cut it before I get cited again.
Edda started after-school camp today. And Nat picked her up and brought her home. Day 1 of new childcare arrangement – done. Edda seemed to like it, no complaints from her. Although since tomorrow is election day, the kids have off school which means that camp is closed too, so day two of childcare is logistically a dud. But we still have Keyla! Tomorrow is technically her last working day for us (sniff!), so she’s on Edda duty all day.
Vince made his own ramen hack dinner tonight with Stubbs BBQ flavored roast beef, green onions and an egg.
Edda still won’t open her mouth wider than about 1 cm, which makes it hard to feed her anything. We’ve been grabbing chunks of food with our fingers and then shoving the bits into her mouth. It’s not very efficient. I think her mouth is still a little sore, but I’m worried that if she gets too used to opening her mouth only a little bit, it’ll get stuck there. Vince suggest the chewy P – a rubbery tool that Edda used to be able to grab with her left hand and bring up to her mouth to chew. We found a few in our closet and tried to get her to chew on it. Once it’s in her mouth, you can kind of move it around a little to encourage her mouth to open a bit more. She does wince if you try to open her mouth wider than she wants it to go. She’s lost a bit of weight, which is OK, because she did have weight to spare, but it can’t go on forever. Of course, the scoliosis brace doesn’t fit anymore with the weight loss. Argh…
It was a very nice weekend here at the Lee-Martin homestead. I realized that the downstairs toilet was leaking water onto the floor last night – so I took it apart to replace the wax ring. This was my taking the toilet apart last night…
This morning, I installed a new wax ring and put the whole toilet together again when I realized that the screws used to hold the toilet to the floor had become dislodged. I read on the internet how to prevent this from happening – I needed a second set of nuts to hold the bolts to the flange – this wasn’t in the package, I needed to find my own extra ones. I then took it apart again, installed a second new wax ring and then shimmed the toilet so it didn’t rock. Hopefully no more leaks. I want you to know I didn’t spend all weekend working on plumbing, though I do enjoy it.
I read somewhere once that a marriage was like forming a partnership to run a very small, mundane nonprofit business. Recently, Jeremy and I decided to try and hold a weekly meeting where we hash out all the regular crap that comes up. At this weekly meeting we discuss finances, logistics and various small grievances that have popped up over the past week and will continue on into the next week, month or for all eternity because some grievances are never resolved no matter how often they are brought up. I need to think of a clever name for the meeting, – it used to be the “financial summit” which we would think about holding quarterly, but that didn’t work because we’d forget to have it. “Summit” seems too lofty for a weekly meeting. We used to have arguments about how to handle a problem and just talk about the problem, but now we just go straight to discussing the power dynamic between us. It’s often helpful to know who exactly is in charge. Sometimes the right person for the job is not the one in charge.
Edda hasn’t been sleeping well. Last night, I swear, she was up from 1 – 6 am. Gotta figure out how she can be awake with no one else awake. This is a problem that Edda is in complete charge of and it’s wiping us out.
I spent some part of the day loading trucks for a local 10K – a race down the Rockville Pike. There were a lot of orange cones piled in big trucks.
Jeremy is fixing Edda’s ramp into the garage. I like this ramp, it’s just about to rip through the unsupported door jamb.
Edda is pretty much back to her regular self. A little bit hesitant on the eating, but lots of progress on the smiling.
As she’s leaving next week for another host family, Keyla is saying good-bye to Edda’s teachers and to Deb, Edda’s OT, today. We held a tea party and just chatted and had fun during Edda’s last Friday session.
Keyla teaches us all about photo filters.
We had Georgetown Cupcakes to celebrate – milk chocolate birthday, key lime, cherry cheesecake and coconut. Jeremy accidentally sat on the cupcake box at the Bethesda Metro station on our way home from the movie last night, so we were afraid some of them were squished, but only the coconut one was every so slightly mooshed.
This is a crazy make-up app. It automatically puts makeup on your face. Voila!