Molly sees the doctor

Today Molly was at the doctor for a weight check and sort of a very basic check-up.  This was at 11:00 am, after I had dropped Claire off at school, dropped Molly off at her school, squeezed in a little work, and then picked Molly up to go to the doctor.  Molly was covered in a layer of sticky orange goop when I picked her up at school.  I might have asked the teachers what it was, but was in a hurry, and frankly, I didn’t think much of it since she is often covered in something or other anyways.

These magazines were entirely too well organized.

By the time we arrived at the doctor’s office, Molly had removed both shoes and socks, as she likes to do, and produced a pretty smelly BM (“byem!”) in her diaper.  The check-in nurse thought it was funny that Molly was covered in orange goop and asked what it was.  I shrugged and said I didn’t know, and she thought that was even funnier, I guess since it implied that was just the norm with her.  I cleaned Molly up as we waited.  Two face wipes, six diaper wipes, and two diapers later, she was passably clean with just a few hardened bits of orange goop left on her face.  For the next few minutes, Molly climbed on the waiting benches and rearranged the magazines as we waited.

The weight check showed the same slight weight gain as usual, despite trying to stuff Molly full of calories for the last couple of months.  Besides the weight check, Dr. Miller wanted to get a general feel for Molly’s development.  She asked Molly some questions to get a feel for her verbal development.  Where is your ear?  Where is your foot?  Am I holding up one finger or two?  Molly answered all questions enthusiastically and appropriately.  Then Dr. Miller asked about her family.  Who is your sister?  “Caire”, Molly replied, still skipping the tricky “L” sound a bit.  The next question seemed tough to me: Where is your sister?  I was thinking… How could Molly possibly know where her sister is?  Does she even remember us dropping Claire off at school this morning?  Does she know that is a school?  Does she have any idea what Claire is doing there?  Would she assume Claire is still there?  Molly’s answer amazed me, not only because it showed her perception, but also because it showed she can say a pretty tricky word I had not heard her say before: “kindergarten”.  Yep, Molly nailed it.  These little ones really do know more than you think.

We hurried Molly back to school, rushing to arrive in time for her nap.  For lunch, Molly ate a peanut butter sandwich and some cheese in the car.  By the time we got to school, Molly’s her face had a fresh coat of peanut butter and jelly spread on top of the remaining orange goop, all on top of a contented smile.  She had also removed one shoe and sock, as per the normal protocol.  We arrived just as the teachers were quietly putting the kids down to sleep for their nap, and I didn’t have chance to ask what the heck that orange goop was.  Perhaps we will never know.

Seriously, what is that orange stuff?

Goodbye, Cast!

Claire finally got her full leg cast off today. She has been as cool as a cucumber about her cast for the last three or four weeks. Once we explained that her cast was there to help her leg heal, but she would have to wait for it to work, she never complained about it. She just ambled around with one leg sticking out funny.

Today that all ended, and once again we got to see her left leg in its full glory. The process of taking her cast off — where they take that loud power saw and tear through the cast towards her flesh — did not go so well. There was screaming and resisting and crying. No amount of reassurance could convince this three year old kid that the power saw cutting into her leg was “okay.” Once it was over, Claire, in tears, said she wanted to see the other doctor instead, meaning the one who shows her the x-ray of her leg and talks to her about it.

The “nice” doctor said her leg was fully healed, and gave her the green light to walk and jump and do whatever she wanted. After a nice bath back at home — her first real soaking bath in weeks — Claire spent a few hours getting comfortable walking on her leg. Eventually she was fine with it, if a little slow. I dropped her off at day care for a couple of hours towards the end of the day. When I went to pick her up again, she was in the play room playing a game called “fall down on the ground” with her best friend Catherine. The game involved repeatedly crashing down on the carpet and getting back up (on her healed leg) to do it again. This kid is okay!

Here is Claire working the room with the “nice” doctor after her leg had been freed.


On Sunday afternoon, I took Claire and Muffin for what I thought was going to be a simple walk down Turtle Creek to Reverchon Park. Unfortunately, this innocent walk turned into a broken leg for poor Claire, all day Monday at the hospital getting her fixed up, and several weeks in a full-leg cast. So, not a good day.

Kit was off at work. After Claire woke up from her nap around 4:30, I decided to do something productive with that dubious time between nap and dinner, so I decided to take Muffin for a bath. This has been on the to-do list for weeks, but Muffin’s hygiene had repeatedly been pushed to the bottom of the list. Her white hair was turning yellowish now, and it was really time to get her clean.

When we pulled up to Dirty Gawgz, the self-serve dog wash place, it was closed — out of business. Muffin was out of luck again! Rather than just go straight home, I decided it would be fun for everyone to go for a little walk along nearby Turtle Creek. Muffin was very excited about the idea, but Claire was only luke warm. I think she said she would rather go get some ice cream. In retrospect, I wish I had listened to Claire.

We walked down the creek for about a half mile when we hit Reverchon Park and started to hear a crowd and some music. It was a festival of some sort. The minute I saw the inflatable “bounce house”, I nearly turned back before Claire (with her lower profile) could see it. I knew Claire would really, really want to go play in the bounce house, as she had enthusiastically done at many birthday parties. But I was not really “up” for a fair and not excited about keeping track of Claire and Muffin by myself in a crowded park. Just as I completed that thought, Claire saw the bounce house and yelled, “I want to go there!” I considered telling her we didn’t have time, or something along those lines. But the fact was that we did have time, and the only thing keeping me from letting her play was my own lack of energy and/or adventurism. Isn’t this the kind of thing childhood is all about? Stumbling apon a fair on a nice Sunday afternoon and getting to go play for a while? In retrospect, just this once, I wish my grumpier and more hesitant side had prevailed. But it did not.

We did a couple of arts and crafts first, to sort of warm up to the fair. But there was no line for the bounce house, so we headed that way soon. In fact, nobody was even watching the bounce house. Claire crawled in with two or three other little kids about her age and started doing her thing. Several minutes later, a pair of older boys crawled in. They were maybe 8 or 10 years old. Their size made me a little uneasy, but everything seemed fine as the older boys gave the littler kids some extra space. Even if I really wanted to, I had no good way of getting Claire out of there. The entryway was too small for me to climb in and grab Claire. Plus I had Muffin to keep track of. And have you ever tried talking a kid out of a bounce house? That must be like trying to talk a fish out of the water.

Then it happened. Claire fell down, as she had may times before in these bounce houses. But this time one of the big kids landed on her leg. Claire screamed and started crying. Everyone stopped bouncing. I pushed through to the entryway but again could not get in to rescue Claire, who was laying down grabbing her left knee and crying. The big kid looked confused and just said, “What happened?”

Claire dragged herself over to me at the entryway, crying. I picked her up and hugged her. I had completely forgotten about Muffin. Fortunately, Muffin is not the type of dog to run off. Plus a nice little girl had stepped on her leash to keep her from getting away. This was the only help I received from anyone during the whole ordeal at the park.

At this point, I did not know Claire’s tibia was broken. It turns out when you break a bone, it does not necessarily make an audible “crack” sound or any other obvious sign of breakage. I thought it was just a “normal” injury, as in “Ouch, someone bonked my leg!”, or worst case some sort of twist or sprain. After a few minutes, Claire has stopped crying, and I tried getting her to stand up so she could walk back with me. We had been through many seemingly similar situations over the years, and the standard drill I had worked out is to say sorry that hurt, now let’s move on and not wallow in it. But even though Claire had stopped crying, she would absolutely not put any weight on her left leg, and I ended up carrying her and walking Muffin back to the car.

One I got home, I called Kit to let her know what happened and to get her medical perspective. Claire was in decent spirits, but she would not walk. She was just happily watching TV while I talked to Kit. But Kit came home to check out the situation. Thinking it was still some sort of sprain, we put Claire to bed that night with one Tylenol to help ensure a good night’s sleep and waited to see how her leg was feeling in the morning.

Monday morning came, and she still would not put any weight on her leg. I took Claire to her regular pediatrician that morning. Claire was very excited about seeing the pediatrician because she usually gets a lollipop at the end of her visit. The pediatrician — much to my surprise — told me to take Claire to the emergency room! She said it was possible the leg or knee had a fracture or tear, and the ER would be able to do an x-ray and determine what was really wrong. We got back in the car, and Claire said, “Bummer.” I asked her if she was bummed about going to the hospital. She said no, it was not that. She was bummed because we forgot to get a lollipop from the pediatrician! Feeling guilty and knowing that we would be in for a long day at the ER, I got Claire a milkshake from the McDonald’s drive-through on the way to the hospital.

We went to the ER right by where Kit worked so she could come visit us and help provide some more seasoned medical perspective. Claire and I were very glad to see Kit. She made us both feel better from the shock of actually being in the ER, and she got to look at the x-rays to see what was really happening. After several hours of waiting, x-rays, more waiting, talking, taking calls from work, more exams, and more waiting, we left the hospital around 5:30 pm with a full-leg cast on Claire’s left-leg. Kit went back to the hospital to finish up her work late that night.

Amazingly, through this long day of boredom and uncertainty, without a nap or a regular meal, Claire stayed almost entirely calm. She had a few short moments of frustration and eagerness, but for the vast majority of the day, she showed amazing steadiness and maturity. At one point later that night, looking at our sweet little girl in a full leg cast, I started to tear up. Claire saw this and said, with genuine curiosity, “Why are you crying, Daddy? I’m not crying, and my leg is hurt. See?”

Not knowing if Claire could even put any weight on her leg, we were not going to just send her right to daycare the next morning. I had already missed a full day or work and canceled several meetings, with several more scheduled tomorrow. This ordeal was not only rearranging my own schedule, but some of my peers at work as well. So we called Kit’s parents late Monday night. They were on their way back to Texas from a long trip to the Northwest. They were in Kansas and said they could be in Dallas by 3 am so they could watch Claire on Tuesday. They snuck into the house undetected in the middle of the night and were ready to take over Claire duty in the morning. Their showing up on such short notice helped keep this difficult situation under control. My parents were unavailable because my dad was back in Houston recovering from a dislocated shoulder, which like Claire, he had suffered while out with me having “fun” (in this case working out) in uptown Dallas. I am bad luck, people.

Claire slept well, and when we woke her up the next morning, she saw her cast and said, “Can we take this off now?” That’s when Kit and I explained that the cast was going to help her leg heal, and she needed to leave it on until June or July to make sure her leg was okay. Claire listened paitently and accepted the news calmly. Until we got the new routine figured out and saw a specialist who would tell us exactly if and when Claire should walk around, we settled into a new routine which involved a lot of carrying Claire around and letting her watch a lot of TV, including her new obsession, Finding Nemo. I wonder if she will forever think of that movie as the “broken leg” movie.

That first day at home with Grammy, Claire scribbled a long note. She said it says, “Dear Mommy, thank you for coming to the emergency room with me and Daddy. And Daddy, thank you for loving us!” She and I really did appreciate having Doctor Mom with us at the emergency room.

Career Options

Claire is showing distinct interest in a few career fields at this point.

We were recently looking at pictures of the visit we took to the Atlanta History Center  few months ago. This is where Claire manned a pretend fast food drive-through window, chirping “You want a combo?” over and over. These pictures got her going on this game again, but now she is a little more verbose. After accepting her offer of a combo, she’ll say something like, “Let me see if I can find a combo.” Then she pretends to find a combo and then says, “That’s a dollar-eight” with a big smile on her face. You can always settle up with two pennies, which is the flat cost of any transaction with Claire. This may not be a well-paying line of work, but she does seem to enjoy it.

Her other perennial favorite is being a doctor. Now she puts on a whole show. She’ll come up to you and furrow her brow to look real concerned and say, “You hurt your knee?” After establishing that your knee is hurt, she invents some way to treat it. Her methods involve pressing a random toy against the affected area, rubbing it with her hands, or kissing it. Then she proudly says, “You’re all better!” and scurries off to find another knee to heal. She seems to be a knee specialist, I guess because they work well for her height.

Claire used to have a real stethoscope, donated to her from her mom. But now, much to her dismay, it is missing. She is always looking for it and asking me and her mom if we have seen it. She likes to use it as part of her examination, listening carefully to our knees, and sometimes to our shoulders if we are sitting down on the floor. Our knees and shoulders sometimes say, “Mommy, mommy, mommy” or “Daddy, daddy, daddy” slow and steady like a heartbeat. She has also been know to treat a bad knee by pressing her stethoscope against it with just the right touch.

Other interests, practiced less often but just as passionately, include being a sailor, a pirate, a singer, a dancer, or a comedian who does a “dumb guy” schtick with a funny slow voice. She has yet to show real interest in my field, computers, unless it involves watching videos of herself on the iMac.