Friday, November 21, 2014

The Every Year Christmas Crafting Crunch

The doll house wasn't
the best idea.
It happens every single year.  The slow creeping suspicion that I've bitten off more than I can chew when it comes to Christmas present crafting.  

Gradually, as we get closer to Christmas, the suspicion will begin to blossom into something like panic, although usually actual panic is staved of by the fact that I can remain in denial for a ridiculous amount of time, reasoning that if I stay up all night for the next dozen nights I can surely finish everything that needs to be done so that everything that I planned on making gets finished in time for Christmas morning.  

And at the very end I can at least proclaim "Christmas is a season!  It's not just one day!" which implies that that present that was being made on Christmas Eve will be finished before Epiphany, when in reality I probably will collapse on that first night of Christmas exhausted and not pick up that particular project again until the next year when I think "hey this could fit (insert the name of next smallest child here)" and finally finish it, thankful that I had something halfway done.  

I actually wouldn't be worried at all at this point if it weren't for the incredibly grumpy baby, who actually isn't all that grumpy with dairy eliminated from my diet, but who still thinks that the sound of the sewing machine being fired up means it must be Mommy and James time... and who can refuse cuddles like that, even if they do tend to be a little frown filled, because I'm not Daddy and Daddy gets all the smiles.

I'm not even kidding.  Paul picks up James and James beams at him.  Paul says "Oh look!  He's smiling at me for the bazillionth time today at ME!" and I rush over and get this look:


So today I will sit down to make the list of things to be made.  I'm a little behind.  I think usually The List is made in September.  I think James can take credit for the fact that it hasn't been made yet this year, because my to do list in September was heavily focused on what needed to be done before he arrived and so Christmas craft planning took a back seat.  

A more ambitious Christmas
when I sewed Sadie a
Sofia dress and built
that doll house in the
back ground.
Despite all the rush that usually happens at the end, I still love the homemade holidays we've had these last years since Paul started law school.  Because while there has been some stress when I think of getting things done, there's also been, by necessity, a sort of simplification that has helped us focus on the reason we're celebrating.  

Sadie's first Christmas was jam packed with presents.  I'd been shopping for the entire time I was pregnant with her and then through the six months until Christmas.  When I opened the closet and saw how many presents had accumulated, it was ridiculous.  

I love these homemade Christmases.  This year I'm debating whether or not to go with the three presents per kid strategy we've done in the past or the "something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read" strategy, but I guess I'll figure that out when I make the list today!  

Can you relate to the yearly feeling of a Christmas crafting crunch that always seems to sneak up on you, no matter how much you plan ahead of time?  

I sometimes feel that even when I do start sewing and knitting in September I still run out of time before Christmas morning!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Halfway Through the Year: A Homeschooling Update

We started up our homeschool year back at the start of April.  I'd been planning on having some sort of a small "summer" break before we started back up again, but a certain almost-six year old was eager to start first grade and be a first grader and I figured that if she's ready to learn than I'm ready to help her.

Besides, getting through as many months as we could before the new baby arrived seemed like a great idea, just in case I got hit with bed rest at some point in the pregnancy, or had a super high needs baby that required us to take a little extra time off later on.  Once I realized that we were actually going to start in April, I mapped out a plan and then we hit the ground running.

When I first began to research homeschooling, back when Sadie was all of a year old, I read every book I could get my hands on and fell in love with the classical methods that I learned about.  As a result I already knew that we at least wanted to try using the game plan and various suggested curriculum laid out in the The Well-Trained Mind and I wrote about a day in the life of our homeschool when we were nearly two months in back at the end of May.  

I've been meaning to write an update for at least a month about how things were going when we hit the halfway point in our year, but a certain someone has been distracting me from getting very much done around here:


Or at least he's distracted me from sleeping enough to have enough brain power to write a post (which, let's face it, is basically the same thing).  Today I'm hoping to have enough energy to write that post and lay out our plan, a little over a hundred days into our school year.

School has been going wonderfully.  I put James in the Moby and he sleeps through our morning school time and Patch has even started joining us at the table, pointing at colors and shouting "red!"  "blue!"  "yellow!" while Sadie works on spelling (this is his favorite book to point out colors in), until Patch is ready for a nap.

The Planner... Helping me keep track of everything
that's going on in our lives.
Sadie's day now starts with Explode the Code .  After Sadie finished the first book of Spelling Workout (A) I decided to take a break from the program and try Explode the Code to reinforce what she was learning in her reading lessons.  She'd done really well with Spelling Workout, and her test scores when she went in for the learning eval showed she was ahead in spelling, but she was still struggling with reading at that point (since we hadn't figured out the whole midline thing yet) and so I thought I'd give Explode the Code a try, since I'd heard great things about it.  

Explode the Code has been a huge success.  She zipped through the first book in two months (that was probably also aided by the fact that we figured out the whole "crossing the midline"thing at around the same time) and as she neared the end of the workbook she began begging me to buy the second book so that she could start on it as soon as she finished the first one.  

I ordered the second book in the Explode the Code series and introduced the second book of the Spelling Workout program at the same time.  She works on two pages of Explode the Code and after finishing Explode the Code, which goes along so gradually that she basically does it on her own, we work on a Spelling Workout 2 lesson, either reviewing the previous lessons and words, or working on a new lesson.  

Once we're done with Spelling Workout we start the grammar/language portion of the day with First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind.  First Language Lessons for the Well Trained mind has everything from grammar, with the memorization of definitions (memorization is huge at this point in a Classical Education) and identifying basic parts of speech, to occasional narration exercises and poems, and even narrations about what's happening in pieces of artwork.  We finished First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind yesterday and will be moving on to First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 2 later in the week.

After we finish our daily lesson from First Language Lessons we move on to copy work and memory work.  Basically every day Sadie copies a poem, or part of a poem or a quote, and then works on reciting something that she's memorizing (usually a poem, but sometimes a new prayer).

Reading is next on our schedule.  We start with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  We've taken this book really slowly.  If the lessons start to get frustrating, we just go back a week or two and I'll have her re-read the stories that seemed hard a short while before.  It's a huge confidence boost as she realizes that letter combinations and words she was struggling with have become easy and by the time we get back to the lessons that were difficult they've become easy too.

The second half of our reading practice involves her reading a book she's chosen like A Tale of Two Sisters or The Christmas Party (her favorite story of the moment).

Next it's time for math.  We're about a quarter of the way through the second Singapore Math Book for first graders.  I'm really amazed at how much she's learned and how well the program has matched the pace at which she learns.  It's the one part of curriculum that looks like it will perfectly match our school year and the way the program builds on past lessons has been excellent for the way Sadie learns.


After math we move on to our religion class.  We recently completed the Faith and Life books (there's a textbook and a workbook).  Next year I think we'll continue with the Faith and Life series, but for the rest of the year I'm planning on using the Dominican Sister's Virtues in Practice (which can be downloaded for free if you follow the link).  Some days we go back and read one of the books from the Catholic Children's Treasure Box  or we'll read a few stories from the Picture Book of Saints (we've also read this Bible at least twice through and are planning on moving on to this one next).

What comes next varies from day to day.  Some days we do history using The Story of the World or science using the outline set out in the Well Trained Mind (for first grade it involves a part of the year learning about animals, a portion spent learning about the human body and a part of the year learning about plants).  Most days we do some sort of art.  Sometimes she knits or plays reading games on her Kindle once she's finished all her other work.

In the afternoons, when all the therapies are finished and it's just me and the kids we cuddle on the couch and read together. Right now we're reading Little House in the Big Woods (for the second time).

This year I've also managed to balance the schedule to fit in extra activities (it took a little bit of time getting the hang of managing it all, but I think I'm starting to manage getting out more effectively... most of the time at least!  Being given the all clear to lift more than 12 lbs will be a huge relief and that's still a few weeks away.).  Sadie has ballet one night a week and karate one night a week and she has American Heritage Girls every other week (and we found a brand new group starting at a nearby Catholic Church and joined!  It's been a much better fit!).  Throw in OT and Speech one to two times a week, which will be starting in the near future and occasional field trips (which are more frequent when the temperature isn't spending most of its time below freezing) and we're definitely keeping busy!

That's my summary of the first half (plus a month or two) or first grade.  This year has just flown by!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Near Disaster: When Non-Dairy Doesn't Mean Non-Dairy

I love Meijer.  I feel like I need to start by saying that, before I get down to the meat of this post.

After living in California and Florida and now in Michigan and having driven back and forth across the country several times during those moves, we've gotten to test out quite a few different grocery chains and Meijer is my favorite.  After all, what other store has Sandy the horse (along with just about every other thing that we could possibly want or need), who the kids can ride for a penny.

Sandy makes Meijer a favorite for two out of the three kids that are old enough to sit up in our family (I've convinced Mae to pet Sandy, but she refuses to go for a ride):



I had to start with that before I go on to make my next point.

I'm writing this post because when I was starting out as a parent of with kids with newly diagnosed food allergies I had no idea how tricky identifying allergens could be... and our trip to Meijer this week, where I made a major error by trusting a misleading label, is a perfect example of how mistakes can happen.

If you haven't been to the blog before. or haven't been around long enough to know the whole allergy story, we have three (and it looks like now four) kids with food allergies.  One is allergic to dairy.  I carry an epi-pen and Benadryl with me everywhere for that little guy.  One is allergic to wheat.  And one can't have wheat or dairy.

Our newest little guy, who is five weeks old today, is miserable for days if I eat dairy, so it looks like he's set to follow in his big brother's footsteps.

As you can probably guess, I spend a lot of time reading food labels.  And when I go shopping I often have a six year old who follows me around and says "Does that have wheat in it?  Are you sure?" Every single time I pick something up off the shelf, because she's old enough to understand how sick wheat makes her and she's hyper vigilant about every single thing that passes her lips because she doesn't want to feel like that ever again.

Earlier in the week when I was shopping I was in a hurry.  Paul had all three kids in one of those nifty shopping carts with enough seats for three kids and my goal was to make it through the store before anyone started screaming.  I had James strapped to my chest and we were making our way through the store as fast as we could, when I spotted this:


I'll admit I thought "Hmmmm... I wonder what's in that?  Petroleum by-product perhaps?"  and then "I wonder if it tastes like the real thing?" and finally "It'll be a special treat!  I mean there are so many things that we can't have..."

With Thanksgiving coming we could even have it on the pumpkin pie!

That night I tried it on our dairy free ice cream.  It didn't really taste like whip cream at all.  I wouldn't buy it again based on flavor (but let's face it, few dairy free things really taste like their dairy counterparts.  They might not be bad... but they seldom taste like the real thing.).  But I ate it, because it was on top of my ice cream, and went on with my night.

In the early morning hours, James was miserable.  He spent the next day looking at me like this (when he wasn't crying and throwing up):



I didn't think much of it.  He's been fussy for weeks.  Maybe the dairy wasn't totally out of my system yet.  It was a possibility.  And within a couple of days he was feeling much, much better.

A few days later I made gluten free dairy free waffles for the kids.  I had blueberries in the refrigerator... and the thought of whipped cream topped blueberry covered waffles sounded really, really delicious.  I went to the refrigerator and grabbed the "non-dairy dessert topping" and was about to add it to the waffles when I thought of Sadie saying "does that have wheat in it" every time I pick something up in the grocery store.

The bottle said dairy free but was it gluten free?  I couldn't imagine whipped cream having gluten but still, it was best to check.  I didn't want the girls to get sick.

I turned to bottle over in my hand and was shocked by what I saw:


Contains Milk.  I turned the bottle over and read the words again.  "Non-Dairy."  I flipped it back over and read the allergen disclaimer again.  "Contains: Milk."

Below it an explanation was provided.  "Sodium Caseinate is not a source of lactose."

Sigh.

That means it's okay for people who are lactose intolerant.  People who are lactose intolerant don't have enough of the lactase enzyme to break lactose down into simpler sugars.  People who can't tolerate lactose might have stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea if they have something (like milk) that has lactose in it).  Lactose intolerance isn't life threatening.  It isn't an allergic reaction.  For kids that are allergic to milk proteins (Patch) or who have a casein sensitivity (Mae) lactose isn't the problem.  Here's a more complete explanation:
"Milk allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance. A food allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a specific food protein. When the food protein is ingested, in can trigger an allergic reaction that may include a range of symptoms from mild symptoms (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) to severe symptoms (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal."  Source 
Sodium Caseinate is casein.  It's the thing that I have spent the last year avoiding at all costs for Mae.  The idea of it in her system makes me feel like hyperventilating.

I had taken Non-Dairy to mean that the product didn't contain Dairy not that it didn't contain lactose.  A much more accurate (and less dangerous) label would have been to label it lactose free like all those other products that contain dairy but don't contain lactose for people who are lactose intolerant.
I'm taking this as an important reminder.  Labels aren't always accurate.  As a parent of a kid with food allergies I have to be vigilant and look past the front label and then hope that I catch everything on the back label so that I don't end up with a sick kid, or worse yet, end up needing that epi-pen (and frighteningly, there are even worse case scenarios because allergies can be fatal).

And I hope that Meijer takes steps to change the label to make it less confusing.  With that big "Non-Dairy" label on the front of the product there are people out there who are bound to think that it's actually free of dairy... and with a serious food allergy making that mistake could be fatal.

Ideas for Winterizing the Home!

I'm enjoying the cold...
and hoping it doesn't get this cold...
or at least that we don't have any ice storms this year!
We're in the middle of getting the house ready for another Michigan winter.  Paul has begun covering the windows with plastic and I've been raiding my heavy fabrics to come up with thick fleece curtains to plaster over the windows.  

Layers have been big around here.  So far the plastic and then felt and then fleece layered rooms do seem significantly warmer, and I think that will be even more true once the ancient downstairs windows are covered, some of which have cracks and holes in the glass (that were here when we moved in and that I imagine will be here when we move out... I'm not hopeful that they'll be replaced anytime soon).  

We did manage to get the entirely missing window in the basement replaced this summer and that (along with the cat) has helped us see a major disappearance of mice from the entire house.  Paul has also replaced the weather stripping on the front door, which also seems to be making a huge difference.  

I'll admit I'm hoping for a winter not at all like last winter.  I mean, I like winter and snow, just not the kind of winter where it hurts to breath outside for like six months (okay that's a slight exaggeration on how long it was cold-cold but still... only slight).  Our first winter in Michigan felt mild... and our second winter... well... at least I was reassured by long time Michigan residents that they hadn't experienced anything like it in the last fifty years (so it wasn't just my wimpiness). 

Do you have any old house weather proofing tips that you'd like to share.  Since it's not our house we won't be replacing the windows or doing anything majorly structural, but indoor tips for helping keep the gas bill down this winter are greatly appreciated!  I'm trying to think of everything that I possibly can to keep it warm and keep the cost of heating this place from going through the roof.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Goodbye Grumpy Face?

We'll have to wait and see but it kind of looks like the instances of grumpiness of this house have been vastly reduced by cutting dairy out of my diet.

It was pretty easy to guess the likely culprit this time, since two out of the other three kids can't have dairy.  I'd figured that if dairy didn't have an effect on James' reflux and discomfort I'd try wheat next (since two out of three also can't have wheat) but it looks like dairy is the culprit.  James has been sleeping much, much more soundly and has been spitting up maybe once or twice a day instead of twenty times a day... after cutting dairy out of my diet for a grand total of two days.


When I took Patch to the allergist this last week I mentioned that the kids primary pediatrician doesn't believe that babies can have allergies and asked how young he had seen allergies in babies.  He said that his father, who works in the same practice, had seen a baby at one day old with food allergies and that food allergies were really possible at any age.  With our family history we think it's pretty likely.

Thankfully, despite all the spitting up, James is still growing and was in the 97th percentile for height at 22 1/2 inches at his one month appointment and the 75th percentile for weight at 10 lbs 10 ounces.  And hopefully he'll be a lot more comfortable now that we've (hopefully) figured out why his little tummy was hurting so much!

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Having Kids has Taught Me About Being a Pack Rat...

I've realized more and more lately that one of the greatest gifts that my kids have given me, particularly my sensory seeking kids (and of those two especially a certain four year old with a propensity for breaking things completely accidentally and without malice) is a growing detachment from the "stuff" that has accumulated in our house over the years.

It wasn't always this way.  By nature I'm kind of a pack rat.  I feel bad for each and every one of my college roommates who had to put up with my natural affinity towards hoarding.  I have a tendency to think that I might need something someday and so I really shouldn't get rid of it.  My love of sewing and crafting doesn't help the problem, because when I see an old outdated piece of clothing a dozen different possibilities for what I could make it into zip through my mind, quickly pushing aside the fact that it's unlikely that I'll actually have the time in the next decade or two to make those ideas into a reality.

Having kids has changed all of that.

Mae rarely intentionally breaks something.  The most destructive thing I can think of that I've seen her intentionally do is tear a piece of paper when she was frustrated.  But unintentionally?  Well, it doesn't happen all that often any more, but that's mostly because most of what could be broken has been.

The metal space heater?  She thought it would make a perfect stand and while using it to climb somehow snapped one of its legs.  The little table and chairs  that were mine when I was tiny?  It lasted almost three decades with me, but after a couple of years with my girls the sides snapped cleanly in two, leaving it in three pieces.

Even items (and large pieces of furniture) that have withstood breaking are dented or ripped and patched or just battered by the constant jumping, spinning and crashing that goes on in our house on a daily basis.

And it has been really, really good for me.  The experience has put our belongings and their place in our lives in perspective.  It's helped me stand back and realize what we need and what don't... and my main wish these days is that I had a solid week that I could devote to purging our house of all the extra things that get in the way.

A couple of weeks ago as we walked out to the van to do our weekly errands Paul announced that after work the previous night he'd gotten back to our car and found a huge dent running down the back half of the passenger side of the vehicle.

I stopped and shook my head at the sight and then started to laugh and pointed out how grateful I was that we had a van where it doesn't really matter if another dent or scratch or ding is added here or there, because it sort of adds character. Besides, people seem to be less likely to cut you off when your car is ringed with scraps of paint in the wrong color and dents decorating the sides.  Our car had quite a lot of "character" when we bought it... but after a couple years parked in parking lots as we've traveled across the country it has even more.



These days when things break, the way they do on an almost daily basis around here, I find myself almost cheerful.  That's one more thing that can make its way out to the curb, one less thing to contribute to clutter at the end of the day as I realize that we really need less and less than I ever imagined and that the best toys seem to be had with cardboard boxes that of course, hardly ever survive more than a day inside these four walls.

I usually leave the major yearly purging of everything we don't need for Lent, but this year I think I might make it part of Advent, or even begin a bit ahead of Advent as I try, with the help of the insight given to me by these kids and their clumsy, crashing tendencies, to put things in perspective and cut out things that we don't need, putting aside as much as possible those things that get in the way as we begin to prepare our hearts for the coming Christmas season.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Month: Our Little Grumpasaurus

Today James is one month old and so I thought I'd start the day by looking back over the next month... and it turns out that it's a review in James' mastery of looking as grumpy as he possibly can in almost every picture.  Here are the highlights:

When James was born and we were spending a rather lengthy afternoon in recovery, I remember noticing the way his little mouth was formed in a perfect little frown.  He hadn't yet begun perfecting the look of grumpy suspicion that he aims at the world around him, but already the beginnings of it were there that first day in the shape of his little mouth as I encouraged him to nurse:


The next day when the photographer from the hospital came to snap pictures, it was still there... only maybe a little grumpier this time:


By the time we got home James was mastering the art of looking perpetually grumpy.  Even when his sister brought him a flower.


In his sleep he was grumpy (okay, this one is one of his less grumpy pictures but still I can see that slightly furrowed brow and down turned lips!):


And especially upon waking:


At the doctor's office to discuss possible allergies and reflux he turned the grumpy look on me while we waited for the doctor (I think the grumpiness might have quite a bit to do with the reflux... I'm hoping saying goodbye to dairy makes him feel less grumpy, although I'll be a little sad if he stops making grumpy faces at me altogether because he looks so cute when he makes them!):


And at home while cuddling he took a break from nursing to let me know that he was still feeling pretty grumpy about the world:


More and more I can't help but thinking of him as my little Grumpasaurus Rex... who looks like he's ready to be turned into a meme...


Even when the house is quiet and his siblings are in bed... grumpy:


In his bassinet in the kitchen, helping me cook... still grumpy:


I've seen a little smile flicker across his face in his sleep, so I think those social smiles are on their way... but when he's awake it's not quite there yet (unless your Daddy.  Daddy claims to have gotten several smiles... and I know he's smiled at least once at Sadie!).  


Happy one month birthday to our little Grumpasaurus!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yesterday's Terrifying Moment... where I beg you to attach your furniture to your walls...

A few weeks before James was born I was frantically rearranging the furniture.  I stacked our stackable cube bookshelves until they reached just below the ceiling and struggled to bolt them to the brick walls in our house, succeeding after hours of work.  I had Paul haul a dresser up from the basement to put Patch's clothes in and moved the babies clothes into another dresser in the boys room.  And I rushed around trying to do all the things on my to do list that I thought needed to be done before the new baby arrived.

One of those things was attach the dressers in the boys' room the walls.  I mentioned it to Paul a couple of times, along with a list of about a dozen other things that needed to be done right-this-second, always while we were in the middle of doing something else and away from the house, but at the time I didn't push him to do it, or even remind him, and I didn't track down the brackets I'd bought to do the job that had been swallowed by the thread and fabric that accumulate on my sewing table minutes after I've cleared it.

The thing was, Patch was still in his crib at that point.  He didn't try to get out of it... and perhaps more importantly he didn't spend any time in his room outside of his crib.

The boys' room is one of the smallest rooms in the house.  There is hardly any room for toys.  The furniture dominates the room.  I'm not sure Patch's feet had ever touched the ground in his room before his new pirate bed arrived.

And then he was given the pirate ship bed for his birthday... and suddenly he was free of his crib.  But by then I had forgotten my to do list in all the hustle and bustle of having a new baby.  I didn't even think of it when Paul was in the room assembling the bed, which would have been the perfect time to get the job done.  A few days ago Patch emptied the top drawer onto his bed and over a couple of nap times moved the clothes from one side of the room to the other and for a moment I thought, "Oh, I need to have Paul bolt that to the wall." but by the time Paul got done with his job search for the day I'd forgotten and it was bedtime and then the kids were all tucked into their beds and I wasn't about to suggest he go barging in to wake Patch to drill holes in his wall.  I'd remind him the next day, I thought, promptly forgetting.

Yesterday we all received a jolting reminder of how important that little task that kept slipping my mind was.

Paul had put Patch down for his nap and Patch was furious.  He'd just learned how to open the door to go out into the hallway and Paul had gone down to the basement and found one of the door knob covers that Mae hadn't broken, and had taken it back up to his room and put it on his door, explaining to Patch that we were just trying to keep him safe.  The bedrooms in our house are all upstairs and the staircase is steep with floors that can be slippery for little pajama covered feet and we were worried that he would open the door and run out into the hall and fall down those same stairs.

Patch yelled in outrage when the door closed.  He's at the age where he still needs naps.  He's grumpy without them and napless days are usually filled with tears and whining... but he doesn't like going down for his nap because he's certain he's missing out on the fun going on downstairs.

So he yelled to go downstairs for a few minutes after Paul left.  Paul was going to the gym before starting up his job search for the afternoon and I was downstairs starting the school day with Sadie, while Mae was working with one of her therapists in the school room.  I heard the yelling turn into crying and knew that if I peeked my head in the crying would turn into a full blown tantrum.  Crying meant our tired boy would likely be asleep in a couple of minutes.  I don't let babies cry it out but a few minutes of tears for a fussy older kid who needs a nap happens now and then and usually leads to a well rested, smiling kid appearing an hour or two later.

When the crying didn't stop after about ten minutes I went upstairs, expecting to find an angry Patch banging on the door.  But he wasn't.  The moment I opened the door I saw his red dresser toppled over on top of him.  James was strapped to my chest in his wrap, but I still managed to lift the dresser, struggling because he'd been standing in the bottom drawer when it fell and it had snapped closed on his little legs, which were then trapped inside.

Finally freeing him (it took all of five seconds, but felt much longer), I scooped him up on my hip as he screamed, tears streaming down his face, and ran downstairs.  I told Mae's therapist what happened and she stood with him and comforted him while I raced for my phone, scooping him back up and calling Paul.  His phone went to voice mail.  I tried the gym.  He wasn't there yet.  When the guy at the front desk heard what had happened he promised to tell Paul the moment he walked in.

I called his doctor's office.  By then he'd stopped crying and was laying quietly against my chest, breathing steadily... but I was still worried.  Did he have a head injury?  Internal damage?  Were his legs okay after being slammed shut in the drawer?

His office put me through to a nurse who said to take him straight to the ER to have him checked out.  Paul called back.  He was on his way home.  The guy at the desk had told him what happened.

Patch continued to lay against my chest while we waited.  Paul got home and we met him at the door.  He scooped Patch up and took him straight to the ER.  I put out a prayer request to a few groups of ladies I know and then sat down to wait for news and try to do school with Sadie, who kept asking if Patch was okay.

An hour later Paul called and told me that he was pretty certain Patch was okay.  They were still in the waiting room but Patch was feeling well enough to get up and dance around the ER.  The next call told me he was eating jello in the pediatric ER and then he sent a picture of Patch in a hospital gown, before the news came that he'd been given a clean bill of health and was being sent home.

I let out a sigh of relief and hugged my big boy when he got home.  And then we went to the store and got new safety gear and Paul came home and fastened that dresser to the wall so that it couldn't move a millimeter.

I am so thankful that he is okay... and will never again put off fastening a piece of furniture to the wall for another day.  It could have been so, so much worse.

And I'm now going to be one of those people that beg you to attach your furniture to the wall... even if your child isn't a climber (Patch isn't) and even if the piece of furniture seems like it will stay put... there's always a chance that if they pull out all the drawers and yank on it with there low to the ground little center of gravity that it will move in a way you didn't expect... and I would spare you that frightening image I saw yesterday, that I think will likely always be imprinted on my mind, when I opened the door and saw Patch pinned under his dresser.