Saturday, September 16, 2006


On my fridge hangs a square of white paper with the words "speech therapy" on them.

Next week we begin the search for a speech therapist so that my son can learn how to pronounce his words clearly, allowing for people other then his parents and aunt to understand him. We put it off, not because we were denying that there might be an issue but because the boys in our family have a tendency to start talking late. The big guy and my brother being two in particular; neither one started speaking until he was three.

Oddly, I'm not devistated about this... as one person already suggested I should be. I just looked at her when she said that, confused; I'm not exactly sure what being devistated will get me. Aside from a headache, that is.

Anyway, his speech delay may simply be, and we're taking an uneducated guess on this one, a result of his being a preemie. We could be wrong. Probably are, in fact. All we know for sure is that it has nothing to do with intelligence. The kid's too wily for that.

This morning we had a minor "crisis" (in his eyes) because I wouldn't pick him up and put him into the wood-framed laundry basket. After three minutes of fussing, he decided to solve the problem on his own: drag it to my bed, climb up on the bed, and slide into the basket.

Too bad I was too fast. I grabbed him mid-slide and popped him back on the floor. Crazy me, I always take such issue with antics that could result in trips to the ER!

The whole reason we're even taking this step now is because he's in pre-school and the teacher admitted that she can't understand a word he's saying. You know, it's easy to forget that others can't quite make out what he's trying to express. We're so used to his sounds that everything makes perfect sense to us.

We do tend to read his mind, too. Shame on us for that one.

I suspect that we sometimes forget that he's perfectly healthy now. There really is a part of me that still sees him in that incubator at Magee with all of those monitors hooked to his tiny body and those big eyes (when he finally got around to opening them) just staring at me, taking it all in and trying to figure it all out.

At his check-up on Friday, the doctor said that he suspected Gavie will hit 6' 1" easily -- a prediction he's making based on the little guy's current rate of growth. Being that Gavie went from a 3T to a 4T within minutes, I'm thinking that the doctor's being conservative in his guess.

My little boy, whose socks once fit my thumb, goes to school now. As I write this, I'm remembering the time he had what was kindly called an "apnea episode" while I held him in the NICU. It was only for a moment, fortunately, just long enough for the monitors to beep... and the start I gave at the sound jerked him back to breathing mode.

I feel like that sometimes: like I'm the one who's not breathing and he's the one jerking me back to reality. If I hold my breath, will time stand still and will he be my little boy for just a little bit longer?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Twice the relief...

It's benign. No cancer, no chemo cocktails, no hospice. We've been granted a reprieve, one like we've never felt before. We can squash the memories of my father's lingering death again, ball them up and tuck them away in the dark corners of our brains. We don't have to apply them to my mother-in-law.

We can pretend that all is well with the world again. I'm very good at that you know.

But, right now, there's no need to pretend. All is indeed well.

For, of almost equal weight -- or so it seems that way! -- is the monumental achievement in the Louch house: Gavie is officially, completely, and totally potty trained!


Believe me when I say it: wow.

I never thought that the sight of a three-year-old running for the bathroom would fill me with such delight.

It means a number of things to me, of course. First and foremost: NO MORE DIAPERS TO CHANGE! Secondly, no more diaper bag -- just an emergency bag in the car, just in case of an accident. Thirdly, my little boy is growing up.

He now wants to go potty like Daddy. No more of this diaper stuff, that's for babies! Besides, the diapers don't have neat designs on them like the briefs he now proudly wears!

No cancer and no diapers.


Monday, September 04, 2006


We're waiting right now. In this hellish, familiar limbo of schedules tests and opaque doctors' comments. We're going to treat this as a worst case until we know exactly where the tumor is located. You can't rely on CAT scans for certain details, and a dye test will give us a clearer picture.

This time it's my mother-in-law. Eight months ago we breathed a sigh a relief after Dad's funeral and told ourselves that we could begin to find our way back to normal. To a new normal, anyway. Thursday night ended that return.

It's either ovarian cancer or it isn't. It might just be a fibroid tumor. Whatever it is, it could be benign. Maybe it's not. We don't know yet. Thanks to insurance and doctors and the legal holiday, the test itself isn't even scheduled yet. It will be scheduled tomorrow and done within the next 48 hours. We know that much.

I don't feel like it's real. Surely it's been enough to bury three grandparents and a father in the last three years. Surely Gavie won't lose another beloved grandparent, not so soon after his Pap-Pap left him.

We will, of course, persevere. We're tenacious like that. We'll see her through whatever it is and we'll deal accordingly with the cards we hold. I'm already counting the small blessings: her daughter who's a nurse, having three grown children who can arrange their schedules if needed, our living so close by. I'm already planning, thinking about all of those things that we needed to do with my father's illness.

Like her doctors, I'm treating this as worst-case... for while it seems so surreal, I can't fathom life being so fair as to let it be nothing after all.