Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Blanket Monster

I tried something new this weekend with the kids. They had a blast.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something to be Thankful For

“So what would happen if we did not have these antibiotics?” my father asked his doctor as the doctor wrote out a prescription. My father had developed a fever as his body was fighting off of an infection and he was curious which would win – the infection or his body.

“Well, before we had these antibiotics, people died from this,” the doctor replied.

As my father was later relaying this story to me, we were both struck by how much we take for granted the life-saving medicines that are readily available to us.

I reflect on this conversation every time I have a child who would likely die if it were not for modern antibiotics.

Last weekend was one of those times.

Ed developed an internal infection that led to a soaring fever and abdominal pain. After 12 hours of tests and debates among doctors in the emergency room, the root cause was discovered. IV antibiotics were injected into her veins and she was admitted to the hospital for close observation.

Ed responded well to the antibiotics and she is back home with us now, although the sum total of her activity each day has been to move from her bed to the couch in the morning and then move back to her bed at night.

This most recent event has caused me to reflect on how many children I would have lost already without access to medical care. By my count, the number is three. But the divide between “would have lost” and “have lost” is so enormous that the two hardly seem related. I recall reading a news article that had a photo of an Ethiopian mother holding her dying child. Her despondent face clearly conveyed her pain over the hopelessness of the situation. There were no doctors, or enough food for that matter, and her child was going to die.

Naively, I thought it could not be worse for this mother. But I was wrong. She actually had three kids and this was the third time she was holding one as they died. Such pain is too great for me; I cannot come to terms with it.

So this Thanksgiving, as I see Ed moping around the house, I am truly thankful for how access to modern medicine will allow all of my family to be together on Thanksgiving day. As I look at my family, however, I also see beyond them to the families of Ethiopia and I realize that I need to do more for them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Solving the Rubik’s Cube

“Buddy did a great job today,” a grade school teacher said to me as I walked by her in the hall.

“Oh, yeah? With what?” I asked.

“He solved the Rubik’s cube under the Elmo,” she replied.

We had walked past each other at this point, so even though I had no idea why Buddy would hold his hands under a stuffed Sesame Street character when solving the Rubik’s Cube I said, “That’s great” and continued on my way back to the high school and my own class.

It turns out that the “Elmo” is a document projector and Buddy had solved the Rubik’s cube while it was being projected up on the big screen during an assembly. Pretty cool stuff for a 10 year old.

One of the things that educators love is to see independent learning. One of the “opportunities” that big families offer is a lot of independent learning. Mom and dad often have too much going on to hold the hand of every child in the home.

I had shown Buddy a You-Tube video on how to solve the Rubik’s Cube, but that was it. After that, he was on his own. I did not even know that he had finally got it down until I found out in the hallway conversation above that he not only had it down, he was performing for the school.

Well, when one brother does something sweet like that, another brother wants in on the action. Little Foot got Buddy to show him the You-Tube video and he then learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube. Pretty cool stuff for an 8 year old.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beggar's Night Costumes

Little Miss Anna dressed up as a cheerleader.

F.G. as a black Crayola crayon.

Little Foot as a bow hunter.

Miss Bookworm and Ed as injured soccer players. This fit pretty well since Ed could not play in the tournament this weekend since she has pneumonia.

K.D. as a rock star.

Buddy as a headless man walking on his hands. He sure got a lot of comments on his costume as we roamed the neighborhood.

Here are the pumpkins this year. One was designed by Miss Bookworm and the other by Buddy.