Back to Caroline's chest lump:
Before the doctor started examining Caroline for swampy ears he asked how she has been, in general, since her last visit. This gave me the opportunity to effortlessly call for the sidebar that I was going to introduce anyway - although I do recognize and sympathize with the fact that physicians hate it when you come in to be seen for your arthritic knee and ask additionally for a prostate check, bunion removal and professional assessment of the fact that your jaw pops when you eat corn on the cob - namely: Caroline's chest lump has grown noticeably larger since January. Her pediatrician frowned, checked it and then stared into space for a while.
"I'm trying to decide what we should do," he said.
I told him that the surgeon had asked for a follow-up ultrasound and consult in three months, which would put us back at the children's hospital in April.
"Let's move that up," he said. "Get her in this month if possible."
Okey-dokey, I said, and we went on with the ears and the nose and the cough cough coughing. They also weighed her and although this did not come up during the appointment I was APPALLED by the fact that little Mme. Cricket is currently eighteen pounds thirteen ounces. Steve points out that she has been ill and not eating well and, ok, true, but after months of climbing up the growth charts she had finally reached above the tenth percentile and this last check plunges her almost off the bottom again. No wonder she keeps biting Edward; she's probably hungry.
[I weighed her yesterday after her bath and she's up to 19 and 1/2. Tenth percentile here we come! She has been eating like a wolverine now that her ear feels better and she is no longer all congested. Unfortunately, she's a low-fat, high-fiber mostly vegetarian wolverine - Caroline likes tofu, all beans, all vegetables except broccoli whose combined mushy-crunchy properties baffle her, all fruit, lentils, oatmeal and wheat bread. She eschews dairy, beef, pork and chicken. If she was a yoga instructor she'd be all set. As a pint size whatsit aspiring towards quart sized status she needs to step it up a bit and develop a better relationship with bacon. Thank god for fried shrimp; it's the only thing she'll touch these days that packs more calories than a leaf of lettuce. Last night I carried her around the kitchen and introduced her to some of my best friends: butter, half and half, smoked ham... then I threw her in the air and shouted "Super Size Me!" about fifteen times. She was amused. I was the shortest kid in kindergarten and continued on the small size for a while (one of the comments on those elementary school Facebook photos was from a guy named Eric who wrote, "[I was] Shorter than JULIE??!!" - emphasis his) so I don't ever expect Caroline to be a runway model but I do hope that she is healthy and will not reach adulthood without ever having to duck as she walks under the dining room table.
I'll ask her pediatrician about her continued diminutiveness when we go for their fifteen month appointment - to date he has seemed unconcerned although, now that I think about it, to date she had been going up the chart.
I went to my local'ish CVS pharmacy and asked the nice pharmacist if he carried Florastor, per your recommendation. He did a weird little double-take and said, "I... well, no, but... is it new? I have never heard of it before but you are literally the third person who has asked for it today. Is it new?" And I said I'm not sure if it is new but I think it is a... and then I realized I didn't even know what it was, I just knew that the internet has told me to buy some. You feel pretty silly asking for a product without being entirely clear what it is. I tentatively said that I thought it was a probiotic of some kind and he said, "Oh I have THAT" and gave me a box of packets containing lactobacillus granules. Whether or not this is even close to Florastor I have no idea but Caroline has been on it and amoxicillin for six days and she has been remarkably inoffensive in her nether productions. So much so, in fact, that it prompted a discussion on the part of myself and Steve during the course of which we realized that Caroline has had diarrhea at least every other day for months; regardless of her cow's milk intake. So I indulged in a little logical fallacy and combined her high-dive off the growth charts with her soy milk diet and concluded that if she was going to have a stomach upset either way she might at least being getting the fatty benefits of whole milk. She has been drinking half milk-half soy for several days and she seems miraculously unaffected by it. Not sure what is going on here but I am proceeding with caution - life in our house is a lot more pleasant when you can tolerate dairy.
I got so far away from my initial point that I will now have to take a bus to return to it: Caroline's chest lump scares the hell out of me and the surgeon is seeing her a week from tomorrow. Repeat ultrasound followed by another consult. I contemplated holding my breath until they agreed to see her sooner but I guess a week is manageable. My brother assumes that this time they will choose to biopsy it. We'll see.
I was in the bathtub last night making a mental checklist of the Issues we have dealt with so far between Caroline and Edward -
Caroline's tiny size - pending
Edward's eye cysts - deemed probably harmless, final assessment pending
Caroline's hip dysplasia - checked, questioned, checked again, cleared
Edward's hip dysplasia - checked and cleared
Caroline's reflux - resolved!
Edward's reflux - resolved!
Edward's aspiration problems aka the Old Eat n' Drown - resolved!
Edward's crazy loud breathing (see above) - resolved!
Edward's eczema - resolved!
Caroline's eczema - resolved, mostly
Caroline's keratosis pilaris - when not aggravated by the eczema, not noticeable so... resolved!
Caroline's chronic upset stomach - pending
and Caroline's rapidly growing chest mass - Aaaaaiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee! pending
I have nothing else to say about this subject. Good thoughts appreciated.
Caroline and Edward have added a new word to their itty-bitty vocabularies: deer. Caroline augments this with the word "see", which she pronounces with a sh- sound. "Sheeeeee Deeeeee?" she asks and points outside at the... well the deer, usually, although sometimes it's a squirrel. She is also anxious to know if we have noticed the trees outside (Sheeeeeee Teee?) or if we are aware that the wind is blowing (whuuhhhhhhhhh, she blows to illustrate.) Edward is mono word but bi-syllabic: "Deeeeee-ur," he observes and then pounds on the window with his fists until the deee-ur run for their lives.
Added to their first actual word (an actual word, in my opinion, being one that is used repeatedly and correctly in context) which was "Yeah" (pronounced "Yah") we have the makings of two pure-bred Minnesotans: "See deer? Oh, yeah, see deer." Taken in its entirety this could be a complete North Country exchange. My mother - wickedly - finds this hilarious.
Caroline loves songs that involve hand gestures - I sing, she gesticulates. "Open Shut Them, "Happy and You Know It" "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider".... crazy popular. She opens and shuts, claps, stamps, rolls those bus wheels - she's going to be a preschool Circle Time prodigy, I can tell. Although when the itsy-bitsy spider starts its slow trek upwards Caroline refuses to get all finicky with the finger twiddling - I say "The itsy-bi..." and she thrusts her hands straight up in the air, like the itsy-bitsy spider has chosen to just take the elevator this time. Then she sits there with her elbows against her ears, all bug-eyed, until the sun comes out, which she protrays by waving her arms as if she is trying to flag a diesel down. You know, just before it rains.
She also loves the shopping cart my mother got her for her birthday (or maybe it was Christmas?) Caroline puts the same surprisingly reasonable items (toy keys; hair brush; a lavender-filled sleep mask that I am pretty sure I have had since junior high - the lavender has gummed together inside; her very small stuffed bear; a spoon; and a toy cell phone that used to sound like Elmo when it was Patrick's, back before Steve and I murdered it one dark night) into her shopping cart and sets off around the house. Every so often she stops and unpacks her belongings, then she packs them all up again and moves on. She's a busy kid.
Today she sat next to me while I changed Edward on the floor. After I wiped him up she helpfully handed me the new diaper. Then she less helpfully slapped him on the head. You know, as long as I was pinning him down for her.
She loves Patrick with the fiery intensity of a billion supernovas and every single time I say, "Hey Patrick! Stop [insert roughhouserish behavior]ing your sister!" he always directs the jury's attention to the fact that she is laughing her head off: "But she likes it" he protests.
Girls. Such suckers.
Finally, this could be my favorite picture of her, ever. She might be too short for the runway but I think she has a future in editorial high-end stuff. Break down that doll, Caroline Jane:
I just looked at this picture for a while and then looked at my hands to type some pithy conclusion and realized that I have bitten off all of my nails again. The chest thing will be ok, won't it?