The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Friday, January 25, 2008

Smalltown Boy

The Boy's fever is down considerably. Thanks for asking.

It turns out he has Croup, an infection of upper respiratory system that restricts the airway and leaves him with a deep, raspy voice. The hospital has given him something so his airway doesn't close up completely, but his deep voice is taking some getting used to.

His normally cute, high-pitched voice has been replaced with a voice like Billy-Bob Thorton in Slingblade, or that kid from The Shining. It's sort of like looking into the future and getting a glimpse of The Boy at puberty - although I expect he'd to be taller.

I've taught The Boy how to say, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" but his voice isn't quite that deep, so he ends up sounding less like Johnny Cash and more like a hoarse Jimmy Somerville.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Some of my closest friends sound like Jimmy Somerville.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Holy Fucking Shit!

At 7:10 pm last night, three Firemen and four Paramedics are standing in our living room. They have the situation under control and are providing assurances.

Wait, let me backtrack.

At 6:30 am this morning The Boy woke up with a fever and slight cough. He was sleepy most of the day.

At 7:02 pm last night The Boy's fever spiked and he had a femoral seizure and started convulsing.

At 7:02:15 pm P and I figuratively crapped our pants. P is holding The Boy, I race for the phone.

At 7:02:30 pm the 911 dispatcher is walking us through the situation. It's a small comfort as The Boy is still convulsing in P's arms.

At 7:04 pm the seizure is pretty much over. The Boy is on his side, moaning, but thankfully breathing normally. P and I join in and start breathing again ourselves. We wait for the ambulance to arrive.

The Paramedics give The Boy a quick exam, measure his blood sugar and administer some Tylenol. Aside from being lethargic and covered in his own drool, he was fine.

Femoral seizures are apparently common with toddlers, and can happen when their temperature spikes quickly. The seizures look serious (what seizure doesn't?) but cause zero brain or physical damage.

So damage to kid zero. Damage to parents huge. I mean, how can you watch your kid convulse and not freak?

By 7:20 pm P and The Boy are in an ambulance on their way to Children's Hospital. I follow along in the car. Ironically earlier that evening P and I decided NOT to take him there.
P: Should we take him to Children's?
Me: Not unless we have to.
Well, the decision was made for us.

The Emergency Ward at Children's Hospital... sigh, we're tired of that place. Not that there has ever been a real emergency, but as newbie parents we probably went there a bit more than we needed to. And because there's never been a real emergency, we always get pushed down the queue. So we wait, and wait, and wait, and wait some more. The time before this we were there for more than seven hours before being discharged at 3:30 in the morning!

No parent wants to end up at a hospital, but if my only complaint is how long it takes I should be thankful. Most of the families there have far bigger worries.

In the end no matter how much they try to make the place kid-friendly (the TV stand is labeled the Jolly Cart for instance), Children's Hospital is still a hospital, with real life dramas taking place daily. When you see the emergency team pushing a gurney down the hall with an infant lying on top, it really puts your own problems in perspective.

We are just relieved The Boy is okay.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Moving Out of the Suburbs Means...

Fresh Air

For 45 minutes today I stood next to a guy that smelled fried bologna. The bus was packed and I couldn't get away. Even when I managed to turn my back his aroma was inescapable.

I'll still commute to work after we move, but it's half an hour less, which means 30 fewer minutes I'd have to stand next to "Mr. Deli".

Two weeks and counting... Me and my nose can't wait.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Living in the Suburbs Means... #6

Getting the hell out of the suburbs.

Happy New Year-ish! Let's see, where have I been since mid-December? Oh yeah, we were selling our home.

Yup, after just a year and a half out in the 'burbs, P and I have had enough. Enough with the long commute, enough with the driving everywhere, enough with malls and the lack of options. We do like the peace and quiet, and relative lack of crime, but those two factors just don't tip the scales for us.

Maybe it's just our particular neighbourhood, but there's a real lack of community out here. One of the reasons we picked Champlain Heights was because there were supposed to be a lot of young families. And apparently there are, the problem is P and I don't see any of them.

Champlain Heights is mainly a townhouse neighbourhood; blocks and blocks of townhouse complexes as far as the eye can see. Residents within each complex get to know each other, but there is virtually zero connection with the complex next door. The kids living in these complexes play within their complex, so when The Boy and I go to the local park, we're often the only two people there. We are surrounded by a couple thousand other people, yet we feel totally alone.

So it's been a stressful past few weeks, not so much about the selling of our home, but the anxiety of keeping the place neat enough to show with The Boy on the loose.

In less than 45 minutes after our last open house, he managed to turn our "showroom-ready" house into the Gaza Strip of toys. And with potential buyers viewing while P and I were at work, we had to keep the house in a constant state of clean. Luckily our house sold last week, because it was exhausting.

I can now go back to wallowing in my own filth - very liberating.

Otherwise our holidays were delightful. The Boy didn't really "get" Christmas, which suited us fine. P and I had to practically force him to open his presents. I'm smugly thinking that we've raised a child who is not into consumerism, but I have a feeling that smug attitude is going to disappear next Christmas.

The Boy did like seeing his cousins though. And so while he curtly turned his nose up at the sweater and pants we bought for him, he couldn't get enough of his extended family. The fact that he was at least 14 inches shorter and four years younger than his next closest cousin didn't bother him at the least. Being an only child we think it's important that he know his cousins, so P and I were happy to see them all get along.

My posts will be sporadic the coming weeks, as we get ready to move at the end of January. This time around we're shipping The Boy off to stay with my parents for a few days, which will make this move go MUCH smoother than the last one.