Remember how I wrote on that last blog post of Wes funnies how the girls had to get their funny from someone?
Yeah, well, that wasn’t all they got from their dear, sweet Papi.
Last Thursday, we got small hints about what was to come our way on Friday. When I went to pick the girls up from school, Emma’s English teacher came to the car and gave me the dreaded “we need to talk.” She went on to say that Emma was having trouble finishing her work in class, which put me immediately in “light a fire” mode once I got Emma home. I was going to give her a nice, stern lecture about finishing her work… when I noticed that she was scratching. A lot. A quick look at her tummy and back revealed some spots, and I counted up the days she’d been on her antibiotic. Eight. Long ago back when a spider kissed Emma on the butt (can’t make this stuff up, y’all), she had a very similar reaction to another antibiotic nine days in. I prayed that it wouldn’t be so, because this time? She was on a really common antibiotic, and if she turned out to be allergic to this, it would likely mean an allergy to penicillin. (Just like Papi.) And getting sick is not such a glorious thing if you can’t even take penicillin, y’all.
I arranged a meeting with her teachers for the next morning, assuming that I’d wake the girls up, take them to school, then meet with her teacher where everything would get cleared up in no time at all.
The next morning, I went to wake up Emma and found our sweet girl in a full-blown drug reaction. Oh, man, y’all. She had a slight fever (which was preferable to the 103 fever she had last time), but she was covered in itchy spots. All over her back, her stomach, her legs, her arms, her neck, her scalp, her face, her mouth — everywhere! “I need to take my medicine,” she said to me, so stoically. “You’re not taking another drop of that stuff!,” I told her and gave her a big dose of Benadryl, sending her back to bed until I could figure out what to do.
Fortunately, Friday is Wes’s day off, so he sat with Emma, prepared to call the doctor the minute her office opened, while I took Ana to school and went on to the teacher conference for Emma. I was prepared to hear that my child’s inability to get her work done was a behavior problem, and I already had a whole list of solutions to that, one of which might have included my hand to her spotty butt. (Just keepin’ it real, y’all.) Which is why I was a little shocked to hear, first thing, “She needs to see a doctor.”
And thus, I was introduced to the world of ADD and dyslexia. I’ve always assumed (like some of you, probably) that ADD is a label people slap on kids who are just being kids and that there are so few cases of children who actually really have attention deficit problems that the odds of mine being among their ranks? Were rare indeed. Added to it, they’re girls, which made it more of an impossibility in my mind.
As both of Emma’s teachers showed me her work and described to me what they see in the classroom, my heart really began to drop. Because not only was there really good evidence for a problem (that doesn’t affect her behavior — she just can’t focus, even when she’s sitting there quietly), there was evidence for another problem as well. I hadn’t seen it at home because I work alongside her on homework, but on the classwork she does on her own, she writes everything backwards. Not just flipped letters but entire sentences written backwards. Numbers backward. Her work would make good sense if you put it in front of a mirror… or if you’re Wes.
Hmm. Light bulb finally on.
It was at this point that I mentioned that Wes is dyslexic and ADD, both of which are apparently GENETIC. Who knew, right? Well, I really did know that, but when the doctor said, “It’s a girl!,” I let myself forget it because girls aren’t dyslexic or ADD either one, right?
Except they are. And she probably is. And now, we get to go through a whole slew of tests to confirm what I think we already know. Emma’s brain works just like Wes’s. Which will be a great thing when she’s an adult who can read Greek and Hebrew and exposit the Scriptures in a quiet office somewhere… but will be a really sucky thing when she’s a first grader trying to pay attention in a busy classroom.
The meeting was cut short when I got a call from Wes, saying that we’d gotten an appointment to see the doctor… in, like, ten minutes. I sped through Pasadena to be there at the doctor’s office just in time to hear the doctor say, “Wow. Look at that.” And to confirm that, no, this is not a normal reaction to amoxicillin and that, no, she shouldn’t finish up that ten day supply. She checked her ear, declared it clear enough, and sent Miss Itchy Britches off with instructions to take Benadryl religiously for the next few days. (Which has made her totally uninhibited and — again! — more like Wes than you can imagine as she puts her hands in my hair, drools on my neck, and murmurs, “Do you know how much I love you?” So totally the same reaction Wes had back when they took out his wisdom teeth and I was there with him as he recovered. Which is a story worth telling, which I just might do.)
The doctor finished up by congratulating Emmy on being allergic to every antibiotic she’s ever tried. And she congratulated Wes on having some really strong, crappy genes. Can’t wait to see what happens the next time Emma gets an infection and gets to try another antibiotic! Wheee!!!!
We stopped by the pharmacy for some calamine lotion and to update Emma’s file to now include allergies to Bactrim, amoxicillin, and penicillin. Wes, who was just now getting the synopsis of the teacher conference, looked a little proud when he said to Emma, “You look like Mommy and think like Papi.” To which I added, “It could be worse. You could look like Papi and think like Mommy.” In other words, she could be Ana. (Oh, I kid. I love my OCD, neurotic Ana. The world needs people like us to keep everything running neatly and precisely, girl!)
So, that’s where we are with Emma. Itchy, blotchy, and fidgety. I have a feeling I’m going to grow to appreciate Wes even more through this, as I work with Emma and get a glimpse into how HIS mind functions as well. I well remember our first date, how intently he stared at me at the noisy restaurant we went to, and how I thought, “Wow. He’s really into me.” I now know that he was into me (of course) and struggling to stay focused with all of the distractions around us! And I so appreciate that he made such a concentrated effort. There might not be any dyslexic, ADD progeny (sigh) wandering around if he hadn’t.
I’m sure I’ll be updating with news about what we find out. So thankful for teachers who are quick to see these things and are so willing to help as we try to figure out a way to help our Emmy succeed in school!