Home Again

This just makes me think of American Gothic in a way. And those overalls, which we gave him, are about outgrown, but it gives him a Tom Sawyer look I’m liking a lot right now.

This just makes me think of American Gothic in a way. And those overalls, which we gave him, are about outgrown, but it gives him a Tom Sawyer look I’m liking a lot right now.

Around the time my grandson was born, five years ago, I was reading more than a few articles warning of commercial exploitation of social-media images, particularly children. These weren’t particularly sinister, just troubling. Seeing your child in a stock photo would be disturbing, I’d think.

My daughter and her husband seemed aware and on the same page, and they’ve limited the exposure of our Bixie and we’ve followed their lead. Nobody wants to be the culprit grandparent, and as tempting as it is to share, we keep it to a minimum and that feels right.

So I enjoy it when I manage to take a few photos of my grandson that are special to me and at the same time are a little anonymous, profiles or the back of his head. Got a lot of those this past week.

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The above pic got some reaction yesterday on Facebook, reaction that surprised me at first. It’s a shame that some little kids develop an autoimmune disease, and it was horrifying and life-changing when Bix was rushed to the hospital nearly four years ago, but you know what? Kids get worse diagnoses every day, much worse. If I could have spared that 17-month-old the trauma, obviously I would have, but now it’s just a quirk of his existence, complicated and a huge responsibility for his parents but not the nightmare it seemed way back when.

And while there’s a lot of very positive news coming from the research and work on Type 1 diabetes, the most pertinent stuff is the convenience of technology in treating the disease. He’s had a blood sugar monitor for a couple of years now (at least), a little port that constantly assesses his glucose level and zaps that information to a cell phone’s Bluetooth connection, which is why he has his own iPhone (a very old one, not used for anything else) that has to stay near him at all times. His readings are then available to anyone connected to him (including us, here in Washington). He’s had a pretty good morning, I see.

Now he also has an insulin pump, and a little device that sort of looks like a Blackberry circa 2006. Very simple, easy enough that a 5-year-old has no problem. Pricking his finger to get a drop of blood is hardly worth mentioning, and then he just answers the prompts (with an adult looking over his shoulder). If he’s about to eat, he enters that and the amount of carbs, and the pump drips out the appropriate bolus. It took me about 60 seconds to understand, and I went through the process with him as the adult in the room (sometimes in the house) a few times.

I had no problem with this, unlike giving him shots, which made me queasy. This felt bizarre, as I’m the least queasy person when it comes to this stuff. When my kids had their inevitable traumas, I always felt the parent engine rev up and it was off to the ER. Blood, pain, screaming—this will pass.

But giving this little kid a shot in his belly fat or his thigh, as accustomed to it as he’d become, wasn’t in my wheelhouse. I could do it, but I’d prefer to hold his hand, and snuggle while someone else did the dirty work. So this is back to baseline for me. I can count carbs. I lived through the early years of the 21st century; of course I can count carbs.

So no crying for Bixie. It’s rough and I only see a tiny fraction of the hassle, but he’s doing fine and it’s become pedestrian. He’s not being denied anything, really; he had a bowl of ice cream the other night, which I measured and weighed and calculated. I baked cookies the other day and he had one of those, too. We’re good.

I have a million stories from the past week, as if I refilled my supply, which is true. My life has become a little isolating and very lonely and unsociable in the past few months, something obvious after this trip. I’m a little rusty, and it didn’t help that I was fighting sleep deprivation the entire time. This isn’t a surprise but was more evident this week, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t top 5 hours of sleep once. This is so unlike me that it feels as though I suddenly developed an allergy to something I eat every day. I’m a great sleeper, and almost always manage to push at least close to 8 hours.

And I welcome this, really. Wanted more sleep, needed more sleep, but changing my routine is always a good idea and I got feedback. My Fitbit showed me that I was moving every hour, quite a bit, not achieving any record number of steps or anything special, just constantly moving. With the exception of a couple of short walks on foot, the longest less than a mile roundtrip, to run errands for my daughter, I stayed inside with the boy. It’s December, even in Texas.

I also note that I routinely charge batteries. Every day. Some days, I find myself charging four devices at the same time, add ‘em up (Bluetooth headphones, phone, iPad, etc.). This is only a reflection of being at home; whatever the thing is, I usually have two and one is often charging while I use the other, just convenience. A couple of these devices I switch out a couple of times a day to recharge, and last week I did it twice in total.

I sent a couple of emails and then didn’t check for a response until many hours had passed, which is essentially the anti-Chuck, let’s be honest.

I read four books on my Kindle, finishing up a couple I’d started at some point and then just reading because I was on a plane or couldn’t sleep, which is also different.

 I was hyperaware that I tend to forget to eat when I’m away from home, and always seem to drop a pound or two, and really, really didn’t want that to happen, so I shoved a lot of small meals into my pie hole and did just fine. Scrawny but fine.

I was just busy with the day-to-day of a lovely 5-year-old charmer, sweet and kind and scary smart. It’s the best kind of busy, too.

Left to right: Bix and I spent a few hours with map puzzles, fun for him and joy for me; we also pretended to be airplanes a lot. The final photo is the poster for Roomful of Teeth’s performances with Peter Sellars in France, where my son-in-law has spent the past few weeks and why we came out at this particular time.

Chuck SigarsComment