18 December 2014

Santa claus

Once upon a time, my mom was in charge of her ward's Christmas dinner on a Friday night.  We went.

Santa Claus (aka Bishop Baker with sunglasses on) was there and Molly was actually brave enough to sit on his lap (and give him the note she made for him at school).  She told him she wanted an ice cream maker.  Jack was too nervous to sit on his lap, but he did take a candy cane and say that he wanted a dinosaur.

Once upon a time my children played with shaving cream at school and I took Jack's picture.

Once upon a time, the kids had their annual Christmas program.  They were all dappered up and looked splendid.  

Molly wanted to sit on Santa's lap again after the school program.  This time she told him that she wanted an ice cream maker (at least she was consistent). Jack was too nervous to sit on his lap, but he took a candy cane again and said he wanted a dinosaur (at least he's consistent, too).


We went to the dentist.  Molly has been several times now.  Jack went for the first time.  Everyone was well-behaved and cooperated as they should. For that, I was pleased.  Molly had 5 cavities.  For that, I was totally unprepared.  We brush teeth.  I'm not a candy grinch by any means, but it's not like my kids have the diet of Buddy the Elf either.  How could this happen?   I have no idea.  

Our dentist is way overkill on the prizes.  This visit, the kids both got a mask.  Molly can add it to her superhero cape and t-shirt.  

We went back two days later to get the cavities fixed.  They gave me some potent solution for her to drink an hour before the appointment.  She got the laughing gas, also.  She got the novocaine.  I was expecting the worst from this little drama queen, but her appointment came and went without a hitch. She was a little groggy from the solution and kept asking about where the helicopters at the hospital park, but otherwise didn't do much comical.  I was worried, too, that when the novocaine wore off that she would be in pain, but she was fine and dandy.  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  

Don't try to take her to karate.  Don't try to put her shoes on if the seam of the sock is slightly skewed.  Don't interrupt her when she's talking.  Don't think she'll like the Sesame Street characters at the Tabernacle Choir concert.  But, by all means, take her to the dentist.  She'll love it!  (She is as complicated as and so much like her dad sometimes, I don't know if I'll ever understand her . . .  but I love her!)

16 December 2014


I just checked my school e-mail and my inbox included three unfortunate messages.  One was from a student who will be gone this week after a diagnosis with a weird form of mono.  There was one about a kid who had an emergency appendectomy over the weekend.  Then, there was one more about a kid who doesn't come much who found out over the weekend he has some kind of terminal abdominal cancer.  Holy cow and terrible Merry Christmas.

It has been quite a medical year with the students from room 223 at Murray High and it is only December.  Here is a list (in no particular order) of things going on with my own students (that I'm aware of).

  • 2 cases of mono
  • 2 appendectomies - 1 appendix is now a mono girl and 1 appendix is a kid who nearly cut off his thumb over the summer
  • 1 terminal cancer
  • 1 strange infection (yet to be determined) for a super nice A student who now hasn't been to school since before Thanksgiving.
  • 1 strange infection that caused a student's ear drums to both rupture and now has been diagnosed with permanent hearing loss and will likely be deaf soon
  • 2 suicide attempts resulting in hospitalizations - one of these came the day after a kid had melted down in my class and I still feel bad about it
  • 2 cases of extreme anxiety - one resulted in a hospitalization and one resulted in the student no longer attending school
  • 1 case of a student with anorexia
These medical situations are in addition to  . . .
  • a student who lives with an abusive dad and had a meltdown in my class last week
  • 2 students who were living in a motel until mid November when they finally got an apartment (with no furniture)
  • a student who stopped attending school because she and her dad were kicked out of their house and she had no way to get from wherever they were staying to school (the school got her a Trax Fair pass)
  • A student who's mother died
I also have a co-worker who's daughter-in-law has kidney failure and had to deliver a 1 pound baby as a result.  The woman is now on dialysis every other day and the baby has had a heart surgery and will obviously be hospitalized for a long time.

There is also, not to mention, James' cousin who's little boy has been battling brain cancer and then their house burned down.

With that list of very unfortunate circumstances, here is my perspective:

Several weeks ago I went for a very exciting (note sarcasm) annual exam with my doctor (actually a PA in my doctor's office because it is impossible to see my doctor unless you are actually having a baby).  The PA found what she thought were several "lumps" and I had to schedule a diagnostic mammogram.  I had to wait about two weeks for the appointment and during that two weeks I was a little bit silently freaked out.  It turned out to be nothing and so I was able to stop worrying and move on with life.  I'm sure this has happened to lots of other people, but for a couple of weeks it was a very personal series of crazy "what if's" in my brain every time I thought about it.  I don't really want to make a big deal about it other than to point out that the idea that "maybe I have cancer," was able to put a clearer perspective on things.  Am I living life the way you should be?  Am I doing all I can to be a good person?  Am I living life to the fullest?

I am so grateful for the life that I do have, my family, and my interactions and experiences with others.  My life is far from perfect but it is a pretty good one.  I am grateful for economic stability.  I am grateful for reason and rationalization.  I am grateful for healthy children.

Our bishop gave a talk in church recently where he repeated something his mother always said.  Basically it was that, "if everyone put their problems in a basket, we would all end up taking our own problems right back out."  

Sometimes life is sucky, but we should be grateful for our own problems.  There is always someone worse off than you.  Try to remember that, especially at Christmas time.  You never know what the people around you may be going through.  Be nice to everyone.  Be kind.  Be grateful for what you have and are given.

That's it.