Thursday, October 27, 2011

ceci n'est pas un blog post

So. It's come to this, eh? Too much to tweet; I'm going to have to actually blog just to catch up?

My sister's birthday: started out pretty hard, but got a little easier as it went along. I've been so agitated lately, like I have all this restless energy I need to put into...something. Something to do because of her, something to make because of her? I didn't know what. But SOMEthing.

I think it's turning out to be a blanket. Last winter, I brought home a lot of yarn I had sent my sister the year before. She wanted to crochet something for my boys, who'd outgrown the baby blankets she made them, and she wanted to try something she'd never done before. We settled on a new hat pattern. The first one came out too small for them to wear, but it is gorgeous, and the last handmade thing I have from her. She never got as far as trying a bigger one. An open-ended project was too overwhelming, I think, as her world started to close in on her. And in the end, it was too painful to use her hands.

I took the yarn home back then mostly so she would stop feeling like it was hanging over her head. But I knew at some point I was going to have to face it myself. This was the right time to start: thinking of her while I crochet is both heartbreaking and comforting, which seemed exactly right. And keeping my hands busy - and the music on loud - was not a bad way to get myself through the day.

Bet and the bullying: has also hit a heartbreaking point. The director pulled me aside after school yesterday to tell me four classmates had ganged up on him together; one of them hit him. She came down on them pretty hard. She called them into her office and talked to them about how terrible they must have made him feel (3 of the boys were so sorry they cried, she said. the 4th just shrugged and stared her down). They had to make him a card saying "I'm sorry, Bet. I want to be your friend," and give it to him in front of the rest of the class. They had to stay inside for recess.

When they gave him the card Bet easily said he forgave them. But he also said "I knew it was going to be me. When something like this happens, it's always me."

[Insert knife in heart; twist.]

Postscript: Aleph, on hearing that all the boys said "I want to be your friend," said "Oh, [boy with no remorse] doesn't want to be his friend. He's been mean to both of us for a long time." Well then. That shoe does appear to fit.

Aleph and the allergies: I am still not sure what we accomplished today but I think we basically went around in a circle. The skin test for mustard was, as it was last time, negative. The blood test results won't come back until next week. But if they come back negative too, the final step would be a food challenge EXCEPT the doctor says a food challenge for mustard is tricky, because it's spicy, and a child could report symptoms because of that, rather than because he's allergic. So it might not be worth doing it. Which leaves us...what? Avoiding mustard anyway??

But the other potential major change is that, even if his allergies stay the same, we might start expanding the list of brands we allow him to eat. Like, a lot.

See, they apparently did a study [ETA: actually, looks like two of them] where they looked at whether items with a "may contain traces" warning actually do contain traces, and whether the items without a warning do not. For some allergens - milk, especially - the assumption we've been operating with holds true: presence or absence of a warning was not a safe way to tell whether it's contaminated. But for nuts, it actually was. They think nut allergies are high-profile enough that major manufacturers (even the asshole ones, like ahemKraftcoughUnilever,) are being pretty careful about cross-contamination. So if it's made by a major manufacturer, and there's no warning on the far as our doctor is concerned, Aleph can eat it.

In addition, they told us, there are categories of packaged food we don't need to worry about altogether, major manufacturer or not. Because most likely, there would not be nuts anywhere near production. So we can trust those labels too. No need to call.

I know, right???

We'll definitely be starting slow, because we don't want to find we regret it and/or have a stroke. First on the list is mayonnaise, because omg, my mother in law will be SO HAPPY to have her favorite brand back. After that? I don't know. We'll see what happens.

The one thing I know for sure happened at the appointment was a lot of screaming; either because Aleph's terror of allergy testing is unavoidable, or because I didn't do a good enough job brainstorming ways to help him cope, and as you know, I prefer to blame myself whenever possible. So: shellshocked child/mother, CHECK.

Unexpectedly, I found myself telling him about infertility treatment as a sympathy measure. "Eema, did you ever have a blood draw?" "A lot of blood draws." "How about shots?" "Omg, too many shots to count." "And you didn't like them, but it was worth it, because you got a baby faster?"

And there you have it: the TL;DR version of my old blog! The end.


shanna said...

Best explanation of IF treatments ever.

Also, how "pure" does the mustard need to be for the challenge? How much does he need to have? My kids love dipping pretzels in honey mustard sauce (just honey + whatever mustard we have).

whylime said...

Oh, friend. In my tradition, when we make a craft or piece of artwork, each movement is considered a prayer. Every product then becomes the result of hours of prayer, which is part of what makes our stuff so special. I see your yarn work as a similar act of love and prayer for your sister, for her memory, and for her love for your boys. xoxoxo

projgen said...

I'm not having a good day, and omg, aleph just completed the meltdown.
He's actually, like, 25, and just incubated really fast, but is growing really slowly, right? Damn kid made me cry.

As for the rest, I have some special things from special people (no one as close as a sister!) that when I use, I have the same feeling: heartbreaking and comfort. I hope the comfort part gets much bigger over time.

And oh so much luck with the trying out new foods! How exciting/terrifying.

If it ain't a blog post, and it ain't a tweet, what is it?

Jody said...

What you write about the yarn makes perfect sense to me. The comfort of the yarn, and the heartbreak.

There are kids at my kids' school whom I would like to smack. HARD. Never will, of course. But what brats.

Good luck with the food expansion. Yay for lawsuit-avoiding factory practices.

Lut C. said...

Crochet is a soothing activity, or it is to me. I can imagine working with your sister's yarn is quite emotional, especially on her birthday.

The bullying is completely heartbreaking.

Same Nice Person said...

I liked this post about being not anti bullying but pro derech eretz.