Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of

Happy New Year!

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Last January I wrote that Charlotte’s resolutions for 2007 were: “Simply to fly through her next surgery with the same panache and resilience she brings to everything else. To turn two. To learn to say her name. To play in the ocean. And to continue to grow from strength to strength.”

To say she accomplished all she set out to do would hardly do justice to our year. And, since she still can’t (won’t?) say her name, it wouldn’t be entirely true. So I’ll start with a picture from last January.
Here she is last month.

In 2007:

  • Charlotte had her second open heart surgery. She was home from the hospital in 5 days. Her scar is barely visible.
  • She reached the amazing height of 38.75 inches (4 inches since last January)
  • She weights 31.2 lbs. (Just about 6 lbs. since last January or .5 lbs per month, exactly what the doctors expect from her.)
  • Her speech and vocabulary improve and grow at such a rate that we laugh about our worries (in Fall 2006) that she had a slight speech delay.
  • We no longer count days without vomit. Vomiting is a rarity, not a regularity.
  • Charlotte is taking nearly 100% of her Pediasure by mouth. Last January I was giddy about 50%. She also eats between 400 to 600 calories of solid food daily.
  • She sings in French. Gorgeously.
  • She still loves Bubba, loves to push me around the house and place me where she wants me, and sings, making up her own melodies and words as she goes.
  • She has taught herself the alphabet and is now figuring out basic reading skills.
    She recognizes all her numbers.
  • She loves books (but you knew that).
As for the food front, stay tuned for another blog entry shortly.
Like last year, Charlotte and we would like to honor the extended Team Charlotte who helped us reach this day with grace and some bit of sanity:
  • Dr. Carl Backker, cardiac-thoracic surgeon. His smile after Charlotte’s surgery said it all.
  • Laura Robson, Sara Karp and Cheryl Mercado–respectively Charlotte’s speech, physical and occupational therapists
  • Dr. Luciana Young, cardiologist extraordinaire
  • The Feeding Team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
  • All of our wonderful friends who never think of Charlotte as anything other than a regular kid
  • Lakeview Pediatrics, all the doctors and staff, who answer our questions and assure us that Charlotte is as extraordinary as we think she is
  • Our families, especially our nieces who treat Charlotte like one of the girls, even if she is 10 years younger than they are
  • Tammy, pediatric optician, who makes sure that Charlotte has the perfect glasses, in terms of fit, function, and fashion
  • Dr. Charlie, Charlotte’s dentist
  • Francie Paul, a fellow “heart mom,” the founder of the Saving Tiny Hearts Society, and the best friend I’ve never met
If I’ve left anyone out, please know that we are ever-grateful for all of your kind thoughts, your emails, your comments on the blog. We never take for granted the blessings we find in the love and support of our family and friends. And we are always moved when strangers find the site and post their well-wishes.

In summing up 2006, I wrote,

It was a rough year. In many ways, it was harder and longer than 2005. Charlotte
lost her only grandfather before he had a chance to know her or she him. There
were definitely days when I didn’t know how I’d make it until Charlotte’s
bedtime and nights when I thought that if I had to clean up one more vomit, I’d
lose my mind.

I can honestly say that 2007 flew by. Charlotte brings a smile to my face on even the most trying days. And most of the time, she is not the reason the day was difficult. We still miss our dads, but are glad that Charlotte spent time with both of her grandmothers this year. (Just this morning she said randomly, “Charlotte has two grandmas, Nenenne and Bamma.”) 2007 was truly a year of triumphs.

As for me, I never did manage arm balances and am still looking for balance in my life. I did, however, easily and successfully reenter a career I left nearly a decade ago. I’m teaching again. I have a book chapter coming out this year and a conference paper to deliver in March. I’ve been asked to help select films for the Chicago Latino Film Festival. And I’m one-third finished with my copy editing certificate. It’s been a full year. For 2008, I’m going to continue working on balance. Maybe the arm balances will follow.

Charlotte’s resolutions for 2008, you ask? To get rid of the g-tube. To transition nicely to daycare and then, in the fall, to preschool. To get potty trained (Okay, that’s mine, not hers. She could care less!). To learn to count. To learn to pronounce her name properly. To turn three. To play in the ocean, again. And, as always, to continue to grow from strength to strength.
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Author: Culture Bean

I am a mother, a pre-published children's author, and a published academic. I am also a "mommy blogger," though I hate the term. My passions are reading and writing. As a professor, I strive to help my students think critically about the media and culture with which they engage. I've started this blog because it's time I put my money where my mouth is!

One thought on “Happy New Year!

  1. Beanie, you are so eloquent. I am so proud of all of you and especially Charlotte.Love, Mom

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