Tea time!













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Children’s Book Review – Shark vs. Train


Jude’s godmother, a childhood friend of mine (Trisha you’re awesome!), is forever sending the most awesome care packages for the kids. In all seriousness she is one of the most thoughtful people that I have ever known.

A couple of years ago she sent this book for the boys, Shark vs. Train. We’ve read it dozens of times, but hadn’t touched it in months. Yesterday the boys rediscovered it, and wow we read it over and over.

Shark vs. Train starts out with two little boys (who look strikingly like Yeats and Jude) running for the toy box, where they pull out a train and a shark. The book is then the story of what happens when a shark and a train compete in various tasks, from selling lemonade to trick or treating to playing basketball to jumping cars Evil Kenevil style.

The pictures are just wonderful, incredibly detailed and just cartoonish enough to really appeal to a 4-7 year old. There are enough surprises in the details to keep us looking closely with every reading. The book is written with some tongue and cheek style to engage the parents as well as the children, which is wonderful considering we tend to read our favorite books several times a day.

One of the best parts of the book is that the boys go to replay the story! Immediately Jude ran to his room to grab his shark and the train. Then they played in the living room with them for the longest time. I love books that inspire play and especially creative play, which is a super aspect of this one.

We read a LOT of books in our house. Some become staples and favorites, others we only read once. Shark vs. Train is one that we come back to again and again.

Click on the picture below for a link to where to buy this great book for a kid in your life! Or go check out your local library.

Shark vs. Train

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Pills Pills Pills

After a week on Clonazepam (Klonopin) to ward off seizures while she was getting past infected ear pits, Hermione is finally weaned off.

This drug is such a blessing, as it allows her to stay off daily seizure meds like Keppra, but being on and especially coming off is no fun at all. We give it to her whenever she gets sick, or when lately when she isn’t visibly sick but has a short seizure that doesn’t require doctor care but can potentially lead to a bigger one.

While on, it makes her grumpy, sleepy and dizzy (we know this because her balance issues get worse while on it) and when she comes off the withdrawal can be brutal. We wean her to a half dose for a day or two before we cut her off.¬† While coming down from the med, she’s so grumpy! And jumpy. And once we cut it, her reaction is like clockwork. Little sleep at night and no daytime nap, followed by her just zonking out. And when you have a kid with a history of seizures who sleeps like that, the thing in the back of your mind is wondering whether she seized when you weren’t looking and is now postictal, or if it’s just that she’s sleepy.

I know some adults who have been on Clonazepam for short stretches. They tend to say that it’s rather traumatic. People can hallucinate and loose touch with reality. And the withdrawal is pronounced. Makes me wonder intently about what is going on in her little body and head when all of this is happening.

But the great news is that thanks to this medication, we’re three months without an ambulance ride! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?? Pretty darn awesome. As such, the pills are worth it, warts and all.

(Quick followup to this post: We did have an ambulance ride four days after I posted this originally on March 9th. We used Clonazepam as a rescue med, which has worked on a couple off occasions and is an off label use. This time no dice. She only seized for 12-15 minutes and was done seizing before EMS took her out of the driveway. No PICU stay. Still no fun!)

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Sick night

Hermione has infected ear pits ūüė¶ They’re these little dimples right at the tops of her ears which are actually more than just tiny spots but rather cavernous sinuses. We always knew infection was possible and so we caught it super early as we watch such bizarre things closely.

Thought I’d share our nighttime comfy tray!


Happy midnight everyone!

Creamed corn (currently our favorite food), fruit medley, ibuprofen for the fever, antibiotics for infection and clonazepam to chase away seizures.

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How to attack a fever

Long time no blog. But here I am!

Until this year, we’d never really dealt with much sickness in our house. Colds here and there, and the occasional bout of stomach flu but on the whole nothing serious.

This week has hit our little family hard! Yeats and Jude, who are terribly robust little boys, both have had incredibly high fevers. Jude topped out at 103 and Yeats at 104. Hermione has been banished to my inlaws (who are awesome btw) in an effort to keep her well and out of the hospital. So far she’s not been hit. She’s on a special med that will raise her threshold for seizure just in case, but she can only stay on it for a few days.

Our sick little boy.

We’ve also seen what a typical febrile seizure looks like. Now I see why everyone freaked out about Hermione’s. Jude (3 years old) had one when his fever hit 103. We called the doctor, who he’d already seen earlier in the day, and since he didn’t have another one and his fever went down, we just kept him home.

Here’s what a typical febrile seizure looks like (from the National Institutes of Health):

  • The child may cry or moan.
  • The muscle tightening may last for several seconds, or longer.
  • The child will fall, if standing, and may pass urine.
  • The child may vomit or bite the tongue.
  • Sometimes children do not breathe, and may begin to turn blue.
  • The child’s body may then begin to jerk rhythmically. The child will not respond to the parent’s voice.
  • The seizure will stop within a few seconds or a few minutes (less than 10)

Jude’s looked like muscle tightening. ¬†Both sides of his body – this weird flexing of his arms and legs that happened at the same time. He stayed pretty responsive and it only lasted for about 3 minutes total. We got him into a cool bath quickly and got the fever down, which stopped the seizure.

So how do you attack a high fever in a child over age 2?

  • Don’t panic. Even a fever of 104, if it can be brought down with medication, is ok. Don’t treat a low grade fever (less than 101) as an otherwise healthy child actually benefits from a low fever and will get better faster.
  • Give an initial double dose of acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol). We use the melt in your mouth pills, which are widely available. The boys love them.
  • Alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen (brand name Motrin or Advil) every 3 hours. This is trick we learned in the PICU.
  • Cool washcloth alternating on the forehead, back of the neck, chest and back. This does absolute wonders.
  • Warm bath. It’s VERY important not to shock the system. If you plunge a child with a fever into a cool or cold bath you could cause serious complications. But a warm bath can be just the trick, and is also comforting to an achy child.

Fevers often spike in the middle of the night and come without warning. It’s essential that parents of young children keep children’s strength ibuprofen and¬†acetaminophen¬†on hand. We live miles from the nearest 24 hour drugstore, but even if it’s close by you don’t want to find yourself running out at 3am with a sick child at home. If you don’t have some in your medicine cabinet, pick it up TODAY.

Here’s what Dr. Sears has to say about how to treat a fever, in much more detail than what I’m offering¬†

Most of all trust your instincts. Hermione gets ibuprofen at a fever of 99 because of the risk of a seizure. Jude started acting unlike himself several hours before his fever hit in the middle of the night.  Yeats started being snarky yesterday afternoon, and his fever spiked to 104 at 4am.  You know your kids best!

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