(a.k.a. she who, along with Joe
, gives me hope that the dreaded teen years may be survivable) asked in the comments about Frankie's reaction to our last hospitalization, which was missing in my summary of the trip. I'm pretty sure that this oversight was due to the fact that it was (mostly) a non-issue. First of all, and most importantly, she got to stay at home, and I'm pretty sure that she understands much better that we will be returning to her when she is in her own familiar location, rather than staying at someone else's house. Secondly, this trip was much shorter. Thirdly, we left in much better spirits this time. In Dallas, the last Frankie saw of Annika was her big sister going ballistic because they had just told her that the I.V. needed to go in immediately and they didn't have enough time to wait for her beloved EMLA cream to take effect (a numbing cream that Annika loves as much for its psychological effects as its physiological ones). And I'm sure Frankie could not have missed noticing how very upset and stressed I was. This time our departure was much more relaxed. It all added up to a more peaceful separation for Frankie.
My mom came up on the train and stayed with her while Jörg was at work. She is pretty much the epitome of everything good and warm that the word "grandmother" evinces, so Frankie was delighted. She is the kind of grandma who will sit on a stool in the bathroom and read The Princess and the Potty
12 times in a row while the poopy newbie sits contentedly on her Elmo and Cookie Monster potty chair, waiting for the spirit to move her. Or not. She is the kind of grandma who gamely allows her granddaughter to use her styling accessories from her big sister's Belle Doll Head on Grandma's tender scalp. She is the kind of grandma who excitedly announces that Frankie counted to ten for her, while Frankie stands by proudly chanting some rhyming gibberish that might, in fact, have some connection to our Arabic numeral counting system. In other words, Frankie missed us, but she was feeling much more secure this time around.
The girls are both in pretty wonderful moods right now. Annika is overjoyed that she has started preschool this week. Really, "overjoyed" is an understatement. She's wiggling, skipping, hopping, twirling, and singing her way from the car to the classroom happy to be back. After talking to the doctors, who feel that her chance of bleeding in the next few weeks has been greatly reduced by the last round of sclerosing, we decided to let her start preschool (3 weeks late, of course). It's only 2 hours, 3 days a week, but it's so exhilarating to her being off on her own. We're planning on pulling her back out one week before the Rex shunt is scheduled to avoid any accidental exposure to infection before such a major surgery. But in the meantime, we're living the motto, "Enjoy your wondrous life, little girl!" with her. As long as enjoying her wondrous life doesn't involve buying any more animatronic toys, that is.
And while Annika enjoys the blissful independence of going to preschool, Frankie is practicing a certain take-charge attitude in her own life. After a particularly triumphant episode of pooping in the potty, she marched out of the bathroom swinging her arms like an enthusiastic drum major at the head of a parade (a poopy parade). She stomped her way into the kitchen, arms swinging high, and shouted at Jörg, "I made poop in the potty! I ike
it!" "Wow," Jörg replied, "I like that, too!"
A few minutes later Frankie was sitting at the table munching on a cheese stick. Given her enthusiasm concerning her own poop just moments ago, Jörg understandably expected some happy cheers when he looked over at her and said, "Frankie, I love you." Instead, he got nothing but silence as she chewed her cheese thoughtfully. Thinking that she had not heard him he repeated, "I love
you, Frankie." The expectant silence dragged on, with Frankie still absorbed in her cheese. Dying to hear her adorably cute response, "I love you, too, Daddy" Jörg moved a bit closer to her and spoke a bit louder, "Frankie
, I love you!" Finally she turned to him and stopped her chewing, "O-kaaaaaaaay." And then took another bite of cheese.
Of course, I was having a good laugh at this, but then Jörg shot right back to her, "Who do you think you are? Han Solo
?" which made me laugh even harder. We may be parents constantly obsessed with our children, but at least we can still make jokes purely for each other's benefit. He's a keeper.