Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

Fifty-Three Months Old!

What does an inventive kid do when you tell him that no, he may not watch cartoons or a movie? He goes into his room, scribbles on the chalkboard, and says, “This is my TV! And this is my remote!” he adds, waving the eraser. And then he goes and sits on the end of his bed and ‘watches’ the ‘television,’ narrating all sorts of dialogue. It’s much more entertaining than the real thing.

The boy has officially conquered pedals on tricycles, the only obstacle to upgrading to a bike. The other week he asked if he could go for a bike ride before dinner, and HRH agreed. The boy took the trike out to the sidewalk, HRH ambling along behind him, and suddenly the boy took off down the street and HRH had to run to catch up. Wow! Looks like we may be getting him a bike for Christmas, if we can find one (we may go with a camera instead and buy the bike in spring). He was playing with bikes at a store the other day and automatically went for the smallest ones, as he’s been doing… except we discovered that they’re now too small. So he’s up to the next size, the size I got when I was five. He’s having a bit of a problem with the pedaling forward thing, though, because he kept pushing back and braking it. Tricycle pedals are slightly in front on the seat, bicycle pedals are directly beneath.

His arms and legs are just so long. The sleeves of most new size 4 shirts, after a wash, are too short. And he has trouble pulling shirts off because the shoulders are a bit tight. He’s slim, though, so we run into a problem with pants that are long enough for his legs but too loose around the waist. And the feet, ye gods. Did I mention that his new winter boots are size eleven? And that he’s grown out of most of his socks?

We are in a full-blown pirate phase at the moment. Muppet Treasure Island is his soundtrack of choice in the car, he can sings all the songs, and dashes around the house with a pirate hat on over a bandanna, waving a paper sword, and being Long John Silver. We are commanded to sing lustily whenever certain songs come on. Fortunately he is a good-hearted pirate; he lined up all his stuffed animals and gave them all flu shots. I sacrificed bits of spinning fibre to be cotton balls, which we taped over their injection sites, and put stickers on top of the improvised band-aids. No one’s getting sick on his watch.

I took him to get his hair trimmed this past weekend and he chirped, “I love getting my hair cut!” And it isn’t just for the lollipop, either. Or the fact that the bookstore is right next door. Okay, I’m sure they play roles in his love for ‘the haircut store,’ as he calls it, but they really do seem to be afterthoughts. He just really likes the environment and the woman who trims his hair for him.

The day of his flu shot we all went out to see Astro Boy, as planned and promised. The plan was to have an early lunch, then for the boy to nap, then to head out to the theatre, but the plan got derailed at the nap part. He messed about in his bed for a while, then got up an hour later, then fifteen minutes after that. I put him back to bed with a light on and a pile of books so he’d at least have more quiet time. Then he dawdled on the way out so that we were clock-watching all the way there in the car, making it into the theatre just as the previews were ending while HRH made a brief stop to buy popcorn. There were a total of seven people in the theatre, so it felt like a private showing! The boy was enchanted by the film, sitting literally on the edge of his seat for the last half. He also happened to glance back and see the projection booth for the first time, which fascinated him. He asked about it repeatedly, and when the lights came up he ran up the stairs to see it. Very exciting. So was all the decor at Le Colisée, as it was the first time we’d taken him there.

He’s such a bright, perky kid. He displays such enthusiasm for everything. It’s both exhausting and inspiring.

Other posts that feature the boy and his doings this past month:

The flu shot
Choosing a book from the bookstore and raking leaves
The Halloween costume

Lest We Forget

War’s not the answer most of the time; it’s often a trumped-up excuse that veils another agenda. But that’s not going to stop me from honouring the men and women whose job it is, or who volunteer, to go out and risk their lives in confrontations beyond what most of us can envision. It’s their commitment and courage I honour on Remembrance Day. I honour our peacekeepers, too, the people who go to other countries to help rebuild after times of turmoil. And support staff — doctors, drivers, cooks, all those people who are necessary to the machine of war and who rarely get recognition for being in danger as well. And those left at home, who carry the double burden of hope and dread for their loved ones.

There has to be a better way. But even when someone figures it out, I’ll keep on saying thank you to all those individuals who gave lives, limbs, time, and innocence to the wars. I honour and respect their personal decisions, even if I disagree with the governmental decisions that created the need for them.

This year also marks the first anniversary of the death of a friend who I admire immensely: Emru Townsend. He fought a different kind of war, but a war nonetheless. In December 2007, when diagnosed with leukemia and a condition called monosomy 7, which meant that he had an increased risk of the leukemia coming back no matter how successful chemotherapy was, he and his sister Tamu created the outreach and public education event they called Heal Emru. It wasn’t about finding a stem cell donor who matched Emru (although that eventually happened); the program was built around their discovery that most ethnic groups were severely underrepresented in the bone marrow registries of North America and in other parts of the world. Heal Emru seeks to educate the public about this under-representation and to bring the plight of people from those ethnic groups seeking compatible donors to public awareness.

Emru blogged his illness and his treatments, and it makes for sober and thought-provoking reading. (The blog is now maintained by Tamu.) He found a compatible donor and had his transplant in September of 2008, nine months after his diagnosis. Unfortunately, although the stem cell transplant was successful, his cancer did not go into remission, and by the end of October it was clear that he wouldn’t make it. Emru may have passed on, but his war continues, fought by every one of us who simply walks up to someone and says, “Hey, have you heard about the bone marrow registry?”

The Heal Emru FAQs answer some of the common questions people have about bone marrow donation.
The Heal Emru site lists contact information for registries around the world.

Are you a match? Find out how you can help save Emru’s life: http://www.healemru.com

Got Twitter? Follow @healemru
Got Facebook? Please join the Heal Emru group, and if you learn something new, invite your friends.
Got Livejournal, WordPress or Blogger? Blog it!
Got Youtube? Subscribe to www.youtube.com/healemru
Just find someone you care about and tell them.

Contact info:

Hema Quebec http://www.hema-quebec.qc.ca
Canada Blood Services (Canada, except Quebec) http://onematch.ca/registry
National Marrow Donor Program (US) http://www.marrow.org

And find many more groups in these countries and internationally on the Registries page of HealEmru.com

The campaign may be called Heal Emru, but Emru’s name stands for every single individual who is struggling with an illness and needs a donor for stem cells, bone marrow, or peripheral cell transplant. The war to save lives continues.