Apr 5, 2015: The Big Birthday Weekend!

Well, happy day—it’s the start of spring break! And also Easter! And also Theo’s birthday! What a weekend! We’ve just returned from our weekend festivities. Instead of a birthday party this year, Theo wanted to go stay in a hotel overnight. He quickly narrowed it down to either Monterey or Sacramento, and he ultimately decided on Sacramento because he wanted to have a pizza-and-ice-cream dinner with Grandma Diane and Auntie Lynnie and her family. Easy peasy!

It so happens that Grandma Diane’s community was having an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, so we headed out early to make it in time for that. The boys had a good time—Theo made friends with another little boy, and they spent much time searching for the special golden egg, which apparently had an extra prize inside. They didn’t find it, but they found a bunch of other eggs with candy in them, so they were happy. Sam found a few eggs and was happy with that—he spent a fair bit of time hanging out with Grandma and eating some snacks. Meanwhile, I tried to convince Grandma Diane to adopt a sweet old dog that needed a home, but she is stronger than me and resisted temptation. (I think we’d take in every small dog who needed a home if it was up to me. Thank goodness Chris is the voice of reason on that!)

Later, we went to lunch and then took a drive while Sam snoozed. We hung out at Grandma’s house for a bit, and then Auntie Lynnie, Uncle Charles, Stevie, and Carlin (Stevie’s boyfriend) came over to bring Theo his presents. He got three Lego sets and was very excited with them—we started building one right away and then finished it and another one that night at the hotel.

We all went to pizza for dinner, where cousin Sam and her boyfriend, David, met us, and then we had ice cream, too. We learned that Sam is a huge fan of sherbet—he grabbed Chris’s spoon while Chris was attending to something with Theo, and the next thing we knew he was busily devouring Chris’s bowl of sherbet. I got Chris another spoon so he, too, could have some, and Sam grabbed that spoon and started double-fisting spoonfuls of sherbet. Boy could not be stopped!!

I had booked us a room at the Embassy Suites because it fulfilled the criteria Theo and I desired: (1) elevators! (for Theo), (2) clean rooms (for me!), (3) reasonably priced (for me!), (4) breakfast buffet (for Theo), and (5) a separate bedroom area so we could comfortably sleep four people in one room without bed-sharing. (We’re not great sleepers; we all need our own beds.) We had just settled into the room and were relaxing and building Legos when suddenly the fire alarm went off. At first I thought it was just a drill, but I grabbed the boys, checked the door for heat, and then opened it while Chris was grabbing his shoes. Lo and behold, the hallway smelled like smoke. EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!! We quickly hurried down seven flights of stairs…only to be herded back into the hotel because the firefighters had already cleared it up. Turns out a dryer on the fifth floor was smoking, which set off all the alarms and filled the atrium with the smell of smoke. But everything was resolved very quickly, and the silver lining is that the boys got to see fire trucks!

Theo held up his end of the bargain this time. You may recall that last time we stayed in a hotel, Theo kept me up all night long. Seriously…pretty much all night. I was not pleased and announced that I would never share a room with him again…which, predictably, really upset him. But I wanted to make my point that it was not okay to keep me up all night long! Anyway, it worked. This time, he promised me that if I brought his light-up clock so he could see the time, he wouldn’t wake us up before 6:45. And he kept his promise. I was up a lot at night anyway (lousy sleeper, plus Theo was coughing a lot, which kept me awake), and I could tell Theo was awake several times, but he never once purposely woke me, Chris, or Sam. Woohoo!

In the morning, Theo opened his presents from us—a board game and a kids’ Kindle. We had a hard time thinking of what to get him this year. He likes Legos, but I knew my sister and friend were getting him those. And he loves electronics, but I didn’t want him burying his nose in games all day, every day. And then I stumbled upon the kids’ Kindle, from Amazon. A little research informed me that the parental controls on this device are excellent: You can set it so that the child has limited access to apps, games, and videos each day, but unlimited access to books. Score! We ordered one for him, set the apps/games/videos to 60 minutes a day, and were ready to roll! Theo likes to read and is pretty good at it, but he’s such a child of the technology age that he gravitates toward gadgets over books. So I was glad to find something that should fulfill his desire for technology while also letting him indulge in reading. I’m not one of those people who feels that you have to read out of a paper book to be reading—if he prefers to read books on an e-reader, that’s okay with me. He’ll read a lot of paper books for school and some for pleasure, as he always has, but now he can also read them on the Kindle. Whatever gives him more practice and pleasure with reading, I’m all for it.

We took advantage of the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then took a walk across Tower Bridge (a drawbridge that Theo likes) while we waited for the Railroad Museum to open. That was Theo’s other request for his birthday—he wanted to go to the Railroad Museum. Sounded good to us—both he and Sam really enjoy it, and they had a good time.

Aside from the smoke-alarm fiasco, there was one hitch in the weekend plans: I had packed up the boys’ Easter baskets and plastic eggs so that we could take them to the hotel and hide them there, but then we forgot to put the bag in the car! So, the Easter bunny did not come to the hotel. But no matter…Theo simply assumed that the eggs and basket would be hidden at our house instead. So, on the way home, with two tired boys asleep and snoring in the backseat, Chris and I hatched a plan: Chris would drop me at home while he took the boys back out to the grocery store. And I would hide the baskets and eggs so that the boys could see the Easter bunny had indeed hidden things at our house! I somehow suspect this may be the last year Theo believes in the Easter bunny anyway, so I was glad to have a way to prolong it through this year.

In other news, both boys had dental checkups early in the week. Theo was, as usual, a prince at the dentist. He doesn’t mind going and is super easy to take—whew! It’s not all that often I can say that Theo is “easy,” but he certainly is at the dentist or doctor. Sam…well, Sam has many other good points. His behavior at the dentist is not one of them. 😉

Theo has no cavities, but he does need a tooth pulled. That long-ago scooter accident did a bit more damage than anticipated, and so they have to pull a baby tooth to let an adult tooth come in. Ah well, it won’t be the first time; he’s old hat at this.

I can’t give you a report on Sam’s teeth because he refused to open his mouth. I lost count of how many times he uttered the word “No!” at the dentist appointment! And then of course he batted his eyelashes at them whenever they would back off and say, “Oh, fine, we won’t look.” Stinker!

We also had our long-awaited genetics appointment this week. Honestly, we didn’t learn a whole lot that we didn’t already know. Afterwards, Chris referred to the appointment as “designed for people who haven’t done any reading up about the condition.” I think he’s right—they answered what few questions we had, but that was it.

What did we learn? Let’s see, Theo has a very large head compared to the size of his body. But Chris and I have large heads, too. Not as proportionally large as Theo’s but fairly large. So we’re all big heads—except for Sam, who is just tiny in general. 🙂

Theo’s condition is indeed hereditary, and he has a 50 percent chance of passing it to any biological offspring. However, there’s absolutely no way to know how much they would be affected. Some people who have this genetic condition hardly show any signs, and others are severely affected…to the point of early death. And it’s impossible to tell how Theo’s children would be affected…if they even were. Just because he shows some signs doesn’t mean they’d show more, for example. They might show fewer, they might show the same, or they might show more. No one can say. But it is something he will need to consider if he ever chooses to start a family.

We also found out that we do not know whether Sam has it. Sam’s genetic testing for Down syndrome was a different type, so it didn’t test for this. They offered to run the test, and we took them up on it—mostly for curiosity but also because seizures are very common with this, so it would be good to know if he, too, has it. It’ll just be a simple blood draw that we’ll have done the next time we’re checking his thyroid values.

They also let us know what to watch for with Theo, to see whether he’s having absence seizures (which can be nearly undetectable—they’re not the typical seizures you think of). At this point they don’t think he’s having them, but it’s hard to know for sure…and at least we know what to look for.

So it wasn’t the most informative doctor appointment ever, but we did learn a few things. And they gave us a great dinner recommendation when we left, so there’s that. 🙂 Our appointment ended right at rush hour in Oakland, so rather than sitting through two hours of traffic to get home, we stopped for dinner at Homeroom Mac & Cheese, which I’d heard many good reviews of and which the geneticist highly recommended as a yummy place that’s kid-friendly. Um, yum!! Seriously delicious! (And indeed kid-friendly.) We got Theo mac and peas with bacon (no cheese), plus a side order of Brussels sprouts, which he devoured. Chris and I each got mac and cheese with cheddar, bacon, and breadcrumbs. Next time, I’ll try something far more inventive, but for our first visit we went with tried and true. So tasty! We also split a side order of Brussels sprouts, given that we knew Theo wouldn’t leave any for us out of his order. 😉

Sam, as usual, refused all semi-healthy food and ate a bowl of bacon and a bowl of chips. Sigh…some things never change. Stinker!

In other news, our house may actually close early. The documents are drawn up and just waiting for the seller’s signature, and then we sign, give them our down payment, and wait for the documents to record. I would love if we got it closed this week, as it would give us an extra weekend to work on repairs and cleanup! But we’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll sign off now and post this. Happy Easter, everyone! It’s spring break for Theo this week, so I should have much to report next weekend! In the meantime, enjoy the photos in the gallery this week. And if you haven’t seen my Seven Years of Theo post, click here!

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