Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Christmas Star


It has come to my realization that my life has been too chaotic. I struggle with my time spread in so many different directions that I cannot accomplish any objective competently. I have spent the past month working on myself and my family, reprioritized and am ready to move forward. More on all that later, but this is the reason I am just getting around to writing about an event that took place two months ago.

December… family, holidays, making memories…the Christmas program. I know, I know, parents, grandparents, etc. love these. But, to a teacher, they equate to added stress on an already crazy time. Mr. Man might be the little performer at home, but put him in front of an audience and I never know what to expect. He was two when he did his first program and all I hoped for was that he wouldn’t bolt offstage. Crying I could handle, I expected it. Of course, I was humorously surprised when he spent the entire time on stage with his back to the audience. No tears, but he refused to look at or acknowledge the audience in any way. But hey… he did not run off stage.

Fast forward to Christmas 2016. Mr. Man is four. He’s talking, he’s working on social skills, but he still has a lot of anxiety with crowds. Monkey has entered the phase of ‘if I see mom, I cry’. So, playing the parent and teacher role simultaneously has gotten interesting. I was pleasantly surprised that this year had been far less stressful than the past, and the night of the show arrived. It was the end of the program when all classes joined on stage and the oldest classes (Mr. Man’s included) were to come forward and create the manger scene. Monkey had spotted me on stage and attached himself to me as I was attending my class. I watched as the children filed on stage, but hadn’t yet spotted Mr. Man. Monkey became squirmy and decided to wander off toward the center of the extremely crowded stage, as I watched to make sure he didn’t do something he shouldn’t (this child has quickly become comfortable with his two-ness). Standing center stage among the wise men, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and sheep was the Christmas star. A star costume covered 4-year-old whose face stuck out of a hole in the middle. To my horror, I see Monkey begin pulling at the star. I watch, from my spot on the edge of the stage, as he starts hitting the star. I am frozen. Why is he hitting the star?! Then, I look at the star’s legs. Wait, I recognize those pants. It was at that moment the star turned around to shove Monkey off of him that two things happened. First, my brain clicked in and I made my way across stage to retrieve Monkey (praying we weren’t completely obvious). Second, I realized that the star was Mr. Man! He looked right at his brother with that look that said, ‘I don’t care how many people are here, I am about to punch you in the face.’

Afterward, we all discussed the outtakes of that show and I am convinced we could win prize money. Apparently, we had a stripping child, another who fell offstage and into baby Jesus, and several other humorous incidents. But none of it mattered. Mr. Man was the star! He stood center stage in front of all those people with arms stretched out, shining brighter than anyone knows.

I was told later that the decision to switch costumes came last minute when the child who was originally suppose to be the star refused to wear the costume. No one else was willing to put it on. Mr. Man was the only child who would do it. When I saw him post-show and expressed my excitement, he looked at me and with the biggest, proudest smile and  said, “Mama, I brave!”

Yes Mr. Man, you are. You are the bravest person I know.dsc_0235



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As I watch the tell-tale signs, listen to the whines and see the temperature right on the edge: I steal myself for what I know is coming. I think about our schedule for the next week and begin making mental adjustments, shifting to the plan B’s. I have to laugh a little. It’s so funny how we just know. We know when something isn’t right, how at first they are just ‘off’ and then our worlds stand still for a little while. This time it was Monkey, but more often than not it is Mr. Man. Let me go back…


My husband and I had gotten good. We could accurately tell you 3 days before Mr. Man would get sick. (What a talent, right?!) Usually, it would start with his behavior, his moods, etc. We’d make a comment and within 3 days he’d be running a fever. We had become pros at this sad little game because for over a year Mr. man would get sick every 2-4 weeks like clockwork. There was a time period when we could predict it to the day, that is how regular they became.


There is nothing scarier than sitting up with your baby, in the middle of the night, helpless to help them. Both boys have asthma; many nights were lost to listening for struggled breath. But the fevers were different. Monkey had constant ear infections, but when we’d take Mr. man in after 3 days of fever… Ears, fine. Throat, fine. “Just a virus.” JUST?! After about 6 months, I was tired of hearing the phrase ‘just a virus’. Mommy sense was calling BS. You don’t JUST get a virus every 2-4 weeks. No one gets that sick without there being more to it. “Well, he’s in daycare.” Yeah, great. I don’t see any other kids getting sick THAT often. There are so many other things that could be going on and I was furious the doctor wasn’t looking more into it. Here’s the thing… No symptoms other than a fever. When I say fever, I’m not talking the 101-102 range that people I know consider high. Mr. Man goes big or goes home. He was ranging 104-106. I remember several urgent care trips where we were held hostage because Motrin wasn’t bringing it down. The fever would last 3-4 days and he’d be back to normal. Eventually, (after I bypassed my primary doctor) we were given a diagnosis of PFAPA, periodic fever disorder. We began treating at the onset of fever, one (0f three) doses and the fever was gone, with hopes we could spread the fevers further apart until they disappeared altogether.


As I sat watching, Monkey struggle with this round of illness, I found myself wondering. When was Mr. Man’s last fever? I couldn’t remember… was that even possible? I pulled out the notebook I had been using to keep track. 3.5 months… 14 weeks! We had a round of strep throat in that time, but that is something else entirely. 14 weeks without “just a virus”. 14 weeks without the fear of 106, seizures and watching every 2 hours to make sure Motrin/Tylenol was bringing it down to 102 (which is his magic number that prompts vomiting). I hesitate to say he’s beat this battle, but I have hope. And if we’ve over come this obstacle…

Hope is a great thing.



This was a journal entry I had written but not published. I wrote this approximately 6 months ago. In the past 6 months we have been “fever” free, other than the explainable bout with croup and other such expected illnesses.


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