Tags Posts tagged with "Smurfling"

Smurfling

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So today was Emmet’s toe’s appointment with the miniature guillotine I’d imagined would be used to chop his extra toe off.

Fortunately, it didn’t quite go down, err, come off like I’d thought it might. Or maybe it did? I dunno, but it was really cool.

Here’s the “after” picture.

Before pictures can be seen here and the fun and exciting backstory is here.

It all went down pretty quick. Doctor came in, drew on his foot a little with a sharpie, then injected novocaine in a couple of places around that pesky extra toe which resulted in some minimal tears. Then we nervously waited…

Any one remember that awesome waiting room post I had back in 2008? It wasn’t like that I all, I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, the doctor came back in after a few minutes, and from my vantage point, I swear, he pulled the damn thing right off with a pair of giant tweezers with one abrupt tug and dropped it into a pickling jar.

I mean, it was quick and powerful. No nonsense.

The truth of it is, he used some fancy scissors down at the base (according to my wife) but I couldn’t see that behind his “tweezer” hand. I’ll keep on thinking the dude just yanked it off. Old school awesome.

Emmet didn’t make a sound. I mean, I know I would have shrieked — this kid is tough.

Moments later, the doctor stitched him up and, having seen stitches going in before, I’m always amazed at how it’s possible to just sew a person back together like they’re a ripped pair of pants. I dunno, it just seems like we’d “tear” but for whatever reason, we don’t. Crazy.

So now he’s got more traditional looking feet.

How about that?

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Toe-ing Away PartySo, tonight my family had a ‘toe’-ing away party for my infant son Emmet as, tomorrow, he’ll be having that, ahem, extra toe removed from his left foot.

The procedure has been planned for a few months now and the plan tomorrow is just to have the “extra” toe removed but not separate the two toes on each foot that are webbed together.

The extra pinky toe has to come off if he ever wants to wear shoes but the webbing issue is only cosmetic. Apparently there are tons of people with webbed feet walking among us. Who knew?

Anyway, both would be covered by health insurance but we’re not vain enough to put him through any unnecessary pain simply for the sake of what will likely just end up being ugly feet anyway…

Tonight, to celebrate his extra digit and give him support, we played tic-tac-toe, pin the bandaid on the toe, and painted our toe nails — it was a lot of fun as you can see in the picture below.

As for tomorrow, well, I’m a little apprehensive about it, honestly — it’s sure to hurt like hell – but also kind of excited for him too.

I mean, not that he’ll remember any of this but it’ll be nice for him to have semi-normal looking feet for his first summer. It is getting to be flip-flop season, afterall…

In related news, the test results for the syndrome that had me concerned that he could potentially turn out to be an evil swashbuckling tiny headed sloth creature that swims like Michael Phelps and loves Rocky Road ice cream turned out to be nothing to worry about at all.

Results were negative for Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS) so instead of being potentially “sick” (or evil, or swashbuckling, or tiny-headed) for the rest of his life, he’ll just be “that” guy with the cosmetically altered (meaning beautiful) feet that tells the story all too often about how he used to have eleven toes.

Or was it nine toes?

It’s complicated.

Either way, he’ll always be a little mutant to me.

And I’ve got the pictures to prove it!

Polydactyly and Webbed Feet on an infant

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So, again, since it’s been so long since I’ve updated things around here, I should probably mention that there are no longer two kids in the family… now there are three!

Moments after he was born, I called my mom with the news…

“Mom and baby are doing fine except that he has 11 toes. Well, actually, he only has nine. Um, it’s complicated.”

I kinda wished I could’ve broken that news to my dad — he’d have found it both fascinating and hilarious.

So, an extra “digit” or polydactyly, as the doctors like to refer to it as, is pretty obviously a birth defect — something the doctors in the delivery room nonchalantly pointed out as if it were no big deal.

But hearing “birth defect” merely seconds after birth totally gets your head spinning with thoughts that, the baby might have a second head, a tail, or even gills behind their ears or something.

I didn’t even get to the point where I was imagining John Merrick — who was actually named “Joe” Merrick.

And while news may get out that I nearly fainted in the delivery room this time, it was NOT this unexpected turn of events that made me queasy. It was the claustrophobic get-up they made me wear… No, seriously, it’s not easy to breath with a plastic bag strapped to your face…

So, anyway, my little guy has an extra toe (with a toe nail, even!) on his left foot.

That makes 11 toes.

His pointer and middle toes on both feet are fused together. The doctors called this “webbed feet”.

Having never actually seen webbed feet on a human, I was more expecting them to look like a duck’s feet. It’s not nearly as cool as that would have been and, honestly, I’m not sure it’ll make him a better swimmer a few years down the road. Maybe.

So, to sum it all up, he has 11 toes total but two pairs are fused together.

That makes 9 toes.

Weird, right?

So the nurses in the hospital played it down like it wasn’t a big deal — “We see extra digits and webbed feet all the time…”

In my head, I kinda called BS on that.

I mean, I’d heard of webbed feet and was aware of the 6-fingered man from the Princess Bride movie that Inigo Montoya wanted to face so badly but…I’d never actually SEEN someone with webbed feet or and extra toe or finger.

Apparently, they’re walking among us. Creepy, huh?

Then I got to thinking, what was I going to tell the kids?

“Hi guys, your new brother is a mutant.”

“Yes, just like the ninja turtles…”

“No, he’s not a ninja. Or a turtle.”

“No, we can’t get a turtle.”

In reality, the nurses did what they could to put us at ease claiming that it wasn’t a “big deal” but it still kinda simmered in the depths of my mind — is this going to be a problem?

I mean, they don’t call it a “defect” for nothing, right?

And then came the news that I kinda knew was coming…

Yep, they wanted to do some genetic testing to see if it was a “sign” of something far more damning than never being able to model strappy sandals.

You know, they always call it a high risk pregnancy if the mother is over 35. And by high risk, they mean like you have a one in 600k chance of having an issue. I don’t know about you, but 1 in 600k doesn’t sound too high risk to me.

I felt that way with all of my kids — which is why, besides the first one when we were naive and stupid, we didn’t have any of the invasive pre-natal testing done. Amniocentesis is the common one as well as the CVS test.

And while I’m certainly not a fan of rolling the dice and hoping for the best while ignoring modern science and medicine, the results of the amnio on my first child provided less than assuring results and far, far too late to do anything about it should it actually have reported something concrete.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t feel the testing really ruled anything out — or in. The whole thing seemed nearly pointless and, actually, I think it caused us even more needless concern.

Just what a pregnant woman needs, right? More to worry about.

Even still, this time, with mom being over 40 now and all the talk about it potentially being something we genetically passed on kinda makes you feel like crap, you know, what have we done? What should we have done? What could we have done?

(For the record, an amnio wouldn’t have helped us in this case…)

Primarily, they were testing for Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, which is often abbreviated as SLOS and makes me think my baby is going to turn into Sloth from the Goonies.

Yes, everything in my life has a corresponding reference originating from an 80’s movie.

One of the other “physical traits” of the disorder — besides messed up feet or hands — is a small head. Ever seen the waiting room scene in Beetlejuice?

Holy crap. I need to sit down.

My baby is going to turn into a evil swashbuckling tiny headed sloth creature that swims like Michael Phelps and loves Rocky Road ice cream.

So, we had the testing done (just a blood test) and are still awaiting the results. I’ll update on that when the results come in.

He’s also visited a cosmetic surgeon (with all kinds of boob job pamphlets in the waiting room) to attempt to spare his future career as a flip-flop spokesman and model.

The truth of it is, I’m not that worried about the results of the test.

He doesn’t have a small head. He has no problem eating. He makes the same noises my other kids used to make. He squirms around the same way. He cries the amount. He makes eye contact and smiles.

Really, to me, he appears to be a standard baby.

And as offensive as some overly sensitive folks might think saying this sort of thing is, well, he doesn’t look “off”, if you know what I mean. There’s life behind those eyes and, for me, that’s the best indicator out there.

It might not be an exact science, but you really can read a person by their eyes even when they’re so dirt brown like mine that the pubils almost disappear…

So the boob doctor will be removing the 11th (or 9th, depending on how you count) toe on May 15. Emmet, the baby’s name, will be just over 4 months old.

We’ve opted to NOT have the connected toes split apart since that’s like a million percent cosmetic. Still covered by insurance but certainly not necessary.

And, before you ask if we could just leave the extra toe in place too, unfortunately, it’s not lined up quite right to be an extra pinky toe (other wise, I’d consider it) so finding shoes for him would be downright impossible.

For that reason, it’s gotta go.

No worries — I’ll share pictures!

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So, I should mention that I inadvertently stumbled across a youth hockey program that’ll take a 3-year old player on the roster.

The “season” starts May 11th and runs for 8 weeks. I’m pretty excited and I hope Duncan’s enthusiasm as it stands now is still present on May 12th after the first practice.

The downside to this program, and it’s a big one, is that it’s just barely local.

Okay, it’s about an hour from home…

Yeah, it’s a haul.

While I’m less than thrilled about that part of it, I’m trying to look at it like a test run of what’s likely to come.

See, youth hockey involves a TON of travel. It’s just not as popular as soccer or baseball where there are dozens of teams at each age level all under one Recreation Department’s control so… even when they’re youngsters, hockey teams are generally of the “travel team” variety.

The other advantageous part is that, in the fall when he’s 4 years old, he’ll be able to “transfer” to a team (more on that inna sec) that plays out of a rink 15 minutes from where we live. This summer’s experience will make that commute, provided he still wants to play, feel like nothing at all.

Now, when I started playing soccer as a 5-year old, the team that I played for (Go Crickets!) and the league we were a part of were governed by AYSO which is the American Youth Soccer Organization. Our uniforms even sported their logo.

Since I was only in kindergarten at the time, I’m not sure if my parents had to sign any sort of contract other than the standard “We won’t sue if he gets hurt” form that would have been submitted with the payment.

When I moved to Connecticut, I just played in a town rec league. Yeah, just like a local group that threw something together without an organizing body calling the shots. Oddly enough, even at 7 years old, the players in this program were far, far,far more advanced than what I was used to in the AYSO.

I went from a stud to a dud. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that an organization with endlessly long tentacles did a terrible job of developing talent…

(Insert any anti-ObamaCare, pro-assault rifle, or big government arguments you want in the comments here… I won’t bother responding beyond questioning how one can play both sides saying big government is stemming from an apparently unqualified community organizer… Yeah, whatever… Healthcare is good, guns are bad, and I’m indifferent on the size of the government.)

Anyway…

So, fast forward 30+ years and change the sport to hockey.

Youth hockey in the United States is, as far as I can tell, governed from coast-to-coast by USA Hockey. In order to join a team, I had to register Duncan with them, which I did about a year ago, and he was given an ID number that’ll be attached to him until he’s 18, I’d assume.

Thankfully, membership is free for those 6-and-under.

And by signing on with this team next month, I’m totally serious about the “signing” part. As a 3-year old, he’s signed a contract with this specific hockey program under the guidance of USA Hockey.

In order to play for a different team in the fall, his “contract” will need to be “released” by his current team and then “approved” and “transferred” by USA Hockey to the new team — if they still want him.

This is for a FOUR YEAR OLD!?

I’m not certain on the reasoning for so much paperwork and, well, processing. I suppose that since, unlike school districts or town rec leagues that have residency requirements, hockey programs draw players from neighboring towns so you don’t want one team scooping up talent on the fly from other teams as if they’re minor league feeder programs without any governing body involved.

No joke, little kids have contracts that are “traded” just like the professionals.

While I’m sure it is all just paperwork and I’m thinking about this a little too much, can you imagine if there’s a dispute with a program? Like as if they won’t release your contract?

I am aware that it does happen, denied releases, that is, but I’m clueless as to the circumstances. Payment issues, perhaps… I dunno.

I just think it’s a bit much.

Sure, it’s a money making venture for USA Hockey to collect a fee from every player in the country to “grow the game” or whatever, which I totally understand and support, but even for the kids under-6 years old that aren’t paying that membership fee? Really?

Oh, and get this… Figure Skating is the same way…

Hopefully being a registered USA Hockey member doesn’t mean that he can’t play for Team Canada when the time comes…

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So we’re counting down the days now until my first born turns 4.

(the second born actually turns 2…tomorrow!)

Crazy — right?

For those who’ve been reading the content on this silly website over the years, his “birth posting” probably doesn’t feel like that long ago. Sorry to tell you, it is.

Anyway, what’s the big deal with turning 4?

Organized hockey.

Yep, when he turns 4, he’ll be old enough to sign on with a USA Hockey sanctioned hockey team. He’s excited. And it’s safe to say that I’m excited too.

Very excited.

The downside is that he turns four just as the weather is, well, let’s just say it’s not traditional ice hockey weather.

Sure, with a little effort, elite level teenagers might be able to find a tournament only team to skate with in June, July, and August but a four-year old?

No such luck. Especially in the United States.

But that won’t deter us. We’ll work on his stick handling and hockey sense more this summer (as well as with the soon-to-be two years old brother who I’ll predict right now will be the better player eventually) to give him a HUGE advantage over other kids his age.

That said, I think he’s already light years ahead of most in his age group, skill-wise, anyway, and that’s not just because I taught him everything he knows.

I’m realistic enough to know that he’s likely not the next Wayne Gretzky.

He’ll be a darn fine Mite. He might even be a good Squirt before the other kids start catching up…

(Youth hockey levels have the silliest of names…)

But the key thing we need to work on is his skating.

He can be the best stick handler in the world or even have the hardest slap shot but it won’t mean anything if he can’t skate…and, as of right now, there are definitely kids in his age group, though a very select few, that are much further along.

He’s been on skates now for almost and entire year.

There have been really promising ups… and some discouraging downs along the way.

One week I think he finally has it and then, the next, it’s like he’s lost all ability to balance himself on strips of metal 3mm wide…on ice.

He’s three.

I get it.

I’m not going to push him like a crazy honey boo-boo type of parent but I’m certainly going to encourage “hockey” every chance that I get.

So far, my enthusiasm is met and both kids take direction really, really well. I’m ecstatic.

The plan is to be on the ice at least once a week from April through September — with a slight chance of a “real” learn to skate class worked in as well.

Most hockey programs require a learn-to-skate class (within their program) prior to joining a team, especially with such a young player, but I’m hoping to bypass that entirely.

He can skate in circles or around cones all he wants with me during a public skate. What I can’t offer is a real hockey environment in full equipment.

He wants to be a “hockey guy”, not take lessons.

I took a learn to skate class as a kid. For me, it felt more like an introduction to figure skating… and that’s not really what I wanted or needed at the onset.

Don’t get me wrong, while I’m not real keen on ever seeing my boys in tight sequin shirts, figure skating is awesome too. The speed a figure skater can generate in two strokes, going backwards, is truly amazing.

It’s no wonder than NHL teams usually have a figure skater on staff (usually female too) continually showing the multi-millionaires how to skate properly to improve their game.

Most figure skaters could skate circles around any professional hockey player. While twirling.

Anyway, for me, while I was a bit older than three at the time, what I needed most was… ice time.

Observation, which my kids get plenty of, and ice-time to mimic the movements.

Ice-time is clutch.

A 45-minute session with a world class figure skater once per week, while definitely valuable, isn’t what I think would be best for a little kid just getting started.

Two practices a week and cross-ice games on Saturday and Sunday — in addition to a public skate with the family — would make skating like second nature in short order.

That’s what jumping right on to a team will offer.

Are five days a week on the ice too much for a four year old?

My head says yes — perhaps even too much of a time commitment for me.

But my kids want to “play” hockey in the kitchen pretty much all the time so… maybe it’s not too much.

And, as a bonus, my kitchen floor will be spared some abuse.

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    Now I have to admit, whenever a folder full of artwork comes home from daycare, it’s pretty unusual for me to take the time to actually look at it.

    I’m not proud of that.

    But last night my wife went through a bunch of it and hung (masking taped) some updated stuff on the wall. By “updated”, I mean more recent than 2010.

    Here’s one of my favorites by my younger son Henrik…

    Chicken Artwork

    Now, I know, this is clearly not the work of un-aided toddler. Their “real” artwork has more of an abstract expressionist (not to mention worthless) feel to it.

    That’s okay, though.

    I never really had my hopes set on either of them becoming artists anyway…

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      Since I’ve been referencing them in my posts lately and I’m the exact type of person to silently exclaim, “This post is useless without pictures,” I thought I should post an updated photo of them.

      Smurflings

      Smurflings

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        No one mentioned anything but, while recounting my recent debt payment payoff success, I noticed that I hardly have any photos of Smurfling 2 on here but tons and tons of Duncan (Smurfling 1).

        That’s not fair, so here’s a shot of Henrik from this past weekend.

        Honey Badger

        He turned one back on March 31.

        Can You Dig It?

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