Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008

Well, Charlie's been doing afternoons at school all week, and finally goes full-time next week - and he can't wait. He was telling me today that he doesn't like the short sessions 'because we haven't got enough time to learn loads of stuff'! Hopefully the long days won't tire him out TOO much.
He really is loving school, and seems to be thriving so far. He's coming home with stickers most days for good work, and is powering his way through the reading scheme... he's on the third book already!
Although he's known the alphabet and letter sounds for ages now, and has been able to read words as well as 'sound out' any he's not sure of, up to now he's always preferred that I read stories to him. But all of a sudden the whole 'reading a story' thing has really clicked for him. It's so amazing to see him enjoying books and words so much.
He'll be having his lunch at school as of next week, which I must admit makes me slightly nervous. His heart condition means that eating is very hard work for him, and he would much prefer not to bother. Mealtimes are often hard work in our house, and it can take Charlie literally hours to get through a meal. If he's tired or under the weather, it's even longer.
Many people go by the motto that a child won't starve itself, and that if you remove uneaten food after a short period, by the next meal the child will be ravenous and will eat everything you put in front of it.
With heart kids though, this just isn't true - if Charlie doesn't get enough calories in (and remember he needs almost double what a 'normal' child does because his inefficient heart needs loads of calories to keep it functioning, plus he needs the usual calories to grow properly) he loses energy very fast, starts flagging, and has even less desire to eat.
Over the course of a couple of days, if he doesn't eat enough, the weight starts falling off him scarily quickly.
On top of this, we're always aware that the bigger, heavier and stronger he is, the better the potential outcome after his Fontan surgery. From day one, we've been told over and over again by doctors how vital it is to get adequate calories into Charlie, so it's quite tricky not to be anxious about what goes into his mouth. Particularly when his favourite foods are cucumber, peppers, and any other raw vegetables! Very healthy, yes, but not very calorific!
I've told his teacher how important it is that he eats plenty at playtimes and at particularly at lunchtime, and I'm really hoping that a bit of peer pressure and watching his mates eat their dinner quickly (ie in anything under an hour and a half!!) will spur him on a bit. He'll be taking sandwiches with him from home for lunch and the children have to take home anything that they haven't eaten, so at least we'll have an idea of how he's doing.
Anyway - enough rambling about Charlie's diet! Hopefully he'll prove me wrong, and will be so hungry by lunchtime that he'll wolf all his dinner! (I live in hope.)
We've got a busy weekend ahead - there's a big garden party up in Stafford tomorrow organised by Little Hearts Matter, for all the families with children with heart conditions like Charlie's. Pete's chairman of the charity so he'll be pretty busy during the day, but it's nice for Charlie and me to catch up with our 'heart friends'. Fingers crossed the weather clears up a bit - it's not going to be much fun if the rain stays as torrential as it has been!
Chas and I went to the dentist for a checkup this morning. He likes the dentist - he reckons the chair is a bit like a rollercoaster, plus she's got a model shark hanging from the ceiling for him to look at! His teeth are looking lovely, according to the dentist, and he was fascinated to watch as she cleaned my teeth. He kept poking his head under the nurse's arm to get a better look, and was patting me gently on the arm throughout, saying: 'Are you ok, Mummy?', and warning the dentist not to get toothpaste on the mirror!
On our way out he spotted a Dalek Sec battery-powered toothbrush behind the counter, which, needless to say, is now gracing our bathroom shelf!
No pictures at the mo - doubtless there will be a few from this weekend.

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