Jan 31, 2009

You Are Thirteen Going On Fourteen.




Do you remember turning 13? I don't. I remember 12 because my parents gave me a surprise party. But 13 just kind of blended in with the rest. Joe is turning thirteen today.

Joe was born in Lawrence, Kansas and he had a rough first year of life. I had no idea what was wrong with him. He would randomly throw up. He would wake up every night frantically itching his arms and legs until he bled. Everyone who saw him knew something was wrong and complete strangers and friends would offer advice and suggest things to buy that might help him. Some people recommended slathering him with Vaseline and wrapping him in layers of saran wrap others suggested bathing in the Dead Sea. We saw about 5 allergists and as many dermatologists during this time and they all had different advice. There were several times during that first year that I wondered how life would ever work out for him and wondered if his misery would ever end. It was a very tough time in our lives.

At 10 months old he finally was so sick that he got admitted for 5 days to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City all because through a weird twist of fate the doctor who Joe normally saw was getting married and we saw a different doctor in the pediatric group who took action immediately.

We eventually ended up with a "tie dye" doctor in Kansas City who changed Joe's life. Funny how desperation leads you to those "tie dye" doctors. Also funny how everything falls into place...the insurance was more than happy to pay the "tye die" doctor, the special shots called Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization shots (or as we affectionately call them EPD) the "tie dye" doctor gave Joe were in the USA just long enough for Joe to have enough of them to miraculously change his life, some lady in the Lawrence Library saw Joe sitting in an aisle of books scratching and was brave enough to give me the "tie dye" doctor's card and a stern admonition to call him, and so many more things. Finally, he was able to get off of prednisone and live a semi normal life. He is still allergic to wheat, milk, soy, peanuts and eggs and never gets to eat all the fun stuff like cupcakes and cookies and such.

And here he is turning thirteen in Massachusetts. He had two little school friends over last night and the 5 girls (plus Nichole) got a small glimpse into what their lives would have been like if they had not had just two brothers that were 6 years apart but rather three brothers that were all 13. It was quite an eye opener, boys wrestling, boys making indescribable noises with their bodies and giggling hysterically about those noises, boys chasing each other, boys bragging about wounds they got from playing in the snow. All of us girls just watched, bewildered. Miriam and Nichole were actually invited to participate and play "monster" which involves someone inside a sleeping bag chasing people not in sleeping bags. They tried it but appeared in my room very shortly after leaving declaring that they, "really needed some girl time."

The boys favorite thing to do last night was fake fight and I must say they all have careers in the movies. It looked so real. I overheard them talking about their fake fighting skills and discussing how if they ever accidentally really hit each other it would be "so sick" ("sick" means cool) to really fight and after a pause they all then reassured each other that "hey, man we would still be friends if that happened."

Joe got a big Indiana Jones Lego set that has a big airplane in it, a DVD of Kevin Costner's old movie Waterworld, a set of these war figures that he loves to paint, some paint to go with them and two boxes of these cookies that I just discovered at IKEA that Joe can actually eat. The first cookies in his whole life he has been able to eat.

Today he got to go see Mall Cop, the movie, with his church friend and Miriam did his paper route for him....for free.

Joe makes us laugh more you could ever imagine. He has eyes that sometimes are blue and sometimes are green and the cutest freckles you ever saw. And fabulous hair that we keep a little long just to give people at church something to talk about. He has a temper to match none but is the most generous and kind kid ever.
Funny how when I went back to Indiana for a visit how many people fondly remembered Joe's antics and wanted the scoop on any new antics. :)

3 comments:

Marathon Girl said...

Fun to hear about Joe! We don't know much about boy action here except for what David graces us with. He doesn't hold back the noises or wrestling moves any more than a deacon does:) He needs a Joe around to keep him company!

Anne Marie said...

Love all your descriptions of "boy fun". I see lots of crazy stuff at my house. I'm afraid having four boys has really worn down my sense of what is normal behavior for kids. So glad you got help from the tie-dye doctor long ago. Sad that he can't so many things, but sounds like changing his diet changed everything for him.

Whitney said...

Of course I love all of the Baird children, but i really love these individual updates, and whenever i think of Joe i just remember waking up in Nauvoo to shouts of "I'm gonna tear your eyes out of your skull, and then i'll make you eat one eye and watch yourself eat it with the other eye!"