The weeks following our trek to Virginia for Scooter's cleft palate surgery were a blur.
We took Hopper in for developmental testing, which absolutely drained our mental reserves. Instead of scheduling the testing over the course of several days, they had us bring her in for hours upon hours of testing in one day. What would have been a long day for an adult was torturous for a 2.5 year old, and she made sure to show her displeasure every chance she got. We'd do it differently and insist on staggering the tests, if we had the chance to do it again.
Some of the tests were absolutely ridiculous. It wasn't the tester's fault. She did the best she could under the circumstances, but the people who wrote the test...well, let's just say they did a bang up job. Most of the questions were pass/fail, so the child didn't get credit, if they didn't do complete the task exactly as it was written.
Let's just say that caused some problems. Some of the problems had a hint of humor while being absolutely maddening. For example, Hopper was tested to see, if she could put a raisin in a tube. She could put cereal in the tube. She could put little chocolate candies in the tube. But for the life of her, she could not bring herself to put a raisin in the tube. In her little mind they were gross! The texture freaked her out, and she adamantly refused to pick them up.
So while it was somewhat funny that she had such an aversion to raisins, it was incredibly frustrating that she wouldn't get credit for putting a small object in the tube. According to the test, it was a complete and utter failure, if the child didn't put a raisin in the tube.
You would think that since these tests are compiled by doctors who understand child development that they would take into consideration that children may have aversions to certain things. Considering that the point of the test was to see, if the child had the fine motor skills to put the raisin in the tube, and to see, if they understood the concept of 'in', the raisin itself should not have been the hold up. There is no doubt in my mind, my husband's mind or minds of testers around the world that the tests should be written with the ability to substitute raisins for cereal for chocolate candies, etc. Children who need to have these tests in the first place have enough going against them. The testing shouldn't be one of them.
To add to the stress of Scooter's surgery and Hopper's various tests, we were dealing with Hubster's separation from active duty with the United States Marine Corps.
It only made sense to get all dental work caught up for each of us, all prescriptions refilled, final medical and veterinarian appointments completed, and all medical records copied to bring with us to our new lives without the USMC. We also had to arrange for the movers to come and pack our household up and get the house cleaned for the military inspection.
The last major detail was to get the all clear from Scooter's plastic surgeon in Norfolk, so we set out for Virginia once. Dr. Magee was happy with her progress and felt it was safe for us to move cross country with our little girl. The cleft palate repair had gone well, and it was such a weight off our shoulders!
The stress had caught up to us a bit, so when Bugster brought home a respiratory bug from school, she and I ended up with walking pneumonia and bronchitis. We were advised to rest, which was easy enough for Bugster to do, but nearly impossible for me. I had too much to do.
Like clean the room we stayed in before leaving town shortly after I'd cleaned it in the first place...
We were staying in a small motel on base while we waited to be released from base housing, and for Hubster to finish up the last of the paperwork with his military unit. We'd spent the majority of the evening packing and squeezing the necessities in the car that we needed as soon as we got to Colorado, and we were tired and hungry. After I fixed something for us to eat in the little kitchenette and cleaned up, I set off to get the girls bathed, so we didn't have to do it in the morning before we set out.
Bugster bathed first, and then I went in with Hopper and Scooter to get them bathed and in their jammies, so they could go to bed. When I came out of the bathroom, exhaustion had set in, and I nearly lost it. I couldn't believe my eyes as I watched Bugster singing, dancing around and joyfully crumbling crackers all over the freshly washed counter and table top.
It didn't take long for the shock to wear off and for me to yell, "What are you doing??!!" to our oldest daughter. She looked like she was ready to cry when she explained that she was just trying to feed her 'friends'.
Yeah. Those would be the cockroaches that inhabited the base motel, and that we did not want to bring with us to Colorado!! Laughing and crying at the same time, I hugged her and dragged my weary body into the kitchen area to vacuum and scrub again before crawling into bed. Cockroaches totally freak me out, so needless to say, my sleep was fitful with dreams of them crawling all over our girls and into the crevices of our suitcases.
In the morning, still exhausted, we packed up the car, went to our friends' house to say our goodbyes.
Just a short 6 weeks after Scooter had her cleft palate surgery, we left the USMC, our good friends, and North Carolina behind.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.