Sunday, September 30, 2007

To Be Home**

This seems to be one of those articles that I have so much that I want to say, but as I sit here at my desk I find it quite difficult to put everything into words. That said, I will begin by saying that it is so wonderful to finally be back in Canada with all of our family and friends. To make it easier on everyone I shall package my different ramblings under subheadings as I have regularly done in the past. Let me begin.

Our Trip Home
Similar to our arrival to Italy, we travelled with Air Canada and Luftansa. Air Canada had arranged all of the travel arrangements for us and as always made our life much easier while changing flights in Franfurt and when we arrived in Toronto. An Airport contains quite a few people and with that there is the increased risk of Parker coming in contact with someone who could possible cause him to obtain an infection. So, having an Air Canada representative escort us through the airport in such a way that we spent very little time in a line put us at ease.

The actual flight with Air Canada was excellent. We flew on a Boeing 777 so it was a newer aircraft with some very nice amenities. Parker had his own personal television that he could watch in addition to the one in front me and the one in front of my wife. An eight hour flight is a long time for a 20 month old and I have to say that he was quite good during the flight. For the first few hours he sat nicely in his car seat between my wife and I. However, after being confined for three hours Parker began to become restless and wanted to walk around the aircraft. Of course, this was a little difficult and all we did let him do was walk in front of our seats. There was a little bit of room for him since we sat in bulkhead but again Parker soon got bored and a little bit angry since we would not let him tear the duty free magazine apart. Overall, I have to say that I was pleased with Parker's behaviour while on the flight. Everyone did everything they could to keep Parker along with my wife and I as comfortable as possible. The flight attendants were very aware of our situation and extremely accomodating to our needs.

The Reception
When we finally arrived in Toronto we were met by family and friends who were so happy to see us and Parker after going over six months without us. Parker, for the first time saw all of his cousins in one place. Mind you he was behind his shield while at the airport so it was much easier for us to make sure that he did not touch one of his cousins or vice versa.

We were also met by the Toronto Star who has followed our story from the very beginning. They have always been very good to us and have made it much easier for Parker's disease and gene therapy to become more widely known and understood by their readers. For those of you who had a chance to read the full article in the paper on Friday or the condensed version in the Metro I am sure you would agree that they did a wonderful job. As always, a big thank you to the Toronto Star.

From the airport, we, along with all of Parker's aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents went back to Parker's Nonna's for a little reception. Now, this is something we have not been accustomed to doing the past 20 months but we have become very educated on how to be around people and still keep Parker infection free.

With everyone healthy, we allowed Parker to run around my parents house even though all of his cousins were there. Parker is used to not having other children come close enough to him so it was good to see him take a step back if anyone got to close.

For the most part, Parker kept to himself and played nicely with the magazines. The little monkey has become quite the organizer so he enjoys taking all the magazine out and putting them back when they go in a somewhat neat stack. It was definitely nice being able to spend time with everyone. Tonight, we will go with Parker to my parents for Sunday dinner. Unfortunately, Parker's cousin William has a runny nose so his family have been nice enough to stay home this afternoon so that we may attend.

Parker's House
Parker had become accustomed to living in a relatively small apartment in Milan with only a few hallways that he could actually run down to get some exercise. It is hard to describe the smile on Parker's face when he saw all the space he had when he got into his home. He ran from one room to the next, then he would return to the previous rooms to make sure that they were still there and he was not mistaken. Then, when he went upstairs and saw all of his toys his smile grew even larger.

In the couple of days that we have been home we have learned a couple of things. First, the main floor is not Parker proofed. We have a few glass tables on the main floor, in addition to the wine rack and a bar cart with lots of glass at the perfect level for Parker. So, for now we find ourselves chasing Parker around the main floor letting him know what he can and cannot touch. That said, most of his toys and his play room are located on the top floor that is much more condusive to a 20 month old. Parker also enjoys running around on the hardwood floors downstairs and has wiped out a couple of times already so it is very important that he has good grips on his socks. Children's Place sell great socks that grip the floors quite nicely.

When we were away we had a gate put up so that Parker cannot run or fall down the stairs. What we had not thought of is the way a child of Parker's age is supposed to go up and down stairs. When we left for Italy, Parker was only crawling and used that method of transportation to go up the stairs. The way down was much easier for him, daddy carried him. Now, that we are home and Parker walks we had to come up with a better way. While in Italy, we always held his hand as he walked up and down the stairs since thyey were not very steep. Some steps outside he was able to do without any help from us at all. So, when my mother started teaching him how to go down the stairs by himself by crawling backwards I was a little surprised.

After getting down on his knees in the backwards position, he then propells himself down the stairs on his stomach using his feet, knees and hands to keep him from gettig there faster then me. I have to admit that the little monkey figured it out very quickly. After only one day, Parker had mastered going down the stairs.

Parker's first sleep in his old crip went very well. Yes, he did wake up after an hour crying uncontrollably but after 30 minutes and some music we got him back to bed where he stayed for another 11 hours. As for his first nap, I quickly learned that his crip was too close to the wall. Parker had pulled down every wooden letter that he could reach off that wall behind his crib.

A Visit To Nonni's
My Nonna had always made sure to call us in Italy everyday so when she phoned me yesterday morning asking if we could bring Parker over to visit her we did not hesitate. Parker had a wonderful time running aruond his Nonni's backyard. It was the first time we had let him run on grass and the first time we let him touch a flower. The little monkey absolutely loved the experience. Afterwards, we took Parker inside so that he could play in her living room.

Now, my Nonna's home is also not Parker proofed but she had no problem letting him pick up wheatever he wanted. For the most part Parker played with the coasters. Stacking them and then unstaking them. He is quite the little organiser.

A Trip to the Zoo
My parents have season passes to the Toronto Metropolitan Zoo and had asked us if they could take Parker to see the dinasaur exhibit that is currently on display there. We figured that the three of them would enjoy the experience and with very few people at the zoo when it first opens in the morning it should be quite safe for him. Although we were not with them it was obvious from the pictures that Parker really enjoyed himself.

**Images soon

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Looking Forward to Home

I do apologise, as I normally do when I do not write an article in a long time. We have run out of Internet time so we have to purchase a card for every 30 minutes of Internet we use now. So, we try not to use up the card too quickly. In addition, I have tried to use as much of my free time to review for my exam that I have to write a couple weeks from returning to Canada. That said, I am writing now and we do have some good news.

I had mentioned that there was a good possibility that we would be returning home with Parker very soon. I am happy to say that we have gotten confirmation from Parker's team of doctors in Italy that we may return to Canada. Thus, in the next several days we will once again get to sleep in our own bed and Parker in his own room.

My wife mentioned last night at dinner that we have spent a lot of time in our battle against Parker's immunodeficiency. Now, that we are going home I can say that the first half of the battle is complete.

Parker still remains immunodeficient. Actually, he is much more immunodeficient leaving Italy than he was coming. Without giving away too much information about the team's work I will give you a couple of numbers to ponder. Eight months ago Parker had about 2500 neutrophils per unit of blood and the results of some tests in the months prior to then Parker had over 3000. Since completing the gene therapy and after giving his bone marrow some time to recuperate from chemotherapy Parker's most recent blood results have his neutrophils just beginning to reach 2000. And even still, there will definitely be some fluctuations in these level over the next several weeks.

If you have been reading the blog for a while now you may remember how well Parker responded to PEG-ADA (the injections of ADA he received twice a week to give him the enzyme he was unable to produce himself). The greatest number of lymphocytes that I have recored for Parker are 2600 cells/unit of blood. Now, this is a relatively high number of cells for a child on PEG-ADA but as I had mentioned Parker did respond well on enzyme replacement therapy. Now, before I mention the number of lymphocytes that Parker has three months post gene-therapy I have to mention a couple things about PEG-ADA.

First, PEG-ADA is not a long term solution. Although Parker had normal levels of lymphocytes (low but relatively still normal) while on PEG-ADA the effectiveness of the drug after only a few years of being on it decreases significantly. It decreases enough after three years that Parker would have very little few lymphocytes left by the time he was to enter kindergarten.

Secondly, Parker would have to have the twice weekly injection of PEG-ADA for the rest of his life. With each injection costing $2500US it becomes very expensive and there is no guarentee that the government would pay for the drug indefinitely.

It was for those reasons we chose to take part in the gene therapy trial rather than having Parker stay on enzyme replacement therapy for his lifetime.

As I was saying, Parker had quite a few lymphocytes while on PEG-ADA (2600 in August 2006). Shortly, when we leave Italy, Parker's lymphocyte level will be somewhere in the range of 100 to 200 cells/unit. Yes, this is significantly less that what he had on PEG-ADA but we knew right from the start that it would take quite a bit of time for Parker's lymphocyte level to increase after gene therapy. They may never reach the level they were while Parker was on PEG-ADA but at least a portion of his cells produce ADA by themselves. For that reason these modified cells will be able to rid Parker's body of the metabolites that cause serious damage to his organs in addition to putting his immune system into a state where it is unable to fight infection.

We are still unsure how well the therapy will work for Parker since there was some difficulty with the therapy over the past months. Remember, there was a time that we thought we were going to have to repeat the therapy because it did not work. Now, only a couple of months later we are happy to know that although Parker may not be their most successful patient to date the therapy does seem to be working.

What do these numbers mean for us and Parker? We must continue to keep him protected so that he does not catch a serious infection. My wife will remain at home for at least another year before returning to work and we both will do everything possible to keep ourselves from bringing anything that can harm him inside the walls of our home.

We are extremely excited about returning home to see our family and friends. There are so many people that we want to thank and I know that I am going to miss a bunch of people but I want to try anyways.

Thank you to Nonna and Nonno. You have always been there for me when I have really needed you. I was so happy when you told me you were coming to Italy. The month you spent here with us was definitely the best month I have ever spent with the two of you in my life. Parker had such a wonderful time with you when you were here and I know he will be so excited to see you when he comes home.

Thank you Nana and Gaga. The two and a half months that you were here meant the world to us. The hours that you spent with Parker while he was in isolation were invaluable. Parker loved it and it gave Tracy and I some well needed rest. We also want to thank you for everything you have done while you have been in Canada and we have been in Italy. I know that our home will be in pristine condition when we see it very shortly. A special thank you to Roy for his daily trips to the house. Parker is just itching to get up on your shoulders.

Thank you Auntie Natalie. We really appreciate that you came to visit us in Italy. You came during a very difficult time for us but you always made sure to be positive. You are a great friend not only to my wife but also to me. We look forward to spending time with you and Uncle David when we return.

Thank you to my Nonna (Parker's Nonni). You called us almost every single day since we arrived in Italy. You have not only been a great grandmother to me but also to Parker. We promise to bring Parker to your home regularly so he can see his Nonni. We will never worry about the cleanliness of your home since next to ours there isn't a home that is cleaner. You better stretch your legs so that you can chase Parker every where.

Thank you to Parker's God Parents. Your thoughts and prayers have always given us and Parker strength. You have done so much to let other people know about Parker and we are extremely appreciative of that. We look forward to having the two of you over when we return so that Parker can see how lucky he is to have the two of you as God Parents.

Thank you to Uncle Michael, Auntie Kate, Auntie Christine, Uncle Mikey, Auntie Frannie and Uncle Pete. You have been wonderful aunts and uncles to Parker. Although it has been and will be difficult at times for our children to play together you have always been understanding of why. I look forward to the days that Parker will be able to play with his cousins without having to watch him under a microscope. Thank you for your emails and phone calls here in Italy. It has definitely made our time easier knowing who we have waiting for us at home.

I want to thank Dr. Aiuti and his team of doctors here at the San Raffaelle. His dedication to finding a cure for ADA deficient SCID is incredible. Although our battle with Parker's disease is not yet over we are very thankful to know that there are doctors like you who are willing to fight there hardest when the battle seems to be at its darkest moment. We will be forever grateful to you.

Thank you to our team at Sick Kids in Toronto. You diagnosed Parker early enough that he did not have any side-effects due to the build up of metabolites in his system. You helped us protect him and gave us guidance when needed. We look forward to seeing you when we return to Canada. You will not believe how much Parker has grown in the past six and a half months.

Thank you to Air Canada and Luftansa for getting us to Italy and back to Canada problem free. Air Canada is definitely a world class airline.

Thank you to everyone who has said a prayer on Parker or our behalf. You have given us strength during times that it could have been easier to have just given up. I believe that science can only do so much and you need faith to do what science cannot.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I have to say that the last week has been so much easier for my wife and I. Why? Because life sort of seems a little bit more normal with Parker having two friends that he spends most of his day with.

Parker has loads of fun when he is with his friends. I have never seen him laugh and run so much in my life. When he comes in after playing his hair is actually sweaty in parts. Yesterday, we decided to take a trip around Milano 2 with Parker, the two girls and their mother. The main attraction was to feed the turtles and the big fish that Nonna and Nonno had introduced to Parker just over a month ago but everyone enjoyed themselves the whole time.

Yes, we did make it to the pond where the children got to throw a day-old baguette to the animals swimming around. It was definitely a little bit different then we were used to though. The fountain was on so so the turtles who normally frequent the pond hid themselves from the falling water. Then, a small dog that looked a lot like the dog from the television show “Fraser” came out of no where and jumped into the pond. He swam around causing the water to become foggy.

Eventually, through the sand and water we saw a turtle trying to eat some of the bread that Juliette had actually thrown into the water instead of eaten. But it was for only a quick moment because the little dog came right up behind the turtle and nipped at his back-side. The turtle then went head over tail in the water as the dog turned sharply causing a wave that the little turtle could not overcome.

I had promised everyone blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning. So, Parker had a great surprise when the little girls came over at 9am to enjoy a breakfast that did not consist of the same porridge Parker has become accustomed to over the past year. I had picked up some Canadian Maple Syrup from Unes yesterday so that our friends could give it a try. Although they did enjoy it I have to say that it was definitely not the Maple Syrup you would get back home.

Now, I must admit that I am pretty much content with being in Italy and I do my best not to let things bother me, but my wife has definitely found it difficult. So, now that she has someone that she can spend time with (other than her loving husband) she is much happier. The mother of the two girls that Parker regularly plays with is a wonderful lady and Tracy really enjoys spending time with her. The last two evenings Tracy has gone over to spend several hours with her to share conversation and wine while the children slept. I am extremely pleased that she has this, I only wish she had this right from the beginning. That said, we did have our families and Natalie here for more than half of our time in Italy and that made life easier for everyone.

Well, I better publish this article so I can finish my studying before Parker wakes and wants to go visit his friends for the afternoon.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I must say that this portion of my studying allows me to write articles more frequently. For those of you who care, my studying is going well and I should be able to write my exam within a couple of weeks of going home.

I have titled today's article “Meltdown” because that is exactly what we witnessed happen yesterday evening. After a wonderful day, we realised that our little boy is only normal and there are going to be times when being isolated for so long from other little people is eventually going to have its effects on Parker.

Last night, just prior to going to bed, Parker had a visit from his little Irish friends. It is normal for either they to come knocking on our door or Parker on theirs before bedtime, so that the saying of good night may be exchanged.

Parker had a blast when the girls came to visit him just after seven last evening and was more than happy to show them his Pinocchio so that daddy could explain to them that he too had one just like his when he was Parker's age. He even tried to give his girl friend the necklace that he and his Nonna had made together when she was there last month.

Then, it was decided that Parker along with mommy and daddy would walk the girls and their mother home. We arrived at their door only a few moments after leaving ours and Parker began to wave bye bye to them from their doorway. Kisses were blown in both directions and then Parker proceeded to run down the hallway as he regularly enjoys doing. Only this time, the two little girls came out running after him.

Parker stopped about 30 feet from their door then turned around to see the girls running right toward him yelling, “Parker, Parker!” He did not respond. Then as quickly as they ran up to him they ran by him and proceeded to turn the corner on their way to the elevators. Parker timidly followed them, making sure to keep his distance and remain only an arm length from his mommy.

Then, when Parker reached the adjacent hallway, he was once again greeted by the two girls who continued to yell his name, as they invited him to play in their little game. Again, the girls turned around and continued to run down the hallway towards the elevators. By now, Parker was standing beside his mommy, grasping her leg tightly with his left arm with his head pressed against her knee. “Go see your friends”, she said. Parker did not budge.

Mommy then picked up Parker and walked with him down to where the elevators were. By now, the little girls were running down the next hallway, still yelling his name. Mommy put Parker down on the floor thinking that he would run after the little girls who were still calling him.

But her did not. Instead my son broke down into tears as he turned to his mommy and grasped both of her legs tightly with his arms.

Now, please remember we do not normally hear Parker cry. Well mannered and very brave is how I would describe him. To be honest, I never have heard him really cry before. Yes, when he gets a battery of needles he fights and yells but nothing like we heard last night.

When mommy picked Parker up he continued to cry for a while until he realised his request had been granted and was in the safety of his mother's arms. Was he afraid of the little girls who were running around him and yelling his name? Was it that he was tired? Was it that he was not used to interacting with children his own age, or was it a combination of the three? Regardless, mommy made his tears go away..

Today was better. Parker went over to his friends' house first thing this morning to say hello and blow them kisses. A few hours later, we all watched “The Backyardigans” together. Parker laughed and danced with his friends during the many songs that play through each episode. Yes, Parker was a little timid during the dancing as he made sure to only dance while sitting on my lap or standing in front of me while holding my leg. However, everyone once again seemed happy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Came all the Way to Italy to Meet my Irish Wife

My wife has gone with her friend from Ireland for the afternoon. Parker has gone down for his nap and I am taking a break from studying for my SCBCD exam.

I have to say that the past 24 hours have given me more excitement than I could possible handle for one day. Although, most of the excitement would be considered unwanted excitement there were also some good that happened as well.

Let me begin with Parker's blood results from yesterday. I had mentioned previously that Parker's neutrophils had dropped last week to once again put him under 1500 neutrophils per unit of blood, that being the threshold for neutropenia. Yesterday, we had hoped for an increase in his cells but we were devastated to hear that they had dropped another 200 to put him below 1000 neutrophils, a total decrease of 700 cells in just two weeks. With Parker having some major tests being performed next week to confirm that the gene therapy is working and so that we can leave for Canada at the end of the month you can image how stressed we were when we found out about Parker's results yesterday.

We spent most of the day waiting for Parker's doctor to call us to see if he was worried or not. It was just after half past seven in the evening our time when he called to let us know that he was not worried and that he expects Parker's neutrophils to increase next week. The major problem about doing so much research on your son's disease and being so involved when it comes to knowing and understanding the results is that a lot of stress comes with it. That said, we remain content knowing that we may still be coming home soon and that our son is clinically and developmentally doing very well.

Now, on to our next bit of negative excitement. For reasons you will learn shortly, Parker was put down for his afternoon nap at four in the afternoon yesterday. We figured that he would fall asleep almost instantaneously and were very surprised to witness all of the energy that he had stored away. So, with my wife and I mentally tired from recently learning Parker's blood results we decided to lie in the bed near Parker's playpen in hopes that that would help him fall asleep.

Instead, he did everything he could to get our attention. First, it way throwing his monkey at us. Then, his blanket on the floor. Then, he shouted at us. “Dada! Dada! Up, up, up!”, he would yell. Then, he did it. The same thing he did every other time he was in his play pen. He tried to climb up the side of his playpen. Normally, his feeble attempt included a couple of steps of the mesh but then he would lose his gripping and slide back down. This time was different. After his second step, he flexed the muscles in his triceps and then straightened his arms so that his elbows locked.

He had done it. The top horizontal bar of his playpen was now situated at his belly button. What a feat. And then it happened, in a fraction of a second he rested his hips on the bar and over he went. It was if I had saw the whole things in slow motion.

First, his face hit the ground, then the rotational motion kicked in from his push off the bar and the top of his head was suddenly the only thing now making contact with the ground Finally, he came to rest lying on his back facing the ceiling.

Can you image the stress we were feeling. I quickly got up from the edge of the bed and picked up my son who lay there on the floor in front of me. “Tickle, tickle, tickle”, he said. Of course, Parker didn't care. Why would he. The little guy had just figured out how to escape from his playpen during nap time.

Of course, I immediately went downstairs to reception to ask for a new crib for Parker. One that was high enough that he could not climb out of. After about an hour they brought us in a brand new crib where Parker to sleep. Surely, the little guy would not be able to climb out of this crib.

I have to say that he slept well in his new bed last night. This afternoon before nap, my wife put him in his crib while she took out the garbage. Me, I was working on tonight's dinner. Meatball and Italian sausage sandwiches. Can you imagine my eyes when I peeked around the corner into the bedroom to see Parker standing there in his crib with the side of the crib down. I ran there as fast as I could to lift the side back to its normal position. Why climb out of the crib when you are smart enough to just lower the side down. That said, Parker is now asleep in his crib that we have positioned and modified in such a way that he is unable to get out. For now.

Okay, I had said that I would explain why Parker was late for his nap yesterday. See, Parker had a date. We, along with our friends from Ireland thought it would be a great idea to set up a portion of the hallway as a movie theater for Parker and the girls to watch a movie together. So, after bringing out some chairs, a table and the laptop we were all ready to watch “Over the Hedge”. The youngest of the two girls had fallen asleep prior to the start of the movie, but Parker and his girlfriend watched the movie from beginning to end. Of course, Parker may not have looked the coolest drinking his bottle of milk in his mommy's lap an forty-five minutes into the movie but he made up for it when he had daddy bring the two of them their own bag of crackers to eat during the movie.

Now, I have to say that it does get better than this. Apparently, after speaking with my wife, I was informed of a conversation between Parker's girlfriend and her mother. Now, I do apologise if I get it wrong but I believe it went something like the following.

“Mommy, I think I am going to marry Parker”, the little girl said to her mother.

“Oh really”, she replied, “and what are you going to where to your wedding?”

Well, the little girl then began to explain to her mother how the dress that she would wear on her special day was going to be very long and pretty.

The mother then asked her, “Well, what shall Parker wear?”

“You know, a pair of trousers and a shirt.”, she replied.

Well, I have to say it is nice that Parker has friends his own age to interact with (in a very controlled environment). How, was today? Well, movie time was a little earlier. Parker found his way to the same place they had met yesterday without a problem. How hard could it have been when all he can hear from down the hall are two little voices saying, “Parker! Parker!”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Promised Pictures

Bath time with the duckies.

Parker not using the tunnel to get into the tee-pee correctly.

Parker posing for the camera before realizing he is stuck.

Parker realising he is stuck.

Parker posing for the camera during naptime.

Parker figuring out how daddy parker-proofs the cabinets incorrectly.

Parker during nap time when Daddy is in charge. Listen Parker, Daddy is the boss of you. Regardless, he threw his mattress out of the bed and then his monkey too. So, who do you think is the boss here?

Parker watching his Brainy Baby video after finishing his cereal.

Get out of my way mom. I smeared my dinner all over my face. Isn't that sort of like eating it? Now, let me watch my video!

Parker trying to put his new Geox on.

Parker watching his video after having his bath and dinner.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Parker's Girlfriend

It has been a while since the last time I wrote an article and again I do apologise. To be honest, not too much has occurred in the past week. Parker did give quite a bit of blood last Wednesday, and his neutrophils did decrease making him once again neutropenic. Well, neutropenic in the sense that the particular vile of blood they tested showed that he had less than 1500 neutrophils per unit of blood. That said, no one seemed that too concerned about it. Parker will give blood in a couple of days to see what his white blood count is at that time.

Since things here in Italy have seemed to turn around for us in the past month and a bit, it does look like we should be able to return home to Canada near the end of this month. We are definitely looking forward to seeing our family and friends again. It will still be a long time before Parker can live a normal life but at least it should be closer to normal by being at home. I know that Parker can't wait to see his Nana and Gaga, and Nonna and Nonno again.

Parker really has not seen Francesco in the past while, but the same can not be said about his two little friends from Ireland. In the past week, his two little friends have started to pay more attention to our little guy. Parker loves it when he sees them in the hallways and always makes sure to dance for them and blow them kisses. It was a couple of days ago that the older of the two turned to her mommy and said, “I think Parker is in love with me”. She then turned back to Parker and started blowing kisses back at him. So as it now stands, it seems as if Parker has his first girlfriend.

We have recently started Parker-proofing the drawers in our apartment. Unfortunately, there are too many drawers for us to keep Parker out of, so we still find ourselves chasing Parker around to make sure that he is not pulling everything out of all the drawers.

I hope to write another article in the next day or so so that I do not keep everyone waiting to find out what has been happening over here in Italy with Parker, my wife and I. I am going to post another separate article with only images so those of you who are interested in seeing the little guy can do just that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ramblings about Nothing

I am quite bored of learning about transaction contexts in EJB so I have decided to take a break and write an article. I always find that I write more articles when I am studying since I use the time as a distraction. My wife has again gone downstairs to use the computer in the lobby so it is actually the perfect time to update the web site.

We found a store around the corner from our residence that is very similar to a Bargain Harolds or BiWay so we decided to take a look through it earlier this week. To be honest, we originally went in hoping to find something that could help us keep Parker in his stroller during our walks outside but we ended coming out with something completely different.

If you look back to the images from a couple of articles ago you will see a tee pee, and tent attached with a tunnel. When we say it we figured it would be great for the little guy to explore and play in. Parker really enjoys playing with his blocks inside the tent and tee pee, and regularly moves them from one area to the other. Parker does not frequent the tunnel to often as he is smart enough to realise that it is not the fastest way between the two spaces.

As I had just mentioned, Parker is not nearly as keen on staying strapped into his stroller as he used to be. It pretty much started when we decided to let him walk around outside by himself. Since then, he tries desperately to slide his arms under the straps so that he can stand up and get out of the stroller. Recently, I modified the straps on his stroller so that they fit his body better and made it more difficult to “Houdini” himself out. It still takes some work on our part to keep him in the stroller but with the modifications we do have more time to pull his arm back under the strap.

Another little difficulty that we have run into lately is that Parker's nap schedule has changed. Why? Because Parker said so. We still put Parker into his crib around one in the afternoon but now he plays in his crib until three before only sleeping for just over an hour. We don't really know what to do about it since communicating with Parker logically is a little difficult at the moment. So, we just let him goof around in his bed until he decided to go to sleep. The only good thing about it is that it gives us more time in the afternoon to relax.

This morning we also decided to take a walk to the Geox Outlet near us. For those of you who are unaware of Geox they are an Italian made shoe and Parker currently has a pair that we purchased in Canada before leaving for Italy. We originally set out to get Parker's foot measured to see what size shoe he should be wearing since when we purchased shoes for him in Canada he did not accompany us to the mall. When we got to the outlet it was quite empty and it allowed us to not have to look over our shoulders every second to make sure there was not someone about to cough or sneeze on Parker.

After having Parker's foot measured we found out that Parker has increased his shoes size by 2 since arriving here in Italy. Parker is now a size 23 using European sizes. With this new information we decided to have Parker try on a new pair of Geox shoes. These were a little bit different then the ones he currently has. For one, they are Velcro, and secondly the words GEOX light up on the side of the shoe whenever he takes a step.

Well, Parker loved them.. As soon as we put them on his feet he wanted to get out of his stroller and run around the store. So, that is what we did. Proud as a peacock, Parker run up and down the aisles of the shoe shore. We were worried that he was going to walk to play with the velcro, or the lights on the side of his shoe, but he did not. He just smiled, and walked around.

Tomorrow, Parker gets his monthly IgG infusion and my wife and I both give blood to cross reference a test they did on Parker a few weeks ago to obtain the particular mutation he has in the gene responsible for producing adenosine deaminase (ADA). We need the results of the test so that we can make sure that our next child does not have the same disease as Parker since there is a 25% chance that each child we have will be an ADA deficient SCID.

Also, Parker wanted me to wish his cousin Patrick a great first day of school. Parker knows that you are going to be the smartest person in your kindergarten class. Remember to have fun, Patrick!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Boys will be Boys

I am not sure the last time I wrote but I know it has not been in at least a couple of days. Parker just went down for his nap and my wife is taking a trip downstairs to use the computer on the main floor. Nothing major has occurred in the past couple of days but I thought I would at least update everyone on Parker's latest escapade.

Parker has not seen his friend since the last time that I wrote. I think the mother is feeling a little under the weather and for that reason they have not been out in the halls nearly as much as they normally would. To be honest, we would not let Parker play with his little buddy even if he were available for play since the last thing we need is Parker catching whatever the mother had through his friend.

We did meet another family a couple of days ago. They are from Ireland and have two little girls that are both older than Parker. One is two and the other four. It is very funny watching Parker interact with them as they are much more mature and proper than his other friend. Let me see if I can best explain their most interesting encounter together.

It was by the elevators where Parker normally meets up with his friend Francesco. The two girls in their pastel coloured dresses both hold their mother's hands as they watch Parker parade in front of them. The youngest eats a peach while staring at my son doing his best to be the centre of attraction. You know how little boys are when they want a girl to notice them. First, he spins in a circle, then when that does not work he shakes his head and bounces up and down as he would if he were dancing to his favourite song. Still nothing. Not even a hello. Then he laughs, and looks at me to pick him up and hang him inverted from his feet so they can see how much fun he is. Foolish energy, I call it, and it gets him only a confused look from the younger of the two. Then, he starts to run in a circle, first a small one, followed by a larger one, each one getting larger than the one previous, and then finally a circle big enough that the little girl is now in his path. Then, when he decided that no one else sees it, Parker's hands go up in front of him. As he approaches her from behind he sees his opportunity, and with all of his might he extends his arms out in front of him. But then he realises it. His attempt to get the little girl to notice him has been foiled as he looks down at his hands to see that daddy was now holding them. “Bye, bye”, he says as he waves to her from above as daddy carries him away. Then, the little girl looks up at Parker as she extends her arm out that holds the peach, returning the smile.

Images of Food and Stuff

Ahhh. The elevators. This is also where Parker hangs out with his friends.

Not exactly Tim Horton's steeped tea. How many times a day do you think I hear from her that the first thing she is going to do is go to Tim Horton's when she gets home.

Parker playing in his tee pee.

Parker playing in the tent we got him. It attaches itself to the tee pee above.

Homemade Fish and Chips. We had to use up the frying oil since we have no where to store it. That means we have grease food for four days.

A calzone with prosciutto coto, mozzarella, tomato sauce, salame picante and zola.

Parker. Just Parker

My dad needed to see the pizza from Chinatown once more time.