The Polio Acorn


Julianna is doing well. No more throwing up, and we’re working on increasing her feeds. She’s been busy playing.



J on a particularly busy day. She calls this picture “10,000 projects.”


Happy (CMT) feet


And now the post…

Sometimes I toil over blog posts for days. Sometimes, I sit back and just quote Julianna.

She has the gift of gab, our Julianna. Every day, she says something startling — startling/funny, startling/profound, startling/imaginative. It’s a window into a delightful mind.

Here are some examples.

It’s bedtime. Julianna yawns.

J: What’s a yawn?

M I’m thinking…why DO we yawn? Where is the yawn center in the brain? Did I learn this in med school?

J: Is it a silent burp?


Dressing Julianna is challenging. She can’t tolerate a lot of time off BiPAP, so everything has to be laid out and ready.  The voluminous princesses dresses take some extra effort, but J is willing to make that sacrifice — on some days.

One day, J picked out a princess dress. We struggled a bit to get it on


J: These are my work clothes.

These days, Julianna likes to alternate princess days with pajama days. This is J’s idea of princess-casual.




I ask Julianna to smile for a picture.

 J: What size eyes do you want? Small? Medium? Big?

J: Medium is perfect.


And lastly,  her fantastic imagination. Her stories are spontaneous and vivid. They often send me flying to my laptop so that I can record the details.

Tonight, our five-year-old came up with a plan to eradicate polio.

J: Look at that poor little bear. He’s hungry. We need to feed him.

M: OK, what do we feed him?

J: Acorns.

M: OK….here’s some acorns I find a fake pearl — it’s round and can pass for an acorn. I put it next to the bear.J: That’s a silver acorn. It’s marshmallow flavored.

M: What other flavors are there?

J: Brown – it’s chocolate. And pink.

M: Pink is strawberry, right? I’ve done this before, I know the drill.

J: And orange for orange. And – she pauses. Did you know there are some bad flavors? She looks serious.

M: Like what?

J: Polio.

M: What?? How do you even know what polio is?

J: Grandma told me.

M: OK, what’s polio?

J: It makes your muscles weak and makes it hard to breathe.

M: And there are polio acorns?

J: Yes. They’re red.

M: OK…

J: You can’t eat them. You’ll get polio

M: Right.

J: The polio acorns are red because they are trying to trick people. They want you to think they are raspberry.

M: Oh, that’s no good.

J: Raspberry acorns are red and bumpy. Polio acorns are red and smooth. We have to get rid of them.

M: How?

J: We have to go to the wizard and ask for a spell. That’s the only way

M: Ok, lets do that. What would you tell the wizard?

J: I would tell him “Get rid of the polio acorn.” OK , hold my hand so you don’t touch the polio acorns. I take her hand and swing it, pretending we are walking.

J: So we walk towards the wizard. We go through the door. Shhh….we have to be real quiet here. We’re here!

M: Now what?

J: So — can you tell him?

M: Wizard, will you please destroy all the polio acorns so no one gets polio?

J: He says “Here’s a potion”

M: Oh great, now what do we do?

J: We sprinkle it on the polio tree. Here’s a flying spell so you can sprinkle it. You’ll be above it so you won’t touch it

M: Oh, thank you.

J: Put gloves on. The potion is hot

M: OK, I have gloves on

J: Ok so – let’s go.

I take J’s hand again and pretend to walk

J: You’re flying above it. Now sprinkle it

M: I’m sprinkling…

J: Ok, so then the polio disappears

M: No more polio – we got rid of polio.

J: Yeah.

M: That’s awesome.

J: There’s no polio. Now there’s raspberry acorns on that tree.

M: I love it. Everyone loves raspberries. Congratulations!

J: Yeah – WE DID IT!!


The little bear that needed acorns is in the clear container. The pearl in J’s hand is the marshmallow acorn. The ponies are in the picture b/c J insisted.