Chasing Cheerios

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Preparing the Girls...

I would really like to prepare our girls (ages 2 and 5) for their daddy's surgery through the reading of children's books on the subject.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any children's books dealing with a parent having brain surgery.  Do any of you know of a book like this?  It doesn't necessarily have to be brain surgery.

So far, I've been telling them bedtime stories about children who find out that their daddy has to go to the hospital for surgery.  In the stories I discuss what he'll look like when they see him after surgery and focus on what they can do for him to make him feel better.  O(5) is VERY excited about making and doing LOTS of things to make him happy following surgery.  Tonight she said she wished she didn't have school tomorrow, so she could stay home and make plans for daddy.

E(2) is usually asleep by this time, so I need to tell her some stories during the day.  E has really enjoyed seeing the images of her daddy's brain scans, and one day she patted her head and said "my intestines in here!"  Such a funny girl.  Thanks for any input.


  1. I can't think of any off the top of my head but Zoe over at Playing by the book might have some

  2. I know everyone wishes your husband a great outcome and recovery! I think you're approaching things with your kids just fine, general anatomy if they are interested and focus on what you all can do to make Daddy feel better afterward - nice positive approach, IMO.

  3. I don't have much advice for you. but I do have a friend I think you should get to know. Head on over to Julia's site , she has a whole category about her husband and his medical condition over the last few years. If anyone could help you right now, she would be the one. Best wishes, i'll be praying for your family

  4. Some resources here
    hope you find something that works for you and the girls x

  5. First of all- my thoughts and prayers are definitely going your way- I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have to be strong for your husband and kids...all the while having to deal with something so scary yourself.

    Secondly- I am unsure of any childrens books on fathers having surgery, but I think it would be wonderful to make your own... just use an old photo album, or staple paper together, etc. and make a personalized book about the experience. You could make pages with their daddy getting x-rays of his brain, the news about the tumor, and then make pages of how he is preparing himself for surgery, how he wants his family to prepare, what to expect during the surgery (like how long he will be at the hospital, what will his scar look like, etc)
    I hope this helps- I would be MORE than happy to help you with wording or putting some pages together for you- just let me know! (

  6. This one is about sick Mom:
    The Playdate Kids: Dakota's Mom Goes to the Hospital

    Best wishes for your struggle.

  7. I am so sorry to hear about the devastating news.

    I found this for you "Resources for Talking with Children when a Parent is Ill"" The link has a list of books for parents and kids to read to prepare & deal with the situation.

    We will be thinking and pray for the whole family.

  8. Melissa,
    My husband has had cancer surgery and surgery after an accident and it is so hard to prepare for the questions they could possibly have. No matter how much you prepare, they will send you into a tailspin when they ask you something you already explained to them. Sometimes they just plain forget what you said and they're surprised at what they see! In these situations you just have to have the patience of Job!
    Feel free to contact me if you need anything.

  9. I don't have any books, but I'm interested in what others say because I'm having surgery in two weeks myself. So far, I've been very honest with my girls without being to in depth. Best of luck!

  10. I know of a couple that my friend got for her girls at the time they were 7 and 4. but they are about brain cancer so you don't want to go that route right now. I'll ask her and get back to you she might have read something else too.

    thinking and praying!

  11. I just want send healing thoughts. I think you are doing such a wonderful job with your girls and will continue to do so. Have you heard of Hippocrates Health Institute? I think it would be very healing to go here after his surgery. I've read so many wonderful stories of people healing from the most "impossible" things. I just had to share this. I thought the idea of making your own book was a great idea. No book will be as right as the one you make together. They will be really working it out by this active participation. Many many well wishes for Mr. E and your whole family.

  12. My Dad had emergency brain surgery when I was a teenager...obviously a different processing experience than with children of your ages. One thing I remember as very off-putting was how he smelled afterward. I'm sure there were various soaps/cleaners, etc. plus all the medications that affected this. It was hard to feel motivated to be physically close to him right afterward.

    I'm sure there is no amount of preparation that can take care of all their questions and yours. The best thing you can do is be open to your own experience and theirs... and just accept those for what they are. My son is a worrier and very safety conscious so if I were in your shoes I would want to reassure him of the things that he is responsible for vs. the things that everyone else will be taking care.

    Best wishes to you and your whole family. Holding you in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. This is a nice resource:

    None of the books listed are specifically about a parent in the hospital but there's some good stuff to help get them comfortable with what to expect there.


  15. Those are some I found. Luckily my husband's brain surgery was before I got pregnant, so our daughter hasn't had to deal with this at all.

    Sending you love and prayers.

  16. Peace and blessings for you. I don't know any specific for Dad's having surgery... but as I'm assuming they're going to shave his head, the book, "Nowhere Hair" might be good. (Great website and video at her site,

    I think the book, "Invisible String" is a good one for kids... not surgery specific...but still good.

    I also read an advanced copy of Stephanie Nielson ( new book--and one thing she talks about is how each of her kids responded differently to her changed appearance (she was burned over 80% of her body). One of her daughters was used to talk to her from in the hallway. One was O.K. Her little son Ollie didn't care, just touched her toes (where she wasn't burned) and said "Mommy" (or something similar).

  17. My father had brain surgery when I was very little. I honestly don't remember anything except just this great feeling of "anxiety" throughout the house. What I do recall mostly is how differently he looked afterwards when I first saw him. His surgery was in the front and you could always see the indention of the plate they put in.

  18. My prayers are certainly with you and your family.

    While not brain surgery, my husband and I have both had to have surgery or stay in the hospital a couple of times in our kids' lives (they are 33 months at the moment). So far a simple "the doctors are going to make Mommy/Daddy feel better" and an explanation of what Mommy/Daddy will or will not be able to do afterward have sufficed. This last time (they were 29 months) was much easier on everyone than when they were 18 months. At that time, they really did not understand and were upset that I could not play with them the way they wanted.

    I don't have any children's books ideas at the moment, but will be interested to see others' suggestions. I'll also be on the lookout, as I'm sure we'll need to prepare them more as they get older.

  19. I have been a fan of your website for quite some time. I am so sorry to hear about your husbands brain tumor. Eight years ago, my brother was diagnosed with a very large tumor at 35, it was behind his eyes. He is fine now but it was an intense few months. We had fun giving him lots of different hats to wear at the hospital. He seemed to have a hat for every occasion. And when he was home but couldn't do much, we took him for a pedicure which he thought was so funny (he is quite a guys guy). I don't have any book suggestions sorry as I didn't have kids then. My only comment is that the girls may want to be prepared for the moments that may show some short term memory loss. I was surprised when my brother asked if I had read a book and I said yes and then we had a big discussion about it. Two minutes after the conversation was over he asked the same question. We also made the mistake of playing a board game and he would forget some things and it made him extremely sad and frustrated. That all went away but it can be a shock when you know someone one way and they act differently. Good luck and prayers to you and your family.