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. 






12 thoughts on “The Polio Acorn

  1. Oh my gosh I felt like I went to Enid Blyton land for five minutes. Hehe good job J! (although – exactly. What !?!! How do you even know what’s polio, J? I would have thought bad flavours are like, rotten eggs or icky meds .. but Polio – that’s redefining bad flavours altogether on a different new level haha)

    Ok J & Mish, me wants in on updates on the book of Julianna-isms when things fall in place on that!! (not the first time I am saying this but a reminder never hurts :p)


  2. I am so glad Julianna is more comfortable. She deserves a raise for those 10,000 projects! And blessings to you and Steve and Alex; prayers for you to stay strong. Love the acorn story.


  3. Julianna makes my day. I love her vivid imagination that takes her everywhere and wants to help others. I am so happy when I see a new blog post unless she’s sick 😦 and then I pray for her and you.


  4. Thank you for the updates! So glad to hear she is comfortable again. My daughters have made something for Julianna and Alex and I will placing it in the mail today.


  5. My son had glioblastoma at 15 yrs of age That was 16 years ago. He suffered a stroke after the biopsy and was half side paralyzed. He loved basketball and was very good at it. After a few months of losing physical abilities , I asked him ” what if your miracle is that you stay as you are “. He pointed up , meaning he’d rather go to Heaven. Brain cancer ( terminal ) just keeps taking judgement, reason etc away so that was the only conversation we had of that type.

    He passed 7 months after diagnosis. He was home with some hospice care the last 2 months. We hydrated him but did not do a feeding tube . The sister of one of his friend’s was diagnosed with leukemia 4 days after our son . She painfully battled sickness and treatment . When they told her, there was nothing more to be done medically and her parents asked her how she felt about that, she told her mother” Mom, I just don’t want to be sick anymore”. She also said. ” oh, maybe why that is why when I thought of the future, it was like looking at a blank page-“- all her life! She passed at 11 yrs of age .

    Please believe you will be guided by God in whatever choices you make. I support you in your decision. No one outside the arena understands.


    • Thank you so much for writing. I am sorry for your loss – GBM’s are horrible, and seem only to happen to the most wonderful people and families. Thank you for sharing part of his story. I wish that children didn’t need to think about these things, but it sounds like you did everything you could to make his time here comfortable.


  6. Hello Michelle, Steve, Alex & Julianna,
    I have enjoyed each and every communication you have written but this one was my favorite!
    So pleased to hear that Princess J overcame the problem feeding. She really looks comfort-
    able, busy and happy. I absolutely loved all the photos as well especially the one with the
    Princess Pajamas and matching Princess Tiara.
    All the best to my favorite family,
    Friday, February 5, 2016


  7. Grandma here. The subject of polio came up with Julianna one day recently when I was describing a friend/former boss (who has now passed away after living a very full life) who had polio as a young woman. She was left with paraplegia and some facial paralysis. Of course, Princess J had to know all about polio. I did assure her that we now have immunizations that protect us from getting polio, but polio acorns sound like so much more fun.


  8. Great to see Julianna is doing well, and having fun. We will keep Julianna in our prayers tomorrow at church. Sending love and prayer from Pedro, Sujin, and Jessica.


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