Lead Paint

Our sweet little house was built in 1930. And we absolutely adore it. Neither Z nor I are particularly good with money. You sort of hope one half of a couple has some financial savvy, but our positive personality traits are in other areas. We hit the jackpot when we became homeowners in NYC, it was pure luck, a friend tipped us off to a foreclosure in his building, and we were able to buy a one bedroom for $35,000. Yup, we bought an apartment in Brooklyn in 2004 for less than the cost of an SUV. Dumb, crazy, once-in-a-lifetime luck. And the profit we made on that place meant we could buy this one. Real estate stock in the city of Syracuse is incredibly inexpensive compared to a lot of places. Our house isn’t big or fancy, but it is perfect for us. We say we can never move because we will never be able to afford anything like it elsewhere in the country. So even though we do a crapy job managing our finances and probably never could have gotten it together to save a reasonable down payment, we have stumbled into happy homeownership.

Older homes are right up our alley aesthetically and I can’t imagine us living in anything else. I grew up in 9 different suburban houses, and we were the first or second inhabitants in all but 2 of them. So as weird as it sounds I have a lot of nostalgic feelings about new construction. Z grew up in a house built in the 60s, and he is very fond of it. But when it came to our family we agreed that we want to live in old places. We love the musty smell, we love fantasizing about the families that came before us, and we love trying to restore original details. There are definite downsides to owning an older home. For safety reasons we had to do a major electrical upgrade. The spoiled part of me really would love a bathroom in the master bedroom. Or a clear master bedroom, period. The windows are original, so our heat bill is horrifying. And there is undoubtedly lead paint everywhere.

When you don’t have kids you don’t give a crap about lead pant. Z and I really don’t have a problem controlling ourselves when it comes to eating paint chips. But when we bought the house we knew we needed to investigate the issue for the safety of our son. Fast forward to T’s two year wellness visit yesterday. He’d been tested for lead at 9 months, but he wasn’t really mobile at that point and his levels were fine. But yesterday they were high. And we haven’t done a damn thing about the lead paint issue in our home over the last two years. I am so infuriated with myself.

The test is performed by pricking the child’s heal and collecting some blood. The results are ready in about 4 minutes, but it isn’t very accurate. We don’t even know what T’s score was, and it didn’t occur to us to ask because it wouldn’t have meant anything to us. She said it was high, but not extremely high. We need to take him to a lab that draws blood from the vein and when we get the results of that test we’ll know more. In the meantime I found a Lead Abatement Program in Syracuse and we are filling out the paperwork needed before they come for a home inspection. And clearly our guy is on track developmentally, so I don’t think we’ve done irreparable damage, but damn it do I feel guilty.

Therefore, I’ve acted like a turd for the last 24 hours. I was about as calm as T when the heal thing was happening. Then I jumped down Z’s throat when we got the results in a really unfair way. Physically I’ve been a clumsy mess, yesterday morning I dropped a glass of water in our bedroom. Last night I dropped the dinner I’d just made all over the kitchen and myself. And I started ugly crying. When Z suggested he take the more messed up portion of dinner (which was really decent of him) I threw a tantrum involving foot stomping to make sure he didn’t. He actually had to ask me to stop acting that way in the view of our toddler, who is probably looking for tips on how to improve his own tantrum throwing. When I asked Z to come with us for the blood draw on Friday because I wasn’t sure I could handle it he said, “Um. Yeah, I actually don’t think you should be in the room when it happens.” It is often like Z is taking care of two children.

The hope is this won’t be a big deal. The shitty part of having an anxiety disorder is everything feels like it’s the end of the world. So here is some good news: T is now in the 25% for height and he’s almost at the 25% for weight. For the last year he’s been hovering around 7-10% in both. He’s feeling like a big boy to me now.

Exactly two years ago today we bought our sweet little lead filled house, we moved in the next day, and T was born 8 days later.
He loves the tupperware cup (orange, of course) that I played with when I was little.
Sippin’ on his water.
Little Man singing ‘Angel Band’ which his dad sings to him at bedtime. Notice how he tries to eat the ukulele. Everything goes into that mouth, which is probably a big part of the reason we have a problem… And please, feel free to judge the mess in our home. It’s bad. 
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