Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nebulizers and Pediatrician offices that are open on Sunday morning.

Today I found out that Charlie has a $10 copay on his insurance. This was a surprise because his well visits never came with a copay and Charlie's never been to the dr for a sick visit.

That's not to say he's rarely sick. The whole reason we ended up in the Pediatrician's office this fine Sunday morning is because he's been sick once a month since Thanksgiving and I guess his little immune system finally had enough. I'm not prone to taking my kids to the doctor, and they manage to get over almost everything with fluids, rest and vitamins (with lots of cuddling and TV watching thrown in for good measure). Besides, I called the dr. last week because I thought Charlie might have an ear infection or bronchitis or some other bacterial malady (he had been running a low grade fever for days after a cold), and they told me to call him if his fever got higher or if he still had it in three days. Bah. Be that way.

Still, after growing up in a family that literally never went to the doctor. I sometimes forget they (pediatricians) even exist. And quite frankly, that can be a problem. After being (in my imagination) snubbed by the receptionist with whom I have a long standing feud, it didn't occur to me to call them when Charlie suddenly developed a new cough. Nor did it occur to me that it was a problem when he got a fever yesterday. When he woke up at in the middle of the night and it was over 104 degrees, I was worried... really worried. He was so miserable his tiny heart was pounding like he was running a marathon, and he was panting like a sick puppy. All of that, and I didn't connect the dots until this morning after Jim and Jamie had left to church, and I was trying to occupy my little feverbox child with a variation of peek a boo. I even managed to get a few grins out of him when I finally noticed how hard he was struggling to breathe. Quick, pathetic little wheezing breaths as he smiled at me and asked me to play some more.

I did what I always do in that situation, which was call Aunt Patti (what would I do without a dr for an aunt). She guessed pneumonia and suggested I make my way to the ER since it was the weekend and my pediatricians office was obviously closed. I called them anyway just to leave a message with the answering service (maybe subconsciously I wanted to be vindicated for being told to bugger off earlier), but shockingly, they were open... until 12 pm. And it was 11:15 and we live over a half hour away. They said bring him in, and I assured them I was on my way.

I'm just grateful we didn't have to spend half the day in the ER. Apparently the local children's hospital has been so swamped lately, they've asked some of the pcp's to open up their offices on the weekends to help stave off the influx of sick kids waiting in the ER.

And that's how we ended up paying the sick copay, on a weekend, in an empty medical building, with a kid who has himself a whopping case of good ol' traditional pneumonia.

I promise, there's nothing wrong with his eyes. I'm not sure why they're closed in both pictures, but I am trying to take more snapshots of the boys throughout their every day lives, and I guess this is how Charlie decided to immortalize his babyhood pictures of being sick.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rediscovering McDonalds

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd sing the glories of McDonalds.

I had some time to kill between work and speech therapy, so I stopped at the first fast food place with a kids playplace, and McDonald's won the draw. I can't remember the last time I was inside a McDonald's (I think it was in Alabama or Arkansas? with Julie and Jess). I pick my fast food restaurants based on the yumminess of their french fries and McDonald's wilty, tasteless things do nothing for me. Right now though, I really don't care. They could serve actual poo on a stick and I'd probably buy it. Why? Because they have free wi-fi and big comfy leather chairs, combined with a place for my children to play. Heck, I'll buy the food and just let it sit there, purely so I can get a few minutes of uninterrupted writing or reading time.

Such were my feelings of goodwill, I benevolently agreed to go down the slide with my begging boys. I failed to take into account my high heeled leather boots, and purse that more resembles a book bag. That, and those playsets were not made for adults. I never considered myself a very large person until I found myself crawling up, under and over equipment that was surely made to train contortionists. On my hands and knees I could feel my hands stick and unstick from the plastic and I prayed that it was just spilled soda and not anything else. Then, we finally got to the top, got my legs all tucked into the slide with both boys in my lap, when they totally and completely freaked out. "It's too red!" Jamie pleaded (of course it's's a red tunnel slide). Charlie just tried to claw over me like the terminator was after him. The red hole of death. I briefly considered hauling myself out of the precarious position I was in, but there was no way I could survive the trip back down through the sticky-ville maze, and so I let go and down we went.

Happily they survived.
And then wanted to do it again.

Next time I'll bring a bottle of disinfectant with me. Is that allowed?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Escape From Under The Bridge- Masquerading As Paparazzi

When Curtis told me he was proposing to my sister, I was ecstatic. When he mentioned me taking pictures, I was thrilled I'd get to be in on the action, but that was before I found myself huffing like a maniac across a wobbling suspension bridge in the middle of Hillcrest yesterday.

I enlisted Gabrielle's help, and we had a plan.
But the combination of nerves, excitement and adrenalin meant that we sped into town, parallel parked like we were being chased by the Libyans, and ran three blocks to the historic suspension bridge where Curtis was supposed to propose to minutes. After we charged across the bridge to our designated hiding spot, with Gabrielle shouting "I see a white civic!" (yes I know everyone drives a white civic), we skidded to a halt on the opposite side and realized we were on the wrong side. Awkward camera bag flopping behind me like a deranged crow, we turned around and ran back to the other side where we just came from. Duh-oh

We made it though, and we held our breath as Curtis and Liz made their way down the other side of the bridge. I don't know why we were worried they might hear us, the bridge was so long and they were so far away, we couldn't really hear much of anything except for Liz's shriek that echoed through the canyon when Curtis asked her to marry him.
She said yes.

And that is why you should always have a really long lens. We were so far away, we managed to even sneak away without them seeing us.

Here we are under the bridge.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Plot Points and The reason we can't keep candy in the house

Do you remember the first time you could draw a star as a kid? Or a heart? Or write your name? Once you figured it out you did it over and over and over-- with chalk, with markers, on walls, scratched into doors... it didn't matter. Anything was fair game because what could be cooler than drawing a five point star?

Today I was outside playing with the kids and I found myself drawing novel plot diagrams in the dirt with a stick. Over.and.over. ...Set up, plot point one, plot point two, resolution: Across, up, UP, down... Jamie came over and asked me what I was doing, I thought about it for a second and then showed him how to draw a star. That was still too difficult so we practiced drawing letters instead and it reminded me of why I love writing so much. It feels doable. Even the Great Gatsby is just made up of words, words made up with letters from the alphabet, the same "J's" and "C's" that say "Capitol J for Jamie" and "Capitol C for Charlie". It can all be broken down to something simple. I'm sure the same thing can be said for the Olympic figure skating I watched last night, but it certainly doesn't look that way to me. I haven't been doing splits since I was 2, or wearing skates since I was three, but I have been learning my ABC's since then just like everyone else and writing is a beautiful thing (even if I haven't mastered the art of novel writing yet).

What is not a beautiful thing is Jamie on a candy high. It does not matter where I hide it or how high I stash it, Jamie will find a way to get to it. Which is why he's running naked around a pile of toys right now like some sort of hyper, Native American dance. But at least he's a freshly bathed, hyper Indian who's going to bed in about five minutes. (Hallelujah)

The candy though, has got to go. I can't eat it fast enough, the dog can't eat it without dying, and I'm not sure what the chickens reaction to it would be, so for now, it gets thrown out. Here's to restored peace.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why we hate naps and the revenge of the Laundry Monster

When I was little, I hated waking up so much that my parents paid me a nickel to wake up happy. It didn't work. I still wake up in an awful mood.
If I get up too early I feel I got gypped out of my hard earned sleep. If I sleep in too late, I feel like I missed something, but none of that even compares to the horribleness that is the dreaded nap. From facebook and twitter I gather that moms in general love naps. I still don't. It's right up there with canned tuna on my list of childhood dislikes I never outgrew. Jim has to convince me I need a nap, and even when he does succeed, I wake up a total crank. I feel like I missed something, got left behind, or got lost for awhile and life has completely gone onto the next stop without me. And I really really hate that running down the tracks towards the disappearing caboose feeling.

Jamie I think, feels the same way. He never wakes up unhappy in the morning, but that's probably because he's up before all of us anyway. He however, despises naps with all the venomous hatred that only four year olds everywhere in the world can sympathize with. Lately he's been getting up so early (read: 4am) that he can't help but take a nap in the afternoon. I put him to bed and he wisely nods his head at me, like he'll play along with my little game of "nap time" but unsurprisingly he has no intention of actually falling asleep. But of course he does, and thus, I know when he's awake by the loud shriek coming from down the hall. (random, abrupt shrieks are swear words for preschoolers). Another shriek as I hear his feet hit the floor and he comes running in. "Mommy, OH NO! I fell asleep."

Oh the horrors.

He doesn't believe me when I tell him I sympathize entirely.

He's also hit that stage where he dresses himself.
I feel the need to constantly explain that to people in the supermarket.

This picture made me laugh because it describes so perfectly the way they look at everything: Opposite.

And of course their trusty babysitter...

...Who sometimes accidentally knocks them down and makes them furious.

You'll notice the presence of mud, a commodity somewhat unknown in our part of the world. I did five loads of laundry on Monday. On Tuesday I was halfway through folding said laundry when the troops and the babysitter came tromping mud and wrecking general havoc over my laundry and through my nice stacks. So back to the laundry which by Wednesday had grown into seven loads (which is everything we own). Washed it all yesterday, only to have the dog get into the diaper trash and scatter the contents all over my hopelessly cursed laundry.

I wonder if the poor clothes feel upset they're now being washed for a third time without ever being worn. Thwarted out of their life's destiny or something.

I don't know whether to be mad or be grateful I at least like doing laundry better than cleaning the bathroom.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What happens when you give your baby espresso

...on accident. I swear.

I love coffee even though I can't really drink it. In college I could down gallons of the stuff and still fall asleep during class, but these days I don't know what my problem is, half a cup in the afternoon and I'm so chipper, I can't decide whether to paint my toenails, fry tofu, or vacuum the baseboards, so I try to do all three at the same time.

Liz was a doll of a sister yesterday and brought me a super yummy espresso drink of some kind. I sipped at it as much as I dared before I set it on the table and forgot about it. Folly. Total and completely folly.

Charlie was up the entire night and I didn't figure out it had been Mr. Charlie, In the Kitchen, with the murder Coffee, until 2 am this morning. I was delusionally trying to cuddle him back to sleep and thinking about how yummy his pajamas smelled. It took me a little while to realize that pajamas and babies were not supposed to smell like vanilla beans and coffee. Once the full reality of an 18 month old on coffee dawned on me. I gave up even trying to get him to settle down. So he spent most of the night dancing in the moonlight on our bed. (I'm not even sure if there was moonlight, but other than that, it's an accurate picture). He laughed. He sang. He babbled my ear off and spent ages tracing weird shapes on my face. In my incoherency I told Jim that Charlie must be drawing equations on my face. That's right, my child is a math genius in some sort of alien world I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I didn't get the memo

As a homeschooler with large, gaping, outer spaced sized black holes in my education, I have a somewhat dubious opinion of schooling my own children. But somewhere along the way I missed the memo about public school. Has it always been so structured? and even silly? And private school. Has it always been so expensive?

Jamie is currently in a Pre-K class for developmentally delayed kids. He did the same 10 week program last year with great success. I'm not sure if he can't or won't learn his abc's and count to 10, but he certainly doesn't do it at home with me. We work and we try, and he struggles, but never make any progress. Now we go to a group class for a few hours in the morning and BAM! suddenly he can do stuff in one week that I have been trying to get him to do for six months.

And I'm glad for him, I really am. Maybe I'm a little bit jealous that none of my patience and perseverance with academics has made the tiniest difference, but mostly I'm relieved that a group setting seems to be the magic key that unlocks his desire to learn things. But am I a horribly ungrateful person for wishing he were learning something slightly less institutionalized?

Jamie turns his chair upside down, climbs on it and jumps off. An adult reprimands him "Jamie! That is very dangerous, don't do that anymore." . During imaginative play time, he wants to pretend a book is a pizza, but he's not allowed to do that either, because its "not book time". I do understand that learning to work together, follow instructions, and being polite is all important developmental stuff for a preschooler to learn, but it almost feels like it's put up on some sort of pedestal of this is the way it is done. At home I work hard to foster the opposite attitude, and try to fan every little flame of creativity into life. Not that it's necessarily working, but the world we live in needs innovators. Even in my circles, the best floral designers, photographers, and writers are all people who think outside the box. Why would I want that trained out of my kids?

They also refuse to call him Jamie. They tell me he has to learn his real name, so they call him James and then wonder why he doesn't respond. Is this normal? I hold preschool and kindergarten teachers in awe, so I'm totally willing to be taught here. Is this just something Jamie needs to learn? Does traditional school get better or is it always so rigid? Am I doing something wrong?

Which leads me to my main point. I have no-freaking-clue what the heck I'm doing.