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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Piss Poor Management

As I've mentioned many times previous, Dear Daughter has an unlimited wealth of latent knowledge that rears up at random times. She absorbs everything and then it all just stews inside her until she has an opportunity to apply it.

Tonight at bedtime, as I snuggled under the covers with her in the darkness she randomly brought up some questions. "Mommy, why were those branches in the bottom of the tank at Wonders of Wildlife and that fish died? Why, Mommy? Was it because of piss poor management?" I wasn't sure I understood the question correctly or if I really just heard my four-year-old daughter use the phrase "piss poor management," so I asked her for clarification. "Well, you remember at the bottom of the excavator (which means escalator) where the fish tank is. That great big fish tank, and there were branches on the floor?" I had no idea what she was talking about. She began getting impatient. "At WONDERS OF WILDLIFE!" Okay. I got that part. I was still trying to figure out if she had really said "piss poor management." Still trying to get me to understand, she said, "You know, Mommy. Where that big fish was dead and it was in the branches. Was that because of piss poor management?"

That's when it clicked. She had combined two different experiences together. Last December we had one last visit to Wonders of Wildlife before they closed their doors for awhile. On that visit there was a large dead fish caught in some branches at the bottom of a very large floor-to-ceiling aquarium. Apparently that really stuck with her. In recent dialog around here she has, no doubt, heard the phrase "piss poor management" when discussing Wonders of Wildlife. It's a bit of an inside joke around here that really isn't a joke at all. I told Dear Daughter that I'm certain that "piss poor management" is behind a whole lot of stuff around that place. I'm not sure if you still read this regularly, Grandpa H, but this one was just for you!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Eye Boogers

Our kids have never had to use antibiotics. Until last week. Two days after Dear Daughter's oral surgery she developed a urinary tract infection complete with running to the toilet every 10 minutes, complaining that she couldn't pee once she got there, and having minor pee accidents in her pants. This is our first experience with one of these. In fact, I don't think I have ever had a UTI myself. That little problem had just about cleared completely by the time the next family crisis happened.

When I got home from the Stuff-Mart yesterday I was greeted by Dear Son who had long gooey booger strings coming out of his eyes. Bleh! It makes my stomach turn whenever I picture it. After I got past the gagging stage and a few exclamations of "What is THAT?" Husband nonchalantly said, "Yeah, he seems to have a little eye infection." LITTLE? I can only imagine the size of the eye boogers if it was a "big" eye infection. I experienced a few more gagging and wretching reactions while I stood there and stared at Son, who blinked back at me in between rubbing at his eyes. Amazingly, the boogery thingies managed to hang on through all his eye groping. Finally I asked Husband how he could stand looking at that big slimy booger hanging out of Son's eye, and why hadn't he wiped it out? By this time Son had his hands clasped tightly over his eyes so we couldn't even look at them anymore. "That's why" Husband responded. I did one of those magical mom moves and had a tissue in hand and eye booger wiped away in a split second--even while Son's hands remained clasped firmly around his eyes. He finally peeked out, curiously, from his hands when I was showing Husband the trophy in all its yellowish stretchy boogery glory and gushing about the size of it. Within minutes Son had a new boogery thingy worming its way out of his eye. I think I obsessed the rest of the night with questions such as "What exactly ARE those eye booger things?" "Do those things come out of his tear ducts, or what?" Bleh!

We discussed and contemplated for awhile what to do about this. Take him to urgent care? Wait until Monday to call his doctor? Meanwhile, he was due for a nap, so we put him down while we thought about things a little more. He woke up thirty minutes later screaming. His eyes were gooped shut, and our decision about what to do was made. I stayed home with Dear Daughter while Husband rushed Dear Son to urgent care. The doctor determined Son has Pink Eye and an ear infection, and she prescribed double antibiotics. A tube of stuff to put in Son's eyes four times a day for two days (yeah, he LOVES that), and a bottle of pink stuff for him to drink three times a day (he's not too excited about that either).

Meanwhile, Son is not sleeping well at night and so of course that means Husband and I aren't either. And Son's usual short wick is even shorter (if that is possible). Fortunately the eye boogers have subsided. Now he just has pink puffy eyes. I guess that's why it's called "Pink Eye."

Here's to a better night of rest tonight.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Daughter's Dental Adventure

Most people who care much about Dear Daughter's oral surgery already have heard how it all went, but nonetheless, I'll share the highlights along with some post-op Zoe-isms.

We had to pull her out of bed at 5:30 am on Friday morning. While that may be the norm for some kids and families, it's not for ours. Since I tend to work "late" a couple times a week (which means I get home between 8pm and 8:30pm) the kids don't go to bed very early. They are natural night owls anyway. We are doing good if they are tucked in and nodding off by 9:30 pm. That means they are not usually up until 8 am or so. And me? I don't like to get up until 7:00 - 7:30 am. Even on those days I work away from home I don't get up early. It goes against my nature. I spent many years getting up by 6 am, but if I don't have to, I don't. Since I don't usually have clients who want to schedule before 10 am and I am still doing appointments some nights until 8 pm, this works for us. Except when we have to get up before the roosters for oral surgery. Daughter bounced out of bed excited that she was going to lose a tooth. I tried not to project my pessimism and anxiety on to her as I yawned every 30 seconds and tried to get my eyes to open up.

They wanted us there by 6:15am. Apparently the only purpose of this was to ensure they got their money out of us, as they didn't take us back for pre-op consult until nearly 7:00. By 7:05 they were escorting Daughter down a hall to "blow up an elephant balloon." I watched her skip alongside the dental assistant as the double doors closed behind her, and I felt a bit like a traitor. They told her the balloon thing so she wouldn't be afraid to take the gas before they administered the general anesthetic, but she never got the see the balloon. She later told me she remembers sitting on a counter and blowing up the balloon and the "doctors" were all crowded around her watching.

I tried to read a book in the waiting area as news of the recent shooting on an Illinois college campus and political news clips of Hillary and Barrack played on the t.v. in the background. I even had a cup of coffee, which is most unusual for me-especially if it is not accompanied by chocolate cake. It was almost peaceful. Then a most unruly bunch swarmed through the door. A set of grandparents, a mother, and two unruly kids. The kids were six and four. I learned this from Grandpa, who was a most chatty old chap. He didn't pick up on social clues, like the fact that Husband and I were not inviting small talk as we both had our noses buried in books trying to ignore the chaos they brought in with them.

The six-year-old boy and four-year-old girl bounced off the walls, ripped toys out of each other's hands, chased each other about the 12' by 14' lobby, hit and kicked each other, and screamed loudly. I whispered to Husband that I now think our two wee ones are absolute angels. I made some silent stereotypical judgments about this family. I kinda hate to admit that, but I did. You see, I work with families like this. There have been times in my career that families like this made up 98% of my client load. I can peg them in a split second even if I try not to stereotype or be judgmental. They were dressed in mismatched clothing and looked a bit unkempt. No one's hair was brushed except for the grandparents. I smelled the faint odor of cigarettes and dirty hair. The kids, as I've already described, were completely undisciplined and out of control. I think Grandpa was missing a few teeth. It screamed of Welfare at its best.

Then the receptionist tried to scream over the racket and inquired when was the last dose of Adderrall little Johnny Joe had. Before his mother even commented that it had been two days ago, I had already diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was thinking he was due for a dose of his meds. Then the mother went to the counter flashing her V.I.P. Welfare card to pay the tab in full on her behalf while Grandpa continued not picking up on the cues that Husband and I were not interested in a chat. He proudly told us all about his 22 grandchildren and that number 23 was on the way. I bit my tongue as I continued to add up the stereotypical Welfare family characteristics in my head. We, of course, paid cash for Daughter's pricey procedure. We upper middle class folk go uninsured while we involuntarily pay into the Welfare program for those who pop out 23 kids into their families and never pay a red cent for their prenatal care, delivery, or ongoing medical and dental costs. But we don't have dental insurance for our selves. I'll be honest and admit that we could buy our family dental insurance if we really wanted to, but the cost we would have to pay for the premiums would outweigh its benefits for us. It's the same reason that we carry bare bones major medical policies. The premiums are outrageous, and to get a policy that would provide reasonable benefits and deductibles, we'd probably have to sell our entire estate and shack up in a trailer next door the Welfare family we met in the oral surgeon's office. The thing is, they'd still be better off than us, as all other things being equal, they'd still get their state Welfare V.I.P. free passes while we'd be draining our every hard earned cent to pay for our private insurance policies.

...Wow. So that was a tangent I didn't expect to put out there. But it was cathartic, so I think I'll just leave it there instead of deleting it.

At 7:05 am the doc approached us in the waiting area to tell us all went well. Daughter got to keep her two front baby teeth as the offending extra tooth was far enough back that the other teeth didn't need to be extracted to get to it. I was very relieved. Daughter did fine coming out of anesthesia. She didn't even cry like they prepared us to expect. At least she didn't cry until several minutes later when she was cognizant enough to realized that her lip was numb. Then she freaked out and cried for about 30 minutes until she passed out in the car for another 20 minutes. She woke up in a much better mood and excitedly exclaimed, "Hey! I think my lip isn't so dim anymore!" She, of course, meant "numb." After an hour or so on the couch watching a video, she was dancing around the house her old self again. She never even needed any pain medication, which amazed me especially when I took a closer look and realized that what they did was cut the gums on either side of her two upper front teeth and pull back her upper palate nearly an inch to get that backwards and upside down extra tooth out of there. That tooth, by the way, was quite large. I was amazed at its size and can see why it would cause lots of trouble if we hadn't discovered it this soon. We started taking our kids to the dentist by about a year and half of age. I highly recommend this to people, and I am always shocked when I hear people say their 6 or 7 year old children have still never been to the dentist!

Recovery was pretty non-eventful except for the fact that I grew a little faint as I tried to comfort Daughter and I saw the blood in her mouth while the dental assistant was simultaneously talking in my ear describing the procedure they had completed and giving post-op instructions. I felt myself go pale and get dizzy and faint and I had to interrupt her to sit down. Then the anesthesiologist and assistants were crowding around me to make sure I was okay. I was embarrassed and wanted them to give their attention to my daughter as I sat there with my head between my legs. Yes, I did survive two C-sections to bring children into this world. I still don't know how I made it through that (TWICE), though.

As Daughter ate her second popsicle after lunch, I said to her, "Getting that tooth out didn't go quite like you expected, did it?" and Daughter shrugged and replied, "It's okay. I don't care." and she went back to licking her popsicle.

When I took off Daughter's clothes for a bath that evening, we discovered the three electrode stickers still stuck to her chest. Daughter was quite concerned about these, and they did not want to pull off easily. I told her to soak in the bath awhile and that would likely loosen them up. When it didn't, I reassured Daughter that we would call Grandma (a Registered Nurse) for some tips on how to get them off. Her advice? "Rip them off really fast." So I was hoping for something a little better than that, but I followed her advice, much to Daughter's chagrin. She fussed more about that than she did about anything else related to the whole procedure.

While Daughter was in the bath we discussed her procedure at a bit more length, and I must have referred to it as "surgery," as Daughter grew intrigued and said, "You mean I had SURGERY?!" When I told her yes, she said, "But what did they have to DO to get my tooth out?" Before I could answer, she said, "Wait! I don't really want to know, do I?" I told her she probably didn't, and that was the end of that conversation.

Today was the first time she has fussed much at all since coming out of the anesthetic. She was upset when she finally discovered she could feel a stitch with her tongue. The two stitches that were noticeable had been on either side of her front teeth and you could see them from the outside. She had apparently been playing with the stitches with her tongue enough that the knot on one of them had migrated behind her teeth to the top of he mouth, and she was most upset about this. It probably wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been some attention on her at church this morning about the whole ordeal, causing her to put more attention on the condition of her mouth.

While everything went quite well, I would be quite satisfied if we never had to go through another oral surgery of any kind in our house ever again.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pockets II

Yesterday morning was the weekly trip to the FoodMart with the wee ones in tow. Dear Son wanted to walk as soon as we entered the store, so I put him on his feet and went about my business checking every so often to be sure both the kids were still meandering within my line of sight. At one point I noticed a wet spot on Son's jeans on the front side of his right thigh. I didn't think too much of it. You never know what boys will get into. The next time I turned to check on the kids' whereabouts, I noticed Son was chewing on something. When I asked him what he was chewing on, he opened his mouth enough to show that he had an orange slice shoved in there. I was puzzled for a split second about how he managed to produce an orange slice, and then I put it all together.

We had Clementine oranges for breakfast, just before making our trip to the FoodMart. There were a few slices left on the kitchen table as we were walking out the door. Dear Son suggested that I eat them, and I replied that I didn't want any more and that maybe we would finish them when we returned. Then I proceeded to turn my attention to getting my shoes tied and herding the wee ones out the door. Apparently he shoved one of those little orange slices into his right front jeans pocket before we left the house (you remember my recent post on Son's fascination with his pockets and how everything that fits goes in there?) Then it must have leaked a bit when he sat in his car seat and got buckled in. He then rediscovered this "treasure" when we got to the store (the damp spot probably helped remind him) and that's when he decided he needed a little snack.

Yesterday it was an orange. Today it was a little green grape that made its way in there between lunch and nap time. Dare I wonder what will go in there tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys?

Dear Son discovered pockets a few weeks ago. He's been obsessed with little tiny objects for months. Things like the tiny pieces that Dear Daughter has in quantities of hundreds that go with her Littlest Pet Shop stuff (thanks to Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat). Son just loves these tiny little replicas, and when he finds one that he especially likes, he squeals "Treasure!" and into his pocket it goes. He also discovered the tiny little Cherries in Daughter's Hi Ho Cherrio game and loves to stuff them in there as well. All forty of them at one time. He spends lots of time stuffing various objects in his pockets and then rearranging them over and over again from one jeans pocket to the other. Sometimes he gets his little fist shoved in a pocket and wrapped around one of his "treasures" and then can't get it back out. He's not willing to let go of his fist, lest he have to also let go of the treasure wrapped inside of it, and so he stands there with his fist stuck in his pocket screaming, "Stuck! Stuck!" I now have two reasons to make the effort to go through the clothing pockets that belong to the male members of the family. If I don't, mysterious tiny objects find their way through the wash and into the clothes dryer and tumble for an hour or so before I discover them. Did I mention that those "tiny objects" also include slightly larger, yet still relatively small, objects such as Dear Husband's blue tooth? Yeah. Well after going through the washer and the dryer, it's no surprise he was soon shopping for a replacement.

And while I'm on the topic of boy stuff, are these creatures just born with an innate awareness and fascination with guns? I had no idea my barely two year old son even knew what a rifle was until he started toting the vacuum cleaner extension rod around the house, hiding around the corners, and then jumping out with it aimed like a rifle while screaming "Back! Stay back!" Where does he learn this stuff? I swear he didn't learn it from me, and he doesn't watch much t.v. Certainly no t.v. that would portray people jumping around corners with rifles. The question of whether or not to buy toy guns for our boy is a non-issue at our house (if it ever really was an issue in the first place), as he has this uncanny ability to turn anything from his own little fingers to an empty paper towel tube into a gun.

While I don't like to gender stereotype or place gender specific expectations on my children, they have largely found their ways into their respective gender boxes regardless. Son with his guns, footballs, and dump trucks, and Daughter with her princess and ballerina obsession. Daughter, however, has some dreams that I am pleased to say break free from the limitations of potentially oppressive stereotypical gender roles. She has been consistent for a good two years that she wants to be an astronaut when she grows up, and her imaginative play finds her in roles that are not always typically "female." I am remember a recent post in which I described this amusing statement made by Daughter while she played "Doctor" with Taggie Book, "Mommy, I'm a doctor and my husband is a nurse." As of yet, Dear Son has no interest in becoming a ballerina. I have to admit, that would be harder to be neutral about than Dear Daughter wanting to be an astronaut. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have him play with guns.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmmm...."

Daughter: (swimming about in my large jetted bathtub) "Mommy...what are nipples for?"

Me: (flossing my teeth thoughtfully in front of the mirror) "Well, remember how we've been reading about mammals in your science books? Remember how Mommy mammals use them to feed their babies?"

Daughter: "But what are Daddies' nipples for?"

Me: Silence

*And I promise I didn't make this one up to get more Gooogle hits!