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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Days of Old (Literally!)

Last week, while shopping with Dear Daughter at the local Stuff Mart, the two of us wandered through the cereal aisle. I tried to spot a sale or bargain of some sort as a box of cereal now costs more than a gallon of gas. Daughter spied Lucky Charms and pleaded to have them. I asked her why she thought Lucky Charms were such a good idea, and she proceeded to tell me about the tv commercial she saw. We don't usually buy sugary kids' cereals. In fact, Daughter typically prefers Wheat Chex or Life (which I guess would sort of qualify as a kids' cereal, but not as heavily sugared as others). Until now, I have been able to convince her that any sugary cereals at a kid's eye level in the supermarket (they do that on purpose, you know) is "yucky" or has a peanut warning (Daughter has a potentially severe peanut allergy). I picked up the box of Lucky Charms and read the contents. I figured I had to let her be a kid once in awhile and that there are worse things than Lucky Charms, so I gave in to her whim.

This morning she eagerly requested a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast. I allowed her to have it as long as she supplemented with some eggs or yogurt. I grabbed a handful from the box as I was preparing Daughter's bowl. It was pretty good. I decided to indulge in a bowl myself. Of course, then Dear Son wanted the same. The three of us sat around the kitchen table munching on Lucky Charms. I was gazing at the box sitting in front of us, and I became entranced with the picture of the little leprechaun on the box and the flavor of the cereal I was chewing. It transported me back in time, and an old 1970's Lucky Charm's commercial played in my mind's eye. The one where the little leprechaun pops up near the bowl of cereal and points out the marshmallow shapes...something about " clovers and blue diamonds. .." I don't remember the rest of the colors and shapes, just the leprechaun rattling them off. In case you don't already know this, they've changed the marshmallow shapes and colors in the past three decades.

That's when I announced proudly to Dear Daughter that I remembered eating Lucky Charms when I was a little girl. Daughter's eyes grew big and her face looked surprised and excited as she answered, "Really?! I didn't know they had cereal back THEN!"

And that's where my happy childhood memory of Lucky Charms abruptly stopped. I had to grab a napkin to keep from spitting milk all over the table!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Reason Two is Enough

Friday was a perfect demonstration of why I only have two children and why there will never be more. Cute and precious as they are, a third one would absolutely do me in!

The adventure for the day was getting Dear Daughter back to the doctor's office for a follow-up urine check to ensure that the infection was FINALLY clear. I wonder how many of you have ever helped your four-year-old daughter pee in a cup? If you have, you know what fun this can be. They wouldn't allow us to bring a sample in from home; it had to be done there in a sterile cup, which they would provide. I scheduled it at 11:00 am so that we could meet up with Dear Husband for lunch, and he could keep Dear Son out of the doctor's office while I took Dear Daughter in to perform her preschool pee- trick and try to get some in the cup in the process. I refused to bring Son in with us. I'm convinced Daughter's first trip to the doctor for the original UTI is where the germs attacked in the first place and started our string of mystery illnesses that spanned the entire past month. Another reason I didn't want to drag Son in the office with us is that standing in a restroom trying to hold a cup in just the right place while waiting for a four-year-old to pee into it (and on my hands and on the floor and on her clothing) is stressful enough without having Son standing in there with us--playing on the floor, grabbing the "grab bar" by the toilet, playing with the flusher lever, peeking in the toilet, opening the door and leaving us standing their in some very precarious positions in plain sight of whomever was fortunate enough to get an eyeful, etc.

Friday morning I hurried the kids out the door right after breakfast in hopes that we would get a couple errands done before we made it to the doctor's office. I was happy that Daughter used the bathroom before we left so we would be good for a couple hours. I figured I would have her sip water for an hour and a half before she was scheduled for the pee-trick, thus improving the odds that she could pee "on demand." I didn't want to be standing in the annoying and awkward pee-catching pose for 15 minutes.

There we three were, ten minutes down the road when Dear Daughter announced she needed to go "poopie." I quizzed her about this as she stated she needed to do this before we left, and I thought she had completed the task. "No," she says, "I only went pee pee! Now I need to go POOPIE!" Okay, okay. This was going to throw a kink in our plans. I thought hard about where we could stop for her to go. I despise public restrooms, and I would have no choice but to stop somewhere and unbuckle both kids from their car seats and drag them both into the restroom. I was planning on going through the drive-through window at the library for some books I had on hold. Instead, we parked and walked in to use the restroom first. The library restrooms are much cleaner than any other public restroom could hope to be (I learned this phenomenon first hand when I was pregnant and had the location of every toilet in the entire city and a 50-mile out-of-town radius memorized), so I was glad I thought of this option.

Fifteen minutes later, all three of us were headed into the over-sized handicapped stall. I lifted Daughter up onto the tall toilet and held her arms so she wouldn't grab onto the icky toilet seat. I stood there holding her like that for several minutes while her little brother and I both watched her expectantly. The pressure gave Daughter stage fright, and then she couldn't do her business. That's when she said, "I guess I don't have to go after all!" I was not happy. I replied with something to the effect that we were going to stay there as long as we needed to for a turd to join us, as I was NOT doing this again when we got ten more minutes down the road.

Finally, we completed the task, and 10 minutes after that I was buckling the kids back into the family mobile and trying to decide which errand would have to be canceled now that we had spent precious time on an un-scheduled "poopie." At this point we were 45 minutes from the time that Dear Daughter was supposed to produce a sample for the cup. I wondered how she would achieve this after being to the bathroom twice already in the past hour. I envisioned us sitting in the waiting area through Husband's entire lunch break waiting for Daughter to drink a 20 oz bottle of water in order to produce some pee.

I nagged Daughter incessantly to "take another drink" as we finished the one errand we had enough time for, and met up with Dear Husband who traded cars with me and took Dear Son off my hands. The nurse in the doctor's office gave us a "hat" to insert in the toilet to collect the urine this time. I was quite thankful for this and wondered why they hadn't offered one the other times. I repeated the task of lifting and holding Daughter on the toilet. And there we sat. And sat. And sat. I was about to give up and go back to the waiting area with Daughter to coax her into drinking more water when it finally happened.

With task completed, we made it to the restaurant in time to meet up with the other half of the family. With lunch over, I decided to make a quick stop at the Food Mart before we went home. Dear Son is such a Daddy's boy that he began screaming when his Daddy left us to return to work. I told him we were going to the Food Mart, hoping he would think that sounded like fun. He didn't even pause between ear piercing wails about "Daddy." I told him we would get some chocolate at the Food Mart. He paused and considered this for a split second before continuing the wails. Thinking fast and impulsively to quiet him down, I promised him a chocolate easter bunny from the store. That actually did the trick.

When we got to the Food Mart, Son INSISTED that I had to hold his 32-pound-self the entire time in one arm while I pushed the cart with the other one. I don't know this store as well as our local one, so I had to make two laps around the store like this before I finally located the dairy section. As I was doing a neat little move to bend down for a couple bottles of milk while still holding his 32-pound-feels-like-50-pounds self in the other arm, Son suddenly yelled out loud and clear, "Turd milk!" I didn't know what he was talking about at first, and Son has this not-so-endearing thing he does if you don't acknowledge what he says IMMEDIATELY: he repeats it louder and more emphatically as many times as it takes for you to acknowledge (accurately) what he said. My confused pause was enough to trigger it, and this time he yelled much more loudly and emphatically, "TUUURRRRD MILLLLLLLLLLKK!" I frantically looked around us to see if I could figure out what he was talking about, during which time he screamed it again. Half the store was staring at us. That's when I realized Son was talking about the chocolate milk. As I described in a previous post, Dear Son learned to generalize my Play-Doh faux pas and now refers to anything brown in color as "turd." The only way I could get him to stop screaming "TURD MILK!" was to point at it and say "Yes, 'turd milk'!" Dear Son was not satisfied with this response. Apparently I said it too peacefully and quietly in a "so-what" fashion that he didn't like (I was trying to be inconspicuous, which was really silly by this time as the whole store was frowning at us). Next Dear Son yelled even more loudly, "PLEEEEEEASE! TURRRRRRD MILLLLLLK!" I finally quieted him down enough to convince him that I had some chocolate syrup at home and would make him some "turd milk" later. I left the store quickly after that, but fortunately did not forget the chocolate Easter bunny I promised him.

When we got to the car, I realized as I removed part of the wrapper that this was not the best bribe after all. I envisioned melted chocolate all over Son's hands and then the seats. I tried to convince Son to leave the wrapper around the lower half of the bunny to hold onto it so the chocolate wouldn't melt all over his hot little hands. I knew he would not settle for this suggestion, and just as predicted, he screamed about the situation until I relented and took the wrapper off completely. The next 15 minutes were blissfully quiet, except for chomping and slurping noises from the back seat, where both the kids were completely enraptured in their chocolate bunnies. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw their hands and faces covered in chocolate, but I figured it was worth it if they could just stay occupied (and QUIET) another 10 minutes until we got home. No such luck. Son finished up his chocolate and suddenly got very upset about the mess all over his hands and face. I considered ignoring it and dealing with it when we got home, but his pleas of "Washcloth!" only grew from a patient request to a screaming demand until I thought I would go completely mad! I tried to explain to him that I didn't have a washcloth, which only upset him more, and the screams grew louder. I finally remembered the container of wet wipes somewhere in the family mobile. I hadn't seen them since that day we were out for errands and Son decided to have a big stinky diaper, which we changed in the back of the family mobile. And by the way, have you ever noticed that Wet Ones are not nearly as large and thick as baby wipes? It took at least three times the number of Wet Ones to clean that mess up!

I finally pulled over to tear apart the family mobile and find the Wet Ones so that Son would stop screaming. Six minutes and six Wet Ones later, he was satisfied that his hands were clean enough for us to drive the last 10 minutes home.

By the time I finally got the groceries unloaded and put away and Son down for his nap, it was 2 o'clock, and I was exhausted and amazed at what it took for the otherwise relatively simple task of collecting urine in a cup. I love my kids more than anything on Earth. There's no question about that, but it's days like this that remind me why we decided from the beginning that two is enough!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Best Kind of Help

The wee ones "helped" me make blueberry muffins the other day. I missed out on a pic of them "helping" pour in the ingredients and stir the batter, but I did get these pics of them watching the muffins baking through the oven window. They could hardly wait for them to be done.

This means two things: 1) I had a bigger mess to clean up in the kitchen than if I hadn't had any "help" and

2) Dear Son is finally feeling well enough to climb on a stool and care about muffins.
It's been so great to have him back to his old self that I didn't even care about the mess.

After getting over her incredulous-ness that I could make muffins sans boxed mix, Daughter couldn't stop exclaiming that her mommy makes the best muffins in the "universe." I couldn't figure out why she was so stuck on "muffin mix" as I've rarely ever used it. Then Dear Husband reminded me of "If You Give a Moose a Muffin." If you know the story, you know what I'm referring to. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the book. It's cute and you won't regret it.

By the way, check out the cowlicks on the back of Dear Son's head. You may only be able to see one of them, but there are actually two of them--one on either side of his head, and they are permanent. Dear Husband says our son is beginning to look like Dagwood.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hazards of Country Living

I described in a previous post how Dear Son loves little objects that he can manipulate in his fingers. Often these objects get held in his little fist for hours and then ultimately transfered to one of his pockets until I discover them (if I'm lucky) on wash day.

Today in between Son's high fevers, which have been spiking to 102.5 a couple times a day, he pleaded to go outside. It is warm and spring-like (finally), though we've all been too sick to enjoy it. I suggested to the wee ones that we take a nature walk around the perimeter of our property. Dear Daughter thought this sounded FABULOUS! So off we went with a basket to collect nature treasures. We walked around the pond and across a few acres of woods before cutting through the middle of the yard and headed towards a small tree where Daughter discovered a cocoon several days ago. We are monitoring it daily. The kids have even given it a name. About this time Dear Son had wandered a few yards away and was squatting in the grass examining something. He poked at it and then said, "Treasure!" and rolled something in his fingers before he dropped it with a confused look on his face. I headed towards him hoping he hadn't found some poisonous bug or berry. He continued squatting and examining the ground with a puzzled expression. I quickly realized that he was squatting in a pile of deer pellets, and that's what he had been rolling in his fingers. Thank God I discovered what was going on before Son wrapped a deer turd tightly in his sweaty little fist or shoved one in his pockets. Fortunately he lost interest when I informed him that it was poop, and then we were off to wash his hands.

In the end I still feel quite strongly that deer poop is better than dog poop.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Request for Pics Honored

Great Aunt Pat requested some new pics, so hereya(finally)go!

Here's Dear Son trying to blow out the candle on his daddy's birthday cake (last month). Dear Daughter just can't wait to have a piece.

Here's Dear Son eating his ice cream bar. Yes, that's SpongeBob on his placemat. Much as I am not a very big fan, the kids appear to be (thanks a lot, Hubby!).

This one doesn't include the kids, but I wanted to throw it in anyway as it's kinda pretty. It's a view of part of our woods after the ice storm in mid-February. We have our work cut out. We didn't get it all cleaned up from the ice storm last year yet. The chainsaw will be getting a workout this spring and summer and there will be lots of bonfires this spring and fall, so bring a lawn chair and some weenies and marshmallows!

And here are several pics of Dear Son "helping Daddy." He LOVES to use tools and "help." They are working on putting the kitchen up in the basement. This was what Dear Husband and I decided to do for each other for our birthdays this year.

Next is a pic of the kids dying Easter eggs. Dear Daughter just couldn't wait. Yes, Dear Son is laying on the table. We don't know quite how he got up there like that. Dear Daughter is looking a bit rough as she has been ill. You can see the matted hair and the tell tale red "wipe tracks" across her upper lip and check where she has been scrubbing at the snot for the past week and a half.

And last is a picture of Dear Son munching on his apple. He insisted on having it whole. He did a fairly good job getting some bites out of it!

We are still battling the snot and illness. Both Son and Daughter STILL have snot flowing. Maybe not QUITE as freely as a few days ago. The bonus is that now I have a cold from hell. The snot isn't quite as prevalent as with the kids, but I don't think I can ever in my life remember having a sore throat that feels quite like this. I can do a great Barry White impression right now! If my memory is correct, this is the first cold I've had in nearly exactly three years. I had a doozey of a cold about the time I had barely conceived Son. I remember it vividly as I refused to take ANY medications because I suspected I was pregnant even though it was too early to test. Turns out I was right.

We will hear more from Daughter's doctor tomorrow about the UTI that is, that isn't, that we don['t quite know for sure about. Last word we had was that there was some bacteria after all and we had to wait the weekend to get the test results on what exactly it is before the doctor recommends treating it further or not. I hate to give her any antibiotics again after the ordeal she has had with the rashes. The rashes have only stopped because the doctor said to dose her up with antihistamines around the clock through the weekend.

Oh, and now Dear Husband had the eye boogers. So far I've escaped Pink Eye, but surely by saying so I'm doomed to get that next. Considering we rarely get sick at our house, I am fairly confident that all this crap has come to us through the original doctor's office visit for Daughter original UTI about three weeks ago. It's just a little too coincidental. This is why I never take my kids to the doctor unless absolutely necessary.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Still Paying Our Dues

We continue to pay the price for being so healthy for so long around our house. Following Daughter's oral surgery two a half weeks ago and then her apparent UTI a few days after that the luck just continues to pour out for us. It wouldn't surprise me if all that follows was somehow contracted either in the surgery center or the doctor's office when we took Daughter in for diagnosis and treatment of the UTI. I hate taking my kids to the doctor because within a few days of a visit they seem to get bizarre and unexplained illnesses.

A few days after the diagnosis of Daughter's UTI, Son was rushed to urgent care for diagnosis and treatment for his Pink Eye and there was some sort of simultaneous virus he apparently had as he also had fever and some cold symptoms. Three days later Daughter developed a mild fever and transient cough and a couple days after that began having the eye boogers that we recognized as Pink Eye. It was Friday night, of course, so off we went to urgent care again where the Pink Eye was confirmed and a follow up on the UTI showed that although her symptoms seemed to disappear, she now had blood, pus, and protein in her urine and a bladder infection was diagnosed. After two hours at urgent care and an hour wandering around Walgreens with Daughter and her pussy eye waiting for the prescriptions to be filled, we were home armed with medication. This was the first time our kids have ever needed antibiotics. Daughter ran temps of 102.5 off and on for the next couple days. And the snot. My Good Lord, the snot! It flowed freely, I think from every orifice on Daughter's body.

We thought we were on the right track, but awaited the results of the culture on Daughter's urine to be sure. We decided Daughter had three different things going on at once. Pink Eye, a bad cold/virus, and a bladder infection. A couple days later we get the phone call with the report that the lab confirmed from the culture that we are treating the bacteria with the right antibiotic. The next day Daughter woke up with her body covered at least 60% with hives. I was certain it was the medication. The urgent care office we went to told us it wasn't the medication and to keep giving it to Daughter. I told them I was sure it was the antibiotic as that is the only thing different in the equation. They then told me just to stop taking it then, as the culture didn't show any bacteria that was necessary to treat. What about the "blood, pus, and protein in her urine?" They couldn't answer sufficiently, just that their final answer was that she didn't need the medication and they couldn't comment on why the physician that diagnosed the problem three days previous solemnly and gravely told me it was a bladder infection and this could be serious if not treated properly and lead to a kidney infection.

I set up an appointment with Daughter's regular doctor immediately and ordered the urgent care reports to be sent to him. He reviews the stuff and tells us that the lab never completed the culture and so nothing was confirmed. The sample was apparently contaminated somehow. Yet this is not at all what the urgent care reported to us. This seems incredibly negligent to me. And so we got Daughter to pee in another cup and the doc ordered a culture and a complete urinalysis to see what is going on.

By this time Son had the mysterious snot virus and the fevers. Now he has snot flowing freely from every orifice. Daughter continues to have hives. And her mysterious bladder infection goes untreated until we have confirmation on what the real problem is.

And I am off to telephone and harangue urgent care about their negligence. If I don't drown in the snot first.