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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the time when we celebrate our reasons for being thankful.

Just a note - the real reason for Thanksgiving - Today we honor the Natives who shared with the people who came to this country so ill-prepared. Those long ago immigrants would have surely died away had the Natives failed to show kindness.

Take a moment today to be thankful for whomever in your life has shown you kindness that has helped you survive. For without those people who help to carry you through in times of trouble, where would you be?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Never Say No Again

How often do we say the word "no" as a parent? Do we ever really stop to think about it before we say that word, or is it a simple reaction that we use whenever we feel the urge?

Well, there are a few instances when we - as parents - should avoid saying "no". I'm sure this has you wondering exactly what I'm talking about, so I'll explain. (Yeah - you knew I would...)

First, when you are getting ready to leave the hospital or doctor's office with your child and the doctor offers to give you a prescription for certain medications that you may need - say YES. Even if you know that you know that you know that you already have that exact same medication sitting on the kitchen counter at home from the previous time that you needed it - say YES. Even if you have absolutely no intention of filling said prescription - say YES.

Why? Because as sure as you say'll get home and the medication that you left sitting on the kitchen counter will be somewhere else. Your child will suddenly absolutely NEED that medication (particularly if it is a pain medication) and you won't be able to find it. Not only will you be unable to locate your medicine that you just knew you already had sitting on the kitchen counter at home (I swear I left it on the counter and there was more than half a bottle left...) - now you can't even rush out to the store to get those prescriptions filled because you refused the offer of a new prescription. Of course, this will all happen at a time when it is too late to even call the doctor and have the prescription called in for you. So really - just take the darn prescription with you when they first offer it. Your life will be easier. Of course, since you took the prescription - you'll get home and that bottle will be right where you left it.

Second, when somebody asks if they can help or if you need anything - say YES. Be as specific as possible and tell them what they can do to help you out. This is particularly true when you are dealing with some situation that puts your life in a tailspin. If you are unsure at the moment what that person can contribute, tell them you will call them and let them know - or just suggest they cook me, having food provided for you when your life is in chaos is a huge huge huge help.

Why? Because you really can not do it all on your own. When your children are sick or hurt, your time is spent focusing on them. You don't have the time and energy to cook, clean, or do even the basics to take care of yourself. If somebody offers to help out, even just having them sit with your child while you shower will make your life easier. If they are closer to you, or willing to do more, let them cook or clean for you. Cooking is a wonderful way to help. (Big thanks to my Mom for cooking for us while Kira was in the hospital. Having enough food to last for those two weeks after we came home made my life so much easier. Thank you thank you thank you.)

Third, when somebody offers to give you some time off from your responsibilities - say YES. Even if the person can only give you 20 minutes of alone time - say YES. Don't feel guilty about taking a bit of time to be away from your child when your child is sick. You can not be the pillar of strength for great lengths of time without having a bit of down time to decompress your own emotions. It just isn't possible.

Why? Because it just isn't advisable to be the constant caregiver of somebody who needs constant care without taking some time to care for yourself. You don't have to do anything special or spend money, just take some time to be somewhere else. I advise actually leaving the house if at all possible because if you aren't in the house then you aren't tempted to intervene when your child needs something. (Be sure whomever is helping can do everything that might be required.) Taking an hour or so, several times a week, to be somewhere other than the same place as my child has been a sanity saver for me. I love my children. I adore them completely and will sacrifice for them whenever necessary. But when I am stuck with an older child that can do very little for herself and has very limited mobility - a child who relies on me for every single thing she wants or needs - then I have found that I absolutely NEED to be away from her for a span of time so that I can hear something other that "Mommy - I want" or "Mommy - I need". I need that time to regroup and think, so that I can come back to her and continue doing things for her when she wants or needs me. (I'm very blessed to have a wonderful support system that allows me this freedom. If you have no family or friends to help you, look into hiring a sitter with nursing experience.)

**I bet when you read the title you were expecting a discussion about discipline. I bet you expected me to tell you to change your "no" statements into "yes" statements to elicit better compliance from your children. I just have to say that in my house, the word "no" is a meaningless word. Just ask Marisa - she'll tell you that "no" is a useless word unless she is the person who is saying it. (and for somebody who ignores that word so very well, she sure does use it an awful lot....)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Write It Down

Today I feel the need to discuss important information. Children come with lots of instructions over the course of their lifetimes. (Yes, they truly do come with instructions.) As a busy mom, I often fail to recall the instructions that I've been given, so I've come to the conclusion that writing things down might actually make my life easier (assuming I can find the paper I write my instructions on)...

I took Kira to the doctor yesterday because her ear was hurting. Sure enough, she has an ear infection. I wasn't really surprised by this because she's never complained of her ear hurting before and that was a pretty big clue. So the doctor gives me a 'scrip for medicine and I go on my merry way. Well, the pharmacy labelled the bottle as giving her 2 tsps twice a day. Considering that most of her doses lately have been given in milliliters, I thought that perhaps this was incorrect. I had to call the doctor's office to verify the dosage and be sure I was giving her the correct amount. (Chalk it up to paranoia stemming from a previous experience with my eldest child where his father took him to the doctor and got the medicine - only to find out that the dosage on the bottle was completely wrong...)

I tell you all this to point out the simplest of solutions. I was quite tired. I know the doctor TOLD me what the medicine was and how much to give Kira. I distinctly recall the conversation where she was telling me this, but the numbers just slipped right out of my mind. If I had taken the trouble to just write it down, I would have easily been able to refer to my written references and cure my worries right away instead of having to wait until the nurse returned my call.

Over the course of the past few weeks there have been many times when a pen and a piece of paper might have made my life easier. I've found that my memory doesn't work very well in situations that cause me to be stressed.

Lessons Learned: Write down all those little bits of instruction that you receive, no matter how many times you receive the exact same instruction. You never know when what you thought was the thing to do will be not quite the right thing to do "this time".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cast Off

Cast On.

Yep. They took the cast off yesterday. We were so excited - made a big deal out of the whole day.

Then they put another one on.

Seems Kira's muscles were not quite tight enough so the doctor decided to put on an A-Line cast for four more weeks. Now Kira has a white cast with a green bar. The cast is from the top of her thighs to the ankles on each leg with a very slight bend at the knees.

Really. Very. Depressing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rent a Man (or two)

This past week, I was treated to a new experience. For just one day, I was allowed to rent two men for several hours and have them do whatever I needed them to do. Yes, my dear friends, I contacted this amazing company and they sent me two men to do my bidding. I had the great pleasure of giving them detailed instructions and sitting back to enjoy while they did whatever I directed them to do. And I did all this with my dear husband's approval, too.

What is this amazing company? you ask.

Well, let me tell you.... Two Men and a Truck. (Well - this is still a family show, ya know...)

They pulled into my drive in their great big truck and went straight to work.

Let me tell you, I have never seen two men work so hard and load a truck so quickly and efficiently in my entire lifetime. I've moved several times, but these two guys have this whole moving thing down to a science. They did not waste time or play games, even though we were paying by the hour for their services. They came in, did a quick assessment and then went straight to work. While they were busy dismantling the contents of our house, I was hanging out in the bedroom pretending that there was no work to be done. It was delightful.

Upon arriving at our new home, these same two men unloaded their truck and put all our stuff in the proper locations. They hooked up our appliances and put the beds back together for us. We did not have them arrange all our furniture and stuff for us, but we could have. Unfortunately, we had not really decided where we would place all the things we have, so we just had the guys set them in the proper rooms and we will move them when decisions are made.

The neat thing about this company is that you can have them do as much or as little as you need. You can hire them to come pack up your house for you, and then have them unpack your house when you arrive at the new place. You can have them disassemble everything and reassemble it for you. You can even have them show up just to rearrange the furniture you already have.

What has impressed me the most about this company is the level of professionalism and efficiency displayed. We were paying an hourly rate for these guys to come move all our heavy stuff for us. I would have anticipated a slower pace in order to increase the fee. What I got was two men who did not waste any time getting my stuff loaded and unloaded. Even though they were fairly tired because we were the second family to be moved that day, they both worked very well together to accomplish the goal in the quickest amount of time possible.

The receptionist had estimated that our move would take about 3 to 4 hours based on the items that I listed to be moved. Our actual move time - including travel time from one house to the other - was 3 hours and 45 minutes.

My husband said that this was the best money he had ever spent and he guarantees that when the time comes to move again I can rent a couple men to do my bidding once more. Unfortunately, we didn't spring for the packing and unpacking service so I still have a lot of work to do....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I bet you think I'm going to start talking about the winner and the loser and all the other measures that were under scrutiny in the elections yesterday. You're wrong, of course, but I know that's what you thought.

Today, I do want to talk about elections, but only in a generic form. Having young children, I think it is very important as a parent to teach them what it means to have the right to vote, as well as what the whole process really means. This isn't always easy, especially when the kids are really young.

When I went to vote yesterday, Kira came with me. She was full of questions about voting and why we vote and what it all means. She is only 4 years old, so I had to consider carefully how to approach the topic. After some careful consideration, I explained to her that electing a new president was like choosing new parents for our country. We, as citizens, have the opportunity to choose who we want to be our new "parents" at certain times. She seemed to understand a bit better after that.

She did worry for a moment that she might be getting new parents herself, so I had to explain that "real" parents don't get to be voted in or out. That's a true dictatorship with no options. Hehehe. [insert evil laugh the dictator of my household....not subject to being voted out]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Calendar

Here, in the midst of our very own nightmare, my husband had an absolutely amazing idea. He decided a little over a month ago that 'I' needed to buy miniature chocolate and create a count-down calendar for Kira to mark the days until her cast comes off. Of course I thought this was a wonderful idea, so I trotted off to the store the next day and bought a big ole bag of Hershey's miniatures because that really is the best, you know. I brought my newly purchased candy home and set it on the kitchen counter so he would know that I had bought the candy. Somehow, something got put on top of the candy and there it sat - forgotten.

Well, a few days ago, Randall was looking for something to munch on and I remembered the candy and pulled it out. I figured he would dig right in, but he didn't even eat one little piece. He asked me where the candy came from and when I explained he looked around, found some paper, and got to work.

About a half an hour later he came up for air - and a bite of chocolate - so he could show me his creation. He had written a count down and taped one piece of chocolate above each number. He took this calendar to Kira and let her see what he was up to. He took some time to explain to her that she would get to take one piece of chocolate from the page each day after he came home from work. Kira was absolutely thrilled and now looks forward to the evenings when she gets to have a piece of chocolate from her special calendar.

I have to say, my husband never ceases to amaze me with the ideas that he comes up with when it comes to our kids. He's a really amazing dad. There's just one problem with this idea of his...

He told Kira that she had to be sure to eat her chocolate every day because if she didn't eat it every single day that "I" - the amazing Mommy - would forget (as if) to take her to the hospital to get her cast off. Yes, he told her that I would forget to take her to get that hideous green cast off if she didn't remember to eat her chocolate every single day.