Saturday, February 27, 2010

They Like Me, They Really Like Me!

"Mother of the Year" is a title that I gain and lose on an hour-by-hour basis. 

 When I ask them to clean out the dishwasher and reload it, I'm told that none of their friends have to do that, and they conspire in the corner trying to figure out how to turn me in for abuse.  When I tell them they have to go to school, despite the fact that they sneezed once while getting ready, I am sending them to their death, and they are certain I don't love them at all.

These proclamations used to hurt my feelings, and even make me angry.  But then I realized that these little people are more fickle than the media, and what is bad today is good tomorrow, and vice versa.

I'm also amazed at the pettiness of the things that warrant such a display of emotion.  If I were to actually tell them I hated them and then shackle them to the shower head and make them clean the toilets, I could understand their passionate stances.  But asking them to change their shoes surely isn't reason to want to run away from home, is it?

Today I felt the other side of their rants: the good side.  

My teenaged son said I was, "A to the MA to the Zing."  

My daughters said, "Thank you, mom!  You're the best!"

Had I purchased them a home worthy of being featured on MTV Cribs?  Had I brought home a personal assistant for each child so that they wouldn't have to clean their room?  No.  I had bought some yogurt-covered snacks to include in their lunches.

The praise and accolades continued on for a while.  The children drew me pictures and made up songs about my greatness.  My husband stood by amazed.

I just laughed, and took it in stride.  I know tomorrow I'll be back on their "naughty" list for something.  But for today, it was nice to be like Sally Field's accepting her award, when she said, "You like me!  You really, really like me!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Modern Medicine

My pediatrician office is the bomb!  They are open literally 365 days a year.  So no matter what day my kids are sick (which usually ends up being a weekend or holiday) we can have the doc take a look without having to rush to the ER.

That being said, on the weekends or holidays our personal physician is usually off, and we get the doc-on-call.  All the docs are fabulous, but no one knows my family like our personal doc.  This last round of illness underscored this fact- with thick, black ink.

I took Emma to the doctor on Sunday.  Fever, stomach ache, head ache and sore throat.  Strep throat.  I would bet the money in my pocket on it.

However, the doc on call wasn't as quick to jump on board with my "medical expertise."  He ordered a rapid strep test.  It came back negative.  So, he sent off a test to be cultured, said he suspected it was a virus and sent us home.

My Mommy Antennae were twitching like mad.  It was strep.  I knew it was.  But, what could I do?  So we went home.

Within hours my other two fell to the Germinator as well.  Destiny was in motion:  we were all staying home from school & work Monday.

Monday Emma developed a rash to go along with everything else.  I revisited my initial diagnosis and bumped it up to scarlet fever (I consider to be a part of strep throat).  I called the doctor.  Her culture still had not come back, so over the phone, they were still going with "virus."

Tuesday morning, Emma was positively miserable, the other two were grouchy as all get-out, and I was exhausted.  The thought of spending Wednesday at home with them again- with no sign of them feeling any better- was more than I could take.

I marched Emma back to the doctor's office, and got our regular, personal physician.  After the briefest of explanation of our plight, the doctor whisked in his nurse with a rapid test for Keith.  His test glowed like Three Mile Island.

I smiled with relief:  my babies were getting medicine and would soon feel better, AND, I was RIGHT!  Today we spent the day curled up on the couch watching some of the "stoopidest" cartoons ever produced.  But it has been apparent that they feel so much better from the medicine!  Which has made this mommy feel so much better, too.

My only lingering frustration is that, had the doctor believed my Mommy Instincts and prescribed the antibiotics on Sunday, we would have been back to work and school on Tuesday.  Instead, we missed two additional days, and had additional doctor co-pays.

But I will not be bitter.  I will be thankful for modern medicine that is working to heal my babies.  And I will be thankful for my Mommy Instincts that pushed the envelope when I didn't quite feel right about the initial medical diagnosis.

May we all enjoy our day tomorrow back in the "real world"...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Goodnight, Germs

If I must be honest, I am feeling more than a little guilty tonight.  My three children have all contracted various strains of some vile illness that has them each carrying around their own personal "bowl buddy."  (A "bowl buddy" is an over-sized plastic bowl the children have been trained to use if they can't make it to the bathroom to vomit.)  And, besides taking care of them, my main job has been to fight off their cooties so that I don't contract any or all of their "yuckies."

As is par for the course, the illnesses started the moment hubby pulled out of the driveway to go out of town on business (*sigh*).  With hubby gone, our usual "mom & kids" tradition is that one of the children get to take over hubby's side of the bed each night he's gone and "sleep with mommy".  Normally, we use the rotation method to choose who gets to sleep with mommy each night.  But, this time, things are just not normal.

Emma is my sickest child right now.  Symptoms include, but are not limited to, sore throat, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and now we get to also add "itchy rash" to our list.  Benadryl just made her more tired, but not less itchy.

The other two kids are sufficiently sick to stay home from school, which is really the effect they were after anyway.  They really don't think it's that bad of a gig:  puke once or twice, then the rest of the day watch tv and get served sprite, popsicles, crackers and soup.  They are pretty happy (when they aren't using their "bowl buddies").  And they expect that the "sleeping with mommy" tradition will be upheld.

Last night I had Emma sleep with me.  (I was concerned about her fever spiking, and she was just so darned pitiful.)  The other two were okay with that arrangement, as they slept on the couch and watched tv until way past their normal bedtime.  And, since it's been a while since hubby was out of town, we were all a little fuzzy as to who was last in the rotation.

However, tonight, I broke tradition.  Emma was still the sickest.  And I still wanted her to sleep with me to keep a closer eye on her.

The other two staged a protest.  "That's not fair."  "It's because you like her more."  "You always let her sleep with you."  "You never let us sleep with you."  "You don't even like us."  And so on.

While 95% of me really does want to keep an eye on her closely with her illness, the other part-  the guilty part that would never ever admit this to my other two kids  -really likes  Emma to sleep with me the most.

Why?  She doesn't snore, kick, take covers, grind her teeth, take over the entire queen sized bed, or any other annoying habits that cause me to lose sleep.  But the other two do!  And, boy do they ever!

I've had to wake Keith in another room with the doors closed because his snoring is so loud.  And Amy should take the gold in gymnastics with her tossing and turning, until the sun barely streaks the sky and she crawls over me to get out of bed and "stick the landing".  But Emma sleeps like the quintessential princess: hardly any movement, and her hair always looks great.

So the 95% of me who is genuinely concerned about Emma (and her ability to be our overachiever in the illness department this time,) is dead tired, and I want to go to bed.  But the 5% of me who kissed Keith and Amy goodnight and told them how sorry I was that they couldn't sleep with me, too, is up writing this confessional blog, hoping against hope that this will be cathartic and I can go to sleep.

I guess I'll sign off for now and see if it worked.  If not, I'm sure there will be another post very, very soon...  *yawn*

Friday, February 12, 2010

What Time is It?

Something about getting ready in the mornings has become somewhat of a a challenge for my children.  First, there's the whole getting out of bed thing.  Emma is fabulous about getting out of bed and getting ready.  She even makes sure hubby and I are up.  But she's the exception.

Keith and Amy would gladly roll around in bed until school was out.  Keith would eventually get up- if for nothing else than to watch some television and get something to eat.  Amy?  Amy lives to provoke me.  Therefore, if I want her to get out of bed, it is her life's mission to stay hunkered under the covers until I yank her out (literally) by her ankles.  Then she stomps her foot and says, "Mom!  I was getting out of bed!  What did you do that for?"

The next challenge is getting them dressed.  I bounce back and forth between Keith, Emma and Amy.  "Are you dressed?  Do you have your belt?  Is that dress code?"  And, while I'm nagging one child, the other two are playing with the cat, drawing pictures on a stray piece of paper, looking in the mirror and trying different hair styles, or various other things- none of which involve getting dressed.

Finally, after some begging, pleading, bribing and threatening, we make it downstairs.  This is where the real fun begins!  During our time downstairs, we need to accomplish a couple of things:  eat breakfast, get shoes on, make sure our backpacks/lunches/etc are ready, get coats on (when appropriate) and get out the door.

Emma usually stalls out at breakfast.  She's dressed, has on shoes and a coat.  But her backpack is in four different places and she roams around the kitchen trying to decide what she wants for breakfast.

"What's for breakfast?" she asks, while twirling in circles and singing Christmas carols.

"What do you want?" I ask, shoving Amy towards the breakfast table.

"I don't know..." she sings, poking her head in the pantry, in the refrigerator, then back in the pantry.

Keith is usually awake enough at this point to start talking.  He makes comments about what the girls are wearing, what will happen at school, his theories on mathematical equations- anything to avoid the tasks at hand.

Amy...  Amy chases the cat.  I remind her gently, "Amy, time to eat."

"I know," she says.

"So, let's get to it," I prompt.

"I'm doing it!" she says exasperated, as she continues clinging to the cat, who is scrambling to get away.

"No.  You're playing with the cat.  Now, come on.  Let's get our shoes on now," I say, getting more irritated.

"Hold on!" she whines.

And so it goes...  Until my sister-in-law honks her horn, and the kids play out some kind of elementary Chinese fire drill trying to get everything done in 30 seconds.

Except for the days when I drive.  Then they piddle around until we're late, and then whine about being late all the way to school.

I've offered rewards for being punctual.  I've taken away privileges for being late.  I have spoken kindly and cheerfully.  I have screamed like a drill sergeant.  I am out of ideas...

The only thing I have left up my sleeve is "The Parent's Curse," which I exercise on a regular basis in the mornings.  I wish upon my children that one day they will have children just like them.

Then I can listen to their stories, or read them online, and laugh.  And, I'll bet you, they will... finally... be able to get ready in the mornings...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


We have a new, uninvited, member of the household:  a mouse.  We have had mice residing in the garage for a while now, and hubby has been trying his darndest to get the little nasties out of there.  Apparently, this morning, one took him up on his offer, and decided to move inside.
I know exactly when he actually broke through the high security barrier of insulation the builder provided.  My youngest daughter shrieked to the point that the poor little beastie was momentarily stunned.  He eventually regained his composure and continued his mad dash to the food pantry.  At which point, Tigger, our attack cat, pounced.
Of course, Tigger thinks this is all a game.  So he caught the little guy, then let him go so he could do it again.  That was all the warning the mouse needed to be sure he didn't want to be anywhere near the cat.
When I left for the day, I gave clear instructions to Tigger to catch and kill the mouse- no matter how friendly he seemed.  I told Dixie, our brain-damaged dog, to just stand back and let Tigger do his thing.
When I came back to the house to get something real quickly before the next errand, both Dixie and Tigger greeted me at the door.  If animals could talk, mine, I'm sure, would have said, "Hey!  Did you know there's a mouse here?"  They looked surprised and a little fearful.  They followed me around, scurrying at my feet.  They kept looking up at me like my kids do when they're saying, "Mom!  Mom!  Mom!  Guess what?  Mom!"  I couldn't help but giggle.
This evening when the family reconvenes, it will be interesting to see how the whole "Mouse Watch 2010" plays out.  I know the kids will be as skittish as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers (sorry Tigger).
I'll be glad when hubby comes in from out of town.  He is the voice of reason.  I tend to shrug it off, not giving the kids any real comfort, even though I try.  But hubby comes in with sweeping statements and big gestures that make the kids think he can climb Mt. Everest with one hand tied behind his back.
So I'll let him handle the kids and the unwanted germ-carrier.  (By the way, Amy is convinced the mouse has rabies and we're all going to die.)  In the meantime, I'll double up the efforts of our fortress of insulation to keep out any of mousie's friends.  And laugh at my (wanted) animals, who think they are humans.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Non-Snow Snow Days

Yes, it has been a hundred years since I've posted.  But, our beloved southern city has been assaulted by snow-- well, "southern snow" anyway.
"Southern Snow" is the kind of snow that makes the rest of the United States point and laugh at us.  Why? A few little flakes, and we storm the grocery store for bread, milk and eggs.  We close schools.  People hole up in their homes, terrified to drive in "bad weather."
Last night, the snow began falling just at sundown.  The problem was, the Board of Education had already announced that school would be "in" today.  So, as the entire county watched the roads become icy, with no plows or salt to be had for the back, hilly roads, we shook our heads.  We all knew they would close schools.  But the county had already put out the declaration that they wouldn't.
Keith, Emma and Amy refused to believe they were going to school.  They were bouncing around like pinballs until I lost my ever-lovin' mind at about 10:30, with the proclamation that if they didn't go to bed and go to sleep that I was going to take away all television privileges for the rest of their lives (or something realistic like that).
We all went to bed, secure in the knowledge that the Board of Education was going to have to eat crow. There was no way they were going to allow our precious little angel babies to go out in this severe... dusting... of snow!
Sure enough, 6:30 AM my phone rang.  Now, let me just say that if if my phone rings after 9:30 PM at night, or prior to 7:30 AM in the morning, someone better have a pretty darn big emergency.  Or school better be out.
Obviously, it was the latter.  And, despite the fact that it was early, the kids smiled from ear to ear when I let them know they could turn off their alarms and sleep a little later.
We have effectively been slugs:  pajamas past noon, Disney Channel marathon and snack foods all day! It's the BEST!
But, in the world of "southern snow", we get to have our cake and eat it, too.  The roads where we live are fine- clear even.  So, we can still get out and go to the store or to the movies (if we so choose to get out of our comfy pajamas).
Yes, the kids are disappointed there is no "real" snow, with which they could build snowmen or go sledding.  But, as any school child would be, they are so entirely thrilled to be out of school, they will readily find other things to do on our non-snow snow day.
And I am happily catching up on my blog and other things I have not been able to get to because of "life."
So, Happy "Snow Day."  May your day be full of fun, even without real snow.