Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reasons #47-49 Why Toddler Boys Are Trouble

See that face?  Doesn't he look all sweet and innocent?  Well, don't let it fool you.  It's all an act, I tell you!  A cruel act!

Reason #47: I am taking my morning shower, and Max is hanging out with me in the bathroom.  The theory is that if I keep him contained while I'm showering, the chances of major damage to him or the house will be lessened.  Really it just means he has to concentrate his evil powers of destruction to only one room of the house which leads to a more intense mess confined to a smaller area. When I shut off the shower and peek out at him, I realize exactly why it was I had such a peaceful shower.  He has chosen this particular shower to learn how to lift the toilet seat all by himself.  He had then proceeded to find a cup and was bailing water cup by cup onto the bathroom floor, all the while sqealing in delight.

Reason #48:  After the grand toilet water incident, there was nothing for me to do but to put him in the bath.  I pull roughly half the bath towels  we own out of the closet to try to contain the mess, and run the bath water.  He is in the bath for roughly 37 seconds before I see his face turn bright red and hear the tell-tale grunting.  In the split-second it takes me cross our bathroom, Max has filled the bathtub with poop.  Sigh.  If I could only get him to poop in the toilet and play in the bathtub, I'd be set!

Reason #49:  Toilet+iphone.  They don't mix.  Just in case you were curious. 

Just noticed that all three of these had something to do with toilets.  Maybe I should invest in some toilet locks.  And some more interesting blogging material. It would probably be cheaper (not to mention more interesting!) than investing in new iphones...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ode to Winter

Winter I hate you, I hate you, you stink.
Your snowflakes are driving me right to the brink.

I'm sick of the boots, the mittens, the cold,
And shoveling the driveway has gotten quite old.

I hate that there's so very much snow when I drive,
It's a wonder that we make it to lessons alive.

It's truly been ages since we've seen the sun,
The sledding and tubing and skiing all have been done.

We've lost all the scarves and the mittens have tears,
The hats, coats and snowpants are too much to bear.

The grass in my yard hasn't been seen since November,
What leaves on the trees are, I just can't remember.

No one would cry if the snow quickly vanished,
We wouldn't be sad if the cold was now banished.

Being cooped up with kids has me feeling quite crazy,
I've spent too much time on facebook being lazy.

We've had ear infections, and bad cabin fever,
When a girl's done with winter, you'd better believe her.

I know that Spring comes to my town, I've seen it.
So get out of here, Winter, I've had it!  I mean it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keeping it Real

Sometimes, I worry that I'm the only one chronically incapable of keeping a clean house.  

I like to blame it on the fact that I have two girls, a crazy terror of a toddler, and two adults living in approximately 1600 square feet spread over three levels.

I also like to justify it by saying that my baby has had ear infections for virtually all of 2010, and anytime I've done anything that doesn't involve rocking him in a rocking chair involves a screaming, crying banshee.  But that might be a little bit of an exaggeration.  Just a little bit.  (As a sidenote, because I know you're all dying to know, it seems that after three antibiotic shots last week that we have finally conquered the ear infections.  Quick!  Knock on wood!)

The truth is, I'm just not a great housekeeper.  I don't have any huge internal motivation to eradicate every particle of dust from the house or to make sure that there are fresh vacuum stripes left in the carpet five times a day. 

It doesn't really help that my mom was a cleaning fanatic growing up.  The vacuum stripes in the carpet bit?  We lived that.  The vacuum was virtually always running at our house.  In fact, we had to buy a new vacuum every six to eight months.  That's right, a new vacuum, not just new bags or new hoses.  Do you know how much vacuuming you have to do to burn out a vacuum in six months?  It's ok.  You don't want to know.  Seriously, it's better that way.  I think my unwillingness inability to clean is really a not-so-subtle rebellion against the endless hours of Saturday chores.

But I go to other people's houses, and they are (almost) always clean, picked up, sparkling with no rings in the toilet.  Now my house isn't on the verge of being condemned or anything like that, but from where I sit, I can see crumbs on the kitchen floor, counters that haven't seen a washrag today, and more baby toys than I can count covering every spare inch of carpet.  Oh, and there's two weeks worth of groceries out in my van waiting for my kids to get home to help unload them.  My kitchen is up a flight of stairs from the main entryway, and I'd rather just wait the half hour until my kids come home than climb up and down the stairs 27 times.  Sigh.  There are just so many things I'd rather do than clean the house.  Like sleeping.  Blogging.  Reading other peoples' blogs.  Reading my latest novel.  Going on walks, talking on the phone, finding things that keep me busy so I can avoid the housework, etc.  Sure, I really like clean houses, but actually doing the work to get there is another matter all together. 

Take this bookshelf for example.  Now, the rule is, no laughing.  No throwing things. I already warned you that I'm an impossibly bad housekeeper. 

Remember those worksheets you used to do in Elementary school where you would circle the things that don't belong?  See if you can find:

Two dead cell phones, and a cover for one of them.
A soldering iron, with two rolls of soldering material.  (I'm sure there's a technical term better than soldering material, but I don't know what it is!)
A picture hanging kit. 
A homework folder that should have been at school in a certain child's backpack.
A camera.
A level.
A drill.
A charging cord to one of the dead cell phones. 
Two ward lists.
Two very overdue library books.  (You would think those would be hard to find seeing that you're looking at a picture of a bookshelf and all.  And they would be hard to find, if say, my girls put them with the other books where they actually belong!)
A sippy cup.
Lip gloss.  (There goes the theory that it's everyone else in the house that makes the mess!)
A haircutting kit.

So really, since we live in the aforementioned house that is only slightly bigger than the average postage stamp, and we have no storage space, and no room in the kitchen for a "junk drawer," this bookshelf became our junk drawer.  The biggest problem is you can't close a bookshelf.

Enter a Saturday, a mom fed up with the "junk bookshelf," a tax return and an IKEA within driving distance.
Here is picture proof that at least in one little corner of my universe, everything is precisely where it's supposed to be.  Well, everything except my husband's tie.  I guess you can't have everything.  My favorite are the little white boxes from IKEA. Genius because now, all the little clutter things can just get stuffed away where no one can see them. 

So if you come over to my house, ignore the crumbs all over the floor, the thermometer on the stairs, (don't ask.  I don't know either....) the homework on the counter, or the ring in the toilet.  Just come admire my beautiful new bookshelf.  And then tell me I'm not the only one that doesn't have a house that looks like it came straight out of a magazine. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Get Rich Quick

My girls love to sing.  All. the. time.  Unfortunately, when mom has had a long day of cooking, cleaning, nursing the sick baby, fishing toys out of the toilet, violining, negotiating homework, etc., the last thing I want or need is for a grand battle of "Smith Family Idol" (also known as let's have a battle to see who can sing the loudest and most shrill, all the while ignoring anything and everything else that may be going on around you) to break out when all I really want is to be curled up under my quilt with a bowl of ice cream and the remote control. 

Last night, the song of choice at our house was "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"   Don't ask.  I was trying to be the patient mom, really I was.  But after approximately 137 rounds, screamed sung back to back accompanied by the girls constantly interrupting each other, bickering, and trying to one-up each other, I snapped. 

"All right!   That's enough!  The next person who sings that song owes me a dollar!"

They looked at me, wide-eyed, mouths open in surprise.

But I made two dollars in the next five minutes. 

One of them was from my husband. 

I'm still laughing about it. 

I wonder what other rules I can enforce with money penalties?  Hmmmm....

I'm gonna be rich!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This and That

Antibiotic Resistant Ear Infections.  Yup.  That's what we're dealing with.  Max was up again all night Sunday, and I went back to the pediatrician yesterday morning.  I got the patronizing pat-on-the-head from the Medical Assistant, who told me that it was most likely that Max's ear was healing and that's why he was digging at it, and that maybe he had a viral infection on top of the ear infection healing.  Then the Pediatrician looked in his ears and was shocked to see that despite two rounds of very strong antibiotics, his ears were still incredibly infected.  Score one for Mom's intuition.  The last option is a round of injectable antibiotics.  So Max had a shot yesterday, one today, and one more tomorrow.  The doc will check his ears tomorrow, and if they aren't cleared up, we'll be headed back to our favorite hospital where they will drain his ears, place tubes, and we'll probably have a day or two inpatient for IV antibiotics.   He's running a mild fever right now.

I am so sick of ear infections.

I met my husband for a quick lunch after Dr visit (and shot #2) this afternoon.  We ate at a Chinese resteraunt, and as is tradition, sat and read the forune cookies afterwards.

Mine: You will be receiving good news from a far distance.
My husband's: Follow your beliefs.

Both pretty typical, right?  Then we opened the one they gave us for Max.

Max's: A romantic mystery will enter your life. 

So how come the baby gets the most interesting fortune?  Why can't I have a romantic mystery?


Last night at Family Home Evening, we were singing "I Feel My Savior's Love."  My girls learned the sign language to go with it, and were proudly showing it to us.  Max was watching intently, and started pretending to sign towards the end of the song which brought a big smile to the girls' faces.

It took more than one tissue to wipe the tears away.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Best Medicine

So far, the six weeks of 2010 have felt like one big, long ear infection. 

I am so sick of ear infections, antibiotics, doctor visits, long nights with a screaming baby, and sitting in the rocking chair all. day. long.

We're five days into our current course of antibiotics, and Max is still running a fever at least part of every day, and his lungs creak and rattle when he breathes.  I keep hoping it will go away, but expect that we will be back to the doctor soon. I think we're paying someone's salary at my pediatrician's office once copay at a time.  Doing our part to stimulate the economy and all that.

But today was a good day anyway.

I finally got that haircut.  Turns out I do have a pair of eyes hiding under all my bad hair.

My good friend sent me a surprise box of chocolate covered strawberries and cherries in the mail today for Valentine's Day.  I love getting mail.  Getting a box full of fancy chocolates is one of the best surprises ever.

And yesterday my husband came home with a Massage Envy giftcard for me, and he had already set the appointment for this afternoon.  Bless him.

So this afternoon, after a haircut, massage and significant amounts of chocolate, I finally started to feel like a person again instead of just a tired mommy.

And you know what?  It feels good. 

(And now, I just need to figure out how to swing another massage without suffering through six weeks of ear infections...)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dear Universe, Part 2

This post has a soundtrack.  In order to fully appreciate the dramatic intensity and literary genius of this post, you need to be listening  to "Uprising" by Muse. Go.  Now.  I'll wait. 

OK, all set?

Dear Ear Infection:  You think you won the battle, don't you?  Just because you survived despite a week of antibiotics, you think you get to stick around forever.  For once, I was the good mom and gave all the doses of antibiotics on time and yet you still come back to make my baby scream inconsolably and spike a fever.  Well, get ready.  We're heading back to the doctor, we're taking cultures, and we're coming back with bigger and better antibiotics.  Be afraid, very afraid.

Dear Children:  When you decide you need to barf all over the carpet, please at least have the courtesy to inform me about it.  That way, when I come stumbling down the stairs at an insanely early hour and step in something wet, I'll at least know who to blame  did it.  Yes, Max, that includes you.  I know you're not even fifteen months old yet, but somehow, we're going to have to come up with a sign that means "Mom, I just barfed all over the carpet and instead of getting a rag and cleaning it up, I decided to just toddle off on my merry way."

Dear Nurse at the Pediatrician's Office: Trust me, it's another ear infection.  I'm not paranoid, and I'm not trying to make your life hard. I am not a crazy mom and the last thing I want is another round of antibiotics.  Okay, maybe not the very last thing.  The last thing I want is to spend another day and night with a baby screaming in pain, refusing to sleep.  In other words, no, I don't want to wait until tomorrow morning to come in.  I just need someone to look in his ears and give me a prescription.  Is it really that hard?  Here, I'll trade ya.  You hold the screaming baby for a few minutes while I take a shower, and then tell me there's no available appointments today.  I dare ya.

Dear Sleep: I promise that someday, we will get reaquainted again.  Please don't abandon me for good.

Dear Hairstylist: I am so sorry I had to call and cancel my appointment this morning at the very last minute.  I know how annoying that is.  But it was that or bring my screaming, feverish toddler with me, and no one wants that.  Yes, I know I should have had a haircut six weeks ago.  Yes, I know that it's gotten so bad that if anyone from those TLC Makeover shows saw me, they would pass me over as a lost cause.  And yes, I know that my eyebrows have stopped looking like eyebrows and instead look more like two giant furry creatures that are taking over my face.  (Yes, I wax my eyebrows.  No judging allowed.)  A girl can only do so much.  Besides, a sick baby means that the only people that are going to see me are my pediatrician and my family.  I'm sure the pediatrician has seen worse.  At least I hope so....  Hey, I showered.  What more do you want?

Dear House: Please clean yourself.   Seriously.  We've been here a year and a half, and you have yet to use that "self clean" feature.  Today would be a good day.

Dear Laundry: See above.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Little Blessings

In the corner by the stairs in our house, we have a white board/chalk board that the girls love and I hate.  It's big, bulky, and gets in the way of everything.  It means that there's constantly chalk and dry erase markers all over the floor, and they frequently leave wet rags right where I'm guaranteed to step on them.  I threaten daily to pakc it back up and put it back into the shed where it belongs.  But today, I came downstairs to find this:
I think we'll keep it right where it is.  I so needed something like this today.  It's kept a smile on my face all day today.  Love that little girl.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Big Fat Ugly Surgery Vent

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Last week, I got a call from the neurosurgeon's office telling me that the neurosurgeon scheduled for Max's surgery in March was being called away on a conference, so they told us we had two choices- we could either push the surgery back until May and use the original neurosurgeon, or we could use a different pediatric neurosurgeon in the same practice. We really couldn't handle the idea of moving the surgery back two more months, and decided that since the neurosurgeon's part is relatively minor, that we would keep the March surgery date, and switch the neurosurgeon.

OK, fine. That was all set. Until they called again the next day and told us we were going to have to switch neurosurgeons again. Fine. The last time we met with the neuro, we waited 2 1/2 hours to talk with the neurosurgeon for five minutes. We've been through this before, I don't think I have any questions, and it's not nearly as important to me who the neurosurgeon is.  The neurosurgeon's part of the surgery is relatively small, and he's only there for about an hour of the five hour surgery.  I don't mean to sound callous, but any trip to Primary's requires at least four hours, and I don't see the point of blowing an entire day just so we can shake the neurosurgeon's hand and talk to him for two minutes. 

So then this morning, my craniofacial surgeon's office calls and tells me they have to move the surgery date. I very nearly lost it. This is our third surgery date, and it got moved from Thursday, March 25th to the following Tuesday, the 30th. It's not that big of a change, but it's so frustrating. I had to call the ENT's and arrange for another surgeon to place the ear tubes, and we're now stuck using yet another doctor we've never met to perform a surgery on my little boy. My husband now has to take an entire week off of work instead of two days. I also have to re-do my entire ENTIRE(!) spring violin lesson schedule. This also impacts my child care because my parents were going to take the older girls on the Thursday and Friday after surgery, so they were only going to miss two days. Well, they can't miss four days of school, so now my parents are stuck either coming up here to stay for the week, or my poor husband is going to be doing some major juggling and driving the hour back and forth.

And on top of that, (and here comes the vent- you've been warned!) we shouldn't even be going through this in the first place! If the damn surgeon had just done his job in the first place, this whole process would be far behind us. Instead, we're ramping up for another surgery, this time with a walking, talking toddler who's going to be much more angry about the whole process. I just can't believe we're here again! It's not fair that my baby boy has to go through all this again, especially when we had so many complications the first time around. Not fair that we're having all this drama leading up to it. I'm hesitant to even re-do my spring schedule, because I'm afraid that they're just going to call and move the surgery again. Seriously, one surgery is bad enough. One surgery with complications is bad enough. But two surgeries with all this drama is making me crazy. I spent hours cussing out the surgeons this morning, feeling like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.

Yes, I know it's all going to be ok. Sooner or later, he will actually have surgery, and this will all be over. In a few years, I'll look back at this and wonder why it was even a big deal in the first place. But right now, I'm still pretty irritated at the load of *$^@(* this whole situation is.  I promise to return to myself tomorrow.  But tonight, I reserve the right to kick and scream for a little longer.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Buy One, Get One Free

Max has yet another ear infection.  This time, we're the lucky winner of a double ear infection.  This is his second ear infection in the past month, his sixth or seventh in the past year, and this round has been particularly bad.  My normally mellow, laid-back little boy has been turned into a screaming demon, and as much as I like watching tv, watching bad reality shows on Discovery Health at 3am with a baby screaming in pain just isn't my idea of fun.  I know, call me crazy.

So I took him into the pediatrician this morning, and she says its time for tubes.  I was grateful for that, because I was about ready to throw myself at her feet and beg if she didn't suggest it first.  And lucky us, (and how convenient!) we already have a surgery scheduled in March.  You know, it's the medical equivalent of your husband saying "Hey, since you were going to the bathroom, can you head to the kitchen and make me a turkey sandwich on white, hold the mustard, extra cheese?"   Hey, since you were going to cut his head open again, do you mind throwing some ear tubes in while you're at it?

So I called the good folks at the ENT clinic, to see if it would be possible for a surgeon to join in the party happening in the OR on March 25th.  (I really don't mean to sound cavalier.  But I'm living in denial about another surgery right now, and using morbid humor is the only thing I have going for me...)  I talked with the surgery scheduler, and she arranged it up all neat and tidy.  I asked her if I needed to bring Max in to meet with the surgeon and she consulted her notes and told me that since Max had been in so recently, (he had minor lip surgery in November of last year; I don't think I even deemed it blog worthy because it didn't involve the PICU, major blood loss, or even any notable drama!) that they would just do the surgery that morning.  (See, membership in the PCMC frequent-flier club does have it's priveleges!)

But this was the kicker.  She then said "You know. I'm surprised.  Usually with these cranio kids, they like to put in the ear tubes prophylactically.  Since their ear canals are genetically smaller, they are super prone to ear infections." 

There's a great line in the movie "Wedding Singer" with Adam Sandler: "Gee, you know that information...really would have been helpful to me YESTERDAY!"

Or six ear infections ago.  You know, whatever. (This is me, banging my head against the wall.)
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