Posts Tagged ‘kids’

A while back, I wrote about why I hate Thursdays, and in that article, I mentioned that I also hate February. Here is why.

In February, 2005, I was in the throws of Post-Partum Depression. The Boy was born in January, and spent 10 days in the NICU with pneumonia. Brian and my Mom had to go take an Infant CPR class (I was already certified, so I didn’t need the class). This was right around Valentine’s Day. On his way home from the class, Brian had to pull over to barf. Thus started a nasty round of the stomach flu. The Girl got it later that day, and I got it several days later. Did I mention that I have an intense fear of vomit, that was only amplified by the depression? Yeah, there was that.

Jump to February 13, 2006. I picked the kids up from my mom’s, and The Girl has a huge black eye. Mom tells me she fell and hit her face on the wooden foot of the couch. Fine. The next day (note: Valentine’s Day…again) I again pick the kids up. I notice The Girl has a weird rash. I lift up her shirt, and it’s everywhere. I decide we need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. So we go. We are there for hours upon hours. The Girl was wearing an undershirt that had lace hearts on it. When one of the many doctors lifts her shirt to examine the rash, the rash has actually taken the form of the heart! He touches her skin, and it leaves more of the rash. This is not a rash, folks, it’s essentially a giant bruise! The formal name is petechiae, and it sucks. They try to tell me she has Leukemia, which of course is devastating. Turns out, it’s not Leukemia (WHEW!), but it is serious. She had a blood disorder called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. Basically, her platelet level was dangerously low, and she could have bled to death. They transfer us by ambulance to another hospital, where she is admitted. For several months, we have to take her to the Oncology Unit at Detroit Children’s Hospital to have her levels checked. She had to wear a bike helmet for a few weeks. Finally, it turned out to be the acute version of the disease, and we were out of the woods by her birthday in June, but those were the worst months of my life.

February, 2006 and 2007. I don’t remember specifics, but I know that the kids got sick a LOT in those months. Mostly colds and asthma issues. Oh yeah, and more stomach flu.  It was during these years that I decided that I would no longer participate in February.  We started calling it JanuMarch, and I wouldn’t leave the house for the entire month unless absolutely necessary.

February, 2008. Brian was working the auto show circuit, and wasn’t home for…wait for it….Valentine’s Day.  Are you sensing a theme here?  I am.  Anyway, My mom called me at work to tell me that The Boy was barfing.  A lot.  So, I spent Valentine’s Day at my mom’s house being barfed upon by my son.  And I still have that pesky fear of vomit, so I was all hopped up on Xanax as well.  I remember that I missed half of LOST because I had to change my clothes.  I was pissed.

However, I think that February 2008 was a turning point for me.  On February 29th (Leap Year, Yay!), I flew out to LA and got a job offer.  We moved out here a month later.  And, because January has been so full of illness (we have all had a nasty cold or flu bug that’s going around…and The Boy spent a night barfing), I’m convinced that February will be great!  I’m not going to let this month get the best of me this year!  I will participate!  I won’t hide!  And no one is allowed to get sick!


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Photo by aprilzosia

I got a phone call today from The Girl’s school. The very nice nurse called to tell me that The Girl felt like she was going to throw up. So, I called Brian, and he went to pick her up.

While I was waiting for Brian to call me to tell me if she was ok, I started thinking that she probably wasn’t sick. She tends to overreact to any little feeling in her stomach (ie, a stuck fart, the need to burp, you get the picture) and says she has to barf. I told my coworker that if it was something like that, I was going to be really mad. Then Brian called and told me what really happened, and I wasn’t mad anymore. I was furious and very worried about my little girl.

For those of you who do not live in earthquake country, we had a statewide earthquake drill this morning, The Great Shakeout. Some places went as far as to have volunteers pretend to be hurt or trapped so that emergency personnel could practice procedures. This, in itself, is a great thing. However, The Girl’s first grade teacher decided that it would be prudent to show a video of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Complete with devastation. To include people (by The Girl’s account, it was children) who were injured and bleeding. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? I totally understand the need for the drill, and I would even condone an animated video or even news footage, but 6 year olds do NOT need to see blood and gore. If it was a fire drill, would they show some kid running around on fire??? I think not.

So, back to my story. The Girl is incredibly sensitive. She cannot even handle cartoon blood. The thought of a loose tooth becoming bloody makes her want to forgo the Tooth Fairy and keep her baby teeth forever. So, of course, she became extremely upset seeing the images from the 1994 earthquake. Of course, I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing she had a full-fledged panic attack, which she interpreted as having to throw up. By the time Brian got to the school, she was fine and wanted to stay, buy of course, they couldn’t let her.

So, now I have to decide how to handle this situation. It is not ok that she got to come home because she was scared, and we treated her as though she was sick, making her lay on the couch all day. Basically, we did that to drive home the point that she can’t just say she’s sick and get to come home and play. But, what do I do on the school end? I really would like to rip the teacher a new one, but clearly, I have to work with her for the rest of the year, and I need her on our side. But she needs to know that The Girl cannot handle that kind of video.

What should I do??? Any suggestions?

Update: I wrote a letter to The Girl’s teacher explaining my concerns.  We have conferences next week, so if she doesn’t call me before then, I will talk to her about it at that time.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Farms for City Folk

photo by Völundur Jónsson

The Girl’s class went on a field trip to a farm today. Now, mind you, we live in suburbia, which is just about 20 to 30 miles north of Los Angeles. Many of these kids probably haven’t ever seen a real working farm. My kids have, because we’re from Michigan, and there are farms all over the place, but I digress.

Part of the farm experience started before the field trip. The students were asked to do chores around the house to earn money ($6) for the trip. I thought this was a pretty good idea at the time, but now my kids ask me how much I’m going to pay them before they do any chore. I guess we’ll be starting allowances!

The field trip was today, and they got to feed animals and all of that farm stuff. They also got to pick vegetables. Now, when I heard they would be doing this, I got excited! I thought she’d bring home a few green beans, maybe some tomatoes or peppers, perhaps a carrot or two. A few items that most kids like, and that they might actually be willing to try since they picked it themselves.

Boy, was I wrong! She came home with a huge bag. Inside the bag was: An entire head of red leaf lettuce, a small thing of bok choy, some spinach leaves, 3 of the tiniest carrots I’ve ever seen, some parsley, 2 Japanese turnips (what???), and 2 beets. Of those things, the only things she’ll eat are the itty bitty carrots and the parsley…I know, weird. After a quick internet search, it seems the guinea pig can’t have the turnips or the beets. And I’m certainly not going to eat any of that stuff! So, I guess I’ll try to give it away…..

I wonder if anyone in a rural area ever took the farm kids to the city for a field trip….you know, to see how the other half lives…and maybe to pick up a hooker or some meth or something…. What? It’s only fair! The city kids got to bring stuff home!

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Jack o’ Lanterns

Originally uploaded by Teo

I took the kids out to a farm yesterday with The Girl’s friend’s family. It was so strange for me. Being from Michigan, going hunting for the perfect pumpkin always involved at least a jacket, but more often than not, we wore hats, gloves, winter coats, and boots. Yesterday, we wore shorts and t-shirts, and were still sweating. It had to have been 100 degrees out. And there were probably 1,000 people there! It was just craziness.

That being said, we had a good time. We had some caramel apples, pet some farm animals, and the kids played on a mountain of hay bales. The Boy felt a unique bond with a llama because of the spelling of its name (for those of you who do not know us, The Boy’s first name begins with 2 L’s. That’s right, 2 of ’em. LIke a llama). We only bought some tiny pumpkins because we aren’t carving one this year, because we see no point in doing so while living in an apartment…we don’t anticipate any trick-or-treaters, and we won’t be home anyway.

After we left, I took my 2 kids and The Girl’s friend out for some frozen yogurt (shh, they think it was ice cream!) to cool off. The girls bamboozled me into buying a bigger size than they would normally have, so no one ate dinner. It’s all good though. Sometimes it’s nice to have “ice cream” for a meal. 🙂

The best part of the day, though, was bedtime. The kids were all clean from their bath, snuggled in their beds, and were sound asleep in minutes. That’s when you know you’ve had a good day!

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Photo by sm4rtus

Talk may be action, but it’s cheap action. I talk a lot about how important life is: the life we lead, the life of others, the life of animals… and so on.

But, do my kids listen? Do they beleive me about how important all life is?

First of all, since moving to California the idea of conservation has steamrolled for us. It’s huge. While it was always important and we recycled (or tried) and tried to conserve water, our kids never reflected that. Until now. If I leave the water running while washing dishes, or brushing my teeth or filling the tub my kids, expecially the boy (three and a half) will tell me, “Dad! You’re wasting water!” I am rather proud of this. They actually ‘get it’. They may not fully understand the importance of conservation, but they get it.

My daughter (six) while at the beach in Venice was VERY concerned with all the trash she saw. Even prompting me to help her clean the beach. I explained that if we stopped and cleaned the beach, we wouldn’t be able to play, and we’d have to live there for weeks to clean it all. This only made her very sad. She explained that it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t nice for people to throw trash there. It was gross for others and it was dangerous to the animals. She also pointed out that it was dumb, since there were MANY trash ans all over the beach. I agreed and nodded at nearby beach goers who could hear her. I was so proud.

One last thing I would like to mention. One evening while on our family walk, we were looking at snails and other little creatures as we always do. My son, poor thing, didn’t see a tiny snail in front of him. But, there were so many snails he wanted to count and see the bigger ones ahead. With a step, a crunch sound was heard. He looked up at me, and it was clear he knew what had happened. He quickly moved his foot to see the snail underneath. Immediately he and the girl burst into tears. I mean, loud, screaming, crying tears. I asked to be sure, and they both said they were sad that it had died. We explained that it happens, it was an accident and the snail most likely didn’t feel any pain. They still cried but began to calm down. Eventually they stopped crying and enjoyed the walk and more snails and creatures. They both were much moer careful in their walking. Again, I was very proud. I think we must be doing something right for them to hold all life, and our surroundings with such high regard. I am so proud of my kids for having such a love for our world. And, I can’t help but feel proud of my wife and myself for helping teach them this important view.

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Well, Brian took The Girl back to the doctor today to see why her elbow is still bothering her.  This doctor (our regular doctor) seems to think that it might have been fractured!  So, tomorrow Brian has to take her to an orthopedic speciallist.  Awesome.  I’m so ticked off about it right now…I mean, how could the first doctor not have known that it was fractured???  Now this poor little 6 year old has to be banned from recess for the next 2 or 3 weeks, and I am so worried that her elbow will now be messed up for life.  I feel so bad!

Other than that, it’s been a long boring day.  I had a training at work today, and I have to sit through the other half tomorrow.  The highlight of my day was that I got free breakfast and free lunch.  🙂  My motto, when it comes to work related meetings is:  “If you feed them, they will come.”  Works every time!  🙂

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Photo by Julie™..{ Princess of Far Far AWAY}

Man, was it a rough one today. I got up early in the hopes of getting to work early, which I did, but Brian was feeling under the weather, so it ended up being a pretty rough morning. I worried about him all morning. Then, around 10am, I finally decided he was too sick to take care of The Boy, so I came home, packed The Boy up, and took him back to the office with me. Thank goodness I work someplace that allows that.

The Boy was so good all day, and I was so proud of him, so I bought him and The Girl a milkshake on our way home. Both of them drank it too fast, complained of a stomach-ache, and ended up with diarrhea. Lactose intolerance, anyone? Anyway, by the time The Boy and I got home form work, Brian was feeling better (turns out it was one helluva migraine). He started getting ready for work, and the maintenance guy showed up to fix our backed up sink (I love renting!). So, Brian went to work, and now I’m trying to figure out what’s for dinner. Oh yeah, and while yesterday’s dishes (that we couldn’t do yesterday because of the sink) are able to get washed, tonight’s dishes will not because we are out of dishwasher soap. I was supposed to go to the store, but because of the diarrhea, that’s not happenin’, yo. That’s all I need. And, yes, I know I could hand wash the dishes, and I might, but I can’t even think about it right now.

The good news is that I’m so fed up that I’m just done for the day…which left me with enough time to play a great game of hide-n-seek with the kids….with only one diarrhea interruption.

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Photo by SoundsGood

That’s right, 34 days until one of my favorite holidays! I absolutely love Halloween. And I am so looking forward to it this year. In Michigan, we had to be prepared for any kind of weather to include (just in the past 6 years) 75 degrees and dry, rain, snow, hail, or wind so cold your tongue will stick to your lollipop! Here in Southern California, I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m pretty certain that snow, hail, and below 30 degree temperatures are out of the equation!

Growing up, my parents did haunted houses as a fund raiser for my school. My dad played Dracula, and my mom, by default, was Dracula’s wife. Dad would lie in a real coffin, and Mom would stare down the scared little teenagers. When they would come close to the casket, Dad would jump up and scare the dickens out of ’em! I remember hearing the grown-ups talking after closing time…they would always compare how many “wet spots” they had at each section of the maze. My mom got punched so often that she would have bruises, and they did actually have people pee their pants when Dad would scare them. My parents were so into it, they even had our dentist make them realistic fangs that were made out of denture material, and they snapped on over their real teeth!

So, while I really miss the haunted houses, when I tried to volunteer in the past, I realized that you had to be there on halloween, and that would interfere with trick-or-treating. I absolutely love taking the kids trick-or-treating, or as my Grandma says, “begging”, and I’ve only missed out one year since The Girl was born, and that was because I was pregnant with The Boy. Maybe when they get older, we can all volunteer at haunted houses together.

In order to try to keep my excitement level down, the kids and I decorated the house today. Unfortunately, it seems quite a few of my decorations got lost in the move, which makes me pretty sad. I hope that’s not the case with my Christmas decorations, because that would be cause for a complete temper tantrum. Speaking of Christmas…only 88 more days till that holiday! I better start shopping………

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photo by Tarcano

Let me start at the beginning. The Girl was not allowed to progress to this week’s math level because she did not finish her timed test last week. The teacher told me that she had 2 minutes to complete 25 math problems, and because she did not complete them all, she could not move on. The Girl completed 21 problems, and those that she did complete were all correct…..why must we time them, anyway? She’s 6!

So, I received this news just before trying to help The Girls with her math homework. I was frazzled and angry. I looked at the worksheet, and I swear, I had no clue what it was asking her to do. So I asked The Moms, and they too were confused. So we asked Brian, and even he did not know what the heck this stupid worksheet was all about! Finally, we all gave up and basically told her to do it however she thought was right. Keep you finger’s crossed!

Let me also say that I’m annoyed because she has a birthday party to go to tomorrow night. Who throws a birthday party for a 6 year old kid on a Thursday night??? Makes no damn sense. And it’s at one of those joints with the giant inflatable moonwalk things, and I despise those places! It’s like a huge germfest. I mean really…how do you clean those things? Plus her arm is still bothering her, so I might not let her go. Is that mean? I’m not sure. Works for me, though!

Who would’ve thought that 1st grade would be so annoying?

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Photo by Lumase

The Boy wanted to go with me this morning when I walked The Girl to school. Because he was so cute, I let him. The way to the school is pretty easy…it’s all downhill. Which, of course, means that the way home is all uphill. As we started climbing the hill, The Boy (who, let me remind you, is only 3 years old) says to me, “It is so difficult to get up this hill!” I agreed with him, and asked if he wanted to take a rest, which he declined.

About halfway up the hill, he spotted a snail, who happened to be travelling in our direction…uphill. The Boy squatted down next to the “nice and friendly” snail, gave him a thumbs up, and said, “Thumbs up, Snail! Great job!”

This small action reminded me that, no matter how small you are, a little bit of encouragement can get you a long way. Even to the top of the hill.

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