Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Good Visit To The Doctor

Finally, we had a "good" visit to the doctor: we weren't there because a kid was sick or had a broken a bone, but just for a mundane well-child check-up. Even better was that I was able to get through the appointment without listening to two babies scream. Claire and I were alone, and the examining room was blissfully peaceful. Claire made one very small "ooooh" noise when she got her flu shot - the only shot she received today - but that was as bad as it got.

She is 41 1/2 inches and 37 pounds - 75th and 65th percentiles respectively. Please tell me how two very short parents continue to have a child in the 75th percentile in height?? We're still stuck in a regular carseat until she's 40 pounds, at which point we can move to a booster seat.

Claire also got a finger prick (she actually nervously giggled at that one!) and was supposed to pee in a cup for the first time but she didn't need to pee so we left without leaving them a sample. I begged and begged for 15 minutes in the bathroom but she couldn't come up with more than a drop. Clearly she inherited her father's stronger bladder. Mine can't make it more than 20 minutes.

I thought for sure she had rectal strep (yes, it exists) but the swab sample came back negative. The doctor and I were trying hard not to laugh at Claire's modesty and the ridiculous position she took to give the doctor a view of the area. I felt sorry for her embarrassment but the whole scene was downright funny. Even the stoic doctor got the giggles.

So basically the worst part of the day (other than Molly waking me at 6am) was at lunchtime after preschool pick up, where Molly threw an enormous tantrum in the Culver's restaurant over the ice cream cup. The entire restaurant was staring. I packed up all three kids in a matter of two minutes and was out the door, leaving a mess on the table in my expedient exit. I was mortified. Molly is definitely in a new phase, and she's incredibly demanding and very loud. I can tell she wishes she could talk to get her point across and her frustration level with us when we don't understand boils over quickly. She's got a very short fuse right now. Lily, for once, seems like the super-calm, super-easy twin. They've flip flopped on me. When Lily does have her (now more limited) meltdowns she's still unstoppable, but Molly is feistier all day long now. I wouldn't have predicted this one.

OK, off to bed .... office day tomorrow. Let's hope the nanny keeps it under control at home. I'm realizing my kitchen will never be cleaned well enough to my standards when she's here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Playing Catch Up

I'm playing posting catch up again here. The darned television keeps sucking me in. Actually, as I watched CSI: Miami tonight (one of my guilty pleasures), I read Newsweek during commercial breaks and got through about half the magazine. So I had a mix of brain drain and enlightenment at the same time. I won't insert my personal politics here, but I can't get enough of the presidential political coverage at the moment.

We had a good weekend. Friday evening a family with 8-week-old twin girls and a 3-year-old boy stopped over to buy some of our baby clothes, and while maternal urges made me want to cradle a tiny newborn, I felt joy that I wasn't at the newborn stage anymore. Unfortunately we didn't unload the whole lot of 0-3 month size clothes, so I think I'll be a seller at the next mothers of multiples garage sale and finally get these tubs of clothes out of my house. We are drowning in girl clothes, matching and not matching.

Saturday Claire had her usual tap & ballet class and we ate at Mr. Goodcents afterwards. This is another one of those random restaurants where the people know us well and treat us nicely. We're well known at Waffle House, Mr. Goodcents, Pizza Shoppe, and Winsteads, and probably a few others I'm not remembering right now.

Saturday afternoon we blew up the bouncy thing for one last play time before winter hits, and Claire unfortunately took more interest in playing with her neighborhood friends elsewhere rather than in the bouncy thing. Urgh. This reminds me of the story my parents tell me about the time that my sister and I played with the boxes our Christmas presents came in rather than the presents themselves - I now understand the letdown a parent feels after getting a kid a present you thought she'd love but she isn't playing with. Kyle was supposed to use the afternoon time to switch the twins' carseats to forward facing (hoping to tame Molly's hatred of car rides), but somehow he got too busy with kids and a grocery trip and starting the grill. So that remains a task for this week as I'm sick of listening to Molly scream in the car.

Sunday we had a nice lunch with Papa, who pulled an Old Man on us and took a catnap on the couch after returning home from lunch (sorry, Papa, couldn't resist commenting). He was able to note a shift in our family dynamics because all three kids were awake and playing in the same room with him when he took that nap, so clearly the clamor and chaos is subsiding a little. In past months there would have been too much crying for him to take that nap. I'm not suggesting we're in a new magically perfect phase, but we do have a few moments of happy peace here and there.

Sunday afternoon I took Claire to preschool Lauren's birthday party. They had rented a commercial bouncy thing so she got some more bounce time, but the weather had turned amazingly windy and cooler so the kids gravitated toward indoors. Claire asked me to leave - yes, she really requested I leave for a while - so I went off to Wal-Mart to buy clear tubs for more kids' clothes and I returned later to pick her up. She had a good time.

The rest of the evening was spent switching out summer clothes to winter in both the twins' closet and Claire's closet. This is a massive task given the volume of clothes, and I finished about 85% of the task with the rest completed tonight after my office day. I hate doing the seasonal closet switch. Four years and counting, and I've never once gotten any help during the job. I finally made Kyle organize a few coat hangers tonight as his contribution. We added two more enormous plastic tubs of clothes to our collection in the storage room.

After the twins were put to bed, I bravely took a walk with my friend in the super windy cold night, but we kept it to about 4 miles because we were both freezing.

Today I had an office day which ended up being quite boring. Molly was having a super cranky and clingy day (what could be wrong with her??) and Claire had a full-blown meltdown tonight over her nightly candy (she stayed up too late last night). I let Kyle handle it and I guess she lost her chocolate for tomorrow also. Too bad for her, because with her 4-year check-up tomorrow and a few shots coming with that, she'll want a nice treat. I'll try to remember to check in with her well-child physical results tomorrow, assuming I don't get sucked into television tomorrow night. Good night!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wrong Side Of The Bed

I admit it. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

There's something about leaving my kids with the nanny today, after Monday's 911 fiasco, that sent me straight into grumpy land. I was anxious. And I took it out on Kyle, Claire, and the nanny too. Well, I wasn't overly mean to the nanny, but I did leave her with a "let's not have a repeat of Monday ..." comment as I walked out the door. As if that ensures no accidents will occur.

I had a sick feeling in my gut for the first half a day at work. The afternoon was better. I calmed down, I checked out some really cool wireless phones at a holiday preview event, and then my friend and I snuck out of work (well, not really - I told my boss I was leaving) to VOTE. Yep, we live in an early voting state, so we cast our official ballot today. That made me feel happy, having done my civic duty.

I picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home and made dinner while Kyle watched kids. Usually it's his night to cook - my office days are his nights to handle dinner - but I knew I could efficiently pull together a quick dinner if he could just manage the kids and keep them out of my hair. And that he did. Claire annoyed the heck out of me by not staying in her chair at dinner and refusing to eat much of anything. The grumps reared their head again.

Then, Claire and I worked on her birthday thank-you notes. Her task was simply to sign her name, and she messed it up at least 5 times which brought out the grumps again. I shouldn't have been so hard on her - she's only four! - but seriously I don't know why she can't manage to focus and get her name right on a consistent basis. She's always forgetting the 'i' in her name, or writing straight up the page rather than across the page. And she doesn't like being told that she didn't do something well or right. It makes her mad and she gets the quitting attitude. I get frustrated by that.

Tomorrow my boss has cancelled our weekly team meeting, relieving the nanny from her childcare time here, so the good news is that puts some space between me and her until next Monday. Hopefully that provides me some time to put this week in perspective. Tonight I came home to one knife and a cutting board that hadn't been washed, but more annoying was how she somehow went through all of our clean spoons when I just ran the dishwasher yesterday. She at least cleaned up the kid toy messes because I harped on it again this morning, but I guess she hasn't clued in to my bigger issue being an untidy kitchen. I know these are little things, but generally it's the build up of little things that frustrate relationships, right?

Time to get to bed and banish the grumps for a while.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A 911 Call

Starting with Lily's broken collarbone about a month ago, our rough stretch continues. I'm sick of it. I need some peace and stability.

Yesterday I had an office day, and I got a text from the nanny around lunchtime that Molly had fallen and hit her head. She said she iced the bump (and I do know that a bump is better than something that goes inward). I also knew that Molly's nap was upcoming, and the idea of putting a kid down for a nap who has just had a head injury scared me, so I told the nanny that I might send Kyle to check on Molly. I had a meeting I couldn't skip out of, otherwise I would have checked on her myself. I just wasn't entirely trusting of the nanny's judgment on the head bump. The summer nanny, yes ... I would have felt comfortable. But not this girl.

I asked Kyle to check on Molly. He never made it home.

About 3:45pm, I got a call from the nanny. It's bad if you get an actual call versus a text message. I immediately said, 'uh, oh no - what's the problem?'. She said, "uh, yeah, Molly woke up crying, and then she threw up a little".

I hit the PANIC button. Head injury? Vomiting? My child?! This cannot be happening. But it was. I started running through the office wildly, looking for another parent to consult, and only ran into one mother I don't know well. We agreed the nanny should call 911 and I would race home as quickly as possible.

And race I did. About 65 miles per hour home on normal side streets. I pulled up to the sickening sight of the fire truck outside my home. Heart pounding, I ran in, only to find three EMTs, Claire, and the nanny holding a smiling Molly. I only focused on Molly and the EMTs.

"She's fine" they said. I was shaking violently. "I'd still call your pediatrician for their advice, but she seems OK".

I signed release forms. I thanked the guys profusely for being called out unnecessarily - "better safe than sorry" they said to me. Yes. Better safe than sorry.

I couldn't look at the nanny yet. Accidents happen, yes, but she couldn't wipe that silly smile off her face or even show one hint of empathy, and it was making me angry.

Kyle got home, and the EMTs briefed him before leaving. The fire truck left, and I stood in my front yard, holding Molly tight, alone with her, and allowed myself the letdown. Ah, lord, my child, I am so happy you seem OK. Please be OK.

I talked to the pediatrician's office, who advised me on warning signs for the night.

We got through dinner, and while Kyle was annoyed by Molly's crying (she had only napped two hours the whole day and was tired), I wasn't phased - she could have cried for an hour straight and I would still be praising the heavens for her health.

I got Molly to bed, pulled together a photo thank-you card online for Claire's birthday guests, checked again on Molly to make sure she was conscious, and promptly left for my friend's house.

I drank a glass of wine. That will be one of maybe 5 whole drinks this year, but lord I needed it. And I basked in my friend's warmth and empathy and shared tears as I allowed myself a brief moment of self pity over the non-stop kid drama and everything else that doesn't seem right in my life.

I got home around 11pm, checked on Molly several times in the night, and didn't even want to strangle her when she woke me up at 6am this morning. Child, I am so happy you are OK.

The nanny? I'm wrestling with my thoughts about her. Everyone knows I've been struggling with her. Accidents happen - Lily broke her collarbone on my watch. It's not the accident that's most upsetting, but the sense that I can't trust her judgment or the story I'm getting out of her. I need to fully, fully trust the person watching my kids. And I don't trust her. That's the issue here. The question is what do I plan to do about this?

It might have helped if she had been able to say "I'm sorry". She didn't seem apologetic or overly concerned, other than from a clinical, cold standpoint. Ooook.

So today I enjoyed my kids yet also worked my tail off around the house ... dishwasher, laundry, cooking, etc. At 8pm I called it quits and watched tv for 2 hours straight before I finally got that shower I missed today. It's the new season of tv that is at fault for my lack of postings this month. I'm trying to figure out which shows are worth watching, so I'm watching a lot of them.

And with the collarbone and the earaches and the strep and the fevers and the pink eye (oh, whoops, I forgot to mention that last Thursday Claire woke up with pink eye) and now the 911 scare I have just needed A Break From It All. Including my beloved Internet. Television has been that break for me.

And now I'm off to blowdry my hair and go to bed. I'm exhausted. Bet you can't guess why.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Claire!

Today was THE big fourth birthday party. It's 10:30pm, and I've just sat down after all the post-party clean up. We had a 2-hour party at MyGym, and then afterwards several of the kids followed us back home to bounce in the new inflatable bouncy thing that was Claire's birthday present from her parents and grandparents. We still had people at our house at 6pm tonight. Claire is so wound up she's not yet asleep. I fully misjudged that - I thought she'd be asleep within 2 minutes of being put to bed from all the activity today.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Even the twins had a little fun in the ball pit at MyGym and Molly seemed to like the moonwalk while Lily was a little overwhelmed by it.

I think we'll be the new hit of the neighborhood with the inflatable thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sickness Not Allowed

It was confirmed. Lily did break her collarbone - she has the tell-tale "callous" (doctor's term) on the bone that signifies a break (it's a huge knot you can feel on the collarbone). So who knew a swelling could mask a break on an x-ray? I certainly learned something new.

I am getting a sore throat and slight runny nose. Oh great. If this progresses, this will be one of those horrible times when I don't feel up for childcare but have no assistance and will have to soldier on despite how I feel. I'll never forget the second year of being a mom and getting the flu shot, and the nurse asked me, "so you've now figured out moms can't get sick, huh?". Boy have I figured that one out.

I'm off to bed soon, hoping to minimize whatever I'm coming down with. Tonight's photo is of the kids enjoying some play time in the basement, where we placed the ball pit at the base of the slide.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cleaning Up Is Hard To Do

[This posting title should be sung to the tune of "Breaking up is hard to do".]

Still having nanny struggles. The babies have been better fed, but the house is a wreck every night I come home. I spent at least 30 minutes tonight cleaning up four different rooms rather than playing with my kids. That's irritating. No, infuriating actually. So I'm about to have coaching session #16 with her.

Sunday, yesterday, was another amazingly low-key day. I did 7 loads of laundry to get through washing all the new winter clothes. I'm careful with new clothes to separate darks, whites, pinks, brights, and so forth, so it literally took seven loads to get through all the new clothes. So between searching for my wedding ring set all day Saturday and doing laundry all day Sunday, we wasted a beautiful, sunny 80-degree weekend. And then today it rained, as if to laugh at our loss.

Tomorrow is Lily's re-check appointment (for both collarbone and ears) and it's another WFH day for me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

First Pigtails

Today the twins' fevers broke and they were much happier. They looked mighty cute in their first set of pigtails (daddy's doing, not mine). I think Lily was letting me know what she thought of me in her photo.

And although we missed an absolutely gorgeous day - about 80 degrees and sunny, along with newly happy twins again - I am overjoyed we holed up in our house because we finally located my long-lost wedding/engagement ring set. They've been lost since January so this is a big deal! Our insurance agent will be happy.

Sunday looks to be another gorgeous day so we'll take advantage of the weather tomorrow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another Round of Sickness

This is a much overdue post. I haven't necessarily been busier than usual, but I have been trying to get to bed earlier to fight my fatigue and that has reduced my computer time at night.

I was hoping to post that the kids are improving - in fact, Lily is back to crawling normally and her pain level seems much improved - but today the twins both spiked fevers so we've got a new round of sickness hitting us. It remains to be seen what they've actually got, but I'm hopeful tonight (dosed with Motrin) we'll have a better night of sleep than last night. I was up 6 times last night listening to two different babies cry.

Work has been slow, so I've mainly been focused on getting Lily better. I've always liked the 12-18 month old stretch, and though I'm more overwhelmed this time with the twins, I see it might still have a few good moments. I like watching language blossom. The other night after bath time we asked Molly to 'get the brush and brush your hair' and she crawled over to the brush and started brushing her hair. Adorable! It's amazing to watch the light bulbs go off in their heads.

And we are in the countdown to Claire's birthday. 10 days. In fact, we need to get her a birthday present ourselves - we're a little late in doing that.

Well, my new 10:30pm bedtime is upon me so I must sign off. I certainly hope I get some decent sleep tonight but likely Molly will wake soon once the Motrin wears off.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A First Field Trip

Today Claire went to a pumpkin patch with her preschool class. Kyle dropped her off and picked her up at the pumpkin patch, so I was a little nervous about her being out in the 'real' world with only her teacher to monitor her. Fortunately Lauren's mom joined them and promised Kyle she'd look out for both the girls and that provided me with a lot of security. Photos are from the pumpkin patch event today, and most feature Claire and Lauren. Kyle stayed long enough to snap some photos.

Last Friday the preschool also walked the kids to a Price Chopper grocery store and then McDonald's, but that concerned me less maybe because I am personally familiar with the store and that McDonald's. I guess this field trip thing starts early!

Lily still refuses to crawl or put weight on her bad arm/shoulder. She had an OK day and only screamed when I picked her up the wrong way and caused her collarbone pain. The downside of her not being able to crawl is that it's making her more bold about figuring out how to walk, which sounds great, until one realizes that newly walking toddlers fall a lot and how, exactly, is she supposed to catch her fall with a bad collarbone? So I foresee another bad accident happening in the split second someone isn't watching her like a hawk. It's tiring to feel so over-vigilant with her along with taking care of the other two kids.

Molly had a really cranky day - is this from the shots yesterday? - so I continue to be fried from all the baby crying the last three days.

I still haven't made a final decision about the new nanny ... whether to keep her and ask her to improve or jettison her for the French girl. The French girl is still calling (about 5 times today, to be exact), but she is seeming a little more unpredictable and opportunistic than I originally thought so I'm not sure what to do. But it's eating at me as I know my Plan B, the French girl, will be employed and unavailable any day now.

Claire and I did get outside today to enjoy the amazing weather during the babies' second nap. We played on the swing set, hit baseballs, and made up a funny bouncing game. She was out like a light at bedtime tonight for the first night in a long time. Guess the pumpkin patch did its job.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

X-Rays and Pink Medicine

I don't want to repeat the last two days. I really, really don't.

Yesterday, Lily fell while I was on my laptop, out of my sight, so I'm not really sure what happened. She screamed obnoxiously, and I assumed she was just being her usual drama queen self. Recently her drama has ramped up a little and I thought her screaming was more of the same. But then she wouldn't nap well (woke up crying) and then she wouldn't crawl. I could tell she was in pain. I watched her through the day and decided she needed to be seen.

So Tuesday at 4pm we ended up at the after-hours clinic. I had all three kids there, and the doctor found a double earache for Lily (which I had guessed after putting two and two together on her recent drama behavior) and sent us to the hospital for x-rays on her left collarbone. It was swollen and bruised. This is the same collarbone that she broke at birth. I was so anxious I couldn't eat dinner.

Kyle did the x-rays with Lily while I fed the other two kids dinner at home. After the x-rays, we had to go back to the clinic doctor to read the x-rays. I had Kyle swing by home to pick all of us up, because once I gathered my thoughts somewhat I realized that Molly's ears should be checked too. At the last minute I threw in a check for Claire because she had mentioned a sore throat a few days ago.

Molly is fine. But Claire has strep throat. And Lily? Well, there is no visible fracture. We were all floored because it looks like a classic collarbone break. After spending quite a bit of time talking to the doctor, we got three very overtired kids home and in bed at 9pm and both Claire and Lily got a dose of the pink medicine.

Coincidentally, the babies had their one-year well baby check-up today, so we were able to check on Lily today. Again, their regular pediatrician was floored that no break was showing in the x-ray films. Her opinion is that once the swelling goes down, if we re-did x-rays again, it would show a break - that it's the swelling itself that is masking the break. Given that there is no real treatment for a broken collarbone, that just means we help her manage her pain and watch her. We've got a follow-up appointment to check the area in a couple weeks. I'm supposed to call them if I'm not seeing any improvement.

Molly is a short chunky monkey! She weighed in just under 20 lbs (and right on the 20-lb mark at the after-hours clinic last night), but she is about 2 inches shorter than Lily. Of course these height measurements aren't exact, but she's definitely a good bit shorter. And Lily weighs 19 lb 7 oz, less than her shorter twin. So my characterizations of their body types, 'long and lean' Lily and 'short and stumpy' Molly, are pretty accurate. Lily is 80th percentile in height while Molly is 25th. Go figure.

The twins got 4 shots apiece, and I listened to ear-piercing double screaming in a tiny examining room, so between today's and yesterday's crying, I'm fried. Truly fried.

The only other noteworthy part of the appointment is that the doctor noted that Lily's palate is becoming long and narrow from those "Soothie" pacifiers she is addicted to, so we were told to stop use of those and the bottles pronto. This will come as a life-ending proposition to Lily. She adores those pacifiers, so this will be one more battle with her. I told Kyle we wouldn't start until next week, when hopefully her shoulder is feeling better. Why kick her when she's down?

My greatest hope is that the earache has been causing Lily's extreme drama recently and not that we're in a new, difficult phase with her. Even after two doses of the pink medicine she had calmed down today so I'll let myself be a little hopeful.