Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Break From Cabin Fever

The photos today show Claire and Molly having a snack outside at Dean & Deluca. Lily is conspicuously missing because she is still in atrocious behavior mode despite starting the antibiotics and getting regular doses of Motrin. I refused to let Lily's mood get in the way of the rest of us enjoying the amazing weather today, so Kyle stayed home with cranky Lily and Claire, Molly and I went to a park and then to Dean & Deluca for a snack afterwards. By snack time Molly was super tired so she made a scene at Dean & Deluca, so I had to take them to a table outside to finish the food so we wouldn't torture the patrons inside with an overtired toddler. And though there's really no value in pointing this out, I will mention that watching two kids today was far easier than watching three. I'm not downplaying the work of parents with two kids of different ages, but trying to manage twins and Claire at a park by myself would have been impossible. With Lily at home sleeping, it was do-able to have a park afternoon.

Claire and I had our usual Saturday morning - tap/ballet class (where some girl threw up on the floor during the class, ugggggggg), then an errand to Target, and then lunch at Waffle House. Then we returned home to get everyone for the park but Lily was clearly not in good enough shape for public exposure so that's when we adjusted our plans. I am praying we don't get our fourth round of the puke thing thanks to the dancing vomiter this morning.

I am closely monitoring Molly for signs of an earache but she seemed fine today. No guarantees going forward though. The kids aren't fully congested - they have slight runny noses but can still breathe through their noses - but that's enough to give Lily an earache and sometimes Molly too. If Molly skips an earache this time then we may consider Lily for the tubes and not Molly, at least initially. Lily is just so miserable, glassy eyed and perpetually crying, and unfortunately that makes us all a little miserable.

Tomorrow the weather cools off into the 40s - better than our recent weather but still not as nice as today. At least today we broke the cabin fever a little.

Oh, and by the way, do I even need to mention my shock at the lady who just gave birth to octuplets? She already had six kids!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Evil Earaches Strike Again

Just as I predicted last night, we had a rough night of sleep. Outside of our furnace quitting on us (which Kyle chose to ignore the fix until 5:30pm tonight so we froze all night/all day), Lily woke us up screaming in about two-hour intervals. So she woke up at 1:30am, then 3am, and so on. It was like having a newborn again, except you can't feed them and calm them down easily - she just screamed. And screamed. And killed our chance of decent sleep (including both parents and Molly - Claire slept through it somehow).

She also screamed most of the day. In fact, I clocked her at a nearly two-hour stretch of nonstop crying between 1pm and 3pm (when she normally would be napping). I dosed her with Motrin and ear numbing drops and waited for the after-hours clinic to open at 4pm. All the kids got dragged in, and yes, Lily has an earache (as I said she would) but it's only in one ear (unusual for her - she's the double earache baby) so she's acting mighty crazy for a single earache.

The photo is of her sitting zombie like in her crib tonight (sorry it's a little blurry), looking absolutely crazy and miserable. I feel sorry for her, but it's certainly tempered by the frustration I've felt starting at about 1:30am last night when the crying jags started. She is not an easy kid to have sick.

Molly still appears OK, though oftentimes her earaches follow Lily's by about two to three days so we'll keep a close eye on her behavior. Clearly this is making me think hard about those ear tubes, because I feel tortured by the earache fairy again.

I'm so glad it's the weekend. I need a break from the work thing after the layoff news this week. Tomorrow is tap/ballet in the morning and the spectacular weather (60 degrees or so) will encourage us to make the most of the afternoon.

Speaking of jobs, I heard about an interesting one the other day. So my longtime friend's sister has two kids, and one of the kids brought home head lice (oooog). This caught the mom at a time when her husband was traveling and the other child had the flu, so she was overwhelmed with all the washing instructions (let's face it, how do you really get it all washed and de-liced?). She found out she could hire a professional de-licer (however that might be spelled) who will charge her in the range of $1000 to look through everyone's head, wash hair correctly, and clean all the bed linens and everything else that should be cleaned.

Now tell me, what kind of person goes for that profession? I'm envisioning a TLC or Discovery Channel show based on weird jobs like this ... like that "Dirty Jobs" show but with a twist. Gross!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Round of Sickness

Today was my team meeting day at the office, and I didn't get any better feeling about the layoffs. In fact, I walked out of our meeting feeling a little worse because my boss mentioned we are all "interchangeable" and that's what is a little scary about this. I'm feeling frustrated we have to wait to hear our fate - it's employer torture.

Other than the couple hours I spent at work, I was home with the kids who have come down with a mild head cold (at least mild so far). That means we will end up with a round of earaches. Oh yipeeee. Let's see how I feel about those ear tubes in about a week.

Claire's foot seems fine now, but she is cranky, and I assume the head cold is causing that. She was awake for hours in the middle of the night last night which was not fun. Kyle manned the first stretch and I manned the second from 4am-5am.

I forgot to mention the milestone the other day, but the twins did just turn 16 months on the 25th. 16 months! Wow. In very different ways, I realize that neither of the twins is as mild-mannered a toddler as Claire was, but then again, Claire didn't have a sibling stealing toys and she wasn't fighting for my attention. So maybe it's impossible to compare them like that, but it has changed my opinion of this age group. I loved Claire's 12-18 months stage - she was cute and not temperamental and learning so much. In comparison, the twins cry a lot. A lot. Lily cries this loud plaintive never-ending cry when people take toys away, and Molly screams when she doesn't get her way, thrashing and yelling at an extreme pitch. Whew. My sister noted my "three ring circus" on a phone call today thanks to all the kid noise in the background of our call.

So on that note, I will go enjoy my peace for a few moments and get to bed early. I suspect someone will be up in the middle of the night tonight. I never have kids who sleep through sicknesses, and Lily has already woken once with a little crying 20 minutes ago.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Job Stress and Mommy Guilt

The nanny was a no-show - Kyle stayed home and I went to work. And it's a good thing I showed up at the office (more on why in a minute). I noticed how much happier the kids were upon arriving home. Well fed, well rested. Daddy does it better than the nanny.

Claire is still gimpy but is finally putting weight on her foot. I obviously can't shake the mommy guilt. We are skipping gym class tomorrow and might do preschool but with strict orders to keep her out of "recess" time (where they run around in the gym area).

The news of the day is that my company is going through massive layoffs, and for the first time my group will be affected. I'm nervous. Very. I hear the target is three to five people in my Director's group alone. That's probably 10% or less, but just imagining who those three or five will be makes me anxious. I'm the newest kid on the block even with 2 1/2 years there, I'm reasonably well paid for my position, and, oh yeah, I work from home half the week unlike my colleagues. Think I'm on that list of potential candidates for the pink slip? Yeah, I do too. I just hope my performance speaks for itself.

So I'm having a day of intense motherhood guilt and intense job fear and the stress-related eye twitch has been nonstop since we first heard the layoff news this morning.

I'm now going to allow myself the guilty pleasure of CSI: Miami so I can try to re-focus my head away from the real life pressures.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Grumps

We had a blah weekend, capped off with a Children's Mercy Urgent Care visit tonight (not the usual after-hours clinic because it was closed this evening - more on this in a minute). Since the gorgeous weather from the other day, we've been cooped up in the house other than preschool, dance class, and a few lunches out. The household mood has been a little off - we are the house of grumps.

Lily is screaming a lot during the day and just woke up screaming, so she's either teething or has an earache. We'll watch her tomorrow.

Claire has been whiny and not taking direction well. This afternoon she kept ignoring my directions, so at one point I grabbed her hand and pulled her on the floor with me to tell her she'd lost a star and to listen better. She cried, said I'd hurt her foot (when she sat down abruptly she said she twisted it backward), and then went downstairs with Kyle and Lily. I played with Molly until dinner, at which point Claire said it hurt to walk so Kyle carried her to the dinner table. I got worried because she usually doesn't fake stuff like this, and with great fear I checked her foot and her toes looked blueish to me. I freaked. I assumed I had accidentally broken her toes or even her foot somehow, so after eating I gave her Motrin and took her to Children's Mercy for a foot x-ray.

She was in a fantastic mood the whole time but the urgent care visit took about 2 1/2 hours which was tough. I was anxious, assuming I'd really hurt her somehow and I knew the mother guilt would be extreme. Finally the doctor said he saw nothing on the x-ray (to be confirmed tomorrow by a radiologist) and he mused about how much pain she might be feeling (she chose the "zero pain" face on his pain chart) versus how much attention-getting behavior was going on. Instead of being annoyed with Claire or feeling stupid about wasting the doctor's time tonight, I just felt nothing but relief that I hadn't hurt her in a moment of frustration.

I finally got her to bed about 10:30pm and she was asleep in minutes. We'll see how tomorrow goes. If she's actually still limping then she has to skip gym class and sit out during preschool's "recess" time this week.

I got a text message from the nanny that she's sick and may or may not be feeling better tomorrow morning, so we might have a childcare crisis. We also might be getting 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow. It's supposed to be an office day for me, but we'll see how it plays out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And More Photos

Here are some Molly photos. The ketchup on her face and shirt is there for authenticity - not proof of my laziness. Or so I'm saying.

More Photos

Here are some Lily photos. She is tough to photograph because she won't stay still so my camera takes blurry shots of her all the time. I've included the crying photo because I tried to hold her still which sent her into a meltdown.

A Gorgeous Day For Winter

We had an absolutely beautiful day for winter: sunny, and it got close to 60 degrees. I picked up Claire from preschool, took the kids to Culver's for lunch, and then got everyone home so we could play outside for a while. The twins loved being outdoors! I took so many photos that I'll have to do a couple posts to get them all here (I'm limited to five photos per post). Then Claire played with the next-door-neighbor teenager for the afternoon while the twins napped and I worked and did laundry.

The first set of photos includes pics of the twins together and one of Claire (who, by the way, is looking through her magnifying glass at dog poop in the neighbor's yard ... but I didn't realize that until later thanks to being preoccupied with photo opportunities).

Oh, and please ignore the ketchup on Molly's face.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Handicapped Household

Yesterday Kyle had finger surgery (to fix a leaky joint) so he has become a one-handed person, handicapped by the bandage, pain, and inability to get the finger wet. In the meantime, a few hours after his surgery, I started feeling nauseated and achy. By 4pm yesterday I didn't get off the couch or out of the bed, and I went a full 24 hours without eating or drinking. This might explain why the twins were cranky recently and why they've had such copious dirty diapers. No matter what, it wasn't good timing for me to feel bad with Kyle's finger issues going on.

This morning I stayed in bed while Kyle tried to work and the nanny took care of the kids. By noon I left the house, struggled to eat lunch, and went to the office. I felt badly about not being there when I only commit to two full days per week and Monday was a holiday. We did Chinese take-out for dinner (I thought fried rice might be mild enough for me) and hobbled through the evening and I'm back to feeling achy and strange as I allow myself to feel my discomfort again.

The kids seem fine, though some runny noses are ramping up and we've had two nights of night wakings out of the twins. Tomorrow Claire has school and I have my team meeting at work in the afternoon, so we'll see how the day unfolds.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Long Weekend Ends

The girls and I had a good day today. We went to Target to pick up Claire's "good behavior" toy (ok, I caved), then Panera for a snack, and then the pet store so the twins could squeal over real dogs. The babies were so exhausted that they napped a second time upon returning home.

I made a simply awful dinner. I think this is only the second time I've dumped food in the trash, and I was very disappointed. I tried to be creative with some ground pork by making pork and green chili burritos, but the ground pork itself had a nasty flavor. Yuck. So we all made do with canned soup and sandwiches and such.

Tomorrow starts the workweek, school and gym class for Claire, and some finger surgery for Kyle. I've also got a buyer for some of our unused toys so I'll offload a few items tomorrow. I'm doing my best to clean out our old, unused toys and I'm finally getting some interest. If only someone would buy the Volvo now .... oh yes, have I forgotten to mention we still have that car? Sigh. Thanks, economy.

Good night!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Readjustment Day

Molly is really working on her walking and standing skills - and I got a funny photo of the three tonight after dinner (hence the naked babies, who eat without clothes to minimize stains and clean up). She took a few more steps today and did a lot of standing. Most people tell me I don't want both walking, but I welcome it ... I think getting in and out of the car will be easier with both walking.

Today was an adjustment day. Kyle was back a full day (having returned home yesterday at dinner time), and he had the kids in the morning in the usual lazy Sunday mode while I stayed in bed and got a break from kids. I took Claire to Waffle House for lunch as the twins napped. We had an aborted Waffle House attempt yesterday thanks to the foul mood of Molly and Lily, who were overtired from the excitement of Claire's tap & ballet class. We had a great lunch today though, so I took Claire to Target to pick out her special toy for being so helpful while daddy was gone, and oh lordy, all hell broke loose. Claire found a crawling baby doll that cost $25, and I told her that (1) it was too expensive (which I had forewarned her of a dollar limit) and (2) she doesn't play with baby dolls anymore so it wasn't worth buying. She threw the WORST, truly the worst tantrum I've ever seen her throw, and all the more unfortunate because it was in public. I had five people give me that "oh, poor you" look and one lady actually said, "it gets better, I promise". I stayed amazingly calm (hey, I was being watched by the public), but today I resorted to corporal punishment upon returning home. The whole ride home I warned Claire of what was to come, explaining (calmly) that her poor behavior required extreme punishment, but this time I relished no part of spanking the kid (bare bottomed, I might add). I continued to stay relatively calm under the circumstances. It's been months and months since we've had to lay a hand on her but this time I felt she needed to be reminded that we still have the upper hand. No pun intended.

She was then sent to her room, where she ended up screaming, then playing calmly, and then falling asleep. I let her sleep for 5 minutes, woke her up, and she was a great kid the remainder of the day. Of course, I ditched the family for a while to get a breather (exchanged the cute Valentine's dress auntie sent for a larger size, went to HyVee for dinner stuff), and it was much needed. My current struggle is whether she deserves the toy I had promised. It was based on her behavior while Kyle was out of town (which was perfect), but should the Target meltdown negate the previous good behavior? I can't decide yet. Kyle thinks she still deserves the toy.

So basically, to analyze my kid, what happened is that her routine and structure changed with Kyle returning and she got off kilter. For five days, she had one set of rules to follow and today she was back to two conflicting sets and that will always cause problems. I'm the strict parent, he's the lenient one (and especially lenient after being gone five days). It's confusing to a child - her pediatrician always reminds me it's Claire's job to test us, and it's our job to set clear and consistent boundaries. And that's just hard when the parents' parenting styles often differ so much.

Tomorrow's holiday gives me another day at home with the kids. Hopefully we avoid the behavior issues from today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Single Parenting, Night #4

Tonight is my last night of single parenting, though Kyle won't be home until after dinner on Saturday so I still have a stretch ahead of me. I had a phenomenally productive day which started with the twins waking at 6am (urgh). It snowed this morning, so I had to fight through slippery roads and limited visibility to get Claire to school. Today Lily screamed the whole way to and from school and Molly was the calm one. Lily was freaked by the snow.

I did breakfast, lunch, and dinner and associated clean up. Preschool drop off and pick up (which included snow removal from the car). My job (which was quite busy for a Friday). Did all the laundry in the house, clothes and towels, and got them hung in closets too. Ran the dishwasher and emptied it. Got the last of the Christmas decorations packed up. Cleaned up toy messes several times and ensured the house was in better shape tonight than it was the last few days. Got the twins a bath and nails clipped. Did five poop diapers (yes, five). Forgot Claire's 1pm playdate, but got her out the door 45 minutes late for said playdate with neighbor. Got the trash cans back inside from trash pick up this morning. Took photos of toys we're trying to sell and emailed them to potential buyers. There's more, but I'm too tired to think of it all.

After my post last night talking about Molly refusing to walk, she took about 5-6 steps tonight! It was very exciting. I hope to see more of it. She was pretty cranky this evening and my patience got a little thin for a while, but we still had a good day.

Tomorrow I've got to take all the kids to Claire's tap/ballet class. Yikes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Single Parenting, Night #3

It was frigid here today. So cold that Molly cried during the entire preschool drop-off event (which went smoothly with the help of the preschool director). Claire said the cookies I slaved over last night went over well at school. I had lunch with the kids, and then the nanny showed up to man the house while I spent two hours at the office for my staff meeting. I returned home, got the twins their snack, and then packed up everyone and went to the clinic (that's three car trips on an atrociously cold day, blah). A lot of hassle and $75 later, I learned that everyone is just fine. I was wrong this time. Everyone is healthy, ears look good, and Claire doesn't have strep (she said she had a sore throat today which generally means she has strep). So I created a little stress for the day with that pre-dinner clinic trip. I had to rush the kids home and get dinner on the table within 5 minutes because Molly was starving and screaming ... not my favorite kind of dinner hour.

On a kid development note, Lily has learned how to walk backwards, and is now walking 80-90% of the time (versus just a week ago, when she still crawled 80% of the time). Molly still isn't walking though I know she's capable - she "walks" upright on her knees but refuses to walk despite her three steps from a while back.

Molly saw the Dora cartoon, looked at me, and said "backpack" out of the blue. Now I don't know whether I should be awed by the connection she made or appalled by how much tv I let my toddler watch, but I am impressed. For those of you not in the know, the Dora cartoon has a song about Dora's magic backpack that generally gets played once during the cartoon - so Molly saw the cartoon and made the connection it was the "backpack" cartoon and decided to let me know with her two-syllable word.

And Claire asked me how babies get in women's tummies. Hmmm. With some high-level concepts and deft distraction about hospitals, I stumbled through an answer and have probably put off that conversation for another six months or year. Whew.

Tomorrow it's frigid again and there's slight snow in the forecast (right at preschool drop-off time). I'm hoping to get my work done early and call it a day by 3pm at the latest. It's a 3-day weekend with the MLK Holiday on Monday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Single Parenting, Night #2

OK, so tonight did not go as smoothly as last night. Two reasons: I'm on point for "letter of the week" snacks for preschool tomorrow (and this week is the letter "C", which we chose for our snack week because of Claire's name), so I came up with the idea to do iced sugar cookies in the shape of a C (see photo). I am not a dough maker - it's sticky, cumbersome, and is never the right consistency - but I nevertheless struggled through the baking tonight after the kids were in bed and have just finished. So yes, that was about three hours of kitchen time tonight. It's a good thing I microwaved dinner and had limited dinner clean up because I didn't expect an additional three hours in the kitchen. I'm sure an experienced baker could have baked these in half the time I took. They actually turned out OK - the taste is decent (kids won't care anyway), the icing is a pale pink, and the letter "C" shape turned out pretty good. Not a bad effort for a working mother. Do I get the mother of the week award now?

Lily is the other reason the night did not go smoothly. As I predicted, the ever-so-slight rattle in the back of her throat is turning into an ear infection (here we go again!), so she needed an after-hours clinic visit tonight. Could I do it? No. Kyle is gone, and I had C-shaped cookie effort facing me ... so I wasn't going to drag three kids into the clinic tonight nor was I going to ruin my baking event and commitment to Claire/the preschool. So we listened to Lily cry a bit, and I doped her with Motrin and numbing ear drops and am hoping for the best tonight. It's likely I have a long night ahead of me. What a shame ... but I expected as much. This could really alter my current thinking on those ear tubes.

Other than the crazy evening, I was at work all day (such peace!) and the kids did fine although the twins were a little underfed again today. Molly was cranky until she got her bedtime bottle (the one I'm supposed to be stopping ... the pediatrician is going to kill me) and she sucked it down in minutes. Even Lily drank all of her bottle even though she's not feeling good and generally won't finish bottles when sick.

Tomorrow when I have to take all three kids to preschool drop-off (not a fun event on a typical day, which is why Kyle usually does preschool drop off and I'm home with the twins), it will be four degrees below zero. We're going to be miserable. Friday won't be much better.

Clearly Kyle picked a banner week to be gone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Single Parenting, Night #1

It's basically 8:45pm and I have all three kids to bed. None are asleep, but they're happily in bed. The evening went just fine, absolutely smooth ... so far, so good.

Kyle actually left later today than I had realized he would, so he helped us until around 2:30pm today. He took Claire to preschool, joined us at lunch, and watched half of Claire's gym class (where Molly fell in the baby room and gave herself a goose egg on her forehead). Since 2:30pm I've been on my own, and all has been quiet and peaceful. I even had a relatively busy work Tuesday but managed to get it all done.

The house is already cleaned and the dishwasher running, so I am debating some tv/reading time versus picking a house project to start and finish tonight - like cleaning out a closet or something painfully boring like that.

Last night I saw "The Reader" with another twin mom friend - it was my "gift" to myself before I was cooped up with kids for five days by myself (and can you believe a Monday night movie only costs $5? What is this? 1990?) - and I really enjoyed it. Very haunting, very thought provoking. Just as Newsweek promised. Also a little gratuitous on the naked scenes with the two lovers, just as Newsweek promised. I highly recommend it. Next up: "Revolutionary Road" also with Kate Winslet, which might cut a little too close to home but I enjoy movies making me a little uncomfortable in that way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stocking Up On Supplies

The weekend flew by. I think my current perspective on "time off" is affected by my recent long holiday vacation, so this weekend felt much too short. Friday I felt hurried to enjoy magnificent 60+ degree weather ... I wanted to get the kids out, yet still make sure I got my work done. The twins and I went to Target for a supplies run (mainly baby wipes, of the very same boxes that caused Lily's collarbone fracture) while Claire was at preschool. We then picked Claire up and had lunch with her friend Lauren (and Lauren's mom and brother) at the McDonald's with a play place, so the girls ran wild and the twins stayed amazingly entertained. We got the twins home for an afternoon nap, and I did my best to keep Claire from getting bored, but I was busy helping a potential customer figure out how to get some device working. I was also looking up health information on the internet, because my manager's 4-year-old was at Children's Mercy and the news filtering back wasn't good. Basically, her immune system was destroying her own red blood cells, and she was one very sick little girl. (The good news: she went home today, and she is expected to be just fine.)

Saturday the temperature was about 40 degrees lower and Claire and I were out early for her first tap/ballet lesson in the 4-year-old class. She got measured for her costume (yeah - we get to see a real recital with a routine and costumes at the end of this!) and was excited to see the other Lauren. She quickly became very mad at me when I turned down Lauren's offer to join them at Einstein Bagel ... I wasn't up for a brunch kind of deal and we needed a Sam's Club trip for more supplies. I can foresee this will happen every Saturday. Claire will want to join Lauren at Einstein's, and I won't want us to get "off schedule" and eat at the "wrong" time. I know, I'm a rigid freak, but we eat lunch around here at 11:30am and that's that - my pattern won't change. My body can't handle it.

By the time we made it to Sam's Club Claire was in a fine mood again. Afterwards, she chose Mr. Goodcents for lunch. I got a short kid break in the form of an eyebrow wax and (bad) haircut, and then I returned home ready to take Claire out for a snack and a Target trip, but she was in borderline brat mode so I ended up staying at home the remainder of the day. Claire got a time out in her room and was generally a little difficult the rest of the day.

Today Claire and I went to Waffle House for lunch and then made the Target run we missed on Saturday. We also did big grocery shopping at HyVee. The temperature warmed up into the 40s today, so we bundled up the kids and took a brief walk too.

So why, you might be wondering, all the supplies and groceries? Kyle is leaving for Atlanta on Tuesday and is not returning until Saturday, so I'll be damned if I get caught without diapers or paper towels during this week. Grocery shopping is impossible with the three, so I had to do it all in advance (even worse - I'm in charge of preschool snacks on Thursday, so I have to bake cookies too). So he's gone for five days .... four nights .... hmmmmm .... that's a long time to be left with the kids alone ....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tubes Debate

It was spaghetti night at our house. Lily always ends up with noodles stuck to her chest. It's a good thing we still strip 'em down at dinner time.

The last two days have been "doctor days" - we saw the ENT yesterday about ear tubes and the pediatrician today for the 15-month well child check up. First, the stats: Lily is 20 1/2 pounds, 31 inches. Molly is 21 lbs, 12 ounces, 31 inches. So their height has evened out! Molly just continues to be the chunky monkey (her head is also the usual 5/8 inch larger too). Unfortunately I don't know their percentiles because the doctor and I were so busy talking ear tubes. The doctor did find the personality and skill differences between the twins quite amusing (she kept saying "wow, they are so different"). She also noted Lily's shyness and Molly's outgoing behavior. Lily cried even if the doctor or nurse looked at her long enough, whereas Molly was smiling and laughing and engaging them.

The ear tube consult with the ENT was an eye opener. I thought that sophisticated testing was available to check whether the girls are good candidates for tubes. Uh, no. The doctor purely went off of number of earaches in the past year (and at about 10 apiece, is very high). He said that based on number alone they are good candidates. We had a long discussion about risks, and his statement that for 1 in 100 kids, the eardrum slit doesn't heal properly and that requires another, more involved surgery did scare me a little. With two kids, my risk level is higher. He also said that sometimes this second surgery can fail (about 10% of the time) and I basically went bleary eyed at that point - that sounds like too much messing around with an eardrum and guaranteed hearing loss.

Our pediatrician today said it's "purely parent choice". She is definitely conservative, like myself, on this topic. She said there's only about an 8-month timeline for the tube's effectiveness so if we want to take advantage of it we should jump on it now while it's winter. She also stated that the older kids get, the fewer the ear infections they get, but I'm not so sure that's true with the way my kids' ears work (in fact the ENT was "surprised" that Claire still gets ear infections - I told him we have a proud family history of earaches well into the older childhood years).

So basically I'm debating the risks of the surgery versus the risks of being on antibiotics about once a month - which risk is the lesser of two evils? This is how I view my choices. As of today, I'm not entirely sure which way I lean after what I've heard the last two days. Maybe the next round of earaches will push me toward tubes though.

Claire went back to preschool today. She was very happy about that! My job got busy in the afternoon so unfortunately Claire was pretty bored during that time. At moments she did a decent job of entertaining herself, like by playing with her new dollhouse, but she can't sustain it for long. And again, she's sound asleep at a reasonable time tonight! All it takes is getting her up by 8am and making sure she gets some activity during the day. Problem solved!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gym Class Fun

Claire really enjoyed gym class, and most importantly, she was asleep on time tonight thanks to the activity. The twins did beautifully at her class! I worked hard to get them to nap in the morning, but only Lily snoozed. I was prepared for an utter disaster with Molly, but she was so interested in the toddler play room we sat in (which has a window into the gym room) that she didn't cry one time. Of course the toys went in their mouths, so we'll be sick in no time. Urgh. If every Tuesday goes this smoothly I'll feel very lucky.

I got a nice surprise by the sight of one of my childhood friends - her son is also in Claire's gym class so I know someone that will be there every week! She couldn't believe I was there, but I explained that I was "cheating" by enrolling Claire in a workday class. Tuesdays are one of my slowest work days so I'm hopeful my cheating won't ever get me in trouble.

Tomorrow is the twins' ENT appointment and I'm a little anxious about how it will go. I'm not worried about the doctor's opinion - my guess is he'll tell me they're good candidates for tubes - but I'm worried about cranky babies at a doctor's office!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Busy Week Ahead

Tomorrow kicks off a reasonably busy work week schedule. In the afternoon Claire starts her parks & rec gym class. I truly hope I don't come to regret signing her up for a class during a WFH day, not to mention the class takes place during the twins' usual afternoon naptime. I'll have to split their usual one nap into two naps on Tuesdays going forward. I know Claire will enjoy the class, though, and it will help her get to bed on time. She needs the activity.

Wednesday is the twins' ENT appointment (which will be a struggle I'm sure) and Thursday is Claire's back-to-school day and the twins' 15-month well child check up. Saturday Claire's tap & ballet class starts up again and I'm really disliking the 9:15am start time ... that's super early for us on a Saturday.

Today I had a low-key office day, and it was just what the doctor ordered. I also made leftovers tonight for dinner (white beans and ham) so that made dinner prep easy. Molly sat calmly through the entire dinner - not one screaming incident from her! I don't know if this was a fluke or we're making headway in her behavior training. I'm really determined to reduce her frustration and teach her that good behavior gets more attention.

The History Channel is doing some kind of Armageddon Week thing and I got sucked into watching some of it last night. Talk about depressing. I always feel guilty for bringing these kids into the world with all the dire predictions about our planet, but these shows really hammer it home. I'd like to believe there is a more optimistic future for them but I have a nagging belief that the future holds some unpleasant surprises (drastic climate change or something similarly destructive) which provides me with endless fear for them. My own parents got lucky - I doubt these concerns ever crossed their minds when I was young, and I'm doubtful they give it much thought even now (hey, Papa, I'll confirm with you later). But I do obsess a little too much about it, and recycle, and gripe at Kyle over being wasteful, and try to teach Claire about taking care of the earth. Obviously these small efforts won't fix anything but it calms my fears a little - hey, at least I'm taking some action here. And I fervently hope that my fears are never realized.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Titanic Tantrum

Claire threw the worst tantrum I've seen in months tonight. She continues to stay up too late (last night was 11pm) and today I ran her ragged so she'd go to sleep on time, so I knew it was coming. Today we went to lunch at Waffle House, went to JoAnn for fabric remnants and window box flowers for the dollhouse, went to Target, picked up our pottery (see photo! Claire's plate looks so cute), and then attended a 4-5:30pm birthday party where they ran around the parks & rec gym room. When I told her after the party that no, she could not have the chocolate party treats before dinner time, her tantrum started. She got it under control but the beast reappeared at bedtime when she had to put on pajamas. She screamed out of control in that evil devil voice and it was quite a sight. She was also asleep in minutes. Finally. Amazingly neither Kyle nor I lost control during her fit.

The weather was fantastic today, unseasonably warm, so I knew we had to make the most of it. The cold front is already coming in and tomorrow will be back to freezing temperatures. We also got spared Kyle's puke thing, so he must have had food poisoning. This has made me happy, but I was anxious for 48 hours waiting on the rest of us to get sick. My new prediction is that running around the parks & rec gym today will bring us a new sickness in about two days.

I'm working on some behavior "training" for Molly. If she's not screaming, she gets lots of praise and attention. If she starts the screaming again I withhold the attention. I'm hoping I can retrain the kid away from her recent obnoxious behavior (which even takes place in public). For Lily, we need to work on going down the stairs. Molly learned how to do stairs within about two tries. Lily still approaches them head on, and then tries to stand and go down, despite weeks and weeks of coaching. It's frustrating me (maybe a little too much) because I'd like her to learn so that I'm not carrying two kids down the stairs. I want to be able to (somewhat) trust both of them to handle stairs correctly. Lily is just a harder child to teach. If you show her something, she watches, then might try to imitate if you're lucky, but then loses interest quickly or starts laughing and isn't paying attention at that point. This also frustrates me because I worry this will be her mode for many years, causing developmental issues. Hopefully not.

Photos today are of Claire's plate and a few of the twins. In the photo on the stairs, the twins are throwing bean bag ladybugs down the stairs and thinking it's very funny.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Back on Puke Watch

We're at it again. Kyle spent the day throwing up, so we're waiting to see who gets this next. That makes for two ruined holidays - both Christmas and New Year's Day - thanks to the norovirus cooties. I had a long day taking care of kids by myself, but I enjoyed it up until about 8pm when Lily wouldn't stop crying at bedtime (which is generally a bad sign as she only cries at bedtime when she isn't feeling good). I had to ditch my walk with my friend to figure out Lily's problem which frustrated me greatly. I was really needing some adult time tonight after a day of kids but I didn't get it.

I got the kids out to Wal-Mart for a supplies run and everyone was great until check-out time. At that critical moment, Molly went into full public meltdown (with all Wal-Mart shoppers staring and commenting) which was horrifying for me. By the time I got her in the car she was back to smiling and acting happy which just amazes me about kids. I then took the car through the car wash which, I guess, is the world's most terrifying thing ever, as the twins were scared beyond belief and screamed so loudly that Claire covered her ears for the duration of the wash. I found it both mildly amusing and a little frustrating. I also remember Claire had the same fear at their age, so I wasn't surprised by the reaction.

Tomorrow I'm back to work, albeit from home, assuming I'm not throwing up by then. One would think we could be allowed a break from sicknesses by now?!