Saturday, February 28, 2009

Snow Shock

It's a good thing I'm finally posting today. If I had posted even yesterday, I would have sounded psychotically frustrated by Molly's nonstop crying. But after four days (yes, four) of her torturing the household with never-ending crying, a quick clinic trip (second one in the week) got us another ear infection diagnosis and the Augmentin has changed the volume in our home after just two doses. For the moment, I am thanking the world for antibiotics. The bad news is this is the second earache for Molly in just one month.

And shock, shock! of the world, we have made medical history here - the twins did not duplicate the sickness this time. Lily has stayed well, although Claire seems to have picked up a milder version of Molly's cooties. But Lily?! Staying well?! Amazing!!! This is truly my first experience with the twins not catching the same thing, and with Claire relatively unscathed. And certainly one or two sick kids is easier than all three at once.

I'm a little neutral on the day today - not overwhelmingly frustrated nor overwhelmingly happy. On the positive, Molly was far happier, took a full nap, and there was limited crying in the house today. Claire and I made chocolate chip cookies. Molly had me absolutely belly laughing while I watched her in the full length mirror tonight - she has finally "discovered" herself in mirrors, and she put on the best show I've ever seen out of a toddler. She winked and blew spit bubbles and pulled up her shirt to show off her bellybutton and smiled and tried to "touch" herself in the mirror and so much more. Absolutely hysterical and I regret we don't have a video camera for moments like that. And on the negative, Claire and I skipped tap/ballet class (one, because Kyle thought she had a high fever at 3am, and two, because Kyle had to work early today) and we didn't leave the house at all because it snowed. Yes, snow. Two days ago, it was 65 degrees. Today, it snowed four or five inches. Though Claire and I spent some time outside playing in the snow and she enjoyed the fun, I was annoyed by the blast of winter and was wishing for 65 degrees again. Kyle is also working again all weekend (today was snow plowing; tomorrow is a tile job), so I'm 100% on kid duty which can wear me down. I made sure to get some adult time last night with an old friend so that I could make it through the weekend.

Today's photos are from the snow scene outside and of the twins climbing on the box the new booster seat came in - as you can see, Molly looks pretty happy. Too bad that wasn't the case the past four days.

And for an unusual way to have twins, here's a news link for you:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wasted Trip

I wasted a trip to the after hours clinic tonight. I took Molly in after dinner tonight because it seemed to me her breathing was too labored, like that of a child with RSV (and my experience with this is based off of Claire's bout of RSV when she was about 18 months old). I was wrong. She's just a sick, feverish child, one whose temperature registered at 102 degrees even after a dose of Motrin. Usually the clinic is a super fast, super easy trip, but tonight the visit took an hour and a half - which meant we got Molly to bed an hour late and I struggled to keep her entertained and happy at the clinic.

Claire still seems well and Lily seems fine too, although Lily just woke up a few minutes ago (a little past 11pm). I suspect Lily will be sick by tomorrow. Maybe the rest of us will escape this.

I was at work all day and Kyle was home with the kids, so he got to experience a whole day with a sick kid and two other children who needed his attention. Tomorrow Kyle and I will be splitting childcare - I've got the morning with the kids and he'll have the afternoon. I've got a customer meeting I can't miss. Claire told me tonight that she missed me today while I was at work, which I thought was super sweet. I feel like I gave her 5 minutes of attention today, and Lily 2 minutes. Molly got the bulk of my attention and concern.

The twins turned 17 months today. And I'm getting glimpses of a light at the end of a tunnel, though it's faint and only intermittently shows itself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here We Go Again

Molly spiked a fever this afternoon, Claire is super tired, and Lily got cranky at bedtime. Here we go again - a new round of cooties. I don't know what's coming our way.

Claire's preschool posted a note saying that a kid exposed the school to viral meningitis (it's not nearly as scary as bacterial meningitis), so that didn't thrill me. And then today at Claire's gym class I could tell that one little girl whose toys were shared with my kids was getting sick, and she also had the stomach flu a few days ago. So who knows what we'll end up with. I'm just bracing myself for the usual chaos and non-stop crying and frustration in the house.

And I'm going to bed early, knowing someone will be up in the middle of the night. I have an office day tomorrow and Kyle will be home with the kids. He'll get the fun of dealing with cranky kids during the day.

On a hopeful note, Molly has started consistently telling me when she poops. She points at her bottom and says "poo poo", which is endearing despite the topic. Now this may not sound like much, but those who have recently potty trained a child know this means we're at the first stage - "recognition" of the event happening. I know I've got another year or so to go before we really try potty training, but I'm happy to see we're progressing in the right direction. I'm tired of diapers and my dry, cracked, old-looking hands need a break!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Booster Seat Safety

My weekend went exactly as I predicted ... I was home with the kids all weekend, cooped up, other than tap/ballet and Science class. The only additional outings I threw in were a trip to Target (where Molly screamed the entire time, so we hurried out as quickly as possible) and lunch at Culver's today because I couldn't stand the thought of cleaning up my kitchen one more time. Friday, Saturday, and tonight Kyle returned home after the kids were in bed, so I've had some very long days. Despite the kid time overload, I'm not totally burned out. It's the workweeks that do that. After some serious introspection this weekend, I've realized that when I juggle my job on WFH days and the kids, I see my kids as an "obstacle" (props to my friend for the right word that captures my feelings), whereas on weekends when they are my sole focus I find them much more enjoyable. So the irony here is my WFH days are supposed to be a gift because I get more time with my kids, yet the reality is they are causing me to find my kids frustrating. I guess there's no winning here, as long as I must be a gainfully employed mother.

Tonight I spent my evening doing carseat research. Claire is about two pounds away from graduating to a booster seat, so I decided to check into ratings and prices for different brands. I admit I'm a carseat safety freak, so I was surprised by how many people (actual friends and also people doing online postings) are unaware of booster seat safety. Booster seats, as most parents of older kids know, should not be used until a child is both four years old and weighs 40 pounds (don't make the mistake of thinking it's an "or" ... both criteria has to be met). Boosters are slimmed down carseats that help position the safety belts in the car properly on the child's body.

But most parents like me are not quite ready to let go of that 5-point harness, because we feel our child is safer with it. So a lot of us buy "combination" car seats that progress from regular carseat to booster (and we keep using the harness after 40 lbs, unaware of the danger), or we keep our children in their current carseats for the sake of the harness. Here's the scary thing: most carseat harnesses are not rated past 40 lbs, and if you keep your child in the harness past 40 lbs, there is risk of ejection in an accident. Only two brands were regularly noted online for having 5-point harnesses that are rated past 40 lbs - Britax and Safeguard. So basically that means if you have something other than those two brands I researched, you better be using the car's safety belts instead of a harness with that booster seat. With Safeguard running half the price of Britax, I bought one of their models. I still want the 5-point harness around my kid, and it can grow with her up to 60 pounds on this model. As another plus, my particular model folds into a small carrying bag for travel if needed, which could potentially come in handy for a summer trip to Atlanta that Claire and I might take.

I'll test drive this new seat once it arrives, and if we're happy with it, we'll buy a second one for Kyle's truck. If not, I'll have to find something else, and I'll be back to the debate over whether we're ready for the car's safety belts or whether we still want that 5-point harness.

As another note on carseat safety, I hear that the state troopers suggest that no harness/carseat should be used for more than five years (even though I believe the Britax/Safeguard warranties are more than five years). This usually happens when we give our carseats as hand-me-downs to someone else. Please take this into account when passing on your carseats to another child.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Curiosity Killed Kate

For the second time this week, and third time in recent memory, Lily decided that fishing around in her poop diaper would be interesting. You may remember the recent disaster with the poop smeared all over the bed, her body, and even some on the wall from a few weeks back. I thought I had learned my lesson: don't stick her in her bed with just a diaper on. Early this week, she got her hands in her diaper despite having clothes on. Addendum to lesson learned: don't put Lily in her bed without a onesie on, which will make diaper diving noticeably more difficult. I was sure I had beaten her at her game.

Nope. Tonight our usual bedtime routine was in effect despite Kyle's absence (he worked late again) - Lily in her bed (with a onesie on) drinking one last bit of milk, Molly in the master bedroom drinking her milk, and Claire and I wandering around cleaning up. I got Molly changed and went to get Lily changed, and found her crouched on the bed, in a squatting position, with her hand snaking into the diaper, bypassing the onesie I thought would keep us safe from a bio hazard accident. The room was wretched smelling and I instantly knew what she had done. I went ballistic, knowing the effort ahead of me to fix the mess her curiosity had created. I can't even count the number of times I yelled "no hands in poop!" at the poor kid, and all the while, I realized not only was she not understanding what she had done wrong, but she was not going to stop doing this to me.

So my last resort is now making a rule that she cannot be in her bed alone without footie PJs, the diaper safely zipped up inside away from wandering, curious hands. My issue with this solution is that it's a lot of extra effort to dress and re-dress her all day long just to ensure we don't have another poop disaster ... yet I guess that is still less effort than bathing a baby and washing sheets. Tonight I was so exhausted and frustrated I didn't even wash the sheets. I just Lysol'ed (it's a verb, don't you know?) the sheets and bed and left it at that, but I did give her a bath and made it a very, very unpleasant experience hoping that might deter her from diaper curiosity.

Urgh. My saving grace for the day is that Claire spent all afternoon at Lauren's house (her best friend from preschool), so I had an afternoon of peace while the twins napped and I could actually get some work done. And because I wasn't juggling an unusually demanding Friday afternoon of work and the chatterbox Claire, I had slightly more patience for my solo flying this evening and that might be the only reason Lily is still alive at the moment. I've had a lot of solo flying the past few weeks with Kyle's late nights, and it's definitely wearing on my mood and patience with the kids. So thank God for the playdate today.

Oh, and after the playdate, I did do a quick clinic run to have the doctor check Claire's eczema (I barely even register the inconvenience of doctor visits anymore as I've done so many of them now). Claire hasn't slept through the night for two nights now, and it's killing me, and I assume it's related to feeling itchy, so I wanted some official advice (and yes, my diagnosis was correct). So tonight I used hydrocortisone cream and if my Benadryl hadn't already expired I would have given her a dose of that too. I have a script for a mild steroid cream if I feel we need it in a few more days. I pray she sleeps through the night so Kyle and I both can actually get a decent night's sleep.

Normally I'd be overjoyed it's Friday and I have a weekend ahead of me, but Kyle will be working all weekend and I'll be 100% on kid duty so I know I won't get the break I need to recharge for the workweek ahead. Sigh. I will take Claire to tap/ballet class and Science class, but that will be the extent of my excitement for the weekend. We also have two cold (low 30s) days ahead of us, so that will likely keep us cooped up all weekend. I am so ready for Spring.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Household Stress

Financial pressures ... twin chaos ... a feisty 4-year-old ... busy working parents ... yes, we've got some stress in our household. As if I needed proof of our household stress levels, I got it in the form of an eczema outbreak out of Claire. Tonight the kids and I were playing in the master bathroom after dinner (hey, it's big in there, and we keep toys in the room so we can shower), and I suddenly noticed my child looked rashy. And spotted. I stripped her down, checked her over, and found a sandpaper-like rash in all the usual eczema kinds of places - bends of the elbows, back of the knees, torso. I doused her in lotion and her spots turned bright red so she looked especially bad then. When Kyle got home (he worked until past 8pm tonight, after the twins were in bed), I got on the computer and checked rash information. After panicking that my kid had scarlet fever or chickenpox, I went back to my original diagnosis that it's eczema. Owing to the fact I'm not a trained doctor, I have some nagging concern I'm wrong so I have checked her three times already to make sure she's still breathing. But really, all the women in my family have eczema issues (though not at age four), so that's got to be her problem - it's just that our eczema flare ups come at times of stress, so this must mean Claire is under stress. Poor kid. I wish I could fix our financial issues overnight and calm our overstressed household.

I don't know how I keep forgetting to mention this, but Lily finally figured out my name last Thursday (better late than never, eh?). So now I've got two babies following me around saying "momma" all the time. It's actually pretty cute. Lily seems to be adding a few more words to her vocabulary, so I'm becoming less concerned about her language development. I also watched Molly take about 20 steps, but she's still refusing to walk 99% of the time. I can only get her to walk on the carpet upstairs, where it's soft and safe, and usually just one time per day. When she does walk, it's the funniest walking stance I've ever seen - belly thrust out, legs splayed outward, and chin tucked in. Please tell me that's not a sign of a bone issue or something.

Monday was an office day for me, and it was not a particularly calm day because I had two different customers throw me complete curve balls that day. I worked hard on Monday. No goofing around then. Today was another WFH day and I took the kids to Claire's gym class. I was shocked to see the gym teachers coaching the kids on doing handstands up against the wall, and even more shocked when a little girl smaller than Claire could actually do it (along with several other kids). When we got home, I heard Claire berate herself for not being a good gymnast. I felt horrible for her, as this was truly the first time I've ever heard her do that to herself. No, she's not nearly as good as most of the other kids - her minimal upper body strength isn't helping her - but she tries hard and she will get better and we're only doing it for fun anyway. I had to have a long discussion with her about how it's impossible to be great at everything she tries, and what counts is that she's trying it and working at it. I also told her that her strengths, be it gymnastics or math or science or tennis, will become more apparent the older she gets and for now we're just trying different things. I wonder how much she understood of the conversation?

Midnight - I'm turning into a pumpkin. Goodnight.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Boredom

We had another low-key weekend. Kyle worked most of Saturday so I had to be home with the kids again. With Molly still in short-napping-crying-all-the-time-mode (day four of this?!), I was fried by Saturday at lunchtime. My mom came over to visit briefly in the afternoon and I had high hopes of a nap, but Claire and grandma were too loud and then Molly woke up too early from her nap again. So no nap for me either.

Today was not very interesting either. We did take the kids out to lunch (where I got busted by the restaurant patrons for feeding Molly a packet of sugar to keep her calm before the food arrived ... amazing what I'll do to keep the peace in public), and I took Claire to Science class, but the rest of the day was just big grocery shopping and dinner prep.

And tomorrow starts another workweek. My weekend was not nearly interesting enough to give me a mood booster and energy for the workweek ahead.

Photos today are of the kids drawing on one of those "Aqua doodle" boards. Hey, like I said, it was a boring weekend so I had to stretch to get a few photos for today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Long Week

Today was Molly's third day of uber-crankiness. I wasted a trip to the after-hours clinic yesterday to find out her ears are fine but she's getting a molar. At least I know the issue now, but it didn't help me tolerate her third straight day of lots and lots of screaming. I am sick of it.

I was lucky it was a slow work day for me, other than an 8am conference call (8am!!!) and one at 9:30am. The rest of the day I kept myself busy with laundry and cleaning up. I also baked a cake (from a box mix, mind you - I don't have that much time on my hands). Claire loved her school Valentine's party and brought home way too much candy. She and Lily had pretty decent behavior today.

Kyle worked through dinner and kid bedtimes again tonight, so I had the kids to myself from 9am-8:30pm ... basically 12 hours without a break. Sheesh. It's a bit much, especially when one of the kids cries all day. I even got the twins bathed tonight before bed - a rare time when Molly wasn't crying.

And then at 8:30pm once everyone was in bed I slumped into my own bed and have watched tv and surfed the net since then. I'm overjoyed the weekend is here. Balancing work and older twins is getting harder and harder, and by Friday I'm so exhausted from the juggling act I want to scream. Or cry.

For a work update, I have learned I'll know on or before March 13 whether I'll still have a job. That's a full month of waiting! Urgh.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Underachieving Snack Attempt

Tomorrow I'm on point for preschool "letter of the week" snacks again. This time we have the letter "V". I was stumped on a creative idea. I didn't want to copy my earlier attempt (iced sugar cookies in the shape of the letter C), so I spent hours on the internet looking for ideas. Vegetables? Oh come on ... I don't want Claire to remember me as the mother who sent veggies to school snack time where all the kids complained.

My research came down to the word vanilla ("V" for vanilla) so I decided on an easy snack this time - vanilla wafer "sandwiches". Such little effort! Shame on me. But worse - much worse - is I became every parent's nightmare by making a tree nut kind of snack. The filling for the sandwiches is marshmallow creme and Nutella, and as you ought to know, Nutella is mostly hazelnuts. So I'll send all these preschool kids to the hospital or maybe kill a few of them. Hmmmm.

I did make a few 'sandwiches' with only the marshmallow gunk and also included a bag of plain Vanilla Wafers, all kept separate from the Nutella stuff to avoid cross-contamination. At least I hope I kept them appropriately separate. And now I'm hoping that any parent with a child who has severe tree nut allergies would not send his/her kid to preschool because the dangers of idiot parents like myself are great.

So I give myself about a D- on this task, and on top of a work day where I'd give myself only about a C, I'm not feeling like much of an overachiever today. I was at the office while Kyle was home with the kids (Wednesday will be his usual dad-the-nanny day). The house was nicely clean again when I got home but Molly didn't nap so she was super cranky tonight. What's worse is that after I was home just 15 minutes Kyle left to work at the neighbor's house until past 10pm tonight, so I was stuck with dinner and bedtimes for the kids while Molly was in a bad mood. I had everyone in bed and the kitchen cleaned by 8:30pm but then I had to make my deadly preschool snacks. I was fast enough with the 'sandwiches' to be able to watch CSI:NY at 9pm, and I haven't left my bed since then.

I think my continuing fatigue is still partially attributable to my head cold, but more likely from increasing financial stress. Kyle and I are clearly making adjustments to our economic reality (stopping gym membership, only buying necessities, dropping 11 hours of nanny time each week), but pressure continues to mount despite our efforts. There's only so much we can cut on the "out" side of our budget - the reality is we either have to bring more money in or dump major assets like the house and the darned Volvo we can't seem to sell in today's car market. Ah yes, we're still paying two car payments .... and with Kyle's business hit by the economy this winter, we're definitely feeling like a ship taking on water. Major decisions loom.

And I'm tired just thinking about it. Good night.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mr. Mom

There are some noticeable benefits to having Kyle home with the kids versus the nanny. In addition to the money savings, we can also maintain a clean home and the kids are in great moods. Granted, I did give some marching orders today about cleaning (I reminded him that kid days are not freebie days and housework does have to factor in), but he followed the plan and I came home to a spotless house (unlike the nanny days) and Kyle even made dinner. This was all good, because my energy level is still way down from the head cold and lack of sleep.

Molly had a rough evening for some unknown reason so that drove me a little nutty, but once the twins were in bed for the night I retreated to the bedroom and took a breather.

I got the turn signals fixed on the van today (and had to bum a ride from a colleague again). Some switch was malfunctioning, so they replaced the module. Unfortunately I had to pay a $100 deductible on the warranty so that negated our nanny savings for the day. It's always something, eh?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Science Is For Girls Too

I spent today getting ready for the workweek ahead - I grocery shopped, did laundry, and cooked five meals. OK, before I make myself sound overly ambitious, all I really did was make a big pot of spaghetti sauce (a 4-hour process), turn it into lasagna for tonight (one meal), leftovers later this week (second meal), and then I froze the remaining sauce in three separate bags for the three other nights. Not bad for a "lazy" Sunday.

Claire had her first Blue Valley Rec Science class. Kyle got to take her, so I wasn't able to observe the class directly. However, the Saturday class is at the same time as tap/ballet class, so I watched a little yesterday. It looks entertaining, and Claire loved it, but here's my beef - Johnson County moms are already clearly exhibiting the "gender stereotype" stuff that angers me so much, because this class is too boy heavy. Maybe I'm sensitive because I'm a female engineer, but I cannot stand seeing little girls herded only toward the dance and art stuff while the boys are in the science and sports classes. In the Saturday class, I saw one singular girl in the room. In Claire's class, there are just two girls. Johnson County Moms, wake up! Your girls will like science class too! All girls like science, until social norms, peer pressure, and girlie girl mothers teach little girls that science isn't a girl's thing. And what a tragedy that is.

And on the twin update, Molly is becoming more interested in walking. Kyle said she walked from the master bedroom doorway to the farthest point in her own bedroom! However, when I'm around, she demands I hold her hand and walk with her. This is all about securing mommy time - this is not because she's unable to walk (which is a little annoying to me). The one thing she's never figured out how to do is go from a sitting/crawling position on the floor to a standing position, so this is hindering her ability to walk. She has to use a piece of furniture to get to standing position. If she could figure this out, I think she'd become a real walker.

Tomorrow is an office day, and the nanny cancelled on us, so Kyle will be home with the kids. This is actually our first week of having a nanny only once a week, but with her cancellation, that leaves Kyle with two (or possibly more) days with the kids. I am also attempting round two of the turn signal fix so hopefully the Chrysler dealership treats me better this time.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Record High and a Record Diaper Disaster

My first half of the day went quite well, other than the fact I've nearly lost my voice from the kid cooties. Claire and I did the usual tap/ballet routine, then looked for games for her preschool's Valentine's party this coming Friday (we're on point for bringing games - huh? - I don't even know what to do for that), and then went to Waffle House for lunch. Claire was distraught because her favorite waitress wasn't working today.

We returned home so Kyle could work this afternoon. He had the babies down for a nap, but as he was leaving, I heard Molly crying. Why? Because she woke herself up needing to poop. So she got about half an hour of nap time. I got her changed and she refused to go back to sleep. About this time, I heard Lily too. Hmmmm. I made it up to Lily, only to find her, her bed, her pacifiers, her clothes, and even some of the wall covered in poop. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.

So two things: onesies are becoming important (they keep curious hands out of bad diapers), and why the hell don't husbands get the importance of understanding a child's bowel rhythms, especially when both kids are on antibiotics?!

I had a horrid, horrid clean up event, one that just about turned my stomach. Lily screamed her whole shower (I went for the shower today so she wouldn't sit in poo water), Molly got hurt while I was tending to Lily, and I wanted to give up. But I couldn't. All is cleaned now but my hands are raw due to all the Lysol and washing and it killed an hour of our beautiful afternoon here.

When the bio hazard was cleaned, I took the kids to our favorite TCBY spot which has a kid picnic table. The girls had a blast. We then returned home for some outside play. We had a record high of 70-something degrees today so in some ways the diaper disaster gave us a little more time outside. Photos today are from the TCBY shop and the play time outside. Molly is crying in the wagon photo because she was exhausted by that time. She just had a refresher 30-minute nap and is now playing in the basement with me. Lily is quiet in her room - let's hope she's not working on a repeat diaper disaster.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Hint of Spring

Today was nearly in the 70s (though super windy), so I was determined to get the kids outside. I again had a relatively slow work day (Fridays tend to be that way), so after picking Claire up from preschool I took the girls to Winstead's for lunch. They're getting to be pretty well behaved during lunches in public. After lunch, we went straight home, got the twins down for naps, and then Claire and I painstakingly hand-washed the minivan - not fun for me (great fun for her), but much needed. I wish I had taken a photo because Claire was dressed in the worst outfit ever as I knew she'd get wet and dirty.

For the fourth day running, Molly woke up from her nap too early, so she tends to stay super cranky all afternoon and evening. It's really wearing on me this week, and it might indicate that the Pink Medicine is not strong enough to combat her ear infection. I might have to get her re-checked tomorrow if she repeats the short nap pattern again.

Nevertheless, I took the babies outside for a brief time tonight, and I again found myself strongly wishing Molly would walk on her own. She forces me to hold her hand so she can walk, while Lily goes the opposite direction (of course), and I feel unable to keep an eye on Lily like I should with Molly demanding the walking assistance. It's a little stressful. I've learned to stay in the back yard with them because I can't manage the three of them in the front yard near the busy street all by myself - it's really not safe. One minute of distraction and Lily is in the street by herself. I suspect this is true for a few more years - especially once Molly is walking unaided! I have a feeling they'll always go opposite directions and resist my efforts to coordinate their movements. Photo today is of the twins sitting at the kid picnic table in the back yard - you can see their hair blowing in the wind.

I have unfortunately come down with the kid cooties and have felt under the weather the past two days. It could be worse, I suppose, but I've got horrendous sinus pressure and cold-like symptoms which is causing me to sleep poorly. My energy level is a little lower than normal too. Hopefully I start feeling better quickly because we have one more day in the 70s tomorrow before it turns cold again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Am Supermom

Today was a WFH day, so I did have to get my job done, but fortunately it was also a slow day at work. And that's good, because I ..... took care of a screaming Molly all morning ... picked up Claire from preschool ... took the kids to lunch at Arby's ... took Claire to gym class while the twins and I played in the baby room next to the gym ... got everyone home and gave the twins an early snack so they'd finally nap well (I pushed their naps late for the gym class today) ... did two loads of laundry and emptied the dishwasher ... ran to HyVee for dinner items (luckily my mom stopped by so I scooted to the store while the twins napped and Claire was entertained by grandma) ... made dinner (chicken & wild rice casserole, rolls, and asparagus) ... had dinner on the table by 5:45 and had my mother join us too ... did most of the dinner dishes ... immediately raced Molly to the after-hours clinic as soon as dinner ended (yes, she has an earache in the right ear - my wasted Sunday trip was just two days too soon) ... picked up Molly's prescription at CVS ... and still had the twins in bed perfectly at 8pm. I then sifted through 9 days worth of mail, went online to post to the JCMOMs group (that's the Johnson County Mothers of Multiples club) for advice on ear tubes (one positive response so far), watched a little tv and of course am updating the blog.

So I was busy - maybe not Supermom, but busy. I don't think writing my tasks here today quite gets across how non-stop my day was, but then again, I've always struggled to impart just how busy each day is for me. I think someone would have to live my life for a week to fully understand just how challenging each day can be (especially when a child is sick and crying a lot). I give Molly serious props today though - other than a rough start this morning, overall she stayed in a darned good mood all afternoon and evening despite her ear infection. Clearly it's hard not to compare our three or four days of misery from Lily's rough mood versus Molly today.

My favorite after-hours clinic doc saw us tonight (she also saw us Sunday, but not Friday ... oh wow I've been there every other day), and I asked her "if these were your children would you get them tubes?" and her answer was yes. However, as the girls' pediatrician somewhat implied, I got the sense her quick "yes" was more around 'parental convenience' than the right thing to do medically. But there's a lot to be said for our sanity, and every other day visits to the clinic is not helping us stay calm or helping our financial situation. Our Urgent Care costs run about $150 a month right now. Ouch. And who thinks young kids aren't expensive?

Tomorrow is an office day and I have to decide what to do about the minivan. Freakishly, after visiting the dealership Monday, the turn signals have worked every time today. I am stumped on this one. It would be great to avoid the hassle of another dealership day but I don't want to go back to nonworking signals.

The big news here is Kyle and I are debating dropping one (or maybe both) days of nanny time due to our financial situation this winter. Kyle has been strongly impacted by the failing economy, and we're struggling, so it's hard not to stare at our second largest cost (childcare) and figure out if it's worth cutting back. It's on the table with a decision by end of week. I'm trying to be creative and find her other work with rights to pull her back any time, because I'm not up for another nanny search if we decide we need the usual days covered again. The major upsides of this possible daddy the nanny arrangement? More money in our pocket, a cleaner house, and super happy kids when I get home from the office.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Car Stuff Is For Husbands

Today I'm furious at Chrysler. You see, with my cool, hip white minivan in a world of Johnson County minivans I ought to get special treatment because I have three, yes three, full-size carseats taking up the bulk of the seating in that van. So when I take in my car for service - no less for faulty turn signals that constitute an enormous safety issue - I shouldn't get put at the bottom of the heap. Clearly I need that car back the same day, because what other car can fit three carseats? And we all know I can't drag three young kids in for a 3-hour wait on a vehicle fix, so I have to choose a work day for this car hassle. So first I had to take a long lunch from work to get the car there. Then I had to haggle for a shuttle ride (which was some dealership employee's personal car and she took me back to work on her way home). The shuttle officially stopped at noon (before I dropped off my car actually) so I knew on my way back to work that I had no way to return. That meant begging for a ride from colleagues. "Hey! Hey you! Do you drive north on Metcalf to get home? Can I get a ride today?" Amazingly I found someone in my own group who promised a ride (and made good on the promise), but it took me over an hour to secure this ride. The husband finally offered a ride once I had already found one.

So what's truly infuriating is that at 4pm I get a call from the dealership explaining that no, um, we didn't get to your car today, we only had one electronics tech in today and he got backed up. Excuse me?! I have to go through this fiasco again on my next office day? Instead of letting them off the hook, I politely but forcefully explained that this was an enormous inconvenience and they better get the car finished on Wednesday because I'm not doing this a third time. And in the meantime, maybe they ought to reconsider their 'first come first served' policy when some poor mother of a litter of children comes in with a safety-related issue on her car. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

And of course, I'm of the personal mindset (call it 1950s, maybe, but on this one car topic I'm fully a traditionalist) that my husband should be handling all this hassle and I shouldn't be bothered with it. Car stuff is for guys. The car people don't treat women well anyways, right? So I'm super irritated that this has become my mess to deal with.

With the car fiasco, I got home a full hour later than usual and saw my kids for only two hours before they went to bed. The nanny had trashed the house, so while I talked on the phone with my childhood friend I cleaned up the basement while Kyle cleaned up the main floor. The phone call helped my mood but the cleaning really irked me - my day should not consist of only two hours with my kids and the rest at work or cleaning the house or dealing with car issues. What a waste of a day.

And Molly decided to get snotty all the sudden, and woke up one minute ago crying, so despite the 'all clear' from the doc yesterday I'm betting she'll be in earache land by Thursday. Sigh. Lily was still in rare form and cried most of the two hours I saw her tonight. Claire was in full brat mode and ran to daddy every time I enforced a normal rule. And now that I just wrote that about the kids, I'm thinking that maybe those two short hours with them was a blessing in disguise - maybe any more of their crankiness would have done me in.

The constant stress of layoff news isn't exactly helping my general outlook at the moment. They just need to pick the unfortunate folks and get it over with - it's the waiting that is so cruel!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The $25 Slushie

I was allowed another lazy Sunday morning. By the time I made it downstairs, Lily was sleeping and the rest of us were starting lunch. Kyle decided to work this afternoon so I knew that naptime schedules would keep me in the house. But then Molly wouldn't nap. I tried several times, all to no avail. By the time Lily was on her second nap I decided we better do an ear check at the clinic, so I woke up Lily and dragged all three kids back to the clinic for the second time in as many days. And? No earache. I had some fun chat time with the wonderful doctor, but I teased the staff that Claire's slushie from their office was tipping the scales at a costly $25 (my co-pay). I still don't know what Molly's issue was today though we noted that two new eye teeth have come through.

I should have known not to take Molly - she was in a fantastic mood, no crying, just wouldn't sleep. That should have told me that all was OK. Ah well, at least I'll have peace of mind at work tomorrow.

Tonight I saw "Revolutionary Road" with two girl friends (who both have twins). It's basically a movie around suburban discontent, so some of it did hit close to home; however, with the movie set in the 1950s, some of the concepts did not ring true to our lives today. Of all the things we found the most interesting about the movie, we couldn't get over how few times the kids are shown in the film - it's as if they barely exist (the children were neither seen nor heard in this movie!). This is just so unrealistic to us as moms - young kids are so needy, so demanding of one's time on a daily basis - that it made that part of the depicted suburban life ring a little false to us. If that is 1950s parenting style, then wow ... it would make you wonder how our parents turned out half decent with the lack of parental involvement.

I returned home at 10:30 tonight to find Claire still awake. Oh boy - a grumpy day ahead for her tomorrow!