Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Tip or Two for Managing Sick Children

Around 8:30 last night Harper woke up crying and I walked in to find she'd lost her supper all over her bed. Awesome.

One by one the members of our family (and the house guests who visited over the weekend) have succumbed to a stomach bug. Last night I was up every ten or fifteen minutes helping someone with his or her various needs.

I don't have a lot of tips for dealing with sick children, but here are the two that seem most important in our house:

1) Set up a portable DVD player and quarantine the sicko in his/her own room.

2) Line the sick bucket/bowl with the smallest sized garbage bags for quick and relatively gag-free changing. I'm in favor of anything that minimizes my contact with the, er, symptoms.

How we handle high fevers and or stomach viruses in these parts.

FYI Caillou is the choice for Michael. You can protest his whining all you want, but no episode has ever been too scary or sad. A very important consideration for my little guy.

Sick bucket, lined and ready.

We don't do this every time one of the children has a little cold, but we have had some success at limiting the transmission of more serious illness with our quarantine solution. And I know mother earth does not care for my garbage bag solution, but desperate times and all that. Fortunately it is not a tactic we have to employ often.

Here's hoping you don't need either of these tips any time soon!

Monday, February 13, 2012


We were at the kitchen table, finishing up our valentines for tomorrow's festivities, and Michael had been working diligently to write an "M" on each card. 

Do you recall from our childhood days that each package of valentines usually contained a couple of larger cards for the teachers? Michael's set of valentines did and I noticed on one of them that, in the larger space available, he attempted to write more of the letters of his name. He said something about not remembering what one of the letters looked like. I was curious to see how close he was able to come to writing his name (copying my writing) so I handed him a larger piece of paper with his name printed at the top. 

Look what he did:

It may not seem like much to the untrained eye (you can click on the image to enlarge it) but ALL of the letters are there! The "M" is largest and in the middle. "I" is just to the right of "M". "C" is confused about where it should face, but is next to "I". "H" is below "M." "A" is to the bottom left of "M". "E" to the right of "M", and, finally, "L" above "C". 

Michael is still needs lots of work on pencil grip and control. His fine motor skills are fairly weak. But I had no idea he could do this and it absolutely blows me away... 

Michael's path to being a full-fledged reader and writer is already so different from his sister's. And I find myself, embarrassingly, relieved that I am just as able to celebrate his accomplishments, on his own timeline, as I was/am Harper's. 

I'm so proud.


Speaking of writing - I entered a local writing competition today. It is something I have wanted to do for years. Clicking that submit button was honestly one of the more terrifying moments of my life, but I did it. So, regardless of the outcome, I'm a little proud of myself, too. But I don't want to jinx anything, which is why I'm telling you in tiny font. Oh, and don't worry, I proofread it much more carefully than I proofread these blog posts!

Monday, February 06, 2012


One of my least favorite things about myself is that I sometimes have trouble keeping momentum behind things I really would like to do regularly. This blog, for example, or exercise, or other writing, or mailing birthday cards on time... there are others. I often feel like I can only muster enthusiasm for one "project" at a time and everything else gets stripped down to bare bones and barely tended. I really should add deep cleaning the house to that list but this blog, exercise, and writing - those are my big three right now. Those are things I need to regularly give time to in order to be happiest, to do the most justice to myself, and I can't seem to fit all three at once.

So I'm frustrated with myself. And frustrated with this space. I mentally compose lots of blog posts as I navigate through my day and by the time I sit down to type they are like balloons slowly losing air. I start writing and you get this!

Harper woke up this morning feeling sick. She's not a leap joyfully out of bed first thing in the morning type of person usually, but she was especially slow and terribly persistent in her protests today. So I told her she could stay home, but she'd have to rest in bed, not lounge on the couch watching movies. (You have to have tangible symptoms - vomit, fever, strep looking throat - to earn a movies all day pass.) She still wanted to stay home. We dropped Michael off at school, Harper went back to bed, and I tried to get some PTO business taken care of.

Around 10 she came to me and said she was feeling better. She had no fever so I agreed to take her in to school. When I picked her up at the end of the day, however, she was back to feeling crummy. By dinner time she actually did have a fever (oops on the taking her to school). So now she's out for tomorrow for sure.

Life has felt a little like Harper's day lately. Not terrible, but a lot of stopping and starting. Shifts in momentum, not always in the direction I want.

Even though we haven't had much winter to speak of this winter, it is still managing to feel like February. Do you know what I mean?

ANYWAY - I don't want to let my blah mood detract from a place I really need to put my energy right now, fundraising for March of Dimes. Sometime in the next few days I'll write more about why this is so important to our family, but for now I will take a moment to direct your attention to the badge on the right - please consider donating or signing up to walk with us this year!

I had the badge up a few days ago but it wasn't working properly - brain fog. It's all good now, click away!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

More Michael

The thing about three-year-olds is that they are just funny creatures. At a little past (age) seven, Harper is saying lots of interesting things, but there are fewer and fewer times when she says something that immediately makes me burst out laughing. Michael, on the other hand...

He made a penguin today in preschool. The children were given construction paper pieces to place and glue as they saw fit. Michael's preschool teachers are very good about letting the children do their own work and most of the penguins still came out looking like penguins. Michael made a nice penguin face, but the rest of the project did not even remotely resemble a penguin. I asked him about it on the way home and he told me he moved the pieces around so it would look like a person with a "butt" and the other thing* he and his dad have in common! What?!

Tonight I went to get something out of the bedroom and I noticed that Michael was still awake. He asked me if I would sing him some songs so we sat together in the rocking chair for a bit. His requests were not very bed-timey though, "Wheels on the Bus," "I Had a Little Turtle," and something he calls, "The Backwards Alphabet Song."

I sang and then we chatted a bit and came around to the topic of St. Patrick's Day. I was trying to explain how we celebrate when Michael's eyes got wide and he turned to me, asking, "Is he a guy that leaves treats in our house while we're sleeping?!"

I was sorry to tell him no, but not as sorry as I would have been to have to explain to Matt why we were going to have to leave St. Patrick's Day presents for the children...

*I'm not shy about naming body parts - I'm just considering search engines.