Add another dollar to the therapy fund

Dustin’s birthday is tomorrow. He is turning 10. He spent the weekend at his dad’s, where I assumed they would celebrate. For whatever reason, the celebration was small and Dustin was told that his gift was something that had been given as a family gift a couple weeks ago, it was his to share. Hmmm…yeah, it upsets me that he was largely ignored as an individual here. They did get him a cake.

So…the kids were returned to me last night during dinner, and the way I cook it was no problem to add two to our dinner table, even though it was unexpected that they would return during the meal. I had baked cupcakes during the day for snacks. Our plan had been to celebrate Dustin’s birthday on our Wednesday Family Night, but plans are flexible, so the cupcakes became birthday cupcakes. He really wanted an XBOX 360 or a Wii, neither were in our budget for birthdays this year, and I told him in advance that we just don’t spend that kind of money on individual birthday gifts. So, I told him last week to set his sites a little lower. Wanting to have a little fun before we gave him his big gift I reminded him about the money talk, then I went and got a 2pack of pens and put it behind my back. He was like, “what is it?” and I hand him the pens. Oh lord. His eyes welled up with tears and I instantly realized that it was a bad joke….I said of course we got him something else and I hugged him tight.

He was thrilled with the PS2 😀

Happy Birthday to Dustin!

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Could I have a break?

The Doughnuts with Dad was a no-go. That had been my big thought. It was soon replaced when I saw a tube of my good lipgloss sticking out of Dorothy’s pocket. Did she ask to use it? No. Was she trying to hide it? Yes. Does this qualify as stealing? You betcha. Did she read the label? Was it safe?

I’ll start by saying that I don’t keep anything in the house that is unsafe for Dorothy. Not Tresemme shampoo, not Hershey Kisses (recently contain shea, not Puff’s Plus tissues, not Burt’s Bees diaper cream, Tom’s anti-sting stick, not a can of nuts, nothing. Dorothy cannot take that for granted though. She has GOT to read labels, because sometimes ingredients change or different sizes contain different things, like Reeses Peanut Butter cups and Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs. And, our house isn’t the only place she goes, especially now as she gets a little older she will be spending more time at friends’ homes, and every day she gets older is another step towards her eventual independence. She’s going to have to learn to manage her own allergies effectively, educate others, and keep safe, I won’t be able to do it forever.

Well, no, Dorothy did not read the label on my lipgloss, nor had it occured to her to do so. I talked to her about how borrowing things without asking is the same as stealing. She is unplugged for 48 hours to ponder the stealing. Punishment for diregarding her personal safety is another issue though. I made her watch “When Food Kills”. If you haven’t seen it, there is a link on the right hand side of my blog. I also had her give me all of her lipglosses, lipsticks, chapsticks and makeup. I don’t know when I’ll return them. I just don’t know how to impress upon her that dead is forever and that while we have EpiPen’s that they aren’t a guarantee if a reaction is strong enough.

Here I am struggling to keep her innocent and a child as long as possible, but she has to carry the burden of a very adult issue. I am the only person in our family who has seen Dorothy in the midst of a full on anaphylactic reaction. The memory is as fresh in my mind as it was the day it happened. Within seconds of consuming 1/4 of a cashew she began coughing, then facial swelling, hives, vomiting, diarhea and then she became limp. When I carried her into the ER, I was carrying a very swollen, unresponsive 22 month old. She has had 2 contact reactions since that time, but I don’t know that she remembers those. I know she trusts me and that she knows that the reaction to tree nuts can be bad, but she doesn’t KNOW. She hasn’t seen it. She was just a baby then. I don’t want to ever see my little girl like that again, so I am vigilant about education for myself, her and anyone who has contact with her, but what if that’s not enough? She didn’t even think to read the label on a lipgloss….

Another Food Oriented event

Sighs….Muffins with Mom was a disaster. Now it’s time for Doughnuts with Dad. I have tried to call  the coordinator multiple times but she’s yet to respond. I can only assume that the doughnuts will be unsafe for Dorothy and that her teacher will need to insist on handwashing upon entry to the classroom tomorrow morning. John is going to take Dustin and Dorothy out to breakfast instead of playing the crap-shoot at the school. I wish that every blessed event at the school didn’t revolve around food. I just don’t understand why when childhood obesity is all over the magazines and news a school would have every single function based not just on food, but on fattening food.

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Last night we went out to dinner as a family. I put Dorothy in charge of carrying her own Epi-Pen Jr.’s. I think that I will be doing this more and more often as she is getting older. She seems to be ready for the next step in helping to manage her own tree nut allergies. This weekend I will also be training Dustin to recognize an anaphylactic reaction and how to use the Epi-Pens. I’m pretty sure there is something called a PAL program and I want Dustin to be Dorothy’s PAL.

Dustin forgot his homework

I walked into my playroom this morning aterJohn had already left for to take the kids to school and I notice something out of place on the couch. Yup, there it was, Dustin’s homework in a nice little pile on the cushion. Topping the pile was the Free Homework Pass he was given for his birthday month. A sure way to lose recess at school is to forget your assignment sheet. A sure way to lose money from his class account (a behavior system) is to not turn in your homework. A surefire way to lose even more is to not turn in your signed report card holder….doggone close to straight A’s with much improvement from last quarter I might add. So the obvious thing to do would be to pick it up and put it in his room, or to leave it and let the babies tear it up – this would be the natural consequence and multiple lessons would be learned. The first would be that lack of personal responsibilty with your homework has not one, but numerous consequences, one would be longstanding because a zero on a homework assignment is difficult to overcome, another would be longstanding as well because he’d likely be in more deep water if his sister ate his report card holder.

I thought for a moment about taking the papers to his room so that he could take them all to school tomorrow. This seemed logical.

Logic did not prevail. I thought maybe there was another lesson that could be taught. This lesson would show him that I take a personal interest in his well being, that he is more than just “one of” in the household, and would likely reaffirm that I love him very much and will go out of my way for him. I woke John, the son, to watch Liam and one of the daycare kids, put a jacket on Maggie and took the missing papers to school.

I did not stop there, though. I took the baby and walked Dustin’s things into his classroom. His teacher saw me. His classmates saw me, and then Dustin turned and saw me. He looked upset, his head had been down, I’m sure because when he got to school he realized what he had left behind, and he knew that calling me would have been the wrong answer. He was going to suck it up and accept the consequences of his negligence. He looked at me and a look of relief flooded his face. An instant smile replaced the saddness. He stood. He hugged me in front of all his 4th grade friends and he told me he loved me, thanking me a dozen times. I guarantee the lesson of responsibility has been learned today, and in the process I think something bigger was gained in our relationship of mother/son.

I don’t know if he noticed my shoes today, but if he did he would have seen his own Napoleon Dynamite snow boots that I slid on so that I could leave in a hurry.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Everyone in the house is wearing some green and the crock pot is full of corned beef, cabbage and little red potatoes. Bring on the Irish! You may know that I come from an Irish line, as does my husband, hence the Gaelic names of our two children together.

It’s a gorgeous day and if everyone was well I believe we’d be spending it outdoors….

Sick baby & a new camper

I’ll start with the sick baby. Poor little Mags was supposed to have a well baby check up today, but after 24 solid hours of a big fever, I knew this morning that the visit would be a “make the baby well” visit. She has a double ear infection and type A Influenza. Great. She isn’t old enough for the inhaled meds for the flu, but did come away with some motrin for fever and a script for some antibiotics for the ears. Poor baby is miserable…and won’t sleep unless she’s being held.

We got the camper. All the kids were excited and both Dustin and Dorothy wanted to sleep in it on Saturday night when we set it up in the driveway.  Liam spent most of Sunday in *his* camper.

camper_14

What do you do all day?

My last entry was on one of my non-busy days, but somedays I have all of my daycare kids and my day isn’t quite so slow….someone on a forum I frequent asked what we do all day. Here is how I responded:

Honestly it depends on the day. I run an in-home daycare in addition to raising my 4 small children and one nearly adult step-son. I can tell you that before the kids rise every morning I take a shower, iron DH’s clothes, clean up the kitchen (wipe counters, sweep, wipe down table, put any straggling dishes away), start a load of laundry and pack lunch for Dustin and Dorothy to take to school, John to take to work and a bag for Liam to eat when he wakes up (breakfast). I wake my school aged children at 6:30 and make sure they dress, brush teeth, eat breakfast and have their backpacks ready to go. At 7:05 my first daycare kid arrives and he eats with some of my own kids. I make myself and DH coffee, which we guzzle from 7:17 – 7:22am. At 7:25 I send DH out the door with the two school kids. Many days DH goes into work early, leaves at 6:30 or 7:00, so on those days I get up with him, then when it is time for the kids to go to school I wake my DSS to watch my two sleeping children and the daycare kid. Alrighty, so where are we at? Oh, 7:30. Liam usually comes sauntering down, so I prompt him to use the potty, get his bag and then turn him over to his babysitter – aka PlayHouse Disney for about an hour. Meanwhile, daycare kid #2 arrives, followed quickly by #3. I give both of those littles some food while #1 plays, usually with trucks because that is his favorite thing right now. When everyone is done eating we clean hands, clear the table and play. Sometimes I take this moment to log onto the internet, sometimes not. At 9:00 daycare kid #4 comes in. He is usually hungry, so he gets something to eat. This is also when Maggie wakes up. Okay, so supervise playing kids, breakfast, say good morning to my own baby, get crayons out for Liam, shuttle everyone into playroom. Change 5 diapers, dress 3 kids (my own 2 kids and one daycare kid), toss diapers into either dumpster or laundry (mags wears cloth), nurse my baby. Read book, sing songs, do some silly dancing. Dole out snacks and drinks to the masses. Set Liam and daycare kid #4 up with some Playdoh in the kitchen, be silly with the little kids and watch them play…if it is above 50 outside we forego the Playdoh and indoor play in lieu of outdoor play on the swingset, climby things and riding toys, sandbox and outdoor playthings. At 11:00 we come in/conclude play and everyone watches the Wiggles or some other harmless video while I cook lunch. We have a hot lunch almost every day, though once every 2 weeks I serve a *deli* lunch of cheese, crackers, meat, fruit and yogurt. 11:30 gets here quickly and daycare kid #1 gets picked up as I wrangle all of the little monkeys and put them into booster seats and highchairs for lunch. As they finish eating I wash them up and put their plates away. At noon everyone gets a clean diaper (please note that any soggy diaper noticed prior, or dirty diaper is changed regardless of the time). Daycare kid #5 arrives just in time for me to put up 3 playpens and one additional set of bedding. Binkies, blankies and loveys are distributed and the daycare naps. I take this time to nurse Maggie to sleep. During nap I mess around on the interwebz, do a preschool lesson with Liam, walk on my treadmill, work on the laundry, put dinner in the crockpot or do any prep work possible for non-crock dinners, bake bread or a snack depending on the day and clean up the kitchen…again. If it is nice, sometimes I skip the web and treadmill and take Liam outside to play. At 2:15 daycare kid #5 is picked up. At 2:30 daycare kid #2 gets picked up. Over the next 45 minutes the other children wake. They are given snacks, bottles and drinks and play quietly. Now it’s 3:00 and my big kids will be home in just a couple of minutes so I get their snack and drink ready (if it’s cold they get hot cocoa because they walk home). I listen to their busy chatter while the little kids play and I nurse Maggie who has awoken. At 3:45 daycare kid #4 gets picked up. My big kids do their homework and get ready for martial arts. Now, only daycare kid #3 is still here, so my bigger kids play with him and Maggie while I get things ready to go. Daycare baby is picked up at 4:45 and I get my kids into the car and take Dust & Dot to tae kwon do. Liam, Maggie & I either go to Target, sit and wait for the hour, or come home and let DH pick the kids up at 6:00 if it is a Wed or Friday. On Wednesdays I come home and make a big family meal, clean up the house and get ready for Family Night. On nights we don’t have martial arts we clean the playroom, put away laundry, clean toys, etc. and then play inside or outside depending on the weather. I have my big kids help with all of that. On non-martial arts nights the kids eat around 6:00. Every other night all the kids get washed after dinner, most nights my DH isn’t home until right at 7:30 (on Tu & Th he isn’t home till after bed for the kids, more like 8:30-9:00), which is bedtime across the board for the 4 small children, though my bigger 2 get to either read or watch tv in their rooms for 15-30 minutes. Ah…relax, nope. After I get Maggie to bed, I come cook dinner for myself, DH and DSS. WHile that is cooking I clean up anything that still needs cleaned, do laundry (everything except put away) and then, and only then, do I sit down to watch some mindless tv. If DH is home we watch Law and Order, if he isn’t, while dinner is cooking and I fold laundry, I watch AI or Secret Life. We go to bed around 11:15.