Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ear Drop Hell

I have never given my children ear drops.  And as I found out it is not very fun to do.  

We went home to Davenport this past weekend and on Saturday night we put the boys to bed and then remembered that Bennett needed his antibiotics and ear drops.  We got his stuff together and went to administer the pain!  They were surprised to see us walk through the door.  We told Bennett what we were there for and then he surprised us.  He rolled over onto his side and kind of arched his back and closed his eyes.  Then he just laid there real still.  I looked at Chris and smiled.  Then I said "Bennett, are  you asleep?"  About 3 or 4 seconds went by before he whispered "Yes."  It was hysterical!  And then he kept his eyes closed and just laid there like we were going to leave!  So funny!

We gave him his medicine, put the ear drops in and he cried the whole time.  Then when it was all over he smiled and rolled back over.  Time for sleep I guess!

Bye Bye Binky

He did it to himself.  We have rules in this house that we try and live by.  Douglas can be out and about in the house but binky has to stay in the bedroom.  Preferably on the bed, but whatever.  Bennett doesn't always follow these rules and I usually enforce them, unless it has been a long day and I am trying to look for a way to escape the children in my own house for a few minutes before Chris gets home.  Then I might just overlook that fact that he is sitting on the couch, watching tv with Harrison, with Douglas and his pacifier.  Peaceful...

Well, last Wednesday he lost binky.  He either hid it or dropped it.  In either case I didn't look hard and decided to give bedtime a try without a pacifier.  I went through the explanations, there were a couple of tears, but overall, it went great!  Until 9:00 pm.  That was when he woke up the first time.  It took me laying down next to him to get him to sleep.  15 minutes later he was up again.  This time we ended up on the couch.  He was up for about an hour until he finally fell asleep.  Again, 15 minutes later he was up again.  Into my bed we went.  He cried and rolled around but finally he was out.  Chris put him to bed when he got home from work.

Not what I really wanted, but not that bad either.  I was a little surprised he woke up as much as he did.  I was expecting the falling asleep thing to be the hardest.  He 'loses' his binky in the night all the time and he never wakes up crying.  But one night down, how many more to go?  I didn't know.

But then I noticed something strange.  We were in the bathroom Thursday morning, getting ready to take Harrison to preschool.  It was about 8:30 am.  I was brushing Bennett's hair and noticed dried ear wax all over his left ear.  And it was gross.  It looked like at one point it had been really wet and had dried in and around his ear.  I was in a hurry and cleaned him up and we got in the van for school.  

As most of you know, I am a little too laid back when it comes to certain  things.  This didn't really have me worried, after all, he was acting fine, it was just in the back of my mind - what happened?  On the way to preschool Bennett was sticking his finger in his left ear.  Hmmm...  O.K. I'll call the pediatrician just to see what that could have been.

In a gross back story, Bennett has incredibly waxy ears.  Every time he has his ears checked, the doctor has to get our her little tool to remove wax so that she can see down the canal.  Strange, I know.

The nurse calls me back and I explain what I found.  She immediately say - 'Oh, well he needs to be seen.'  Well, what the hell does that mean?  Should I rush to the ER?  We set an appointment and head to the doctor.  We get there and sure enough she has to did enough ear wax out of his ear to build a full sized Tyra Banks for the Madame Tussaud museum.  Gross!!!!  Then she lets me know the shocking news that Bennett has ruptured his ear drum.

Luckily this is not completely serious.  He had an ear infection that was severe enough to cause his ear drum to rupture.  The rupture will heal with ear drops and time and unless he has multiple ruptures, which is unlikely, there is no danger of hearing loss.  

So I kind of feel like I did with Chris when he had the serious concussion that I ignored!  I didn't really ignore him Wednesday night, but I could have given him some tylenol or something.  And I totally would not have chosen to take his binky away at a time when he was sick.  I would have searched harder or even gone out and gotten a new one.  Granted, I wanted him to be done with it.  It was time,  but... I felt like a bad mom.  There really were no other symptoms.  No fever, complaining, nothing.  Very strange.

In the end - bye bye binky!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Let's test

Harrison continues to be the words-worth of the family.  He likes words and is always trying to say them correctly or even make his own words up.    The last couple of days he has been testing me with phrases.  Today, with a hint of attitude, he told me "It doesn't matter."  This was in response to me telling him to read books during quiet time.  Just from the hint of attitude and the quizzing look I was receiving told me that he was wondering if this was an appropriate way to argue his case.  He found out that it was not.  But, that didn't prepare me for the next phrase he was going to try on me.

"Well, thanks A LOT!"  Harrison, age 4

Harrison started to complain that he had a tummy ache and I told him to go to the bathroom and see if that made him feel better.  Usually this works and usually I don't have to specify - sit down and try to poop!  Today he came back from the bathroom and said "Well, thanks A LOT!" with all kinds of attitude.  I responded "Excuse ME?" to which he responded "Well,  (pause) thanks a lot?" in the meekest, most inquisitive voice you can think of.  It was very comical.  I asked him what he was thanking me for and he went on to explain that pottying didn't help his tummy.  I didn't have to explain that wasn't how we talk to our mothers. :)

What a child...

Paint with balls

They boys love to paint and I was getting bored with paint brushes (and we weren't doing finger painting again, for awhile!) so we decided to use balls to paint.  It was a fun time that ended with paint brushes and finger painting.   Oh well...

Beth didn't have enough energy to let me paint since she had to make sure Bennett and Will didn't play "catch" with the paint covered balls!  So I color with crayons... and a little slobber!

Balls were fun, but where is the brush?

Hmm, it doesn't taste as good as I thought.

My balls are stuck!!!!  ~ No inappropriate thoughts, please! :~)

New toys

We went up to my parents a couple of weeks ago and a house that was 3 or 4 doors down from them had some play equipment in the front yard by the curb.  It looked kind of junky and had a FREE sign on it.  I wondered why my mom hadn't been down to scope it out yet.  When we got in the house, I asked my mom if she had been sleeping on the job.  About two minutes later, her and Chris were on their way down the street.  Next, dad was firing up the truck and heading down the street.  Back they came with a sandbox and a play structure.  They looked horrible!

Dad took them to through the car wash later in the week and then brought them down to our house.  I can't believe they actually turned out to be pretty nice!

No sand in the sandbox, yet.  Bennett likes to drive though!  Should we tell him to keep his eyes open?!?!
Harrison wanted to pose for the camera.  This is one of about 8 shots I have of him.  Some with hood up, some with hood down.  Some standing, some sitting.  You get the picture.  It was hysterical.  "Now take one where I am smiling with my head tilted..."
Will really enjoyed the slide, but getting there was another story.  He had a little trouble at first with the ladder but quickly figured it out.  Then he left to go play basketball.  When he came back he had a tennis ball in one hand and a baseball in the other.  First he was puzzled and then VERY frustrated because he couldn't figure out how to get up the ladder with the balls in his hands.  Poor guy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Take Note - This is a rant

I realize that it is not my place to judge other parents.  I mean, really, we all make mistakes and we all have our own way of doing things.  But I might be on board for an aptitude test regulating who can be a parent and who can not.  Does procreation have to be a legal, God given right?  I suppose that it does, but that doesn't mean I can't judge those who I think are too stupid and inept to be parents.

Case in point - library story time.

Here is a group of parents that theoretically stay at home with their children instead of working a 9 - 5 job.  They work a 24 hour job instead.  I am part off this work force and have full respect for how difficult it is.  But do you think that maybe some people stay at home with their children because they are too dumb to get work outside of the home?  I am beginning to think this.

I think I could give you 6 examples of reasons for forced sterility but I will only grace you with two.  Also - This is a story hour for 18 month olds - 3 year olds.  I always feel a little guilty taking Harrison and we always talk about being careful of the littler kids and waiting his turn, etc.  

Case number one:  Failure to mother and mom who brings too many children to story time.

First there was a mom there with 4 children.  All hers.  The oldest are twins and if they are 3, they are 3 years and 11 months old.  The middle child is probably 2, if not 3 and the littlest is crawling.  In my opinion this is too many kids.  I have only brought all 4 boys to story time once and Miles was in a stroller at the time AND he was sleeping.  I think story time is a time to do something together.  Which is why Will is usually on one knee and Bennett is on the other and Harrison is right next to us and we share in the experience.  Calm and together.  (I'm perfect, aren't I?!!!)  Anyway, the boys, all boys, must have sat down and started off fairly well, because I didn't notice them right away.  But, by the time I did notice them the twins were handing out hand puppets to everyone else while the librarian was trying to read her first story.  Where was mom?  Not sure.  But after story hour she did put on a production about her kids helping her be a zoo keeper while they ran around and ignored her being the zoo keeper picking up all the puppets.  After the puppet sharing episode their next adventure was 'helping' the librarian gather the egg shakers she had given everyone while we sang a song.  Their way of helping was by going around and snatching the egg shakers out of poor kids hands.  Luckily I saw this coming and had gathered our shakers and gave them to Harrison to return to the bucket.  Again, mom?  Still not sure.  The 2 year old spent most of the time right in front of all the books so that no other children could see and the crawler spent most of the time either with mom or over by the basket where the puppets used to be stuffing books into his mouth and tearing pages.  But the thing that really sent me over the edge (and the librarian too as she finally spoke up) was the bead necklaces that they were wearing.  At the end of story time, the librarian put on a song and got out bubbles for the kids.  The twins were running around swinging their beads at the bubbles to pop them.  I saw 3 kids narrowly miss a nice smack in the face, but yet I never saw their mother intervene.    

On a side note, as we are getting into the van in the parking garage, this family is walking to their van as well.  I over hear the mom say to the twins: "I know you two think you are super heros, but you are really not.  Now please try and behave."  Great wishy-washy advice, right?  She said this just as one of the boys knocked the other one over (just playing around, but still!).  Did I mention that he knocked him over almost right into the path of an oncoming van?  Right.  Traffic.  Oh, and did I mention she was pregnant.  Yeah...

Case number two:  Embarrassed to discipline child in public mom.

So this mom has one 2 year old who is WILD!  Opposite of my children in public.  This child is not shy and very friendly and likes to play up for the crowd.  All of which would be fairly acceptable if he had some limits.  He does not.  At least not in public.  There were several instances in which the child should have been disciplined, removed, etc in which mom tried to intervene.  When this happened the child would start to protest or even scream and mom would back off right away.  Eventually she just stopped trying.  He just ran from child to child smiling at them (right in their poor little faces) or shaking their hand or even rolling on the floor from child to child.  All of this went on while the librarian was trying to read books and tell stories.  The straw that broke the camels back for this one was the stool.  There are stools at the back of the room for parents to sit on if they choose.  I guess this child decided he wanted one and picked it up to carry to the front.  He narrowly missed the head of a 3 - 4 week old baby with the leg of the stool.  Thank goodness for narrow misses today.  That one could have been bad.  Even then t he mom didn't take the child and leave.  She just tried to stay a little closer to him as he roamed the room.  The parent of the newborn took her well behaved 2 year old and newborn sibling and left though.

I really don't know what to add to my little rant here.  I honestly only take 3 children to story time because I know that I won't be embarrassed by their behavior.  This is a horrible reason.  I should take them because it is enriching and a good experience and I suppose that is part of the reason I  take them, but still.  If I thought I couldn't 'control' their behavior in public you wouldn't see me in public.  I would venture out with one difficult child, by myself, but never four!  And that one difficult child would get a lot of attention from me on how to behave in public!

We did have a relatively good time at story time today.  Harrison was really the only one put off with the crazy children.  Bennett and Will were just enthralled that there are that many children!

Anyway, please parents.  And non-parents.  Call me before  you decide to get pregnant again or for the first time.  I will let you know if I think it is a good idea!  And if it is not, I know the name of a great pet store that sells fish.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

All hail King Will

We went on a walk this morning.  It was the first time I have taken the boys on a long walk.  I have always feared that they would get fussy or tired or cause me some kind of trouble, so we usually just go up and down the street, staying fairly close to the house.  Today we went around the block!  Did you know it can take 1 1/2 hours to get around the block?  It can.

Will and Bennett started out in the wagon but Will soon decided that he wanted to walk like Harrison.  This caused Bennett to want to get out of the wagon and thus the real slow down began.  

Harrison wants to be in front.  He runs ahead, runs back, etc.  This process usually never changes on our outings unless we are alone.  And by alone, I mean just him and me or him and Dad, etc.  He then has your undivided attention and that seems to satisfy him into staying with you.  Anyway, Will was content to try and keep up with Harrison or at least follow his lead and walk.  On the other hand, there are too many things in this great, fine world to rush Bennett.  He has to stop and look at a rock, he has to pause to bark at a dog, he has to get excited and fall over at the sight of a squirrel so close.  So much to look at to worry about going anywhere.  This eventually caused great discomfort for Will and Harrison.  "Come on, Bennett!!!" was a common phrase from Harrison.  I was constantly asking Harrison and Will to stop and wait while I went back to retrieve Bennett from his latest discovery.  Finally he took interest in the wagon and we moved along like a turtle instead of a snail!

About 1/2 a block from home, Will decided he had enough walking and climbed back into the wagon.  Servant Bennett at your service!!!

Grandpa's cookies

Harrison and I made special cookies for Grandpa's birthday.  We went up to my mom and dad's on Sunday and my mom always makes German Chocolate Cake for my dad.  Home-made.  From scratch.  It is fabulous!  I have a piece in the kitchen right now.  Mmmmmm...

Anyway, I knew that Harrison would want birthday cake.  But I also knew that he wouldn't like the cake.  Just a little hunch I had...  So I wanted to have the cookies there as a back up.  Turns out I didn't need a back up, not because he liked the cake but because Jean brought pie!  I haven't found a pie yet that boy didn't like.  And this one was blueberry and it was wonderful!  Hmmm.  I have a piece of that in the kitchen as well...

But, cookies we did make and what fun he had!
Roll it out...

Cut the cookie out in the shape of a shamrock...

Make a birthday card for Grandpa while Mom frosts the cookies...

Now give me my cookie!!

Oooh - there are cookies in the kitchen too!  Maybe I should do sit-ups while I eat! :)

Hello Spring!

Spring doesn't officially start until Friday, but we got the weather a little early so let's take advantage, shall we!!!

Saturday was gorgeous!  What a perfect day for sweatshirts!  I love weather where I can wear flip flops and sweatshirts.  So comfy!!!!  

We decided to take the boys to Grays Lake for a leisurely stroll.  I guess a definition of leisurely should have been given to Harrison before we got there.  I don't think I am exageratting when I say he probably went twice as far as we did.  It is a 2-mile trail around the lake and Harrison ran most of the way.  Since he was running he would get ahead of us and then have to come back (or wait - which he never did) to us because he was getting too far ahead!  He had so much fun!  And yet, when we got home - no nap was taken.  "I tried, Mom.  But I am just not sleepy."

Bennett and Harrison loved the walking bridge over the lake.  This was the only time Bennett decided to get out of the wagon and I think it took us longer to get over that 1/4-mile stretch of bridge than it did the rest of the trial.  He moves at his own pace, you know!
Bye-bye bridge...

While at the lake we got to watch a beautiful show of bald eagles.  I think in total we saw 7 of them.  And we think that at least 3 of those were immature eagles since they didn't have their white heads yet.  It was amazing seeing them in the tree and so close, but then it really got cool when we went farther up the trail and 2 eagles were hunting for fish in the lake.  Up and down, up and down.  We even saw one of the eagles get a fish and watched him eat it in the tree.  Waaaay fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

To be in love

So I watch soap opera's.  Not everyday and not really more than twice a week and rarely do I get in a whole show.  I mostly keep on the shows by reading a couple of online spoilers that give me the scoop and then some.  This online process keeps me feeling a little less guilty for being a soap opera fan.  And truly, I never watch them with the kids.  Anyway...

Claudia is on a two week spring break from her school so I don't have Miles this week or next.  Ian is at a camp during spring break and Kari had a BABY today (Cale Stephen!!!!!) so Will is with family today and tomorrow.  So what this all means is that I have no 'extra' kids today or tomorrow.

Today was also a school day for Harrison.  On school days, he does not have quiet time in his room at all.  He gets to 'stay up' with me.  

After lunch, Bennett went to bed, Harrison sat at the table and began to color and I sat down to read and watch the news.  Well, I fell asleep.  I had been up late the night before reading my book for book club - Fool by Christopher Moore (freakin' hysterical in a very inappropriate way!).  Not that big of a deal, right?  I mean Bennett is sleeping in his room and Harrison is more than capable of playing on his own.

I woke up an hour or so later and Harrison had his Legos out on the table and was on his way to the bathroom.

The afternoon was fairly slow until I sat down to watch and episode of SpongeBob with Harrison.  During a commercial break, Harrison looked at me, turned his head and gave me a kiss.  What kind of kiss, you ask?  Well let me tell you!  A passionate kiss.  Lingering and thoughtful, luckily with no tongue.  After he was done kissing me (just about 3 seconds, but still!) I asked him why he kissed me like that.  He stated that meant that we were in love and went back to watching SpongeBob.  

I am pretty sure I don't have to tell you that he gets his love skills from The Bold and the Beautiful.  He is going to make some woman VERY happy some day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ready for Spring

We are ready for spring around here.  I found it more intimidating taking four children out and about than I thought I thought I would this past winter.  I had plans to go to the Science Center, the mall to the play place, etc.  But it never really materialized.  We staying indoors a lot!  So when we got two really nice days last week, we were outside the whole time!

Bennett and Will were in love with the puddles.  I had thrown some leftover snow into the driveway and when it finally formed puddles they were in heaven. 
Splashing with their hands or feet.  It didn't matter.  My mom came to stay with me for a couple days as I had parent/teacher conferences and then a baseball meeting to attend.  She put snow in the truck for the boys and took Harrison for a very long walk.  
I think they had a great talk.  I wonder what family secrets have been spilled!  I was glad she was able to help me.  It is always easier with her hear.  And it was so fun seeing the boys outside again.  We took them on a wagon ride, went to watch cars and even played in the yard a little (still really wet).  

Bennett's favorite thing was the water or 'wa-r' as he calls it.  I would say for the past week, everywhere we go he points out the water.  It is so funny because he is so giddy when he sees the water he can barely speak, but he does anyway, 'wa-r, wa-r, wa-r.'  And then of course he tries to put it in a sentence and have a conversation with me.  Today he and I went to Sam's Club and he spoke to me in a much more informational way.  His voice was kind of high pitched and he was showing me all of the puddles in the parking lot.  At one point even turning my face for me!  Anyway, when it was time to come inside that day, my mom had to strip Bennett down to his diaper.  He was soaked!!!  Luckily the sun dried everything and we were back at it after nap!

Will's favorite thing was the basketball hoop.  He just stood there throwing the ball into the hoop over and over again.  And then when it was time to come in there was some protesting about the fact that he couldn't play with the ball anymore.  I guess I was being a pushover, because he got to bring the ball into the house!  That doesn't happen very often, but his face was too cute to not give in this once!

Miles' favorite thing was freedom.  So often I have had Miles confined to the stroller.  It has either been too cold or he hadn't been walking when we were outside last.  Now, he is a very good walker so I decided to let him have some freedom.  He also loves balls and couldn't wait to chase them down.  At one point he decided to throw a ball.  He went to pick it up and then he threw it again.  He went to pick it up and then threw it again.  At his point I wonder what he was thinking.  I ask this because he was making his way down the driveway.  Was he trying to escape?  I followed quietly behind him to see how far he would go.  He made it just past the mailbox when he decided to check to see if I was watching.  When he saw that I was right there, he corrected his path and went back towards the garage.  What a little stinker!

Harrison's favorite activity was playing 'bat.'  He likes to throw the ball up in the air and then hit it.  He is very good at this for a 4 year old.  He likes it even better when you toss the ball to him, but either way he is content.  I got his baseball glove out and we played catch for a little while but that wasn't as exciting as hitting the ball.  He starts Bam-Bam in a couple of weeks.  I am sure that he will be a great hitter!  Luckily there is no catching with a glove in this league.  Bam-Bam is a starter league and they play with a ball that is fairly soft and bigger than a softball.  Should be fun!

All and all, we are ready for Spring!  

Jumpin Jacks

It was birthday party time yesterday.  Owen Hope, my second cousin once removed (thank you Grandma for your genealogy lessons!  This would make him Harrison and Bennett's third cousin if you were wondering!), turned 4 and they celebrated with a party at Jumpin Jacks.  Jumpin Jacks is similar to Chuck-E-Cheese but instead of all the games they have mostly bounce houses and inflatable slides.  The boys had a great time.  Harrison was a whirlwind as he went from one thing to another and Bennett continues to be one of the funniest, most athletic children I have met.  He jumped and jumped and then would lose control and fall over.  Often times quite hard.  And then he would do it all over again.  He loved the slide and even got Harrison to help him up one of the bigger slides.  I thought all of this was fine until he
 started doing what the older kids were doing.  They would get a little bit of a running start at the top of this slide and then jump.  This jump would land them about halfway down the slide!
  Bennett didn't get quite that far but still he was a bit of a dare-devil.  It really scared me the first time I saw him do that.  And then he kept doing it!
After the party I took the fam out to eat at Stella's.  There used to be a Stella's in the Skywalk downtown and we (work-mates and such) would go there occasionally for lunch.  It closed a few years ago, but the one in Urbandale stayed open.  It was a lot of fun.  Stella's is a diner and they are known for their ice cream shakes.  I didn't get a picture, but when they brought us our Oreo Shake, they poured it into the glass by standing on a table and pouring it into the glass that Chris was holding on his face.  The boys got a big kick out it.  The waiter even poured a bite directly into Christopher's mouth!  That really made Harrison laugh!  Fun times!

Parent/Teacher Conference

I had my first parent/teacher conference last week.  I hate to say it but I was nervous.  What is someone else going to say about my monster?  How does he act when I am not around?  Is he respectful?  Does he play nicely with his friends?  What activities does he choose?  Like I said, I was nervous.  And then to top it off, Chris couldn't make it because... well whatever.

So, off I go to meet with Mrs. Margaret.  As a side note, she is not my favorite teacher.  She is ok, just not my favorite.  She says things like "Boys will be boys" and tells me that she directs Harrison to play with certain friends - all boys.  Now I have nothing against boys, but Harrison can choose his own friends and I have seen many a boy act just like a child and nothing else.  This soap-box could go on but back to the point...

Harrison is doing wonderfully!!  He is ALWAYS respectful to his teachers and ALWAYS uses his words with his friends (Ummm, can we get this behavior at home, please!).  He is actively engaged in various activities and always has a good time.  He can recognize almost all of his letters and numbers and is a joy to have in class.  I got a neat little assessment of his accomplishments and representations of his writing and his cutting skills.  Way to go on the cutting!  He cut out an entire stop sign and it was almost all on he lines.  I was impressed!  

The thing that impressed Mrs. Margaret the most was when she asked Harrison to spell his name and he sang the HARRISON song to her.  I have taken this for granted as he has been taught this song by my parents since he was 2.  And he has been singing it since then as well.  But she thought it was a real achievement and I happen to agree.  

It is not easy work being the parent of the smartest kid ever, but I will keep plugging away!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Play-doh fun

We have different stages of love for Play-doh in my house.  Bennett ranges from wanting me to smash it flat so that he can press shapes into it from wanting to take it in and out of the container.  Harrison usually likes to use the tools.  He cuts, he presses, he makes hair, etc.  For whatever reason we rarely manipulate the Play-doh with our hands.  Today I reminded him that he could build things with Play-doh like snowmen and snakes.  He declared that he could make a great snake.  And then said "But wait.  How do I do that?"  Very comical.  We made some snakes and then I re-taught him how to make a ball as well.  Soon he was making his very first snowman all by himself.  It was like he had forgotten that you could manipulate Play-doh into 3-D objects.  He was so proud of his accomplishment.  I left him alone for a couple of minutes to go get my coffee, read the paper, etc.  Soon he was saying "Mom, look.  Look!"  I look over and he has made a sun and is holding it up in the air.  

"Look!  The sun came out and the snowman is meeeelllltttiiinnnggggg."  As he is saying this he is holding the sun up with one hand and smashing the snowman with the other.  Soon there was a flat piece of Play-doh where the once brilliant snowman had stood.  He was laughing and looking quite proud of his creativity.  

It was his first claymation short film and it was brilliant.  Next time we do actual filming!!