Wednesday, October 20, 2010

5 is the new 2

Big is 5 now. She's been a toughie since...well, some might say since she first entered this world, but I'd say since she turned 18 months and the terrible two's began to settle in. By age two, she was great at independence and tantrums, and by the end of age two, I was grasping at hope for an improvement in behavior and better toddler/mommy compliance. Sadly, three years later I still find myself grasping! And with each passing birthday I'm continuously reassured by fellow parents that the behavior does get better this next year, whatever age Big happens to be turning at the time, and I believe, people. With all my might I believe, but it just. doesn't. happen.

The three's were supposed to be better than the two's because between ages two and three children learn to communicate better and are able to follow directions better and listen more. And I will agree, Big definitely learned to communicate better! At three, she was much more able to tell me WHY she wasn't going to do what I had asked of her, rather than just yelling "Noooooooo!" and writhing on the floor, as she had the previous year. An improvement? Maybe. But not exactly what I was hoping for.

And the four's? OMG, I was told the four's were glorious! Such cute stuff! Really sweet. Behavior is so much better! And not all of four was bad. Big was really cute. Starting school was a big deal and that was a really great part of her life at the time. She made little friends and held their hands walking in to class in the morning. What's cuter than that?! But still? When she wasn't happy, which coincidentally was a lot of the time, she spewed revolutionary, independent phrases like a Midwestern union president! And trust me, if she had known what a strike was, she would have been on one at least 3 times a week. More sophisticated warfare? Definitely. Better? Not-so-much.

And now she's five. Well five is great, I was told! Kids say the funniest things at five! It's just all school days and pure joy! And all I can say at this point is REALLY?! Because while my child is quite hysterical (hysterical I tell you!) and the number of things that she's learned in the last year is awe-inspiring, I'm not really feeling the joy. In fact, in the last week I've pretty much determined that my 5 year-old is actually an (undersized) undercover international spy who has been sent to kill me with her carefully trained weapon of selective listening and pure, unabated hell raising. This small, warm, soft, beautiful being, who I have raised since breath first filled her lungs when she came into this world, might just be the death of me.

Please, God...Buddah...Pocahontas and your colors of the wind, give me strength to get through age five. Because I've heard six is awesome.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Ladies Night Out!

And by ladies night out I mean that I'm meeting my BFF at Panera Bread for salads and paper-cupped sodas after work tonight. Very extravagant. But to me, it's as if I'm jetting off to a tropical island for 2 hours, just my friend and I...alone. Ahhhh... 2 full hours of girl talk, kid talk, husband talk (*insert evil laugh here*) and an uninterrupted meal. Heaven.

Hubby isn't quite as enthusiastic about my mini-vacation as I, but he tries really hard to pretend that he is...for my sake. He came to the horrific realization this morning that tonight...while I'm gone...the girls will need to have baths before they go to bed. (*cue psycho music*) He's bathed Little by himself before, but never both of them together, so it's safe to say that he's completely terrified, but he tried to hold it together outwardly in front of me. I made sure to reassure him that I have the utmost confidence in his ability to clean our children without maiming them, though I am just the tiniest bit concerned...more for everyone's mental well-being than anything else. Our girls are tough. And he has a *teensy* bit less patience than I I've promised that I will make it home before anyone is tucked into bed...more for my own peace of mind than anything else. (Everyone in one piece? Anyone need comforting, or band aids? Or a beer? Check. Check. Check. Nighty-night.)

Isn't it crazy how much worry accompanies you as a mother (or parent, let's be Equal Opportunity, here) when you leave the house for any amount of time alone? Are they crying? Are they eating? Do they miss me? Have they gotten into poison in the garage? Has anyone accidentally lopped their arm off with a kitchen knife? Are they bleeding in the corner somewhere?? (but really, Hubby...I totally trust you *ahem*) And how about the hours of prep work that must be put in just to have 2 itty-bitty hours of me time once a month? Insanity. But the craziest part of all? That those warm, soft, smart, silly, sweet little beings are worth every single second. Every tiny piece of me is so completely theirs...just not for 2 hours tonight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Are You a Breather or a Panter?

Well, I finally did it. I dusted off my Jillian Michael's Shred video and brought my hand weights out of the closet...and I worked out last night. It's been 4 months since I suddenly dropped the workout routine that I had grown so accustomed to in the previous 6 months, and yesterday I cursed myself every single second of that 25 minute video for ever having done that. Technically, it was a forced break that I took back in June, since I was physically unable to workout the week that we took the girls to Disney World (it was 104 degrees, yo)...but afterward? That was pure laziness. And very, very stupid. I have no excuse for that.

I must admit, I restarted my workout with my BFF Jillian and her all-too-joyful heathens Natalie and Anita at Level 1, and used my trusty 2 pound hand weights rather than my more challenging 3 pounders, but I still felt like I might die the entire time. I was miserably out of breath by 15 minutes in, and my whole entire body was shaking by the time my DVD player said I had 5 minutes left...which, considering I was practically one-handing Level 3 a mere few months ago was just a bit terrorizing...but, whatever, I finished dammit. (So there Anita, with your smile never faltering during the lunges and squats.) And now I need to find a way to fit exercise into my schedule on a regular basis.

My buddy Jillian swears that everyone can find 30 minutes to workout 4 times a week (while pointing at me threateningly)...but in all honesty, Jilly, if we include the 10 minutes of post-workout doubled-over wheezing, and the shower that...really, I must take so as to not offend anyone within a mile of's technically more like an hour commitment I'm making here. Still? Not a huge amount of time for someone who doesn't have tiny human beings imitating mountain climbers and stealing their hand weights mid-workout...but me? I'm not that person. I have both of those! So my question is...with all of these balls in the air, how does a parent find time to breathe three times a week, much less pant along to a video alone?? And here's where I think I'm onto something. I think the answer is...they don't. I think as parents of small children, we have to choose whether we will breathe OR pant during our scant amount of free time, because right now, there isn't time for both. While Little is napping, on Mondays and Fridays, and after work on Wednesdays I will need to make the choice whether I will sit and breathe for an hour (AKA: fold laundry or make dinner), or I will pop Jillian and her evil bitches into my DVD player and get my sweat on. I have this nagging fear that God just didn't create me to be a career panter, but I'm trying Jillian! I'm trying.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day of Celebration and Thanks

This past Saturday was the 33rd Annual Brigg's and Al's Run Walk for Children's Hospital here in Milwaukee. It was also the third annual gathering of Team Maddie Boombaladdie for the event, and it was wonderful.

A few years ago, while Little was in the Pediatric ICU following one of her surgeries, Hubby and I were walking back from the cafeteria to Little's room, where we were planning to stay the night (which is a whole blog post of its own...Hubby slept sitting upright in a wooden rocking chair...seriously) when something on the wall grabbed my attention. Hanging in a frame outside the PICU was a newspaper clipping from 1977 of the very first Al's Run for Children's Hospital, a fundraiser that was started by the, then, basketball coach from Marquette University, Al McGuire. I don't know what, but something about that article, that picture of 10 thousand people running through the streets of downtown Milwaukee called to me, and it was at that moment that Team Maddie Boombaladdie first my head anyway. It wouldn't be until about a month later, when Little was out of the hospital and thriving, and I was bursting at the seams with appreciation, that I would actually sign us up for the event and begin sending out my emails of plea for everyone on the planet to join us in giving thanks. The first year we had 10 wonderful, brave, giving souls on our team. The second we had 30! And this year we had 25 supportive, eager, wonderful, generous souls walking the 3 miles at our side, honoring our very special, strong, amazing Little and her awe inspiring team of doctors and nurses (can't forget the nurses!).

To say that the event makes me emotional is an understatement. There's the tear inducing appreciation I have for our team members who give from their pockets and piggy banks and sacrifice a Saturday morning to come and walk with us, some from hours away. There's my drop-to-my-knees-and-thank-Jesus appreciation to Children's Hospital and it's staff for saving my precious, wonderful Little girl, and giving us every single minute of these last 2-1/2 years to watch her grow and change. There's the sorrow and heart wrenching bit of reality that slaps you in the face when you walk amongst tens of thousands of people, all there to support a place that dedicates itself to sick and injured children...some in memory of..and the deep, overwhelming sense of gratitude that we aren't one of those teams. The whole experience is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but one that leaves you changed for the better.

So this year, the veterans that we are, we stormed those streets together...talking and laughing and appreciating (and sweating *ahem*)...and when it was over, we did something new. We all headed to Grandma's for a first annual Team Maddie Boombaladdie after-party of appreciation. Children played and danced and giggled, and ate macaroni and cheese and candy. Adults ate Grandma's awesome chili and drank various amounts of alcohol, and we all feasted upon a sinful array of dessert bars provided by my friend Kara, who works for the best local bakery. And when it was time to go home, smiles were abundant, jokes had been told, children had been oooh'd and ahhhh'd over, and our mission had been accomplished. There will not be another year without an after party.

After our guests had departed, Hubby and I bathed the girls at Grandmas, and put them in Grandpa's t-shirts for pajamas (which happen to make the best, silliest little girl nightgowns by the way) and plopped them half asleep in the car after the sun had already kissed the sky goodnight. They were both asleep by the time we arrived home (10 minutes later) so we gingerly scooped them up in our arms and took them inside, tucking them in a little tighter and kissing them goodnight with a little more appreciation than ever before, and as we walked out of their room and closed the door behind us, we closed the book on this year's Team Maddie Boombaladdie walk for Children's Hospital.

The countdown to next year has already begun.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Tummy Ache Saga

Can anyone explain to me this crazy phenomenon where children wake up with the sunrise on days that they don't have to be anywhere...and yet we have to wake their little sleepy heads 15 minutes before the bell rings on school mornings? I hate that phenomenon...and I've fallen victim to it this morning. So, like any good mother, while the little ones are occupied with Hubby in the bathroom, the first thing I did was get up and make coffee, and then jump on the computer to blog. Don't worry, I turned the TV to the Disney channel first, I'm not completely crazy.

So, anyway, we didn't have to get up early this morning because I'm keeping Big home from school. She has her first appointment with a GI doctor today at 10:05 (they book in 5 minute increments??) and while I could send her to class after the appointment, I've made the executive decision that we ALL deserve to just take the day together enjoy it. Except poor Hubby, who will still be making valiant attempts to sell corporations the Cadillac of security systems...because that's what he does now. And, dude, it sucks, but that's a whole other blog post. Back to the tummy saga...

About eight months ago Big started telling me that her tummy was doing strange things at night, around bed time. She would describe it as her tummy "going around and around" and then a few weeks later she added the words "and up and down" and honestly, internet people who won't tell a soul this, we thought she was lying. It was bedtime, yo...and what kid doesn't try to get out of going to bed, am I right? So we told her she was fiiiiiiiiine and that lying isn't nice and she should get some rest because she had school the next day. But it continued. So a few weeks later (*cringe* yes, weeks) I finally called her pediatrician and they told me that her complaints did indeed sound credible and that I should bring her in pronto...which of course made me the Mother of the Year. So I took her in that morning and they examined her and told me that it was most likely reflux and put on on Prevacid tabs (Oooh! They melt in your mouth! And taste like strawberry!) and we went on our merry way.

Flash forward about 6 months, about 2 months previous to today, when the rest of her strange tummy complaints began. Again, the complaints were suspicious...tummy aches at meal times this time. But after being scorched by the flame of disbelief last time, I was not about to just dismiss these new complaints. None the less, I did find myself earning my Private Investigator's license with each episode. I mean, what's more convenient to avoid eating than a good old tummy ache? It's classic childhood fare, right? I was conflicted. Until the heartburn began, and then the sudden gut wrenching gassy tummy I called the Pediatrician again. This time he didn't offer to see us, he instead offered me this: "Since she's already on Prevacid and still having trouble, this is beyond my scope of practice. I suggest you take her to a GI specialist." Awesome. Add a GI specialist to our team of cardiologists, ENTs, and orthopedic doctors (Seriously...what is with my children???) and a few weeks later...away we go.

Neither of us has any idea what to expect, really, and we are both nervous about what might go down in there. Big has asked me nearly a thousand times if the tummy doctor gives shots. I keep telling her they don't. What I haven't mentioned is that they may put the needle in and do something crazy, like...I don't know...pull some of her blood OUT...but we'll just leave that up to silent possibility for the time being.

And, yes...we're taking the rest of the day off.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Different Kid, Same Hoops

Wow, it's been so long since I've blogged that I find myself writing things about my second child that I previously blogged about in reference to my first child, and they are 2-1/2 years apart. That is quite a break, my friends. But here I am again, thanks to my friend Tiffany who encouraged me to get back at it. I enjoy writing, but struggle with choosing what exactly to write about. My life is very ordinary in the I'm a mother of two kids, married to a member of the opposite sex, live in suburbia, work part time kind of way. But we do have quite a few quirks in our life that not many people have, I suppose, that might be fun to write about. Or maybe it's that total "normalness" that will make things I write interesting to others in that "I totally identify with that kind of way". Or maybe no one will find anything I write about even remotely interesting. Who knows...but all I can do is write. Record my present, as it will all too quickly become my past and I've love to have some record of it.

In kid news...which I'm sure I'll have a lot of here...we celebrated an event of monumental importance in our household this morning. Little had her first bit of pee pee in the potty success. As Hubby would put it, the Eagle landed sometime between Big eating her typical banana bread breakfast and me getting my shoes on to head out the door. I overheard some hullabaloo in the living room between Grandma and Big, celebrating the urinary success of the smallest member of our family...but I wasn't buying into it that easily. Not until Hubby confirmed it did I begin to scream and cheer and gush pee pee potty success to Little, who beamed proudly at all of us in all her half naked glory. Priceless. So what did I do? What every mother does when potty training; I rewarded her with sugar flavored crack (candy corn) and promptly purchased a Sam's Club portion pack of Disney Princess underpants...which she won't actually be able to use for another 6 months or so, when she has a light bulb moment and realizes that she has control of this whole pee pee in the potty thing...but it's good motivation, right? A little bribery never hurt anyone.

Moments background