Friday, June 27, 2008

How to dispose of a roach

1. Scream.
2. Scoop up and lock curious toddler who discovered the roach in the bedroom.
3. Take several deep breaths and pray the two-inch long creature doesn't move.
4. Get a measuring cup (it's used as a bathtime toy) from the bathtub.
5. Lower the cup over the roach. Try not to scream.
6. Go get packing tape and scissors.
7. Tape the measuring cup to the carpet using at least 10 pieces of tape. (No chance that little bugger is getting out.
8. Wait until your husband comes home.

By the way, neither six hours taped under a measuring cup nor the first flush down the toilet killed this roach. I just pray he doesn't have friends.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's a simple equation, really

Mr. Obama has a plan called Zero to Five that is aimed at getting the government involved in your life soon after your child is born. He says he wants to launch a Children's First Agenda that provides care, learning and support to families with children ages zero to five. Very noble intentions I'm sure, but it seems that the current model of two-income families, day-care from infancy is a huge boon to the government. Think about it. Nearly twice the number of adults work from January to early May to pay their share of federal taxes as did a few decades ago. There's a broader base of workers/voters now in need of services that the government can promise in exchange for your vote. Here you have the inroads to tyranny, all starting in the nursery.

I'll remind you of one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Disraeli: "It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery."

My husband points out that the biggest advantage for government in promoting this notion of education and, let's face it, child-rearing as a service instead of a family responsibility is that young children learn that this is normal. Mommy and Daddy work, the government gets paid and they get left with their peers to learn bad habits, pick up nasty germs and learn how to be part of a peer group instead of part of a family.

No thanks. I know it's old-fashioned, but we want kids so we can raise them ourselves. And don't give me this "It takes a village" crap. It is true, but the sense in which this phrase is tossed out nearly always refers to government programs. Government programs are no substitute for communities and associations that sprout up voluntarily. Period.

I know I've been ranting a lot lately. It must be the pregnancy hormones. To make up for that, here's a cute photo of Jim and Danny. Enjoy.

Stripped of common sense

The recent spate of dire warnings from the almighty FDA about children and cold remedies has left the impression that nothing is suitable for children under 6 and that my child must just suffer miserably through sleepless nights and days until the cold runs its course. Of course, common sense (which has just been restored after a visit to the doctor's office) tells me that the child needs rest to get better. If a cold medicine affords him enough relief from symptoms to get some rest, then recovery will likely happen faster.

Apparently, according to our doctor, the FDA is run by a bunch of academics whose definition of efficacy is that the medication cures the cold and that there's no scientific evidence that the medicines relieve symptoms. Last I checked, there was no cure for the common cold. And all the "scientific evidence" I need is that a medication relieves symptoms so my child can sleep. Anecdotal evidence is just fine with me, thank you very much.

And it's not just my doctor; the pharmacist was similarly exasperated. I went to the pharmacy with the prescription he wrote. They didn't have the medication which was basically a prescription, 12-hour version of the OTC stuff. The pharmacist gave me the same exasperated line that the doctor had. I came home with cold and cough medicine and instructions to give him only a half a teaspoon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Putting quarters in a broken meter

We think Dan could have a sinus infection. Jim noticed that Dan has what looks like a shiner under one of his eyes and he keeps snorting and scratching at his forehead. Dan coughs a lot at night and at nap time. He's not sleeping well, either. Remember a week or so ago he had a fever and an inflamed throat? Well, apparently, it didn't just go away as the doctor suggested. It must have spread to his sinuses. Then, of course, I got to thinking ... the last time Dan got sick was right after his 15 month appointment. This illness came shortly after his 18 month appointment. And now that he's not nursing anymore, he's definitely more susceptible. Honestly, this kid hardly ever got sick when he was nursing.

So now I have to trek him back to the germy doctor's office, insist that there is something wrong and not leave there until they find it or at least agree to treat it. I hate doctor's offices. What kind of sense does it make to take a perfectly healthy kid into a place that's practically a germ convention?? Why don't doctor's make house calls? If a kid is healthy, I don't want to take them to a germ doctor's office. If a kid is sick, he should be at home resting instead of being dragged out in the cold or the heat or the rain or the snow to see a doctor who will likely just say, "Stay in bed and rest, get plenty of fluids" and then, maybe, prescribe an antibiotic. Something is seriously wrong with a profession that makes it as inconvenient as possible for the people it claims to be so concerned about.

Speaking of which, I just watched the Ricki Lake documentary "The Business of Being Born." It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know ... the birth industry is serving the interests of doctors and health and malpractice insurance companies at the expense of women and children. It rather reaffirmed my beliefs that our system of medical care is so broken in this country. I do highly recommend it though. It's got the American Medical Association's panties in a collective bunch. The AMA passed a resolution supporting the American College of OB/GYNs policy against home deliveries and in support of legislation "that helps ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies by acknowledging that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital" or accredited birth center. Seems to me they're laying the groundwork for when health care is nationalized. How else would there ever be legislation regarding where a woman can give birth? Where's the "keep your laws of my body crowd" when you need them?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Should've had a salad

I've had beef three nights in a row. I cannot seem to get enough beef (and chocolate pudding and ice cold water). When I was pregnant with Dan, I couldn't even think about or look at meat without vomiting. I ate huge salads with red cabbage, tomatoes, edamame, cauliflower, cucumbers and cheese, oil and vinegar and sunflower seeds. Today, I'm repulsed by vegetables. Too bad. I have this great vegetable garden.

Now I must feed the baby ... not the big one, but the little one. My stomach is empty despite having had a 1/2 pound hamburger for dinner five hours ago. Go figure.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Finally ...

I just went out to the garden to see what was ripe enough for dinner. A nice pepper caught my eye. Peppers are one of those vegetables that bite me in the bum every year, I swear I'll never cultivate them again, and the next spring they're on my planting list. You know how peppers from the store have that nice, thick, crisp wall? Well, I've never grown a pepper that has that and most gardeners I know have a hard time achieving this. Today, I picked a pepper with a thick wall. It's taken me four years of planting peppers to get a one with a thick-wall.

For lack of a better expression, "Woohoo!" I'm very excited. And, no, I'm not going to share my peppers, I'm going to enjoy my peppers with my family. So there.

Oh, and by the way, Danny has a little girlfriend at church. She calls him "D" and they chatter to each other and play together and wave goodbye when it's time to go. When I ask him, "Who's Isabella?" He usually grins. It is sooooooo cute.

Forced to share?

From an article this morning about people turning to vegetable gardening to ease their produce expenses:

"Absolutely it's a question of high price. But the best is the [families] will be forced to share what they are growing."

This pastor is talking about a gardening initiative started at his church where the families will bring in their extra harvest to share. That's very nice, but I object, quite strenuously, to the phrase "forced to share." Perhaps he's not familiar with the definition of sharing. Let's break it down, again ... Share means to divide something equally or give out a portion. What does "give" mean? It means to make a gift. What's a "gift"? It's something given to another in a show of friendship or affection.

Since when is force a good motivation for giving a gift?

And, the other thing that bugs me? There are no extras in gardening. Once upon a time, when people gardened to feed their families, extras were stored up for winter so that all may eat. And if the point of this story is that high prices at the grocery store are driving people to garden, then learning how to effectively store your harvest should be an admirable goal at least worth a mention.

But what about the community, you may ask? Well, my question is how does it affect the community when a family fails to take care of itself? Am I obligated to help those who don't or just won't take care of themselves? I really don't think so. Before you brand me a heartless hound, let me explain ... I have no objection to helping those in need. I object to being forced by my government to fork over a portion of my salary to help those in need. There's a difference. A BIG one.

Come to think of it, that's probably how the phrase "forced to share" became so common in our culture.

Adventures in no-customer service

At the not-so-clearly-marked Sam's Club customer disservice desk:
Me (to a woman whose talking on the phone and flirting with who is mostly likely her future baby daddy): Is this the service desk?
Woman: Yes. (continues talking on the phone.)
I wait. Dan starts shrieking.
Woman: Did you need some help?
Me: Uh, that's why I'm standing here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Subtle changes

Just today I noticed that Dan is carrying his plate and snack cup upright. Apparently, he's learned enough about gravity to know that an upright plate will keep his breakfast and snack intact.

He's not learned enough about gravity, though, to understand that standing on the hammock is a bad idea. Good thing I was sitting right on the hammock with him.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Dan video

This is a little dark, but cute nonetheless. Hope you can see it.

And another video ...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spouse, father or both?

I found Sunday's sermon by Mr. Obama about fatherhood rather interesting, and lacking in one very important respect. He talked at length about being there to raise your child, but conveniently left out the importance of being a good spouse or partner.

Obama's three-point plan to being a better father includes:
1. Setting high expectations.
2. Passing along empathy.
3. Then, of course, instilling hope.
And he concludes, “Because if fathers are doing their part, if they’re taking our responsibilities seriously to be there for their children, and set high expectations for them, and instill in them a sense of excellence and empathy, then our government should meet them halfway."

So what's missing in Obama's mind? Cities need more police, “fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” more money for schools, better teachers, more after-school programs and more jobs and job training, he says.

All things that take money ... your money, my money ... and have ultimately failed over the years. The solutions that cost nothing are the hardest to talk about and will never come from our government, which has the very co-dependant notion that if there's a problem, they are obligated to solve it.

Mr. Obama makes good points, but he's putting the cart before the horse. How about being there for the mother of your child? How about setting high expectations for yourself that include not only jobs and college degrees, but also a willingness to do the hard work of getting along with the mother of your child? How about showing empathy for the mother of your child, not just everyone else around you?

Sadly, none of Mr. Obama's "solutions" will make a bit of difference until the people raising children - men and men, women and women, men and women, whoever - learn to get along, build strong relationships, model loving behavior, show their kids how to sacrifice and cooperate. The primary relationship in a family is not between parent and child, but between spouses or partners, I was once told. A kids-come-first relationship is not healthy for the child and certainly can't help a marriage. If I my son learns nothing else, he will know that his father and I loved each other and showed him daily how to cooperate, share, listen, speak, show respect, sacrifice and much more. Our hope is that he learns how to treat others and his future family by watching us.

And there's not a government program in the world that will accomplish that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Update on Dan

Dan's fever broke last night around 2 a.m. Yet I felt compelled to take him to the doctor's this morning when he started banging his head intentionally. He hasn't done that in quite a while and when he does, it usually means he's hurt and can't tell me where. Nowadays when he's frustrated he just stands there and registers his discontent with the complaint department (that would be mommy and daddy) by crying loudly for at least 30 seconds straight. We'd prefer words, but at least he's not banging his head as often. Last night, after we'd dosed him up with Tylenol he went in search of something hard to bang his head on. He approached a seat from the van that's hanging out in our living room (yeah, we're such rednecks). Perfect, he must have thought. But he screamed all the louder when he realized that the seat was rather soft and the hard part he wanted to use was just out of his reach. Hard not laugh at the poor kid sometimes. Our doctor asked last week at his 18 month appointment whether Dan had starting throwing tantrums. I said, "Oh yes. We just leave the room and tell him 'We'll be in here when you're done.'" Apparently, that's exactly what you're suppose to do, according to our doctor.

And another funny thing he's doing now ... When we're out, Jim usually carries Dan in a backpack that tripods (yes, I just made up a verb) into seat. Well, now that he's getting taller (31 1/4 inches), his feet touch the ground. Last week, he figured out that he can move himself when the backpack is perched on the ground. So far, he's only figured out how to go backward. We were at the mall Monday night (I desperately needed an ice cream cone) when I saw this little stunt for the first time. One day, he's just going to go walking down the mall sitting in his little backpack.

Oh, duh, back to the reason I started typing this post ... Dan's fine. The infection is in his throat. He had been coughing a little bit, but nothing really noticeable and it didn't seem like a productive cough. It's not strep. The doctor seemed genuinely shocked when I mentioned that Dan had never run a fever. I'm not shocked. I nursed him up until two months ago and his father and I rarely get sick. I think it's the nursing and just plain good genetics.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Feverishly hot

In the past three days, we've spent little to no time outside. Today, we went outside for less than two minutes. And in the middle of this ridiculous June heat wave, poor Dan has a fever. It has wavered between 100.6 and 101.7 all day. He's not himself, really. We do get short glimpses of his usual boisterous self before he gets lethargic and cranky again. When the fever gets too high for him, he just screams and won't let me put him down. It's kind of scary not knowing when this is going to break. The good news is that he's eating normally, he has the will to play, he's not vomiting, pulling his ears or coughing. I called the doctor, they called back but I didn't hear the phone because Dan and I both were fast asleep on the bed. It's nice to sleep with him again, though I have gotten a foot on my throat and a bum in my face a few times. He hasn't slept with me since last fall, I think.

Anyhow, other than Dan's illness, we're all doing fine here. We haven't burst into flames yet. So far the pregnancy is going well. I'm starting to get achy and crave my old standby ... whole wheat spaghetti with butter and Tabasco sauce (the heartburn special). And, of course, I'm nauseous. It's not as bad as it was a few weeks ago and not as bad as last time. I do have to force myself to eat breakfast and lunch and then, by afternoon, I begin eating like a horse until about midnight. I had the spaghetti around 10 p.m. and am still thinking about that beef burrito left over from dinner. Definitely different from last time when I couldn't eat, think about, smell or look at meat until at least my second trimester. This time, it's seafood that disgusts me. I passed by the fish counter at the grocery store this weekend and nearly lost what little I had eaten that day.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How does my garden grow?

My vegetable garden is in full swing. The downside now is the heat ... being outside for more than 30 minutes is just unbearable. For once, Dan doesn't cry when I bring him inside. Oh, and because I'm pregnant, the thought of most food repulses me.

The routine has been to go out after breakfast and before Sesame Street to weed the garden. Dan is my little shadow. He's very interested in what I'm doing. He does very well walking on the paths and not trampling the plants, but if I turn my back, he'll snatch a tomato from the vine. He doesn't get the concept of "not ready yet." Oh well. One of my tomato plants actually made a stunning comeback after it was mauled by Dan early on. Here are some photos of the garden's progress.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Mommy the martyr

This morning, I dropped Dan off at Parents Morning Out for a much-needed break. And off I went. My first stop is always the Burger King up the street for my one, last guilty pleasure - a sausage and cheese croissant. Somehow I can eat this without vomiting. Go figure.

Then, it was off to Target to find some preggo pants that fit. I'm already getting big and many of the bottoms from the last time around don't fit over my enormous hips. Oh, and I really wanted to get myself a bathing suit. Hand-me downs are great, but if I'm going to sweat through another summer pregnancy, then by-gosh (G-rated for your reading enjoyment), I'm going to wear one of my own choosing, thank you very much. That, along with a brand-new pair of shoes, was actually purchased at full price. That's so unusual for me. I usually scour bargain racks and thrift shops for my clothes. Of course, I did later wind up at the thrift shop and found the cutest shoes and a dress. Old habits die hard.

I almost felt a little guilty buying new stuff. That's really the only mommy guilt I ever feel. I even felt a little guilty buying new underwear a few weeks ago. Why is this? Martyrdom is not my thing, yet I can go into a store, gather up some things I would like to have and convince myself I don't really need them before getting to the register. It's like frugality gone haywire. Of course, I couldn't leave without picking up a few things for Danny.

Another thing ... with this pregnancy, I am a lot more emotional than I was with Dan. I started to tear up in the greeting card aisle while reading a father's day card. I'm so ashamed of myself. But I quickly recovered this afternoon when a telemarketer called for the third time in three days ... use your imagination (G-rating censor here) ... he won't be calling again. He may be in therapy for a while.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Some cute photos

Enjoy the photos!

And stay cool, if you're in N.C. that is! It's going to be up to 100 degrees the next few days. Not a good time to be pregnant. Why didn't we time this better??

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Where's the fear?

Dan is now 18 months old and in full-blown toddlerhood. I've read some articles recently that suggest toddlers can develop fears and anxieties. So far, unfortunately, Dan has exhibited none of these traits.

I've mentioned swim lessons here before. He would just scoot off the side of the pool into the water, didn't care if he went under. In fact, once he just simply let go of the side and sank like a stone while I was right there. When I hoisted him up, he didn't seem scared and didn't even cry. He just grinned.

Yesterday, I heard him screaming pitifully in the next room. I rushed down to the TV room and though I could hear him, didn't see him anywhere. Rather frightening feeling for a mommy. Turns out he had climbed up on the sofa and fallen between the sofa and the wall. He has a nice bruise and scratch on the side of his face to commemorate the occasion. (Yet another reason there are few toddlers in public ... someone probably would assumed your beating the child when they see a dirty, snotty, bruised little toddler.)

Other articles and "parent tips" I've read suggest that other children are a bit calmer than my son. One parent offers, "My son loves to do collages. First I cut out pictures he likes from a magazine. Then he uses a glue stick on the back of each photo and slaps them on some construction paper." Are you kidding me, you fruitloop? My son would cut his hair with the scissors and eat the glue, that is, if he could sit still for one hot minute.

As you can see, keeping up with him is a full-time job. Even outdoor activities like gardening are fraught with peril. He's pulls up my watering stakes and has denuded my cherry tomato plant more than once. Dear child, though, tried to put a tomato back on the vine once he was caught.

And speaking of full-time jobs, I pulled back to part-time at work. It just wasn't worth the hassle and I was about to have to pay for a few hours of child care a week. What a ripoff that is. Economically, it makes no sense whatsoever. I would literally work half of every hour I'm there for child care. I'm way too tired these days anyway. In addition to chasing turbo tot, I'm pregnant. Yes, that's right, I'm pregnant and due sometime in January. Boy or girl, doesn't really matter to me right now. What I'm really hoping for is a much calmer child.