Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble, Gobble (or Happy Pukesgiving)

We had this conversation tonight:

Pink P: (Playing with her handmade paper turkey under our feet while we cooked) Cluck, cluck. Cluck, cluck.

Me: Gobble, gobble.

Pink P: Huh?

Me: Gobble, gobble, not cluck, cluck.

Pink P: (Distractedly) Cluck, cluck.

Ren: Pink, speak Japanese!

Me: How do you say gobble, gobble in Japanese?

Ren: What?

Me: Gobble, gobble. In Japanese?

Ren: .....

Me: You know. A cat says meow and a dog says bark. But, what does a turkey say?

Ren: Dunno. I'd never even seen a turkey until I came to the US.

Pink P: Cluck, cluck.

There you have it. Thanksgiving in two cultures. The only thing that would make this party more fun? Vomiting. Lucky for us, we have some of that, too. So here's hoping your thanksgiving is full of family and fun but NOT full of puking preschoolers and toddlers!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Girl Power 2

Pink P doesn't really sleep at night. For the first year of her life, she woke up consistently at 10, 1 and 4. Even as a tiny baby, it must have been clear to her that she had to carve out a space for herself in the midst of the chaos that is her older brother. Though I complained bitterly about getting up three times a night for baby Pink, I was secretly glad she figured out a way to assert herself and insert herself into the peaceful spaces.

I wish I could say much has changed since then, that her brother is responding well to various interventions and that the balance of family time and attention is closer to "normal." But, I can't. While it's true we are slowly but surely making progress, it is slow and our way is marked with innumerable pitfalls and setbacks.

But still, Pink P perseveres.

Last night the task at hand included 20 cupcakes for Sky's class. Sky's birthday means Sky gets to make the cupcakes. Fair enough, right? Not for Pink. She has to be in the middle of things. And, since Sky's in the throes of his Great Fall Regression, my attempts to elicit teamwork and camaraderie between the two of them were doomed from the start. In the end, Sky agreed to let Pink P put in the cupcake liners. Then he demanded she go play with Stow while he did the rest.

Pink did as she was told, but throughout evening play time and the bed time routine she insisted I let her help ice the cupcakes. I explained that the cupcakes needed to cool, so I would have to ice them late at night when they were sleeping. Still, Pink P wouldn't give up, and one thing I know about Pink is that she will not stop until she is sure she's been heard and understood. On this night, she wouldn't go to sleep until I agreed to try to wake her when icing time came.

As she burrowed under her covers, she said, "Mommy, you'd better wake me up, or I will be very sad."

"Okay, I'll try, but if you don't get up, it's not my problem," I replied, assuming that by 11 p.m. she'd be dead to the world.

And she was.

Still a promise is a promise, so once the cupcakes were cooled, I went into her room and said in a neither purposely loud nor purposely quiet voice, "Icing time."

Pink, who had been sleeping deeply (and snoring) just moments before, shot out of bed, clearly not awake but determined to ice the cupcakes. She walked into the door and then the wall but somehow made it safely to the kitchen, where she proceeded to ice three or four cupcakes before collapsing onto the couch.

And that, dear friends, is how I know Pink's going to be just fine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

That Baby Ain't No Fool

Stow got hit with a nasty intestinal thing that requires 6.5 ml three times a day of the most horrible medicine you can imagine. The pharmacist shook his head when he handed it to me. "Good luck," he said, but in his eyes, I could tell he thought we'd need a lot more than luck. They only had raspberry flavoring, so I came home with a huge bottle of purplish-red glop.

The first dose went off without a hitch. The completely unsuspecting Stow drank it all before realizing just how bad it tasted. By the next dose, he was on to us. After happily consuming his regular medicine, he flat-out refused to have anything to do with the new stuff. I knew we were headed for trouble when he actually checked the dropper to see what color the medicine was before taking it. He clamped his jaws shut and turned his head away from me, kicking and pushing for good measure. Any little bit of the medicine I managed to get into his mouth came spilling out onto his clothes and the floor, red dye everywhere. Blasted raspberry!

Thus began 48 hours of Stow refusing absolutely any medication. 48 hours. We tried everything. Really. We mixed it in juice, apple sauce, rice (what? He loves rice). We tried hiding it in strawberry jam and spreading it on bread. We put it on bananas. We mixed it with Sun Butter and stuck it to the roof of his mouth. We even called the doctor and then the pharmacy so we could get it in tablet form, thinking we could crush it up and hide it in more things, ninja-like. We tried catching him when he was sleeping, playing, watching TV.

On the first day of absolute refusal, I called the doctor.

"You have to get this stuff into him," she said. "Otherwise, he will get very sick."

I already knew this. The pressure didn't help.

On the second day, I called her again, desperate this time. She'd tried to find alternatives medications. There were none.

"Have you tried pinning him down, forcing the dropper to the back of his throat and holding his lips shut?" she asked.

"Umm, no." I mean, who wants to do that?

"Well, it's that or hospitalization and an IV."

So, that night, while I held him down, Ren pushed the dropper as far into Stow's mouth as he could without actually gagging him. The baby struggled and gasped, but we managed to get about half of a dose into him. After we let him go, he stood up and dutifully drank the rest as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

That baby ain't no fool. If the choices are to be gagged or to take yucky medicine, he'll take the medicine, thank you very much.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

So I'm going to a conference at a place that's even further than the last one. This time I'm off to a different continent and even a different hemisphere. Actually, that's not true. It's the same hemisphere. Just really close to the equator. I'm going to present a paper to an audience of my peers in hopes of getting fruitful feedback and expanding networks of knowledge. Six months ago, when I proposed my paper and decided to go, I figured life might be a little less crazy by now. Hahahahahahaha. Right. 

In fact, Ren's legs still hurt all the time, and he's still at half speed and wondering what the point of two back surgeries was. And Sky is in the middle of a major regression, something that happens every fall. In fact, I'm thinking of naming it "The Great Fall Regression." Pink P developed a cough two days ago, which means she could be inching her way toward an asthma episode. And Stow, bless little Stow. He's managed to pick up another hard-hitting gut illness that requires some serious medication which he absolutely refuses to take. 

So I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow and at least two kids have the potential of getting hospitalized while I'm gone. I'm not sure how I feel about those odds. 

To help myself stay organized in the midst of all this chaos, I've been creating lists. Here's the list I have for the plane:

To do on plane:

Write blog
Finish talk
Solve world's problems

That last one seems a bit ambitious, but, hey, it's a 22-hour plane ride, and I won't have to cook for special diets, shuttle anyone to therapy, dose out any medication, or manage any meltdowns. Just think of all the possibilities. 



I got violently ill just hours after I wrote the entry above (see what happens when I tempt fate like that?), and I was officially grounded by the doctor. Guess the world's problems will have to wait. But, at least I'll be here should anyone else require hospitalization. See, there's always a bright side!