Monday, September 28, 2009

To vaccinate or not? A swine flu love story

There is a ton of talk about the swine flu, excuse me, H1N1 flu these days and whether or not there are vaccines, if they will be available in time, who is at highest risk and if you can ever get one. I must say, something about it just isn't sitting right with me and I'm glad to read I'm not the only one. Believe me, I hate my kids getting sick probably more than the next guy, especially since fall is the busy season for me at work. But something about this new vaccine, how fast it's been prepared, how there's higher than normal levels of mercury in them (the same mercury some folks say can cause autism).

I want to protect them. Most likely both are getting the regular flu shot and I'm scheduled to get mine this Friday. However, the new one? I'm not so sure. I haven't talked to the pediatrician about it yet, but they are usually fairly conservative. Thoughts?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sleepover etiquette

We're planning our first sleepover for Andy in a few weeks as we're making plans to have one of Andy's best buds overnight. He's thrilled and I'm a little curious how all this works. It's been a good, oh, 30 years since I had a sleepover and I'm way rusty on the etiquette of all this. Plus, they're boys so that's going to be a bit different than my perspective as well. Other than making sure we wear full-body pajamas in case of any late night visitors not my own and keeping the parents on speed dial just in case, what do I need to plan for? Any special rules for sleepovers for 4 1/2 year olds?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Double uh oh

In addition to "no," she's also picked up "uh oh." Meanwhile, Andy seems to spend half his day saying, "No, Meg. Not that, do it this way," or whatever. The charming little dictator certainly has his opinions. I wonder where he gets that from?

Andy had his second soccer game/practice today. Last season, I was the assistant coach of this organized playtime with soccer balls and jerseys. He spent half the time whining at me which made it tougher to pretend I knew how to coach, much less coach four year olds. Part of the problem was the games were all at 2 p.m. -- right in the middle of his usual rest time. Even if he doesn't nap, he's still used to some downtime so probably running around in the sun didn't help his mood.

This season, he's playing at 11 a.m. and I'm not right there. So far, it's so much better. Plus, he's actually got some skills. What a difference a few months and a better time slot can make.

Bjorn is reffing football which is cool except he does like five games in a row which eats up all of Saturday. Fortunately, Jennifer was around today to help me get all the gear to Andy's game and manage the all-important handing out of juice and snacks. I tell you, that kid is a good egg these days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Uh oh

Bad news, sports fans. Meg has learned the word, "no." It's a good thing she's so adorable with those chubby smiles and beautiful curls.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back to school night

I had my first back to school night for Andy last night. Well, it's not really my first. I certainly went to several for the big kids through their school years. Sure, it's just his preschool, but I figure this is an interesting preview of what is to come. I mostly like this kind of stuff, getting to talk to the teachers without kids hopping around. I also liked meeting the other parents. Well, except the ones that I wanted to smack.

I am always amazed at the disrespect some folks have for teachers. I am all for a dialogue. After all, these are the people that we entrust day in and day out to teach our kids and mediate their interactions with their peers. But I don't see a need to call the teachers out in front of everyone else and put them on a spot. It's like showboating or something, and I didn't like it. I figure if you have a concern, talk to the teacher privately, not in front of an audience.

Overall, it was a good meeting. The biggest bonus is Andy is really liking it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

School age kids

Have you guys noticed a trend to holding your kids back in school? I'm seeing a lot of it lately where parents of kids are holding them back rather than putting them into school. So if your kid turned 5 in June, rather than putting her in kindergarten where the cutoff is usually October 1, holding her back another year so she starts at age 6 instead. The theory is that kids will be more ready at that age and thus have a leg up intellectually, athletically and socially than kids a year older.

I am fortunate to have two kids born in January so I don't really have to make a decision. If I held Andy back a year, he'd be 6 1/2 starting kindergarten and likely 18 months older than some of his peers. That seems pretty funky. I could see if you had a kid on the edge, like a late August birthday. I could see if you talked to his or her teachers and agreed it made sense. So that kid would just be at most a year older than the youngest kids and just a few months older than many.

Socially there can be real difficulties with this. A 14-year-old seventh grader is in a totally different social ballpark than a 12-year-old in terms of dating, physical maturity. Sure, she might be a better lacrosse player, but she's starting to scout out boys when her friends are still watching Miley Cyrus. And intellectually, if I put my kid in a lower grade, what's to say he won't be bored with the lower grade work and lose interest in school altogether rather than being challenged to move forward?

Also, if everyone starts to doing it, then folks of these borderline kids might need to wait another year. Then you end up with kids being 20 when they graduate high school.

I don't know. I want my kids to have the most advantages they can, but I'm not sure this is a good idea.

What do you think?

Monday, September 14, 2009


The church had a free community day Saturday complete with moon bounce. A few friends came and I was able to catch this picture. There is something very special about having known these kids since the day they were born.


Meg is fascinated with babies. She will shout, "Baby!" with keen eyes focusing on the stroller, baby seat or kid in a baby Bjorn from 50 yards away. She'll call out to babies of all ages, ranging from one day to 15. Okay, not 15. She probably stops at five. I find it somewhat hilarious that she'll scream out at the baby in the supermarker who is clearly on his way to kindergarten and old enough to not want to smack her for such slander.

Meg, our baby, has had a slight fever since Friday. Nothing major, just like 99-100ish mostly in the evenings when temps are highest. I would give her a little Motrin at bedtime and she'd be fine. She has a slightly stuffy nose and some diarrhea, but nothing too interesting thankfully. She had a weird night last night refusing to go down and then waking up a few times between 7:30 and 12:30. She seemed fine this morning and I reported the weekend to Ayesha. Around noon, I got a call that Meg had a fever of 101 and was tired, not hungry and lethargic. I gave her permission to administer Tylenol and then called the doctor. After our urinary tract infection adventure of the summer, the doctors warned me that I needed to come back if she ever had any fever for more than a day or so to check for UTIs. If she were to get another one, we'd probably have to get her a somewhat invasive ultrasound to see if she has kidney reflux.

They finagled me in at 2:30. The doctor's was booked, but I said I really wanted her to get the pee test since it can take overnight to get the results and they acquiesced. Then I waited for nearly three hours for her to pee. Meg contaminated the first bag by pooping on it. The second she wiggled so much she peed everywhere BUT the bag. The third time was the charm. Good news -- no UTI (they'll call tomorrow with the overnight test), no white blood cells in the urine, no ear infection, no sore throat -- just some basic upper respiratory infection.

Fortunately, Meg seemed to be a great mood despite it all (although it's always a little embarrassing to beg for an appointment for a sick kid for her to not act sick AT ALL). I'm glad we got the baseline. I would hate for her to be sicker tomorrow or have a painful UTI tonight.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


A friend of Mark's from high school died last week. The details are still a mystery, but the fact remains the same. He is gone. There's not too much to say except it's all so terribly sad and it hits a little too close to home.

Peter went with us in 2006 to Lexington to look at VMI and a few other colleges before the boys entered their senior years at Robinson and were considering playing football. I remember him being a nice, funny, polite kid. He was a good sport of hanging out with an 18 month old. He and Mark even babysat one night so we could go out to dinner with friends.

He will be missed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New school!

Andy started his new school at the George Mason preschool on Tuesday. So far, so good. I gave myself lots of time for a lengthy drop-off. I chatted with his teacher, who has a son who graduated with Mark. I talked to the administration people about his paperwork. I generally lingered. And after about a minute, he asked if he could play and didn't look back. His only complaint was that he wanted his big neon green microfiber plush blanket to have for nap time. I would let him have it, but it was on sale at Target sometime last spring for like $7.99 and it's at least a queen size. The thing would take up his whole cubbie even though his new one is twice the size of his old one.

As a reward though, I went to Target and got him a twin sized version of it. Sadly, it's in season and I paid like $25. Worth it, though. The only thing strange for me so far is it's more of preschool in that he's supposed to bring his own snacks for snack time as well as a list of school supplies. I certainly don't mind spending $20 on the supplies and snacks I just didn't realize it on the first day so he had to get a snack from the kitchen.

The only things bad for me were it really is about 7 minutes further away. Not bad, but in rush hour that can be significant. I also haven't really worked out my new routes yet.

It also sucks that after last week's sunburn debacle, I sent him off with a peeling face and back. Nothing like admitting in the beginning that I'm a shitty parent that, gasp, let my kid get sunburned. I can hear the judgements from the other parents already, "I would never let that happen to Susie." I don't care so much that I am not the perfect parent as much that I mind that they know already. Fortunately, a friend e-mailed me to say she had gotten her dates mixed up and he daughter started kindergarten a day late. It's nice to know we're all human.

I don't have any pictures to post of his big day. I thought about it and then didn't want to make it any more dramatic than usual fearing waterworks and whining. It's especially a bummer since I'm seeing all the adorable pictures my friends are posting from the first day of school and I WANT SOME (just like the Pigeon who wants to drive the bus, which Meg has made us read 200 times in the past week). I may have to stage some pictures. You won't tell, right?

Monday, September 07, 2009


Before we could leave for the beach, Andy had his last day at Kindercare. Here he is with his teachers Mr. Jerrell and Ms. Clydie. I teared up a little, but he was fine.

Tor and Ryan on the boogie boards.

Nicole with her shadow Mia.

Trying to convince Meg this was fun. She didn't buy it.

Poor awkward port-wine sunburn.

Day two with the hat and shirt. That's Mia behind him. They did variations of this for five and six hours at a time. It was remarkable.

We did it! We took a vacation that wasn't to see family, go to a wedding or a graduation of some kind. Through a Theta friend, we got a great deal on a four bedroom house in Rehoboth, Delaware, about 3 1/2 hours away. After trying for months to pin down a date with friends, we finally just booked the house and were fortunately that folks could join us. Andy had the time of his life. Minus the seriously red sunburn (poor kid has my features, sadly) he had the best time. He played with Mia and Liam and loved the beach, just running into the surf and making piles of sand and water entertained him for like six hours at a stretch with no complaining. It was remarkable really.

Meggie Meg, however, was not so keen on the beach. In fact, with such a willing audience, she spent a lot of time whining. Her new trick is to get others to read her books, which is both adorable and annoying. She also loves to take us by the hand and take us to whatever it is she wants to do next, like go outside, eat sometime. It's not talking, but she's getting started on that. I imagine next year she'll be more interested. I think my friend would let us rent it again next spring (it's cheaper in the off season and right now we don't have to worry about school schedules). I also think next year she'll be entertained with the DVD for three hours. As it was, she was a pretty good whiner about the ride as well.

We loved seeing our friends with the bonus of them having friends in town. Bjorn's brother and his kids were there, too, so it was really nice and social while relaxing. I want to go back tomorrow. Well, except for the driving and sunburn parts. Poor Andy is so sunburned awkwardly on his face due to my poor sunblock application is looks like a bad port wine stain. For the second day, I made him wear an "aqua" shirt which in this case was just a microfiber shirt and a hat.

In other big news, Andy starts his new school tomorrow. He's starting at the George Mason University Preschool/Daycare. I really liked the program. It's slightly less convenient, but I liked it better and it's marginally cheaper. Score! And as if things weren't busy enough, I've decided to take a graduate school class at George Mason myself in health communications. One class in and I'm already a little daunted.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gettin' old

Little Miss Jennifer is not so little anymore as evidenced by her 24th birthday today. The eight year old I knew back when is now a college graduate complete with a real job, her own apartment, a new promotion and is an excellent big sister. I'm so proud of her.