Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Letting the terrorist win

Aw, sleeping baby. Adorable, right? Young Margaret actually has it out for me (and herself) these days. We've been having several power struggles where she looks right at me and does something she's not supposed to, like hitting or running into the street. I think it's a ploy for attention so I need to think about how best to address it. While she doesn't like being told "no" by everyone in the house, she definitely gets attention by it so I need to shift the dialogue and the attention to catching her doing something good. That has to exist, right? Right?

She's back to sleeping in the crib...for now. I am going to further remove everything interesting from the room and then try again. I initially thought this weekend, but maybe I'll wait a couple more weeks. She's also very interested in potty training right now (my girl went no. 1 and no. 2 on the toilet this morning!) so I might take one huge milestone at a time.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Operation big girl bed = fail

Young Margaret has figured out how to get out of her bed. I am not pleased by this development. Naturally I only want change in my children when it's charming and predictable, not when it affects my important television watching schedule.

Our of fear that she'd fling herself out and get hurt, I went on Craigslist -- the most awesome garage sale in the history of the world -- and found a cute little toddler bed. A cherry finish sleigh bed. I opted for the toddler bed, basically a low to the ground bed with rails that takes the crib mattress vs. a twin. For one, I liked that it takes up a lot less space in her relatively small room. And two, it's just so, so cute.

I moved Andy up to a twin  bed when he was ready to move out of the crib and I hated those add-on bed rails. I never could get it to work that great and they always felt flimsy.

Bjorn picked up the bed for me at the bargain price of $15 and brought it home. I invested in a cute new sheet and a Dora blanket and we were all set. On Friday at nap time when I knew she was tired, I made a big deal of her new bed. We read a book, sat nicely and I rubbed her back until she was almost asleep. It should have been perfect. Then about 20 minutes later, I heard the noise of a toy. So I went in, removed all the toys, put her back in bed. This continued for about another 40 minutes when I finally put her back into her crib.

I tried not to get too discouraged. Bjorn did the same routine come the evening and after about an hour, he too put her in the crib. After more of the same yesterday, I moved the bed out to the carport. We'll try it again in a week. Or never.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Andy's going to need glasses. Not too much of a surprise really considering Bjorn's got a pretty serious prescription. On his four year check up, they pediatric nurse tested his eyes with their basic tests that I believe are left over from 1960 as it's the same stuff I remember using at Bradfield Elementary school in 1978 and it was old looking equipment then. She warned that he seemed to be having a little trouble with distance vision, but that at age four, a lot of kids have trouble with the instructions. At his five year check up, they noticed he was still having a little trouble with distance vision and that I probably should get him to an optometrist before kindergarten.

So a few weeks ago, I took him to an optometrist in Burke that our pediatrician recommended. Apparently a lot of optometrists (like our regular one) don't see little kids so I needed to find one who was willing to take the time. Dr. Katz was great. Nice, funny and comforting. The whole exam took about an hour and a half, which was surprising to me. Considering the length, I was so glad I left the Meg-er-rator with Miss Ayesha. Andy was pretty nervous about it, but he did pretty well. After doing a bunch of different distance vision and depth perception tests, he came back with a pretty good astigmatism in both eyes (I had to call my sister Mary to learn it's not "a stigmatism" and figure out what that meant). Andy was getting tired so Dr. Katz asked us to come back in a couple of weeks so he could dialate his eyes and make sure he wasn't missing something.

We went back yesterday for the dialating. Dr. Katz first tested that the measurements and vision tests from a couple weeks ago held up and then he put the drops in Andy's eyes. Andy did not appreciate that part since they stung a little. The good news is that the inside of his eyes are perfect, it's just that his eyes aren't completely round so he'll need glasses at some point to correct his 20-50 vision. What I liked was the doctor wasn't in a hurry to put him into glasses. He said for what Andy's doing, he can see fine. He suggested we tell his kindergarten teacher that he needs to sit closer to the front of the class and then bring him back in a year. So he'll definitely need glasses at some point, but I appreciate that the doctor's not in a rush. That said, he recommended monitoring the situation and if it seems he's having trouble that might be related, to bring him back in and we'll get the glasses sooner.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health insurance reform

There has been a lot said about health insurance reform. Certainly the politicians went on and on and on about it. And certainly everyone in the Facebook-o-sphere has been posting stuff pretty incindiary on both sides (seriously, people). I have nothing to add except my own personal rant du jour about it. Which I can do. Because I control the keypad (at least I do between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.).
I am for insurance/health reform. I am for this because I have children and I believe American children everywhere should have good, quality health care if they are ever going to have a chance to make something of themselves. This all came to me because I have seen first hand how insurance makes a difference in the growth and development of kids. Take Andy. He had bad ear infections. If I hadn't had insurance, he wouldn't have gone to the doctor 2,700 times for antibiotics. He wouldn't have necessarily had all those ear infections treated and eventually the tubes put in so he could, you know, hear and learn to process words and language skills. If he hadn't had all that, there's a good chance he would have been language delayed. It would have taken years for him to catch up, if he ever did.

I think about kids with less resources. Those kids have the same problem and enter school with a language delay. Because they're poor, they probably go to a crappy school and have fewer resources there, too, which puts him further behind his peers like Andy. By the time he finishes school, if he does, he's now several years behind a kid like Andy. That's not to say other things wouldn't have been a factor, but if giving him antibiotics would have fixed it, why not? It's a relatively cheap fix with such a serious positive upside for the entire country.

I also work in cancer care. I hear stories from the doctors I work with all the time about how lack of insurance keeps patients from being diagnosed earlier. That means they present with a worse disease and likely have worse outcomes. It probably also costs our healthcare system even more than the insurance would just paying for their Medicaid claims while we spend $250,000 on end of life care when if they'd had insurance, a $50,000 treatment regimen would have cured it. In fact, the American Cancer Society several years ago began a campaign lobbying for health reform because the simple fact of having insurance makes a person significantly more likely to beat the disease than without -- far more than any new screening, mobile mammogram program, surgical or radiation treamtent.

So, yes, I do think it's a good thing. I'm not sure about it being an entitlement. I'm not sure health care is a right per se. I'm not sure how much it's going to cost in the long run. But something had to be done and I'm proud of this big first step.

Rant over.

Movin' on up

Young Margaret probably only has hours left before she moves up to a toddler bed. Hours. I had planned to keep her in her crib until the summer, but the little bugger has demonstrated she can just bend at the waist just right and try to get out. She hasn't successfully gotten out. Yet. But the clock is ticking. I have casually been looking at toddler beds. I have some specific wants. I want either a bed that uses a crib mattress or a twin, but I don't want to get one of those in between beds that requires a whole new set of sheets. Right now, we're down to three sizes -- twin, crib and queen.

I am loathe to go to the toddler bed. Unlike Andy who I don't think realized he could get out of his twin bed for probably two months, Meg absolutely knows. And absolutely knows how to open the door knob already. On my list is one of those door handle protectors to keep her from letting herself out. I also will have to bolt everything to the wall that isn't already or take it out. She's turning out to be quite the thrower these days. Sigh.

All this is at a time when she's been struggling to go to bed. Last night the little brat darling refused to finally go to bed until after 10:45 p.m. She might have been up later, but I finally crashed. It's now almost 10 p.m. and she's finally quieted down after a 90 minute struggle where poor Baby Elmo and Daddy Elmo were sacrificed overboard as she protested the sheer injustice of bedtime.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Houston, we have a loose tooth

I took Andy to the dentist on Friday. (I must say, having Fridays off is pretty handy since inevitiably I am at the peditratician's, dentist's, optometrist's, ENT -- you name it). It was a new dentist for us. We used to go to a dentist that came highly recommended in Tyson's Corner. He was great and had a really cute jungle theme, highly efficient and amazing hygenists. Really. But he was just geographically undesirable. With traffic, it took practically half a day to get to there and back. So, off we went to the new dentist.

The dentist herself was quite nice and friendly. I cared less for the hygenist who seemed quite irritated that Andy was whining a bit. "Stop crying You'll get done faster that way." A fair point, but as I have learned through my outstanding parenting, firmly stating "stop crying" doesn't really work all that well. He did calm down enough for the example.

Fortunately, no cavities (phew). And as a total surprise to me, he has two loose teeth. The front bottom teeth are wiggly -- one very wiggly and the other just a little. She suggested we practice wiggling it a little every day to ensure it's loose enough for the permanent tooth to push up and out, otherwise, it might come in behind the baby tooth. She expects the first tooth out within a month, the second probably a couple months after that.

It's funny, I was a little proud and nostalgic about the whole thing. I certainly wasn't expecting it (I was more expecting the crushing news of a cavity).

Next up, figuring out the Tooth Fairy. Someone gave me a really neat gift after I had Meg that's a tooth fairy pillow. Her reasoning was that with second kids, you already have the basic stuff. I thought it was a super cool gift. Now I just have to find it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Got willful?

The last couple of months, I've really been enjoying the kids. We've had a nice run of them playing nicely together, handling school/daycare well, more or less following instructions and sleeping somewhat decently. And then I got a two year old. Seriously, my darling angel baby has turned into a terror seemingly overnight. How did I forget this stage? It's like she's a new walker again somehow.

Here at the classic traits:
  • Throwing things on purpose.
  • Throwing things and then stepping on them for good measure.
  • Throwing her dinner.
  • Stepping on her dinner once it hits the floor.
  • Pouring her juice on the floor.
  • Stepping in it for good measure.
  • Putting toilet paper in the toilet.
  • Turning on the water.
  • Pouring it on the floor.
  • Stepping in it for good measure.
  • Running away from me in public.
  • Running away from me INTO THE STREET.
Today she also managed to take off her diaper when she was supposed to be napping, pooping and throwing it on the floor. Fortunately she was in her crib so she couldn't step on it for good measure.

I've decided it's time to crack down. We're doing time outs now (I think she had five this afternoon, including when she ran away from me at the grocery store parking lot. And laughed. I could have strangled her I was so scared. And mad.) I figure I need to try to instill some discipline now or it's just going to get worse. Groan. I don't like that part! And what happened to my precious darling angel baby? Sigh.

Oh, and completely unrelated, I saw (500) Days of Summer. It was good. Bjorn watched the second half and liked it -- high praise since it's a teen/twentish romantic comedy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba Blah

I'll admit it. I have a weakness for pop culture -- television, movies, celebrity trivia. I subscribe to the awesome Entertainment Weekly. I started that subscription back after visiting my friend Armando when he was in graduate school. At the time, I was working nights so by the time I arrived in Phoenix, I think I'd been up for 36 hours. I took a long weird nap and proceeded to be up most of the night, reading his roommate's back issues of EW. It was awesome. Lots of snarky entertainment analyses, which were new back in 1996. I have subscribed off and on since then.

Unfortunately, I have an issue with my beloved magazine. They had an article this week singing the praises of the kids show Yo Gabba Gabba. They raved about the music and the show saying it was a rare show that was good for adults and kids so I thought it was worth a try. The show was fine, but the music was not really that interesting or clever and the story was incredibly boring. The music was more punk and the story was incredibly basic -- not much interesting dialogue, actually, no interetsing dialogue. Was it better than the all time worsts, like Dora the Explorer and her trolls? Yeah, maybe. But there are a dozen shows better than it. And there are two -- Jack's Big Music Show and Phineas and Ferb that are really good. I actually can listen to the Phineas and Ferb soundtrack without the kids with me. And sometimes, I might watch a show by myself.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


We took the kids on Saturday to get their passports in preparation of our Australia trip this summer. I had scouted out the post office a few weeks ago, getting the paperwork and asking exactly what we needed to get their passports. The biggest thing was we needed both parents in person, official birth certificates, not copies, and that we should not sign anything until asked in person. I also learned we could get their passport pictures taken there, which seemed just as good as trying to do it at Costco and be told later it was the wrong size.

I scouted out the Burke post office on a Friday and it was dead. Not so at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. It was packed. We waited about 40 minutes until our turn. At a certain point, they split out the passport people from the regular post office people. Unfortnately, by 12:10, the kids were luggage. Andy was toast from gymnastics and together they were an unstoppable, whining force. I was so proud. The guy at the desk was taking the whole thing incredibly seriously and was not amused by the kids. Kind of a bummer since there were a dozen families like ours there.

It was time to take the kids back for their pictures, or as Bjorn and I like to call them, their first mug shots. God, they are awful. Just awful. Part of it was they had to have both eyes fully open (no squinting when saying cheese) and looking right at the camera. So after five minutes of each not doing it right, he finally settled on pictures where they look half resigned, half crazed. I love that they'll have to carry them around for five years.

By the end, we were settling up at the counter and I turned around to see Andy lying on the floor with his hands in his pants. Naturally right in front of an entire line of folks waiting to mail packages. Course, he wasn't crying or whining anymore so I think the rest of the patrons prefered it over the former.

The best news is that the passport applications are on their way and we'll have them within four to eight weeks. Jubilee! Bjorn needs a new passport, too, but he just has to get new pictures and mail them it with his old passport and an application. Far easier.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Things to haunt them later

Meg's babysitter has nicknamed her "MooMoo." All the kids have of deminutive -- Nicholas is Nicky-boo-boo, Haddie is Haddie-pie. What's funny about MooMoo is she likes it. She likes it so much Meg calls herself MooMoo. "No, Andy. MooMoo's!" Certainly this girl has no idea that calling herself by a cow's name will not be handy in middle school.

An excerpt of a fine coversation in the bathtub this evening.

Andy: "So when Meg gets bigger, her nipples will get bigger, right?"
Me: "Yes, Andy. When she's about 12 or 13, she'll start to grow up and her breasts will get bigger like mine. When you're about that age, you'll get bigger, too. You'll start to get more hair on your body and your voice will change."
Andy: "And I'll get hair on my butt, right?"
Me: "Um?"
Andy: "Yeah, like Daddy. Daddy has a really hairy butt."
Me: "Do all boys have hairy bottoms? Like does Markie have a hairy bottom, too?"
Andy: "No, just Daddy. It's because he likes candy."

For the record, he doesn't have a hairy butt. And I have no idea how candy consumption relates to such a thing.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Your daily adorableness

She knows how to say "cheese" and smile. A future, gasp, model perhaps? Or a CEO. They also get their pictures taken alot, right?
This is my young Lady Gaga who believes in a "Choo-choo" Thomas shirt and snow boots. The little darling pranced all around the house like that for about an hour. Fortunately, no accidents. She even used the toilet once.