Tuesday, April 22, 2008

happy earth day from the princess and the pea

I am not a nature lover. A tree-hugger yes, but feel-the-grass-under-my-feet as I sweat on the hiking trail girl, never. I love that nature exists, I want to protect it, I just don't enjoy sleeping and eating in it. My idea of a nice day outside includes cement and a swimming pool.

So, when we invited ourselves to our friends camping trip (in the rain), I immediately sent Randy to the sporting goods store on a mission - find something I can sleep on that will feel like my bed. And this is what he found:

Do the cots look like my bed because Wally is jumping on them?

As we were leaving, I was mocked for my camping attire - full face of makeup, open toed shoes (I have to say in my defense I had removed my heels!!), and "not camping" clothes (not sure still what camping clothes are).

The rain didn't really bother me, nor did the dirt in the tent. What did get to me was the natural disasters I foresaw - children falling into the fire, getting lost in the woods, or dragged out of the tent by a bear (I don't believe there really are any bears where we were, but a red-neck fills just fine in my scenario). Doesn't this look dangerous?

As Randy zipped us into the tent (don't even get me started on the issue of being zipped inside of something), I was in for the longest night of my life. Comfy as the cot was, and loud as Randy's rhythmic snores were, they were no contest to the sounds of nature which amplified for my full hearing pleasure in the tent. I heard squeaks I assumed were mice running rampant through the camp, chewing their way into our snack-packed rubbermaid tubs through the sealed bags and into the mainstay of life - the Fritos. I heard flits against the tent, certain they were bugs of every kind, there to crawl into my sleeping bag to give me a big case of the jitters (not surewhat else bugs actually do, but I am terrified of them!). My imagination had the best of me, and with nothing more than a couple of zippers and layers of nylon between me and nature, I could not sleep.

Just as the sun peeked its way into the tent, I could hear the restless stirring of boys fighting to be awake, only now I was finally asleep. And now, it was time for breakfast.

My loss of sleep was my children's gain in junkfood, for the next day I needed all the sugar and caffeine possible to keep myself going. And, as evidenced by the Macon Telegraph photojournalist who took the pic below, I shared the sugar - Stevie and my friend's daughters are eating ice cream under a tree at the Cherry Blossom Festival:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed . . .

One fell off and broke his head,
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"You win the bump of the night award"

We keep adding to the list we started:
2 urgent care visits (both Wally)
2 ears infected (also Wally)
3 head x-rays (again Wally)
1 intact nose (thankfully!!!)

When we returned home from what seems like should be our standing Monday evening appointment with urgent care, I asked Wally if he was tired. He said, "I want to play with Stevie" isn't that what got your nose looking like this in the first place?!?!?!?!?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

keeping score

"Mrs. Selcho, this is Kim, the school nurse" I've heard the phrase about 27 times this school year, as Ellie has taken to the school nurse and they have become fast friends. Usually the call is related to something stuck in her expander, a twisted ankle, a loose tooth, or some other high drama for a 2nd grader.

But this time was different, this time there was alarm in her voice and I could feel my heart beating so hard I was sure it could be seen through my shirt. As I tried to maintain my composure, there were tears of the unknown welling up in my eyes. This time, I really did need to be there.

So far the past few weeks, we have had:

9 sick school days (Kennedy)
1 missed girl scout camp (Kennedy)
1 mono test, strep test, CBC count (Kennedy)
8 doses Benadryl (Wally)
10 doses Tylenol (Wally & Stevie)
2 102 degree fevers (Wally)
3 boxes of kleenex (Wally)
1 "why doesn't Jesus make my mouth {throat} better?" (Stevie)
1 prophylactic benadryl dose (Stevie - who had foraged into forbidden pantry food)
8 projectile burps (Stevie and Kennedy)

and so far, Ellie has been immune. But, Ellie, who is like her mother and never wants to be outdone, has built up her own little tally the past two days:

2 Heimlich Maneuvers
2 chest x-rays
1 urgent-care visit
1 ambulance ride
1 scope
infinite mother panic attacks

It all began at breakfast Wednesday when Ellie choked. She had been gagging a bit, but at one point she completely choked and in spite of my own best panic instincts, I was able to do the Heimlich Maneuver and save her. She was okay and went to school and I vowed never to let her eat shredded wheat again. But she gagged all day long.

So, last night Randy took her to urgent care where they declared her "fine". And today, she went to school as usual.

Then came the call. I was 40 minutes away from the school at that point and unsure of what I was going to do with choking Ellie. The nurse decided to call the ambulance - good choice!!

It felt like a movie, like I was watching someone else try to take care of family business to keep her mind off the fact that her baby was in an ambulance and she wasn't there. Fighting complete hysteria with focus: calling the neighbor to pick Kennedy from the bus, arranging for the girl scouts who were supposed to come that afternoon, checking voice mail, and phoning Holly about Wally's lack of shoes (she was gracious enough to keep the boys). Anything to keep her brain from recognizing the cold stark reality that her child is mortal.

At the end of the day, it really was me, and Ellie is fine. She is having spasms from the swelling caused by the lodged shredded wheat which make her (and everyone around her) believe she is choking, but they will go away. And she is thrilled because the ENT always has the best menu advice for mom - mashed potatos, pudding, ice cream, etc. Though she didn't win in length of illness, she definitely won in drama.

But for those of you keeping score at home, the real winner is life. How much we take it for granted, that our children will be bouncing and laughing and healthy and here. That they'll get off the bus that afternoon with nothing more than some ketchup stains from lunch and a well-rehearsed "fine" when asked how school was. That they'll be rolling their eyes as we lecture about leaving clothes all over the floor and not making their bed. That our goodbye in the morning is temporary.

Statistically speaking we're right, and it's too much pressure to be always mindful of the alternative, not to mention a waste. On days like today, I declare life the winner and just try to play the game well.