Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear Fresh Beat Band...yes, I hate you!

It is no secret that TV made for preschoolers is painful for watchful adults.  I watched the first few episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba in rapt horror as I tried to figure out HOW and WHY someone had come up with it.  Of course, my answer sat inside the tiny little brains enthralled with the giant walking puppets singing about parties in their tummies.

Moving forward a few months, and we now have 30 or so episodes recorded to the DVR.  Because "Gabba" had to be on right when we got home for the day, or when we woke up, or because it was Tuesday.  You understand.  Yes, Gabba babysat my kids so I could get dinner started, it happens.  Naturally after months of tireless Gabba viewings, I am beyond burnt out on their adventures.

Many times I have tried in desperation to get the boys to enjoy something..anything else.  For a brief and shining moment, I thought we had a winner in Blue's Clues, the show with the creepy guy and his squeaky blue dog always looking for a blue paw print.  For a handful of glorious episodes, the boys would shout "Blue, Blue!"  But it wasn't going to last.

The worst part?  They didn't go back to Gabba.  No.  Instead they have found excessive joy in the Fresh Beat Band.  If you have not had the pleasure of watching, please allow me to inform.  A quartet of four 20-something year olds live in dorms and attend 'music school.' Not unlike Three's Company, something always goes awry and music and hilarity ensue.

Like all preschool tv, it is exaggerated and over the top acting.  But, the stupid tunes are catchy and the boys love dancing around to them.  That is, when they are not sitting silently for 2 full episodes and taking it all in.  When was the last time a 2.5 year old sat still for that length of time?  Never.  Maybe in a parallel universe.

I can't exactly peg why, but I hate this show with every ounce of my being.  Every. Single. Ounce.  Maybe it is the 20+ year old adults acting like elementary school students, maybe it is the lame and cheesy story lines or the peppy attitudes?  Maybe it is the multitude of casting changes that throw me off.  I couldn't say (but if you DO watch, the new Marina gets on my every last nerve.  At least the old one seemed genuine.)

I never thought I would miss Yo Gabba Gabba, but even the tedious repetition of the episodes I have seen dozens of times is not as bothersome to me as the Fresh Beats.

As if they have secretly found delight in making me batty, my boys now come home and ask for "Fesh Beats."  Awesome.  And, because they know I will,  pull on my hands so I will stand up, sing the songs, and dance around the living room with them.  I will pick them up and spin them around, and we will laugh ourselves silly as we celebrate being home together. 

And that part I love.  Because time with E-Dude and G-Man is precious.  Because silly songs and dances are fleeting.  Because tomorrow it won't be overgrown 'kids' with problems no bigger than what song to sing that day. 

And then I will probably hate the Fresh Beats even more...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You won't Believe This

I honestly realize that many of my posts in the last MONTH have reflected the quiet desperation of a woman trying not to cry most of the time.  We have really been dog-piled with illness and injury around the asylum as of late.  Doesn't leave much time for snarky, biting wit.

To say I am exhausted doesn't begin to explain it.  My fellow moms certainly know the feeling.  Zero rest or sleep for mom coupled with the stress of wondering when the next thing will occur really wears you down. I found myself torn between running to work in the morning and not wanting to leave my precious boys for another second.

With this latest round of issues, I didn't even attempt to consider we may just be done with all of the crap.  I haven't had the time, and frankly, getting sleep took precedence.  Wouldn't you know, DH begins coughing and hacking and feels generally miserable.  His diagnosis at the doctor?  A cold aggravated by...wait for it....strep throat.


I am completely dumbfounded.  It was always my assumption that people generally didn't get strep after their twenties.  Now, my newly 40 year old husband has the bacterial plague that I used to catch if someone else in the county had it. 

That was it.  The straw.  The moment where I walked over the proverbial line in the sand.  Instead of falling down into stressed out despair, I threw my hands up and laughed at the ridiculousness of it.  I mean, really.  Let's look at our tally for February/March.

Me: Sprained ankle
Boys:  busted open head, fever seizure, double ear infection, double 4 day long fevers-multiple seizures and hospital stay
DH- Strep Throat

On the bright side?  In less than 4 months, we have met the deductible on our High Deductible Insurance plan.  If that doesn't scream FANTASTIC, I don't know what will.

You can't see me, but I am giving the bird to illness and injury in general!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dear G-Man

Dear G-Man,

You were sick last week as well.  Your fever stayed somewhere between 101 and 102 without round the clock medicine and frequent baths.  Despite that, you were happy, sweet, and as playful as always.  With the exception of your 'colors', you willingly shared with your brother and enjoyed the non stop playing of your favorite TV show.

We slept on the living room couch at night, because you were having trouble sleeping and Mommy had to give you and Brother medicine every few hours.  That is no biggie for us, because you and I have slept many a night out there together.  One night, I place you and brother on opposite sides of the couch and ran to the bathroom. 

When I returned, brother had crawled across the couch , snuggled up next to you, and placed his sleeping head on your chest. Not wanting the weight of his head to disrupt your breathing, I moved him to your side, so that you were next to one another.  As if in response, you rolled over and put your tiny arm over your brother in a protective embrace.  It was a moment that reminded me of the truly special bond only twins get to share.  Even sound asleep, you were aware of his presence.

Then Friday came, and brother was clingy.  He didn't feel well at all, and as a result, you didn't get the same amount of snuggles and cuddles to which you are accustomed.  Somehow, you were aware that E-Dude felt poorly, and you were content to help Mommy with anything she could think to ask you.

You didn't get scared when brother had his seizure, because Mommy tried to stay calm for both of you.  The only time you were disturbed is when you were alone in your room after we left for the doctor.  Daddy brought you out to the living room so you had company. 

When we had to go to the hospital, you were beginning to run another fever (5 days in a row) and looked simply exhausted.  Yet you didn't utter a single cry of protest.  You looked around with exhausted curiosity and patiently waited while Daddy gave you medicine to help you feel better.  You enjoyed looking around the administration area, and quickly fell asleep on Daddy's lap.

When your "Pop" came to keep you company, you were nothing but smiles.  He was your captive audience and you told him stories in G-Man-ese.  Not long after, you and Daddy went to stay with Pop and Grandma, where you got to terrorize the dogs, swing on the yard swing, and point out the fish in the pond.  Not to mention all the cuddles you could handle from your loving grandparents.  They and Daddy wanted you to relax and enjoy yourself as much as possible, so that you wouldn't worry about E-Dude.

Mommy missed you terribly that night and throughout the next day.  But I am awed by your kindness, your intuitive nature, and your ability to easily adapt.  You are intelligent, nurturing, funny, considerate, and eager to please.  I hope you are always able to 'go with the flow' without much effort.  It is a rare gift, and I see it in you every day. 

I watch how thoughtful you are.  You don't get a snack without reaching up a hand for the same for your brother.  You bring him his cup if he drops it.  You close doors that shouldn't be opened.  Somehow, you 'know' what people need and you take care of it.

You are growing into an incredible little boy, and I hope I am able to be the Mommy you deserve.

Love you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dear E-Dude

Dear E-Dude,

I prematurely celebrated the end of another round of illness/drama in our family this weekend.  Not terribly long after I finished my last post, you started having a strange spasm.  Then a few hours later, you had another one, and I realized it looked quite a bit like a seizure.  Except you were awake, alert, and screaming your sweet little head off.

And your fever spiked back up.  And your breathing was fast and shallow.  So, I packed you up and ran you over to the small ER behind our neighborhood (they know us well by now).  I didn't explain the seizures well, because they were kind of like a muscle spasm, it was as if they hurt you.  The doctor wasn't as concerned about that as he was your breathing.

So you got two shots in the leg and a breathing treatment.  And a date with the doctor the next morning, because he was afraid you might need to be admitted to the hospital .  Overnight you had 2 more screaming seizures, and your breathing didn't improve.  As I prepared to bring you to the doctor you had another seizure, and I knew we couldn't avoid the hospital.

Our doctor was a fantastic advocate for you and I.  He got in touch with the pediatric neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital who wanted you in the hospital immediately.  She wanted you transported by ambulance and the doctor told her that you were stable and I was perfectly capable of getting you there safely.  And he was right.  I called daddy and told him to pack a bag and get G-Man ready to go.

G-Man was still running a fever, so he and daddy couldn't come up with us at first.  All of your initial curiosity was destroyed when the nurses put in the started for IV.  Then they bribed you with a truck and crayons and we were good to go.  You had another seizure while the pediatrician was there, and I was grateful that if it had to happen, at least she got to see it.  She felt certain it was a febrile seizure, but since you had more than 1 (try 8) in a 24 hour period, they were considered complex.

They prescribed you seizure medication.  You were exhausted, but intent on finishing your chicken nuggets.  The medicine didn't agree with you, because you were easily agitated and threw fits I have only read about.  You were not my sweet little dude.  And how could you be?  You were sick, exhausted, and scared, and people kept prodding at you.

Daddy and G_Man left to stay with Grandma and Pop, so Mommy knew they were okay, and she could concentrate on you.  As the seizure medicine wore off, you became more like yourself.  We enjoyed looking out the tenth floor window and the cars whizzing by on the highway, and the birds flying high in the sky.

Overnight you started to have a hard time breathing.  The nurses had to suction out mucous and put you on oxygen.  You were not thrilled, but within a few minutes, your little body stopped fighting so hard to breathe and you could sleep comfortably.

You never get sleep in a hospital, as was evident by the 8am wake-up call from the lab technician.  She woke you from sound sleep by taking blood out of your arm.  It took every ounce of what little energy Mommy had not to blow a gasket and yell at the woman who had destroyed the most rest you had in nights.  At some point you pulled the IV start from your arm, and the nasal cannula irritated you.  

You met the neurologist who said we would need to take you in for an MRI and EEG in a few weeks to make sure there is no underlying cause for your seizures.  You also met the attending neurologist whose name I don't remember, but it sounded like yarmulke.  Even cranky and tired you managed to charm all of the nurses and doctors, who thought you were the sweetest little boy.

Honey, mommy is so very proud of you.  You are a fighter, you are strong, you are resilient.  You knew to cry right  before the seizures and that Mommy would be right there.  You clung to her closely, knowing she would never leave your side.  You managed to smile, laugh, and flirt with the cute nurses, just like the charmer you are.  You bravely handled all of the stress and scariness of the hospital and made it through with smiles.

I am amazed by you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break Fail and Fevers

Spring Break Started so well.  My Mom and Step-Dad came in to visit from out of state and we began by celebrating the 40th birthday of my husband.  The boys were thrilled with all of the extra attention and learned very quickly to run and hug grandma!

Monday brought big boy haircuts, which has been a task. G-Man usually cries giant crocodile tears with abandon, leaving me to feel all the pitied looks from other parents.  Yes, I have "THAT" child.  With my mom in tow, both boys crawled into their car shaped seats and had a grand old time.  G-Man watched his stylist warily, but smiled and watched "Toy Story" while she worked.

Then they brought out the magic balloons.  These simple, purple pieces of plastic/rubber occupied both boys for a good half hour.  Awesome!  

You remember the massive drama cloud of issues we have had with the boys the last few weeks. So naturally, when G-Man woke up at 3 in the morning with a 100.4 degree fever, I was exceptionally bummed.  Both boys ran low grade fevers the last day my parents were in town.  Made for a low key day, but the boys were in good spirits.  

Fast Forward to that evening. E-Dude got up to 103.2 and G-Man to 101.7.  Knowing they are prone to seizures, I threw E-Dude into a bath.  The poor thing wasn't even awake yet and cried the most pitiful sounds I have ever heard.  Once his fever came down, I began a long night of round the clock medicine.

3 days later and they are still feverish with a flu-like virus (doctor's diagnosis).  Thankfully, they are acting like themselves, barring the coughing and fevers.  But it has been a bummer of a spring break.

Still, I am SO thankful:
  • that I was home on spring break and didn't have to get penalized for taking time off work
  • that being home with sick munchkins is still better than a good week at work
  • for air conditioning companies with true integrity
  • for super snuggles with my babies
  • for pediatricians that magically make my boys giggle and laugh
  • for seeing my mom-I miss her terribly!
  • for finally getting in a post this week!
  • finding joy and blessings in the hardship
Check out some pictures and let me know what YOU are thankful for this week

Yay!  We have balloons!
E-Dude getting his balloon reward
Ahhh, the joys of a purple balloon

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I liked listing things I was thankful for last week, so have decided to repeat the activity.  Showing gratitude really makes you realize how blessed you truly are.

I am thankful for:

E-Dude grabbing my hand so I will go with him wherever he goes
G-Man snuggles in the middle of the night
nighttime giggles
students who playfully banter when it is appropriate ;)
1 more day until Spring Break
The moment when the neon spring green appears on the trees
and the next, when everything is awash in spring beauty
My blooming white iris'
Counting Down to the Hunger Games
Students excited to READ the Hunger Games
Kisses from my husband
laughter through tears
Knowing I will see my mom in a few days

and so much more!
How about you?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Becoming the best "You" you can be

As a teacher, I have dealt with my share of 'difficult' parents, as well as heard the horror stories from other teachers.  Helicopter parents, those living through their kids, those who want to be their child's friend instead of parent, those who are certain their child would never do anything wrong, etc.

I have also been fortunate to know many wonderful, supportive parents who are willing to stand up and help their child be the best he or she can possibly be.

Working with kids with disabilities really puts this into perspective.  Today I had the pleasure of proctoring one of the mandatory state exams-which means 3 hours of sitting in a room while students work on a test.  Today's group was small, and the students have some fairly significant impairments to their learning.

It was while reading the obligatory script that I got truly angry for these students.  Here, my state is demanding they take a numerical grade level test, when their academic achievement is far below that. (For example, they are in 10th grade, but functioning at about 3rd cognitively).  While the directions are basic, I found I had to add extra steps simply so the students could understand the directions.  (Like, after you finish the question, TURN the page and read the next passage-if I hadn't included the word 'turn' a few of them would not have known to do so).

It made me so angry that I sobbed in the bathroom on my break.  Why are these kids being set up for failure?  Why are they being used as another reason to insult education?  Why does my local government care more about whether they can identify the theme of a story than if they can function outside of high school as an adult?

These students are incredible, amazing, loving, caring people.  I listened with joy after the test as they chattered away about the things they loved, and the things they were learning in their classes.  In their voices I heard childlike innocence and faith. They reach out wholeheartedly and with love in every single thing they do. They make me want to fight for them, to fight for the chances they absolutely deserve. To remind the government that individuals are more than stupid numbers and ratings. 

 And I realized that this is a point God is trying to make with all of us.  He doesn't expect us to be 'perfect' by society standards, He knows we have many faults.  He expects us to be the best "us" we can be.  He fights for us daily, even if we don't realize it. And He works tirelessly to help us realize our own worth in Him.

Who is God hoping you will fight for today?

Linking up with :

Monday, March 5, 2012

Simple Joys

What do you do on a beautiful 74 degree day in March?

You stop by the dollar store, pick up some wiffle ball bats and trays and wands for bubbles.  Put said toys in the backyard, fill the trays with bubble juice, and let the munchkins go nuts.

I lost count of how many times G-Man shouted the word bubbles, to indicate everything from "Mom, I require more bubble juice." to "Look at all these bubbles!"  to "I am supposed to have all of the bubble juice in my hair, correct?"

Obviously I am going to be buying gallons of bubbles this summer, but it is hard to beat an activity which keeps toddlers occupied for at least 30 minutes.  He did not tire of playing with the bubble wand at all.  How many things can we say that about?

E-Dude loved the bubbles too, but was much more occupied watching the mockingbird sit on the rooftop behind us.  He kept shouting "See bird?  See bird?"  When I told him that was a mockingbird, he attempted to repeat me "Mah-in-bird!" 

So cute.

He talked to that bird on and off throughout the afternoon.  At one point, he started to yell the word bird with even more excitement, causing me to look up from the bubble juice stream accumulating in the yard.  Would you believe the mockingbird flew down to sit on our fence?  Two noisy toddlers in the yard and that crazy bird swooped down to check out the little friend he had been chatting with all afternoon.

I was dumbfounded and delighted.  G-Man covered in bubbles, E-Dude skipping through the yard with pure joy on his face.

Perfection in a day!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Lately I feel as if I just need to be able to stop and breathe.

After the head gash and fever seizure, last weekend E-Dude ran a high fever and ended up with a double ear infection.  After a trying week at work and just wanting to relax with my family, my poor little man was miserable-and so was everyone in the house.

Thankfully, he is doing much better, and everyone is (knock on wood) in good health.  So today, I just want to take a second and be thankful.

-For 80 degree days on March 1
-For having a class studying the environment that allows us to go outside.
-For antibiotics that clear up ear infections
-My little scientist E-Dude observing his world
-Rough and Tumble G-Man and his silliness
-E-Dude spontaneously singing "How Great is our God" this morning during wake up time
-Toddler kisses
-A husband who is grateful and gracious
-students who make me laugh and remind me why I teach
-God and the many blessings He has given
-Yo Gabba Gabba during cooking time
-singing and dancing with the munchkins in the house
-being right where I am, right at this moment in time.

What are you thankful for?