Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to get through the H1N1 shots

Today we went in for the H1N1 shot. As a mother of four, there are a couple techniques that I've learned to survive the shot process.
1. Don't bring daddy :) He doesn't like seeing the kids suffer or be in pain. He will be the one who stays up all night watching a sick kid to make sure they are breathing. However, getting shots is just very difficult for him.
2. Have a game-plan, don't talk too much about it... but inform as needed.
3. Bring treats for right after the shot to distract them. This works especially well for the 1-3 yr old range who will completely forget that they just were crying once that chocolate hits their tongue.
4. Get it over with!!!! No sense in spending time and energy delaying the process. It's all about the assembly line. Pick one... help hold them down, make them look away... give them a treat. Move on to the next. The older ones will already be freaking out once they've seen the others cry. So, the faster the process, the less time they have to dread it.
5. Bring a bucket for the one that always throws up when she has a shot. [I forgot this... now I'm bringing one!]

It was successful, we all survived.
When we were done, the nurse thanked me and told me that I was extremely helpful. She thanked me over and over because I made the whole process go so much easier. We were in and out in 5 minutes... 4 children... 5 minutes. Yes, that's what's called assembly line style! No wasting time. I can hold their hands and sympathize while we're walking into the elevator. However, when the next kid is waiting for their turn and every moment the dread is pushing down on their little minds, there is no time to waste. So, the candy works pretty well and I simply move on, knowing that I can attend to all their needs once we're all done.

Sophia told me that I need to get a flu shot too... I think it's sort of her way of asking that I feel her pain and/or some sort of pay-back. I agreed that I would as soon as they let me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to manage it all?

I have to say, the last week has been crazy. Sickness flew through for a bit and then I became consumed with school. I've seriously got to get a feasible schedule worked out so that I can manage everything I have to do.
Sometimes I simply feel all tapped out... *sigh*

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Little Girl's Secret Garden

Today was one of those days where mother's brilliance somehow manifests itself in a small but excellent idea that catches on wonderfully. We are in the midst of reading The Secret Garden and the kids have been overjoyed with the excitement of gardening and a garden revealing its secrets over time. In addition, I have about 15 gardens and not enough time to tend to all of them properly. So... here is where the brilliant ideas comes in.
I told the girls that they could each have a garden. The rules were that they had to prepare it for winter, plant their flowers in the spring, water it, weed it, and maintain it however is necessary. My thought was not only would this take some responsibility off of my shoulders in the gardening department, but they also would learn responsibility and excellent life-science knowledge. As they watch their hard work bloom before their eyes, they can look up the plants, learn about tending each one, and watch the beauty that they've created. What a great way to learn!
In addition, I told them that if they wanted to, they could save up some money and buy whatever plants/flowers that they wanted for their little plot. So, soon the girls were discussing varieties of flowers that they'd like to plant and making plans for their gardens. They discussed how much money each had in her treasure box and how much they thought it would cost to purchase plants. After giving them their choices, Sophia and Jack ended up with a little 3 sq ft plot that is below the mailboxes. After much discussion, Cecelia and Bella decided that they wanted to work on the same plot together. They picked the sunniest garden on the lot and began to work. They raked and weeded... raked and weeded.... for hours upon hours.
They asked if they could purchase some spring bulbs and I agreed. So, I gave them some more raking work that I would pay them for... so that they could earn some money for the bulbs. They worked for possibly 5 hours today out in the yard. They are tired, sore... and completely overjoyed with their new project.
I'm blessed at their persistence and excited to see what their imaginations will come up with.

Child Insomniacs read Encyclopedias

4:00 AM

*thump, thump, thump... giggle... laugh*
*thump, thump... giggle... giggle*

[my husband nudges me]


Pulling myself out of bed, I walk out of the bedroom and note that Sophia and Jack are playing in his room. Their eyes filled with excitement look at me innocently and Jack exclaims: "mom, we playin'"
"Guys it's the middle of the night. You need to be in bed!"
Sophia chimes in: "Mom, it's like the morning. I am wide awake, mom. It's just dark outside. I think it's the morning."
Jack's ever-so-helpful negotiation tactic: "Mom, I found my spiderman sunglasses. They was in my room. They cool. Look mom." *putting on his glasses*
(Note: he's good at the redirect and distract negotiations, and my husband informs me that I too use this. So, I can't blame Jack because if I use it, then it might be something he learned from me.)
I notice that not only do they have mounds of blankets in their room, but 3 huge encyclopedias (B, J-K, and the Index) that they must have been pouring over. Who does this! Who wakes up in the middle of the night to read encyclopedias and marvel at sunglasses?!
"No, Sophia and Jack it is 4am, you need to be in bed. This is not morning-time. This is the middle of the night and you need to be in bed."
Sophia looks at me with exasperation as if I certainly do not understand that it really is morning! Of course, she cannot read the clock, so she has no further argument.
"Sophia, you need to get in your bed and Jack you need to go to sleep."
Jack persists: "Mom, LOOK at these cool sunglasses. I found them in my room. I look like Spiderman. LOOK mom."
"Yes, Jack I am glad you found your sunglasses. Now go to sleep."
He frowns and grabs his blankie.
Sophia makes a show of how much I am putting her out and explains that she has her blankets and her babies in Jack's room. (This only means that she's been up for awhile because she had the time to bring all her blankets down and all 4 babydolls with their blankies and bedding.) She complains: "but MOM! I have to bring ALL my stuff back into my room!!!"
I grab her blankets and she starts bringing the baby parade back upstairs to her room. Her disappointment magnified in each trudging foot step. After several trips due to the volume of things she had brought down to Jack's room, she is finally tucked in bed and her light turned off.
As I stumble back to bed, I simply hope they fall asleep. This morning, I was informed that my husband had gotten up with me and stayed up to ensure that Sophia stayed in her room. So, he was up at 4am and I got to sleep in till 7am. lol oops!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ahhh Life

I've been in a particularily nostalgic mood lately. I'm not sure why this has come upon me now, but it might be because Jack is now potty trained. My mind springs to so many events in my life that have formed and shaped who I am today. Then, the thoughts turn toward the future. What a wonderful adventure life has become. I'm blessed to have children who are moving on from babyhood into childhood with ease. They all are learning and growing...
I'm excited to move into this new phase of life where I am no longer worrying about the necessaries of babyhood, but simply enjoying the excitement and passion of learning with each personality.
What a joy to embrace these moments and stand tall in my accomplishment. They all survived being babies and now we move into different challenges. I know their childhood will not last forever, but I'm blessed to hold their hand as they explore the world with active imaginations.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This morning, we had a comical conversation with our 4 year old, Sophia. She is wearing a bright pink fluffy dress and holding her baby Mia with a little toy phone.

My husband and I were sitting together drinking coffee...

"Mom, Dad.... be quiet, I'm going to make a phone call."
My husband and I smiled mischievously and said: "We will be as quiet as you are when we are on the phone." *smile*
She takes her phone and starts pounding on the keys, certainly dialing some 20+ numbers for good measure. She places the phone to her ear and says: "Hi, how are you today?"
My husband and I interrupt.
She frowned and said: "guys stop hollerin' I'm trying to make a phone call!"

I don't think she got it, but it was funny :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Team Drama

I cringe as I think about what has happened this week... but I have to relate this story to simply get it off my chest.
This week in school we were assigned to learning teams. We are supposed to complete a final project together and this week our goals were to complete a form that outlined how we were going to attack the final paper. I signed up to lead the team this week. It was a little like jumping off a cliff... I struggled with the fact that we not only did not know each other, but also were expected to come together to form a cohesive plan.
I worked out a time-line for the team's assignment and posted this for everyone to see. Note: there are 5 people in our team. I heard back from 2 of my peers and we decided to meet on Wednesday evening. After not hearing from everyone, I sent out an e-mail to all 5 explaining where we were at and expressing our desire to have a meeting. One woman responded with her regrets and explained that her schedule at work prohibited her ability to come to a meeting. So, I immediately e-mailed her back and tried to tie her down to a portion of the project. She agreed to this and I proceeded to enter her into our time-line and assign her jobs.
We had the meeting and got a little accomplished.
On Thursday, I wrote out all the rest of the answers based off of the discussion and made a good portion of it up.
I had clearly indicated both online in our classroom and through e-mail correspondence that each team member was supposed to enter their portion of the assignment online by Thursday. Well, Thursday comes and goes and we have heard nothing from 2 team members and 3 of us have an almost complete assignment. I e-mailed the professor at this point and asked him what to do with one member of our team as he had not posted all week. My professor told me to simply leave him out as he thought classmate would be dropping the class. So, now we were down to 4.
I e-mailed the lady who said she had a horrendous week and reminded her of the portion of the charter that she was supposed to have given to the team by Thursday.
Saturday, the professor asked us to post a rough draft so that he could offer his feedback. I e-mailed and called the woman who had been missing. I told her that she had by 5pm to post her content. Then, 5 o'clock came and she had not posted anything.
I e-mailed the professor again asking him what to do. He told me to eliminate her from the time-line and simply assume that we only have 3 people. So, I redid the assignment and rearranged the responsibilities to reflect her absence.
Then, in the middle of the night on Saturday (5 hours after that 5pm deadline), both of the other team members show up. One posts: "hey... um... what am I supposed to do?" The other posts on an old thread her portion of the charter.
So, Sunday morning I'm saddled with a decision. Do I add her back in? Will this be a pattern for her? Will we always be trying to track her down? Do I play the bad guy and effectively eliminate her from the team?
After hours agonizing over this decision, I decide she is not worth our time. We tried, I communicated, I accommodated, and I did speak to the professor. We have 3 people who have actively participated...
Then, we have a team meeting on Sunday evening at 7:30pm. We start our meeting with the 3 people and begin to finalize everything. Then, this woman pops in... I was stunned. As I looked at her name on my screen, my heart started to pump out of my chest. I was the team leader. I had to say something. My fingers froze to the key-board. How do I professionally handle this?
After all, this is 30% of our grade!
I told her to contact the professor. *sigh*
It was so hard.
She kept posting in the other forums about how teams need to be clear with their expectations. How they need to give 24 hour notice. The fact is, I did give her more than 24 hour notice. I bent over backward to accommodate her schedule. I received nothing from her. So, at this point it's too late.
I hope the professor can back up our team's decision and let us simply move on without her.
What a rough week. What an awkward position I was put in!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I love socks

There is nothing so enjoyable than pulling on new socks and running along hard-wood floors. My kids delighted in this little joy today. After the early-morning "I have no SOCKS" freak outs, I decided today I would buy everyone new socks.
So, today at Target, we made a bee-line for the socks. The kids each got a multi-pack of white socks and were excited as we payed for the socks and went home.
As soon as we were home, the kids ripped open their packages and tried them on. Soon, they were sliding across the floors "trying them out".
What fun!
Seriously, is there anything so wonderful as fresh new socks?