I’m drained.  Really, just flat out exhausted.  I got Samilicious Boy up this morning and thought he was just being a pain about going to school.  He doesn’t like going on a good day, but on a day when Jessie isn’t going, I know it’s going to be a battle. I had him on my lap, and he threw up out of nowhere.  My living room is, of course, an utter disaster, covered with toys and books and blankets, so I’m desperately trying to aim his little vomiting body so that he’ll puke in a spot where I can clean it up easily, while still trying to be all motherly and reassuring.

I put him to bed, clean up the mess, make Marc cancel his meeting so he can stay home with vomit boy, and take the two girls off to the pediatrician.    Get Jessie’s diagnosis confirmed, with the added bonus of having to talk the doctor out of an EKG because the computer system was down and Jessie’s heart beats funny.  She’s got PAC (premature atrial contraction).  It’s not bad, in and of itself, and since she’s otherwise healthy, it’s not a concern.  But with the system down, the doctor (who wasn’t her normal pedi) was getting concerned, and was ready to whisk her off for more testing.

Once I got Jessie home, I shipped Marc out the door.  As he was leaving, he bopped into the bedroom to kiss the boy goodbye, and Sam hollered in pain.  Because Marc kissed his head, and oh yeah, did I mention that Sam had gotten his head bonked yesterday?  No?  That’s because I was a wreck about Jessie’s concussion – AND MISSED ENTIRELY THAT SAM HAD ONE.

I was just starting to think about the bump on his head, and the vomiting… the connections are starting to come clear and Sam mentions, rather contemplatively, that my ceiling light in the bedroom keeps moving.  And by the way – did I know that my ceiling has purple splotches on it?

Five hours later and a very long ER visit later (did I mention that Sam has a tendency to go mute when strangers (like nurses) talk to him?), I had another kid with another mild concussion.  The ER docs were fabulous with him, and he really did relax and talk to them eventually.

Both kids are on restricted activities, and I’m assured that both will heal quickly with no lasting effects.  Headaches, nausea and visual disturbances are normal and to be expected and may re-occur off and on over the next couple of days, but unless they get worse, or they start passing out, getting super lethargic, etc, then they’ll heal and be none the worse for it.

But I’m exhausted, and desperate for a break.  Marc is on his way home, thank goodness, and I’m off for a very long, very hot and very alone shower.

I brought Jessica back into the pediatrician’s this morning, because her headaches weren’t going away.  In fact yesterday, walking around triggered such a bad one that she was curled up on her bed sobbing in pain.  Her pediatrician said that it probably is a minor concussion, and the headaches should go away within the next few days.  No activities at all, she can go to school as long as her head doesn’t hurt, but no gym, no recess, etc.  She’s slightly dehydrated and tired, so I gave her a beverage and popped her back into bed.

Sam is also home today.  I thought he was just faking it, because Jessie wasn’t going in to school, and then he puked all over the living room.  Twice.

Keeping a VERY close eye on Julie, waiting for her to come down with a vicious cold.  I figure that’s all I’m missing before I hit the trifecta of sick and injured kiddos.  Thus far, she appears to be healthy, and is tickled pink that she’s got a sick Boy home and a sick J in the other room with her.  She keeps checking on them, bringing them little treats and kissing them before “locking” them back into the various bedrooms I’ve got them sequestered in.

 

I don’t do much for St. Patrick’s Day as a rule.  If I can find a green outfit for the kids (which is harder than you’d think), I’ll toss it on them.   But that’s about it.  Corned beef and cabbage is not one of my favorites, and I’m not a beer drinker ever.  Making it green makes it not even a little bit more appealing.

But oddly enough, my kids and my husband were completely into it this year.  Marc went out and bought the ingredients for a boiled dinner, with cabbage and corned beef, potatoes and carrots.  We even threw in the old parsnips we’d had hanging in the veggie drawer.  Invited both Lilli and Sarah and the in-laws over, made a big salad and chocolate cupcakes with green food coloring frosting.

And Miss Jessie –  my poor girl who spent all afternoon on Friday and all day on Saturday in her bed, nursing her bruised little head, made leprechaun traps with Sam.  Jessie had had no use for Sam for years now, he’s been banned from ever going into her bedroom, and at best, she’s apathetic towards him.  At worst, she’s openly derisive and hostile.  But yesterday – she was so sweet and angelic towards him.  She taught him how to build the traps (which she had to have seen on television somewhere, I’ve never built them) by propping up a bowl and baiting them with something shiny.

Then she came out, instructed Marc on going in after everyone was asleep and leaving some coins on the floor for them.  He promptly forgot about it.  This morning, she woke her little injured self up, and came out to reprimand her father for forgetting.  Then got some coins and reeses peanut butter cups (the little ones that looked like pots of gold) and put them under the kids’ pillows for them to see when they first woke up.

First – how awesome is my ten year old for thinking of all of that and executing it?  And second – is it possible that the bonk on the head really did change her personality?  She hasn’t been that nice to her brother in a long time, he was so happy when I put him to bed last night.  It was delightful.

 

 

Poor Jessie bumped her little head today.  It’s not too bad, I guess, but I’m hauling her into the doctor’s anyway, just because it’s my Jessie and it’s her little head and I’m worried.  It’s a big black and blue, with a little bloody spots popping up just above the bruise.  She was running and slid, slamming her head into a whiteboard at school.  Oddly enough, she was running to get a pen so that her friends could sign her “cast” that we had put on her thumb.  Somehow she managed to get not one, not two, but FOUR paper cuts on her thumb on Wednesday, and by last night, they weren’t healing and hurt.  So we put a little bacitracin on it, and then a bunch of band aids, and then taped the whole mess up with medical tape so it would heal.

On the upside, the bump did make her forget entirely about her thumb injury.

I feel like Jessie is more prone to injury than the other kids.  Out of the three, she’s the only one that’s broken a bone (her wrist) or gotten stitches (twice, both times on her beautiful little face).  I think it’s because Sam is just more physically adventurous, and thus, more confident.  He’s got a better sense of his body and rarely actually gets hurt.  Julie is the same way – mainly because she’s spent most of the past two years chasing after him.  She’s tougher than Jessie is, tougher than Sam was at that age, I think.   Poor Jessie has to pay the price of being the oldest child of a somewhat awkward, not at all physically graceful girl who really didn’t like running around all that much.  Marc tried, but it wasn’t until Sam that he was able to get a kid who really thrived on rough and tumble play.   Jess would play fight on the bed with him, but it was nothing compared to the all out brawls that Marc and Sam will have, wrestling and trying to kill each other with pillows.

Anyway – we’re off to the doctor’s in a bit, just to make sure that she’s okay.  I’m sure she is, but she’s my girl, my only Jessie, and I want to make sure she’s fine.

So I listen to country music.  Not all the time, mostly I listen to Laurie Berkner singing about her boots and dinosaurs, or a CD we got from PJ Library that’s filled with Hebrew (which is a language I completely don’t understand).  But occasionally, I do shut off the kids CD’s and put on grown up music.  But sadly, I’m so far removed from popular culture now, the only stations that seem to play music I recognize is the lone country station and the three classic rock stations.

Today, I happened to get Julie to sleep late.  It doesn’t happen often enough, but every now and again, she’ll have a marathon sleeping night and just conk out until around nine thirty or ten.  So I had the car to myself after dropping Jessie and Sam off at school (Marc was home with sleeping Jules), and I was listening to actual music on the drive home and this song came on.  It’s by Trace Adkins, or Atkins, maybe.  I don’t know.  But the song made me a little misty – just because it’s about a guy constantly trying to tell his daughter to slow down, just a little, and look at what you’ve got right now.

It’s crazy right now, Marc’s working a zillion hours, and he’s never home anymore.  The kids are always battling or doing homework or shuttling between school and another activity, and sometimes it’s hard to remember to take a deep breath, let alone take some time to actually realize that this won’t last forever.  And when it’s gone, I’m going to miss it.

I already miss the time that’s gone.  The time when it was just Marc and I – that lovely little window when it was just us, and the only thing we had to concentrate on was each other.  Then with tiny baby Jessie, when she was so little and so incredibly perfect.  That time when I was a new mom, in love with my baby and my new life, and everything was so wonderful I couldn’t believe it was mine.  Then as she got bigger, and Marc and I got more settled, more together, more of a unit – deciding to have another baby.  Finding out that I was pregnant with Sam, and feeling that sense of utter rightness.  With this man that I loved, this beautiful baby I couldn’t get enough of, and another one on the way.  Even Sam’s babyhood – as hard as it was – I’ll never have that again.  I miss that.  I miss having just the two of them, watching little Sammy toddle after his sisters, and how much he worshiped his daddy.  I miss nursing him until he would fall asleep, and slipping out from under him and leaving him napping on the couch.  I miss sending tiny little Jessie to kindergarten, and having her come tripping up the stairs after school.  She’d come home like a whirlwind, and it took my breath away each day.  And then deciding to have Julie – and taking that pregnancy test, feeling the first stirrings of the nausea and never ending morning sickness.  That first time I heard her heartbeat on the monitor, and just listened to it for an hour in the hospital, after I’d fallen when I was just out of the first trimester.  That achingly long pregnancy, when I wanted to hold my baby girl so badly, when I thought she’d never come out and I’d be pregnant and miserable and itching for the rest of my life.  Then her delivery – two pushes and I was laughing as she was born – she was so incredibly perfect, and I’m crying because, yeah, I miss that.

And I’ll miss this too – when Jessie still comes to me for help with her homework and tells me all her secrets, and Sammy still thinks playing with Julie is the best thing ever.  When Julie still tells me every day that she is my baby, and every now and again, will sling her arms around my neck and tell me how much she loves me.  And Marc, my Marc, who still calls me all day, just to hear my voice and stay connected.  I’ll miss this.

 

 

I’m always searching for new stuff for my kids to read.  Part of it is that I love reading so much, and I have so many great memories of books that I loved as a kid, and part of it is just that I’m at the library so much for myself, it’s now just part of my routine.  Get books for me, take the kids to the kids’ section and let them color while I get books for them.  Jessie is old enough to seek stuff out for herself, and I’ve learned the hard way that if I encourage too much, she’s less likely to enjoy it.  If I step back and let her pick the book she likes instead of showing her the books I liked at her age, she’s a lot more likely to stick with it and finish it.

But Sam requires a bit more direction still.  He’s old enough to read out loud to me, but he would always rather me read to him.  And he’s not into the picture books anymore – he wants big chapter books.  We did the first three Harry Potter books, but then his interest tapered off.    We did the first eight or so Hardy Boys Mysteries, but honestly, my interest tapered off  (that was more Marc driven, and he’s working so much at night that he’s not able to do the reading with him).  But Sam stumbled onto an extremely abridged version of the King Arthur stories at a book sale a few weeks ago, and we read it over the next couple of days.  He’s fascinated, absolutely in love with all things knight related.  So we got another book, a more in-depth version, and have been reading a chapter at a time.

I think King Arthur appeals to him because it’s unapologetic about violence and sword fighting.   It’s not just that, but let’s be honest, it’s a big part of it.  Those knights seem to fight it out all the time, but there’s heroism and chivalry and bravery and boldness and I love that he loves it.  I love that he’s learning about characters that I’ve loved for years (although my exposure to it is limited to The Once and Future King, The Mists of Avalon and the Disney Sword in the Stone movie).

Mostly what I love is that my little boy is learning the magic of a good book, it’s his go-to security object, when he starts getting really anxious or upset, it’s such a quick and easy fix.  It gives him the opportunity to escape into a book, and that, to me, is the best part of reading.

 

I’ve been a stay at home for years now.  And blogging was just something I fit in there.   Like reading a book, it was something I did in between everything else, and could put it down to get a drink or break up a fight, play a quick game of hide and seek or to answer homework questions.  But lately, I’ve been trying to get more serious about it.  Like starting the website, and working on the book proposal, and I’m finding it next to impossible to get anything done when all three kids are home.  Which is why I’m up at six o’clock, and sitting at the computer.

We had another snow day yesterday, so I’ve been home with all three kids for two days now.  And despite that, I’ve still gotten a lot done, but it’s been achingly slow, and on several occasions, I’ve had to just shut off the computer and vow not to go near it for a while.  Because when it’s up and running, it’s so easy to try and get something quick done – and yesterday, while multitasking, I accidentally deleted half of the market and platform portion of the book proposal.  Painful, but a good lesson on why I need to only try and do important things when everyone is otherwise occupied.

This is a post from when I was pregnant with Julie – and the reason I picked it was because I was thinking longingly of being pregnant the other day, but then I remember how incredibly hard it was to be pregnant with other kids, and trying to balance out meeting the other kids’ needs.

(from March, 2010)

At Sam’s last physical, he had his vaccinations. I’m almost always the one who does physicals, and the shots – I don’t like them, it’s not fun to see my children get them, but I”m okay with it. I can hold them down and while I might tear up, I’m nowhere near as fragile about it as I was today. I put off getting his lead test done, but getting bloodwork done on the same day at the shots just seemed mean. But it turns out that I need the results in order to get him registered for preschool, so today while I was at Jessie’s physical, I figured I’d just get Sam’s bloodwork done at the same time.

It was AWFUL. He started screaming “I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK” while we were waiting for Jessie’s camp physical form to get filled out and just kept going, begging me not to make him do it. He’s not stupid, and his mother is 35 weeks pregnant – he’s seen a lot of bloodwork because he comes with me to all of my appts. And even though I’m very calm and don’t freak out about needles, he knows that it’s still a needle going into your skin.

He screamed the whole way down in the elevator, and while we were waiting in the waiting room. It was a crowded little waiting room and I could not stop him from just screaming non-stop. “I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK! PLEASE MOMMY, NO BLOODWORK! I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK!” His poor little face, the tears were pouring down his cheeks and his eyes were huge and terrified. They finally took us in, there were two techs, they muscled me down into the chair, locked my legs around him (and he’s not fitting all that well due to enormous belly) and I held one arm while they jammed the needle into the other one. (You understand that I’m exaggerating slightly, they were actually very fast and efficient and I’m relatively sure that they didn’t actually jam the needle in – but it was hard to tell because at this point I was crying as hard as he was).

It was the worst experience ever – rivaling his x-ray at two weeks old, when he cried so hard he vomited all over the table. He’s kicking me with those super hard shoes, I’m contracting all over the place, crying because my poor son was just so scared and I was making him do it anyway – Jessie was hiding in the waiting room, with her hands clamped over his ears… total trauma. Even afterwards – he screamed for at least another twenty minutes – jumping up and down, screaming “I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK!” I had to go back upstairs to check out in the doctor’s office, and begged them for a room, where I nursed my little boy (who’s been weaned for months) just to try and calm the hysteria, because he was still screaming. I’m wrecked, exhausted, emotional and feel so incredibly emotionally fragile. It was just awful. I’m never doing bloodwork again. Shots, shots I can do, bloodwork – no way. Never again. That’s so completely Marc’s job from here on out.

In other news – Jess is a paragon of health – still tall and skinny, 49lbs, and 48 and three quarter inches.

Am going to go sit quietly in the living room and cry it all out, I really can’t handle that kind of thing at this point. Too emotional, too pregnant, and way too tired to do that kind of emotional trauma.

Julianna is afraid of dragons. Which you wouldn’t think would be all that big of a deal, I mean, it’s not like the streets of Worcester are teeming with them. But, oddly enough, there’s a ton of them on educational kids television. Perhaps educational is a bit of a stretch, but I’m talking about the standard kids fare, disney jr, nick jr, pbskids, etc. Dragons. Every time one is one, she screams in terror. Suffice it to say, Mike the Knight is an absolute no-go in this house. Also, Dora the Explorer can freak her out occasionally as well.

I let my kids watch television. And as my mother is fond of pointing out, my youngest probably watches more than the other two did combined at her age. I’m not exactly sure why, although I suspect it has something to do with the fact that Jessie was an only child until she was three and a half, and I was babysitting for two other babies Sam’s age from the time he was three months old. And on the upside, Julie is kind of brilliant. She’s super articulate, and knows all her colors, shapes, the alphabet and can count almost up to twenty. If you don’t notice that she skips sixteen-nineteen.

But television has always been kind of hard for my kids – and I’m always shocked at what will really affect them emotionally. Once I put on what I thought was a friendly little kids animated movie – The Prince of Egypt. Five year old Jessie came sobbing into the kitchen, horrified that the Mommy put the baby in the water and let him float away. And I can’t forget the Dora episode, where the baby blue bird is missing her mommy bird, that one reduced Jessie to tears whenever it was on. The Little Mermaid freaks Sam out – not the fighting scenes, not the scene where the shark is chasing them thru the shipwreck. No, what really made him cry was the end scene, he couldn’t get past the fact that Ariel was leaving her entire family forever.

My point, and I do have one, buried in here somewhere, is that I like to think that I am relatively cautious about what I’ll allow them to watch. But I have this touching faith that if it’s animated and put out by a family friendly network, like disney jr, or pbs, it’s not going to freak my kids out. And I’m frequently wrong.