Hail the Night Nurses!

The first few months of Sophie’s life were really tough for us – she wasn’t sleeping, we weren’t sleeping, and as I’ve mentioned before, sleep is important! So, with Maggie’s arrival, we knew that we couldn’t just hope for the best as far as sleep went. We were going to need help. Since both our families live hundreds of miles away, we would have to “outsource” it.

Betsy took the initiative, and found two nurses who could stay overnight and take care of Maggie. How? Did she use an outside service, one that prescreened candidates and made sure they were worthy of the job? No….she went through craigslist, that earthy-cunchy classified ads website better known for listing broken toasters and counterfeit Red Sox tickets.

She waded through the responses and found someone who also had a friend who needed some extra hours. I don’t know how Betsy did it, but we got really lucky with Marianna and Lesley. They take great care of Maggie and Sophie, and give us the chance to get a full nights sleep two (or three) times per week. They’re not just night nurses, not just babysitters….I guess they’re special members of Team Patrick working on Operation Maggs.

The best thing I have been able to do over the last several weeks is pop some Ambien and turn off the monitor, knowing that we have lefty Maggie in skilled hands. Marianna and Lesley are helpful not just at night, but also during the day. I suspect that they like taking care of Sophie, since it gives them an excuse to go on the boat into town and walk through Fanueil Hall.

To give you an idea of how much a party of our family they have become, they were the only two non-family member invited to Maggie’s baptism. In addition, before one of Lesley’s dates, she had the guy pick her up at our house – we had the opportunity to meet him before her own parents did. It was also a good chance for me to work on my “bad-boy sense” to weed out the rotten ones. I think I still need to work on it, since I didn’t pick up any bad vibes with this one.

While they are very professional, and take excellent care of our two little ones, I didn’t want you to think that they were boring, stay-at-home types. So I also grabbed a photo from one of their recent nights off…down at the Redline in Cambridge. You go girls!

It’s a Famdemic

That’s right – the whole family has been knocked low. I blame the flu shots, but then again, I believe in Intelligent Design.

I probably caught it from someone at work, and wanted to share my gift with the family. So far we’ve gone thrugh a half dozen boxes of tissues, a few bottles of cold medicine, and a jar of honey (for that nasty sore throat).

The only good news is we’re not alone:

Bean’s dad is dealing with the same thing I am – how do you teach a toddler how to blow through her nose? When I say blow, she just blows through her mouth like the kleenex is a birthday candle.

Laid-Off Dad also has gone through the House of Pox, where phlegm is considered one of the four food groups. Of course, no sick family is complete without the scary hospital visit.

Eric over at More Diapers has been dealing with his famdemic (OK, I stole the word from him – if you can’t be creative, steal the good stuff), so it seems like Massachusetts has not been spared.

And that was just the Daddy Blogs that I read. It looks like the chicken flu will be with us all season.

HNT #2

OK, this is a scar…but it does come with a story.

Get into the “Way Back Machine” to the year 1990. America has just finished helping Iraq defend itself against the evil Iranian ayatollahs. Computers are a bargain at $2,500.

I went out on Saturday, a night of drinking, clubbing, more drinking, and going home alone. In my drunken stupor, I noticed my urine color was a little…off. Nothing too troublesome, at least when your BAC is 15+.

The next day I wake up, and my back hurts. Once again, given my nighttime activities, nothing too surprising. I figured if I just slept it off, had some coffee and a hot shower, it would all work out.

I knew I should get to the hospital, but I couldn’t get hold of anyone – my roommates were all gone, I called a few friends who weren’t around (in fact I left a grunting message on one machine that was replayed for the next two years), and even my neighbors in the apartment building weren’t there. Screw it – I can drive to the hospital myself. I don’t need any help.

I get to Somerville Hospital, where I get to wait in the emergency room with ODs, gunshot victims, and people with random gaping wounds. Needless to say, since I wasn’t bleeding, I was a low priority. I ended up waiting for several hours in incredible pain – I was laying on the middle of the floor in the emergency room, writhing like a fish who’s been pulled on deck.

Finally two little old ladies took pity on me and harassed the admitting nurse until they took me in. The nurse even said, “We just pulled you back here because those two old ladies wouldn’t shut up”.

To kill the pain they gave me a shot of morphine. Ahhh, sweet drugs. Of course, it didn’t take right away, but at least I knew salvation was in the future.

“OK Mr Patrick, now we need you to pee in this cup.” Those dreaded words. Peeing on command is tough enough, but I had nothing to drink all day, and was in back-doubling pain. I could barely concentrate on breathing, let alone draining the bladder.

“Well, Mr Patrick, we need you to pee in this cup – here have a cup of water to help you out.” Here goes….water down….and the pain…throw it back up. Crap. I can’t even drink water to help make water. Come on, people.

“Hmmm, Mr. Patrick, if you don’t pee, we’ll have to get a catheter.” – Horrors! Anything but the catheter! If I wasn’t running around in a johnny, I would have left and taken my chances on the outside.

Luckily, the morphine was kicking in, and it loosened the muscles enough that I could given them their precious liquid gold. It confirmed what they thought – I had a kidney stone. Being young and dumb, I didn’t really know what that meant. “Well, imagine a rock working its way down your pipes…you’ll have to pee it out.” Crap. I didn’t like how this was going to turn out.

They were ready to discharge me, and so they told me I needed to pee into a special cup with a filter for the next several days – the filter would capture any part of the stone (Why? So they could put it in some kind of kidney stone mosaic they were making?). No problem, I said – morphine is a wonderful thing.

They wouldn’t let me drive home hopped up on drugs, so I walked back to my apartment. I then regaled my neighbors with the story, impressing the ladies with my tales of pain and crying like a baby when they threatened the catheter (well, I didn’t really cry, but I wanted to).

I went back to my apartment, ready to finish up the evening with a much needed draining of the dragon. Damn. I forgot the contraption that I had to have to capture my stone. That’s OK, I watch MacGyver. You can make anything out of anything. I figured a plastic cup and a coffee filter could do the trick just as well. All I had to do was make a hole in the bottom of the cup so that the pee would drain.

OK, here’s the filter, here’s the cup…here’s the exacto blade to cut it. One slice here..one slice there-auuuuuugh! I cut my hand! Thanks to sweet morphine, I didn’t panic – even with blood spurting all over the kitchen. I quickly wrapped it in towels (multiple since it was bleeding pretty badly).

I was amused by the show of blood enough that I wrote “PIG” on the wall in blood. Looking back, that was a little disturbing, but I guess I found the humor in the situation.

So here I am, hand wrapped in a bloody towel. I know one thing – I am NOT going back to that hospital. I’ve already spent most of the day there, I’m not going to spend most of the night! So instead, I wrap my hand in as much gauze and bandage as I can find. I have it elevated (so the bleeding slows), and sleep with my arm suspended above my head.

The next day, I went back to the hospital for an appointment – I guess they wanted to see if I had passed the stone. The attending was shocked. “Why the Hell didn’t you come in last night? You sliced your hand open!” “Umm, I had just left the hospital. I thought I would look pretty stupid if I came back an hour later.”

He told me I was lucky – it looked like the cut was clean (I guess I hadn’t been using the exacto on any unsanitary items), and I had not cut any tendons, so I was going to be able to use my hand. Of course, he said, it was too late to sew it up for a scarless recovery. He put a new (and less amateur looking) bandage, gave me a shot (to protect against infection), and sent me on my way.

This scar reminds me of my 20s, when beer was cheap, and apparently, my life was too.

Temper, Temper

The toddler temper tantrum (Latin name Screamus Horribilis) has started to be a larger and larger part of Sophie’s day. What causes this? Some say, not enough sleep. Others, that it’s just part of a childs steps towards independence. Yet others say it’s God’s vengance for our wicked ways. Oops, that’s Pat Robertson talking about New Orleans.

I went through and captured on film (well, a memory card) the elements of the temper tantrum. It was actually pretty theraputic to take pictures of the tantrum rather than try to resolve it.

First, Sophie doesn’t get what she wants – in this case we put together a lunch of known favorites. PeasAndCorn (her term), chicken fingers, and rice. It’s lunch time, and we know she’s hungry. We also know that right after lunch is nap time, so she’s pretty tired. Hungry and Tired, the evil twins of the temper tantrum!

Mix in her desire for the BahBah, and we’re looking at a Category 5!

Bean’s Dad has captured the behavior pretty accurately..and there’s nothing funnier (well, 5 days later) than the Action response of “Wayah! (water)”…give her water…she throws it, yelling, “no wayah!!!!”…”Wayah!”…give her water…she throws it…etc etc ad nauseum (and I mean nauseum!)

Luckily, we were at home, so the screaming didn’t bother us. In fact, taking pictures helped us to feel like we weren’t wasting our time completely during the tantrum. I think I ended up with 6 or 7 of Sophie, a few of Betsy, a few of Maggie, and maybe one or two of our cat.

After about 10 minutes of screaming, with no rhyme or reason, we ended up with Sophie asking for (and actually eating from) her plate. I wish I knew the magic word or action which solved the riddle of the Temper Tantrum….it will remain, I fear, another mystery of the universe.

So, any insight on how to solve the riddle of the Temper Tantrum? Leave a comment!

Battle of the Wills!

That’s right, it’s time for your favorite game show…Battle of the Wills!

The game show where we take a two year old and a parent, ask them to complete a task, and see who imposes their will!

Let’s hear about today’s contestants –
Betsy is a Stay at Home Mom with years of experience in the challenging field of direct marketing technology and sales. She’s traveled enough to have hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles, and knows what it takes to close the deal.

Sophie is a two year old.

It seems like mom has the advantage, with her years of experience and knowledge of human psychology. But, we’ll see.

Round 1 – Getting Dressed
Mom has picked out a fabulous outfit, with a matching top and bottom…And Sophie fights back!
“Nooo, not this one!” “No Shirt!” “No Pants!”
Mom has the pants on, and she’s working the shirt…But Sophie pulled her patented move: the Arch! That makes it impossible to get the shirt on! With the Arch in place, mom cannot get anywhere!
“Noo!” “Nooo Shirt!” “Nooo Mommy!”
Mom is fading….She’s tagging out! She’s tagged Dad to back her up and close the deal!
“Sophie, would you like this one?”
“Yes, this one! Fleece! That one!”
Oh no, dad buckled. He let Sophie choose the purple pant/green & yellow fleece combo. Sophie really rubbed it in with that outfit selection.

Sophie 1, Mom 0

Round 2 – Lunch
Well, Round 1 went to Sophie pretty easily, but Mom is hoping that she has the right moves to win the second round.

“Sophie, would you like pancakes for breakfast?”
“No, mommy – no pancakes!”
Ouch, pancakes are a usual favorite for Sophie, Mom is really stuck now!
“Sophie, how about broccoli?”
Wow! What a surprise! Out of left field – she went with the dinner choice for breakfast! That just caught totally by surprise, she had no choice but to say yes!

Sophie 1, Mom 1

Round 3 – A walk to the park

This is the final round – all the chips are on the table. Will Sophie get her way, or will Mom be able to control the two year old?

Sophie & Mom are going to the park today, but Mom wants Sophie to ride into he stroller. Things seem to start off smoothly – Sophie is in the stroller, and they get down the street.

“Mommy, walk!”
“No Sophie, you have to ride.”
“Mommy, no shoes!”
“No Sophie, you have to keep your shoes on.”
Oh oh, Sophie’s learned a new trick – she slips the shoes off herself!
“Sophie, just give me the shoes.”
“Mommy, no coat!”
“Sophie, it’s 40 degrees out – you need a coat.”
“No, mommy, walk!”
“No, Sophie – stop that!”
Sophie has pulled her other patented move – the harness twist! She twists herself right out of the stroller harness, and she’s free to escape the stroller!
“Sophie, stay in the stroller!”
“No, walk Mommy!”
It looks like Sophie might win this round – she’s climbing the back of the seat, forcing Mom to hold the back of the stroller up…..But Mom has one trick left in her bag – the football hold!

Mom grabs Sophie like a football, are moves down the street with the toddler tucked under her left arm. Looks like the Packers have a new halfback! Sophie has no choice but to submit to Mom’s will…..Looks like Mom is the winner this time!

Final Score:
Sophie 1, Mom 2

Next time, Dad takes Sophie to Gymnastics, and tries to keep her in the rotation!

Welcome to It’s Just My Life!

Blog Explosion has a neat section of the site where you can rent out space on your blog to another blogger. After receiving several offers, I rented the space to “It’s Just My Life“, a blog written by a SAHM for three kids. My favorite is Matthew, who isn’t sleeping through the night (just like Maggie). Check her blog out, and show her some support!

Good luck Jessie!

Sophie, your father is an evil man

Isn’t this photo so cute? It shows a happy Sophie Sunshine, proud to be posing for the camera. I want to save this beautiful picture forever…but not for the reasons you think.

This is a photo to save for the “My parents are dorks” time. The time when she brings a boy over, and we need to embarass her. Why? How could this photo be embarassing at all?

Look at her socks. She chose them. That’s right, the bright orange jack-o-lantern socks that go so nicely with the rest of her outfit. But, that wasn’t enough. She couldn’t just wear the bright orange jack-o-lantern socks. She had to make sure she wore them with sandals, so no one could possibly miss them! Or, perhaps, so that she could just look down and see the toothy grin smiling back up at her.

Don’t think we didn’t try to discourage her from this selection. Betsy (the crown princess of matchy-matchy) was horrified (I exaggerate, but not by much) by the idea on the orange socks. But rule #1 of a two year old is “pick your battles”. Orange socks are not physically dangerous, so we had to let it go. My assistance was in choosing the footwear. Having insight into the mind of a two-year old, when the battle over what shoes to wear began (“No Merrells!”, “No Tennis Shoes!”), I knew the problem. She wanted to see her socks. So I suggested the sandals, which earned me the bi-polar reaction: Joy from Sophie, shock from Mom.

You see who won.

And while my mind is addled, I will not forget this photo. To this day, I still bring up a grade-school shot of my younger sister – the day after she decided to cut her own hair. She ended up with bangs across the front going at a 30 degree angle…which looks OK if you tilt your head, but not so good otherwise.

Don’t worry Maggie, your day will come soon too. Posted by Picasa