Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye Mommy Missile

A little over three years ago when Randy drug me to every dealership in the state looking at minivans I was more than annoyed! I had a car that was working just fine and that I thought was sporty and cute. Though it was a bit difficult to get the carseat in and out, I absolutely did not want to have a minivan. After looking at several dealerships one weekend, en route to Des Moines to visit friends and show off our new bundle of joy, we ended up at a Chrysler dealership and I decided to test drive a sporty looking, racing red mini van. We strapped Reese's carseat in and away we went! It was not as bad to drive as I had imagined, I was used to driving cars and thought that a van would feel so much larger and more awkward. Another factor in our decision was the fact that Reese, who had cried during every previous stop at a dealership, was quiet as a churchmouse during our car ride. Finally, the salesman pointed out that all of the seats folded down into the floor "making it easy for picking up and hauling large loads, say of furniture, without the necessity of a truck, or even needing to tell my husband." Those were the exact words of the salesman. At that, I had to have it! Randy and the salesman worked out a deal and about 3 hours later, we were driving away in our new (to us) minivan. Up until then I had made it perfectly clear to everyone in both of our families that I did not want a minivan, so of course I caught some flack upon showing off the new vehicle to members of our family, especially those who dubbed my new car the "mommy missile". I had to totally eat my words because I loved the new van! We began to reap the benefits immediately on our ride home from Des Moines. I could sit in the back by Reese to pump and then feed her without feeling on display to passing motorists. When I was finished feeding her and she slept, I could move easily to the front seat to talk with Randy. If it was raining, I could crouch in the van and get Reese into her seat without having to stand outside and get all wet. I did also use the van to pick up several pieces of furniture for our house including a large table and chairs, buffet and 2 patio sets. Finally, when going on trips with my family, we were able to consolidate several families into our van and take less vehicles, that is until we all had multiple children!
We bought the van just before I returned to work from my maternity leave. About 1 year later we were expecting our second child. After the birth of our second child I quit working to be a stay at home mom. We rarely used the van after that time because I did not go anywhere except doctors appointments, but if we could I planned appointments around times when we could use Randy's vehicle and go together. After over a year we had put less than 5,000 miles on the van and were still making the same payment. We decided that it would be smarter to cut out the payment and find something with a little better gas mileage that would be cheaper for us. After putting the van for sale, Randy found a cavalier convertible similiar to one that he had in high school. I was not excited about it because I did not think that a convertible top would be very safe if I were to ever be in an accident with the kids. I didn't relay my concerns to Randy and he ended up buying the convertible. After driving it to Dubuque to visit my mom I became irrate. The car shook like crazy at highway speed, died if you let it idle to long (like at lights or intersections) and leaked terribly through the back window. I was especially upset because I had been offered and accepted a job with the schools and because my mother- in-law watches the kids for us, we would be making more money. I felt that in giving up my ability to stay at home with the kids full time, I should be able to drive something a little bit nicer. I didn't relay this appropriately to Randy and the van ended up selling, making me even angrier. Finally, this past weekend, I took Randy's car with the kids because of rain and he was stuck with my convertible. He called me after his experience and apologized profusely for the selling of my car and leaving me with such a piece! and promised that we would go out and get something that I felt more comfortable in. Now that I am stuck with the decision of what to get next, I don't know what to do. I would love to have a minivan back because of all of the space, because I would love to have at least one more child and have plans to do some furniture refinishing next summer. He wants me to get something like an SUV or truck that would pull our boat and trailer. Whatever we end up with, it will definitely be the result of lots of discussion and compromise, so we do not end up with the same situation we just came out of.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shopping with children- Mission Impossible

I convinced my family this week that they should come to Davenport to see me and do a little shopping. They left Dubuque around 9:30 am, so we met at the mall at about 11. When I arrived my sister was feeding her youngest, 6 month old Landon, so we sat down in the food court and visited while he ate. Soon after he was done eating, all of the girls needed a potty break. While we took a potty break, my brother arrived at the mall. When everyone had finished their potty break, we walked down to JCPenney. On the way, Elliot noticed that there was a US Cellular and decided to trade in his cell battery. We walked down and back while waiting for him. We then continued to JCPenney. My sister found a few dresses for her daughter Isabelle and they tried them on. By the time they finished trying on the dresses it was past 12 and the kids were getting hungry for lunch. We walked back to the cars and loaded up to go to Steak and Shake. After about 20 minute wait, we were seated. We didn't leave there until 1:30! We then returned to the mall to drop my brother off at his car so he could go home. We unloaded the kids and went back into the mall. A few of us took potty breaks on the way into the mall. By the time we made it to our next destination several more had to go potty and Landon was hungry again. Courtney made a bottle while I shopped. Then mom fed Landon while Courtney and I both shopped. The kids got restless, so I took them down a dead hallway and let them run races up and down the hallway so Courtney could shop in peace. By the time Courtney came out (empty handed) the girls had to go to the bathroom again. The bathroom was full and 2 of them had accidents in their pants before a stall opened up! We cleaned up and headed to the other end of the mall for Whitey's ice cream, but the line was too long, so we decided to just leave and find ice cream elsewhere. We got back in the car and drove to Whitey's, got the kids back out and ordered our ice cream. Aidan, my son, fell while waiting for our order and bit his lip. We finally got our orders and sat down to eat and the kids fought over sharing their milkshakes. When everyone was finished we decided to go to Kohl's. Another trip to the bathroom and then we made a trip around the store. Afterward we walked down to Gordman's. Mom watched the kids while Courtney and I looked and tried on a few things. We left the store with nothing after retrieving kids from the bathroom. By this time the kids were over tired and crabby, so we said our goodbyes, parted ways and headed home. The final outcome of our shopping trip looked something like this:
Bathroom breaks: 27
Diaper Changes: 4
Feedings: 2
Purchases: 0
Afternoon spent with family: Priceless!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Little Fish

Reese in her life jacket at the beach.

My in-laws have the perfect antidote for hot summer days, an above ground pool. Whenever we can we spend a few hours in the afternoon swimming to beat the heat. Usually Reese is swimming with her life jacket and a floaty around her waist while I swim with Aidan and Debbie swims with Jack. This works out pretty well because all the kids can be in the water at once and we don't have to worry about anyone drowning. Today for some reason Reese decided that she would climb down the ladder and try to swim on her own, i.e. no flotation devices. Debbie had just gotten out with Jack, and I was doing laps in the pool so Aidan could drive his car on the pools edge. All of a sudden Debbie screamed and jumped into the pool. I turned and saw Reese treading water with her head tilted back as far as she could so as not to get her head underwater. I jumped over and picked her up by the bathing suit soon after she went under. I calmly told her that she needed to inform somebody whenever she wanted to go for a swim without any assistance so that we could watch her and help if needed. Then everybody congratulated her on her attempt and how well she did. Fortunately she was not hurt and she is not completely afraid of the water. I think it gave her just enough respect that it could be dangerous and she needs to make sure that somebody is watching her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pleasing Words

The other day while riding in the car, I had this conversation with Reese:

Reese: Mommy, I need to use my pleasing words, like this: "Grandma Potter can I please play with your pianio? (not a typo, that is how she says piano).

Me: That is very good honey! Who told you to call them your "pleasing words."

Reese: I did.

I so love this girl!

Princess toots-a-lot and Sir stinky feet

We picked the kids names because they have special meanings to us, but sadly they rarely get used. They rarely get used because we have so many nicknames for them.
Besides the normal nicknames (sweetie, honey, missy/mister) these are the nicknames that are unique to our children.
Reese has been dubbed Princess toots-a-lot because she does just that: toots A LOT! She and Randy wrestle regularly and whenever he picks her up or gently pushes on her belly, she lets one fly. She also lets them fly while eating, playing and sleeping. She is an equal opportunity tooter! Someday she may be embarassed by this nickname, but for now she thinks it is hilarious! We also call her Reeser Piecer, Reesey, and Reesey Pie. Recently, Reese has started talking about herself in the third person and calling herself one of her nicknames. For example, "Mommy, that would be perfect for Reesey Pie!"
Aidan has only recently become Sir stinky feet. He only started walking in May, so we never really kept shoes on him until recently. Though he usually wears sandals, there is obviously not enough air flow to keep his tootsies dry. The instant you take off his shoes, you are overcome with the smell of sweaty feet. The other day while at the doctor with Aidan, I was asked to show the rash that had developed on Aidan's foot. Upon taking off his shoes the doctor immediately exclaimed, "Those are some stinky feet!" Aidan is also known as Duder, Jeebs and AJ.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wish it were me

As a parent we often wish that we could take on our children's pains rather than have them suffer through it. I have never wanted that more than this past week. This Hand, Foot and Mouth disease has made my sweet little boy into a screaming, crying, head spinning little monster. This morning he was standing in his crib smiling and waiting for me to get him. I took him downstairs and handed him his juice like I do every morning and he went ballistic. Kicking, crying, screaming and throwing his body around. I tried to soothe him, but he only got worse. I left him alone on the floor throwing his tantrum and he continued for a good ten minutes. I put him back to bed and the screaming intensified. Ten minutes later I brought him back downstairs and tried to soothe him again, no deal. I held him down and gave him some motrin, which he does not like. Finally, I left him to throw his fit while I went to make the beds. He followed me into the bedroom and hung onto my pants begging to be picked up. I finished making the bed and picked him up and he threw such a violent fit I almost dropped him. This video is about 15 minutes into his tantrum this morning. Beware this video may make you want to cry :(
About 20 minutes later he was still throwing a fit, which you can see in this video.
Finally, after about 45 minutes he calmed down enough that he would sit in my lap and I could feed him some yogurt. The yogurt helped to cool the sores in his mouth. Then he was satisfied to move to his own seat and finish eating his breakfast.
From the screams and behavior he has exhibited over the last few days, I can only imagine the amount of pain he is in. I usually do not like to give the kids medicine, even motrin, but I will be continuing the motrin every 6 hours religiously to prevent another morning like this one!

Monday, July 19, 2010

On the Mend

Aidan on Saturday. His face just looks so pained and it is totally unusual for him to sit still like this for any amount of time.

After almost 4 days of some very unusual behavior and symptoms I decided to take Aidan to the doctor. On Thursday he had a slight fever and was drooling a lot, so I gave him some tylenol thinking that he was teething. The next day he seemed fine until we went out for dinner. He was very clingy during the meal and was uninterested in anything to eat or drink. I gave him tylenol again and looked around in his mouth trying to feel for a new tooth coming in. Saturday morning he was an absolute monster. He took a drink out of his juice and screamed bloody murder. I thought that his new tooth could be sensitive to hot or cold, but the juice he drank from was room temperature and should not have caused that kind of reaction. He barely ate or drank all day and continued to be very clingy. Looking in his mouth again, I noticed that his tongue was kind of whitish. I thought that maybe he had thrush, which is like a yeast infection of the mouth. Being late on Saturday the clinics were all closed and did not feel like we needed to take him to the emergency room as tylenol seemed to be helping the pain. We kept him on tylenol all day Sunday too and he seemed about the same, not eating or drinking much and screaming in pain when he did. I also noticed three little red bumps on his foot.
Thankfully when I called the doctor this morning, they were able to get us an appointment to see the doctor. The doctor checked his ears and everything looked fine. He then checked his throat and found a blister on the side of his tongue. He then asked if I had seen any rashes anywhere on his body. When I reported the bumps on his feet, he immediately checked them out and it confirmed the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Though there is no medication, he said that we should continue the tylenol regimen since that seemed to be alleviating some of the symptoms. The virus usually passes in 3-4 days, so he should be on the mend. Hopefully, I will have my healthy boy back soon!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

As an infant, Reese absolutely refused pacifiers. I am partially to blame because in some of the literature I read, it said not to give breastfed infants pacifiers because it could cause nipple confustion. Eventually I decided that using a pacifier would not be confusing and attempted to get her to use a pacifier. We bought every brand, size and style available when she was an infant trying to get her to take a bink, but she would just spit them out. My mother found that she would keep one in if you tapped the front of the pacifier while it was in Reese's mouth, but the point of a pacifier is that the child can use it to calm themselves so that kind of defeated the purpose. One thing that Reese would do though is to stick her thumb in her mouth and suck if she was upset, tired or hungry. It calmed her down whereas sticking a pacifier in her mouth only upset her more. It was easy whereas keeping track of pacifiers would be a lot more difficult. Though several memebers of our families were totally against it and told me that I should wrap her hands up and force her to take the pacifier, I couldn't do it. They warned that it would be hard to take away from her, that it would ruin her teeth and countless other things, but I didn't care. I still don't care. Reese still speaks and speaks clearly, it has done no more damage and doesn't look uglier than her black tooth (which she got in a fall), I see no disadvantages or truly harmful effects. I have worried that cosmetically she has changed the shape of her nose by flattening the cartilage at the end of her nose. She kind of hooks her hand around her nose to help hold it up and in place and in the process flattens her nose. What do you think? Can you see a difference in these two pictures?

Although I truly believe that Reese's thumbsucking would go away as she ages, I did decide that at 3 years of age it would be time to just make Reese aware of when she is sucking her thumb, because it is just so natural for her to have it in her mouth. Hopefully by making her aware of when she is sucking her thumb, she will find something else to do if she is bored or seeking comfort. I have been asking her to stop and take her thumb out of her mouth for about 2 months now. Sometimes she pulls her thumb right out, other times she refuses and then I try to redirect her attention and get the thumb out of her mouth. We ordered, "The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit", where sister bear has a habit of nail biting. We read it nightly and substitute nail biting for thumbsucking. She loves the story and looks forward to it nightly. We also implemented a chart system where we give Reese stickers randomly throughout the day when she is not sucking her thumb and take stickers away when we catch her randomly putting her thumb in her mouth. This has been very effective as she hates to have her stickers taken away. Once she fills the chart with stickers we plan to take her to get a special toy for her accomplishment. All in all things have been going pretty well. Today she brought her hand up and dropped it down before she could get her thumb in her mouth. Hopefully making her aware of the habit now will relieve her from teasing when she starts school next year.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sick and tired

Poor Aidan has had a fever and not been feeling well for the past 24-36 hours. He has been extra clingy and not his usual happy-go-lucky self. Thinking that he was feeling better and had broken the fever, we attempted to go out to dinner and get groceries tonight. As soon as we were seated in our booth, Aidan started to whimper. He grabbed for a rice krispy treat, so I opened it for him. He just played with it and then whined for something else. I pulled out a toy and he threw it. I grabbed some ice for him, thinking that his teeth were bothering him, but he threw that as well. I tried several other things to get him to quiet down and sit still and finally ended up pulling him into my lap and rocking him. He was pretty content like that until our food came. I tried to put him back in his chair to eat, but he was not having it. I sat him back down in my lap before he could get too upset and disrupt everyone around us. I ate one handed while he played with the food on my plate. After Randy finished eating, I handed Aidan over so that I could eat my meal. Aidan got more and more agitated, so I shovelled my food in and then grabbed him back from Randy. He calmed down some, but I was still worried about him being disruptive to others around us. I took him outside while Randy and Reese paid the bill and boxed up our leftovers. Aidan brightened up and actually got down to walk around a little while we were outside.
We packed back into the car and drove to HyVee to get some pop. Randy ran in so that we would not have to take Aidan in and out multiple times. We had not gone grocery shopping for almost 3 weeks, so it was a necessity that we get groceries, or we would have just gone home with our sick child. While Randy was gone, Reese revealed that she had to go to the bathroom. I asked her to wait until daddy was back and we went to the next store. When Randy returned without pop because they did not have any good sales, we decided to go to Target. I took the kids to the bathroom while Randy checked out the pop. Just as we were exiting the bathroom he was exiting the checkout. We got back into the car and went down the street to Sam's. Unfortunately we could not make it very quickly through the store because they had remodeled and we did not know where everything was. We got our groceries pretty quickly by spreading out and each taking 1/2 of the list. Soon we were back in the car and headed home.
While driving Reese asked me if she should sing Aidan a "Stop crying song". I said sure and she strung together this adorable little song:
"I am here
Mommy is here
she will be here forever"
He ended up falling asleep and Reese continued to sing. Then out of nowhere Reese leaned over to his carseat and yelled, "tickle, tickle!" while tickling his toes. He woke up momentarily crying, but went right back to sleep. Once we got home he woke up again. I took him into the house and gave him some motrin and we snuggled on the couch until it was time for bed. Fortunately he went right to sleep. Usually the kids are very good sleepers, hopefully he will get a good nights sleep tonight and feel better in the morning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sprinkler Fun

Some pics of the kids cooling off in the sprinkler yesterday:

Aidan was very tentative at first, just putting his hands into the water stream. After a few minutes he was sticking his face into the stream and drinking the water!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jam Packed 4th

We had a very busy 4th, as I'm sure most people did. Our weekened was jumpstarted early Friday with a family lunch outing and grocery shopping. Later that afternoon we took the boat out for a few hours with Aunt Steffane. We came in by 6 so that we could clean up and prepare for a bigger outing the next day.
We spent the day Saturday boating and playing in the water. We went out rather early, about 9 am, so as to avoid the crowds at the dock trying to put their boats into the water. We had planned on coming in around 2 pm or as soon as the kids started getting crabby. They were so good that it was around 3 before we actually came in. I washed the kids up and put them to bed at my in-laws so that we could swim a little at their pool while the kids napped.

On Sunday we went out for breakfast with Great Grandma and Grandpa Winslow like usual. Afterward we stopped back at Grammy and Grampys to visit with Great Grandma and Grandpa Freeman. Soon after we made the hour long trek to Dubuque for my families 4th of July/ Family Reunion. My mom and her sisters put together a mini olympics for the kids and the adults had horseshoe tournaments after lunch. I don't know who had more fun, the kids or the adults!

The kids were so worn out from the days events that they fell asleep early. I figured I could wake Reese up to go to the fireworks, but as I talked to her trying to get her to wake up, her eyes just rolled back in her head. I was a little disappointed, but Randy reminded me that there would be more fireworks for us to attend before the end of summer.
Monday we were so worn out and the weather was kind of dismal, so we ventured out to lunch with Randy's family and rented a few movies for the afternoon. It was nice to be able to just relax after such a busy and fun filled weekend.

My little daredevil

It is amazing how much more comfortable and experienced Reese has gotten with her bike in just the past few weeks. When she first got it she needed help getting on the bike and once on would need a push to get rolling. Now she hops right on all by herself and can even get herself over bumps in the concrete. It is great to be able to sit back and watch without having to assist her every few minutes. But with her confidence she has also become a bit of a daredevil. The other day she rammed into the porch swing and sent the reflector flying. Today she sang a little song and even did the hand motions while riding her bike! This one is funny!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Favorite part of the day

Tonight while Reese was eating dinner, our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Reese what was your favorite part about today?"
Reese: "Digging in the sand with the kids."
Me: "Oh that was a good one. My favorite part was floating down the river with you and Aidan and grammy."
Reese: "Me too. What was Aidan's favorite part?"
Me: "I bet it was eating cheetos because everytime I looked at him he seemed to be eating them."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big Helpers

I don't know what it is about my kids, but whenever I get out the vaccum cleaner or swiffer, or try to load or unload the dishwasher they are standing right there clamoring to help out. I only wish that this desire to help out will last until I can really utilize it!