Friday, February 26, 2010

Especially *Not* Cats

It was bright, sunny, and warm in Colorado today. At least in my part of the state. It reached just above 40. The sun here is intense, so the kids and I were just in jeans and long sleeved shirts. No jackets or boots required. Last week's snow is melting away. Today is a teacher development day, so no school for the kids. They got haircuts, we went to Noodles & Company for lunch, and went to the mall to play. It was warm in the car, verging on hot. On the way to the mall, we rolled down the windows. Shocking, I know, but we did it anyway.  I warned the kids, especially Caitlin, not to put anything near the window because it might blow out. That lead to a social responsibility discussion about how we don't throw anything out of the window of a moving car. Not paper, not diapers, not toys. Then Brandon added this:

"And especially not cats!"

Um, yeah. Not cats. Especially not cats.

It's a good suggestion - one that everyone would agree with. But - not cats? Seriously, where on earth did he get that from?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Guess what we did today?

It was bowling day for all the First graders at Brandon's school. There were many kids! It was a chaotic mess. I even felt a little sorry for the PE teacher who organized it, as it seemed like a chaotic mess for her, too. But the kids had fun. The best part - Brandon broke 100. His final score was 105, and Caitlin's was 102. The bumpers really help!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My House, the Pharmacy

On Friday morning, when I went to pick up Caitlin's prescription eye drops for her pink-eye, the pharmacy staff at Safeway didn't know me. On Saturday, when I went to get Brandon's prescription eye drops for his hurt eye, the pharmacist thought I looked familiar. Today, when I went to get Caitlin's new prescription for her raging ear infection, I thought we might be on a first-name basis!

Caitlin's preschool called me this morning to tell me that Caitlin was crying and complaining her ear hurt. Caitlin has complained about her ears in the past, amidst much crying, and has had very little to show for it. For a girl who is rough and tumble outside, and has an assortment of band aids on her knees and elbows at any given time, she has a surprisingly low tolerance for certain other types of pain. We decided to wait it out, and the preschool called me again half an hour later saying she was hysterical. So I went to the school, gave her some tylenol, and took her to the car. She was fine. She was happy. She had not complained about her ear hurting at all prior to her hysterical outburst at school. I called the doctor anyway, and made an appointment for 1:15 (because I was not setting foot in the stupid Urgent Care center again!). She stopped crying and said she was hungry, so we went to lunch. Again, she was fine. She ate her lunch. She ate some of mine. Since she's not contagious, we headed back to to her school to pick up her friend that we carpool with. The staff at her preschool wondered if she was the same kid. No hysterical sobbing. No red puffy face. No complaining.

When I took her to her appointment, her pediatrician said the pressure on her ear was intense. She has a raging infection. She put Caitlin on a strong anti-biotic in hopes to get it all under control quickly so her eardrum doesn't perforate. Ugh!! That can be painful. I know. But hey, at least I don't have to do the eye-drops anymore! In a way I feel vindicated this time, after all our appointments and one trip to the Urgent Care because Caitlin cried that her ears hurt, only to find nothing is wrong. At least something was wrong this time. There was a reason for all the pain and crying.

I did feel a twinge of embarrassment when I went to the pharmacy yet again. My third time in 5 days. As if 5 hours in Urgent Care and 2 prescriptions over the weekend was not enough. But we managed to get it all done and under control before our 3:30 parent-teacher conference for Brandon. Three's a charm right? No more? Can I be done for a while? I'm tired.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Ugent Care

Did Brandon's follow-up eye exam tonight. Waited an hour and a half to be seen!! No one was in front of us! No one was in the waiting room! Why we can't go to the urgent care facilities at any one of the 4 hospitals located 3 miles from our house is beyond my comprehension. The hospitals are approved under our insurance - why not the urgent care? Why do I have to drive 8 miles away? I have now been to the Urgent Care facility at Boulder Community Hospital in Lafayette 4 times. Only once was the wait under an hour - and that's probably because we ended up there at 8:00 pm on a freezing cold snowy night with Caitlin for an ear infection that turned out to be very minor. The other times - once for my sprained foot and now twice for Brandon's eye - have been long waits (many hours) with very little explanation and absolutely nothing that looked urgent. At all. In the slightest. This is my last time going to that one. There has got to be somewhere else. Boulder and Arvada are both only 10 miles, so I think we'll head there. I didn't have a lot of experience with Urgent Care prior to having kids, and only went a few times when we lived in the Bay Area. What I've experienced since moving here has been ridiculous. We *never* waited this long when we lived in California. Honestly, there just aren't enough people around here to justify such long waits.

Now that I'm done ranting, I should let you know that Brandon's eye is healing just fine. There isn't even any evidence of a scratch on the cornea, which is good news. Only 3 more days of eye drops! Brandon isn't a fan, but he knows they're necessary. His eye is still variations of red and pink, but there isn't much bruising, which I was told would happen. No funny colors. No greens and yellows. I should probably let his teacher know he doesn't have pink-eye. Otherwise she might wonder. I'm really happy that he's healing well. Our neighbor met us when we came home tonight. He brought us lots of ice-cream gift certificates for the new Baskin-Robins that just opened down the street, and a Cinnabon gift card. I think they feel a little guilty.  Brandon was a little perplexed, but he's looking forward to ice-cream. You know, once the weather gets above freezing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Saturday morning I was sitting on the couch thinking "what to do, what to do?" After all, we had a three-day weekend coming up, and I didn't really want to just sit around. We don't celebrate Valentine's Day, so we had lots of time.

All of a sudden we heard screaming. Brandon screaming. From a few houses away, but getting louder and louder as he ran up the hill. Now, Brandon screams loudly and hysterically at any injury he gets - big or little - so we never know what to expect. Usually it's something minor. But when he burst in the door crying red tears, we knew something was wrong. When we also saw our J, our neighbor and Brandon's best friend, and his dad right behind them, we knew something was really wrong. As it turns out, Brandon's friend J had accidentally hit him in the eye with a stick. In the eye. Not just on the outside of his eye, but also on the sclera (the white part). Brandon's big red tears were tears mixed with blood.

Needless to say, there was much screaming and crying for a while. We checked the eye, but didn't see any foreign debris. It was cut, though, so we decided that we should take Brandon to Urgent Care. Brian had just come back from running, and I hadn't showered. Seeing that this wasn't life threatening, the bleeding had stopped, and that Brandon had calmed down after putting a cold washcloth up to eye, we gave the kids a snack, put on a video, and did a quick turn-around showers. We were out of the house in less than half-an-hour.

I'm not exactly sure why we hurried, as we spent the next three hours in the Urgent Care office. Ironically, nothing there seemed urgent. There were a few people ahead of us, and no one came in after us, but still we waited. And waited. And waiting. Oh my gosh, it was boring! Facilities in Colorado are nicer that the ones we had in California. They're newer, with exposed brick and soothing colors. But that only goes so far when you are sitting under fluorescent lighting with two young children. We had rushed, so we had no toys or games, and the only magazines I could find involved working on a car or skiing in Colorado. Seriously boring. I'm going to donate some magazines there so other families aren't bored out of their minds! One of the funniest moments was when Caitlin wandered through one set of automatic doors into a breezeway. The automatic double doors to the outside wouldn't open, and she couldn't quite figure out how to get back into the waiting room. It was a amusing since she didn't panic. I was more worried that she'd start playing with the de-icing pellets, but she never did that, either.

An hour into our wait, Brandon finally got back to see the nurse. We spend a whole 5 minutes in the nurses cubical doing administrative work, and then were sent back to the waiting room for another hour and half. By now it's almost 1:00, and the kids are getting hungry. Finally, around 2:30, Brandon and I are called back to the office rooms. Most patients are in curtain-walled areas, but (woo hoo!) we got to be in the eye-exam room. Brandon did an eye exam, and we waiting another 45 minutes for the doctor to come in. Amazing, Brandon was not whining for lunch, and managed to wait patiently. I'll bet the words "patience" and "patiently" were thought up by someone, somewhere who was a patient waiting for a doctor. Finally, at 3:05, we got to leave the Urgent Care.

So - the diagnosis. The doctor dyed Brandon's eye to look at the abrasion. He has scratches on his sclera and cornea. Nothing on the pupil, though, so no issues with his vision. The scratches are wide and have made divots, but aren't deep, so they should heal just fine. We got a prescription for antibiotic eye drops, and need to do a follow-up visit on Monday. On top of it all, Caitlin was diagnosed with pink-eye on Friday, so we have to keep the two of them apart for several days, and make sure they don't share any towels or linens. Pink-eye would not be good for Brandon's eye at this point! No bathing together, either, to keep the infection from spreading.
At 3:15 we finally sat down to get lunch. I've never been so excited to see Pad Thai in my life! We were so exhausted - and all from doing nothing but sitting and waiting. I am glad that Brandon's eye is not worse. I now have to do eye drops for both kids for the next 5 days, without mixing them up or cross-contamination. *Sigh*. And I have many more loads of laundry to keep the pink-eye from spreading.

We talked to Brandon a lot about sticks. He loves sticks. Always has. I don't want to forbid them, but he's never been allowed to play with them around other kids. He keeps his "collection" in the garage. I'm sad that the advice J's dad gave to him was "You have to be careful when you play with sticks." Even Brian was annoyed at that. The advice should have been "Don't play with sticks around other kids!" I realize they're boys. Accidents happen. But why is it my kid who comes home crying all the time? Our different parenting skills leave a lot to be desired. No sticks right now. At least for a while. I'm hoping that last night's snowfall will help quell the desire to play with sticks, since the sticks are not visible. Although, being Colorado means that it will all be melted by the end of the day!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

New Tooth Coming Soon

Looks like we'll be having some tooth news in the near future. Brandon told Brian this morning that he felt like his gums were loose around one tooth. I didn't find this out until lunch time. Brandon was obsessed with the Rice Crispy treats at Noodles & Company, so we relented and split one (huge) treat amongst the family. As he was noshing on his, he mentioned the loose gums again. Not only is one of his lower baby teeth loose, but you can see the new one already poking through! It might even be the same tooth that came in first when he was 6 months old. So many of his classmates have lost one or more teeth already. He'll be joining their ranks soon. Childhood rites of passage, here we come!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Clean-Up on Aisle 6!

Caitlin and I headed over to a little discount grocery store in Dacono this morning. The poor girl has fluid in her lungs, and sounds like an asthmatic jogger most of the time. Today was spent keeping her away from other kids.

The grocery store was a fun find. I'm a bargain hunter. I'm currently wearing my 1 cent hoodie from Macy's that I bought a couple of summers ago. I've found a couple more 1 cent bargains at Macy's, but I guess the cashiers aren't suppose to sell them for that price. Oh well. Anyway, this grocery store was very much like Grocery Outlet in California. I got power bars for 50 cents, Pirates Booty for a dollar a bag, and our favorite snacking cereals by Kashi for only $1.75 a box (they're usually at least $3.50 per box, which I refuse to pay!). I was pleasantly surprised to find my favorite laundry detergent, Bi-O-Kleen, at $2.75 for 64 ounces. This chemical free, environmentally friendly liquid is usually priced between $9.50 at King Soopers, to $12-14 at Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores. I quickly snapped up 2. About 10 minutes later, as I was walking down the pasta and cracker aisle, I noticed my shoes sliding on the linoleum. As I looked down to see what on earth was so squishy, I saw this.....

Lovely. Some form of liquid spilled all over the floor. Then I looked in my cart and saw one of the Bi-O-Kleen bottles flipped over completely. Lid off. Detergent everywhere. And I mean everywhere! All over the cereal. All over the power bars. All over the food, the cart, the floor..... everywhere except the girl. Caitlin! She was making towers of food  in the cart and then destroying them. She'd somehow managed to knock over the detergent and dislodge the cap, or was using the bottle as a wrecking ball. I'm not sure which one it was. About a third of the bottle poured out. The only reason that the entire bottle hadn't poured all over the floor was because it got caught in her shoe that she had taken off sometime after going to the store.  Her entire shoe was filled with Bi-O-Kleen.  I poured it back into the bottle.

I managed to maintain my composure, mostly because it's frowned upon to yell in stores, and ran up to the closest cashier to get some paper towels and a clean-up on aisle 6. It is seriously all I can do not to scream at the top of my lungs sometimes. Why is this girl so difficult to take shopping?  Ugh!!! This is not a new thing - she's been awful in stores since birth. Last summer she managed to pull a shopping cart on top of her in Sprouts after only being in the store for 10 minutes (for your information, the cage-free brown eggs did much better after a 10 foot launch than the regular white shelled eggs).  I love her dearly, but I'd love to just be able to leave her in the car, too. It was so embarrassing today. Not only did I have to call for a clean-up, but the poor man had to get two mop buckets, one with more water, to help him get the soap off the floor (should be really clean, though). I used half a roll of paper towels mopping up all the slimy detergent on the boxes. Then, I had to check-out and pay for my slightly slimy goods. No liquid seeped through anything, but it was a pain to clean-up. Caitlin at this point had no shoes, so we could only go straight home. On top of it all, she was really upset that she didn't get a gumball from the machine in the front of the store. I guess in my haste to leave I forgot that I'd said she could have one. *Sigh* She got over it a few miles down the road.

I did a load of laundry after we got home. My jacket, Caitlin's sweatshirt, and her shoes were coated with a layer of soap. I didn't have to add any to the water, though. I'm not sure her shoes will survive this. They're currently drying in front of the fireplace, and still feel slimy inside. It took about 10 trips to the sink (without any additional soap, mind you!) to finally feel like I'd washed the detergent off of my hands. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but grocery shopping is just not one of those things you can cut out of your life. I'm not looking forward to summer, when I have both kids all the time. Maybe I should hire a babysitter for my grocery shopping days.

Just for a visual, here's what I have left of my 64 ounce bottle: