Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Tiger Cubs Go To The Fire Station

It sounds like a nice story, doesn't it? Like a childrens book, beautifully illustrated with information about fire safety, and helpful firefighters.

But this was about a dozen 6 and 7 year old boys.  The blog post really should be entitled The Tiger Cubs Go To The Fire Station And Chaos Ensued.

Knowing what Quinn is like with the other Scouts, I went over some ground rules with him before we even got there. Even with said ground rules established, he still needed reminders during the trip.

I don't know if other parents took the time to do the same, but it sure didn't seem like it.

Which, really, may just be the pull of insanity that grips a bunch of little boys like that. Or maybe dads don't always think of that as often as moms do. I'm not sure.

I know their Den Leader didn't go over any rules. Maybe the thought hasn't occurred to him, and I should bring it up. He's a great Den Leader, but with that many kids, you just have to make sure everyone is on the same page.

We let them run around a bit outside, first. I had hoped it would release some of their energy.

No luck.

Inside, the noise level was unbelievable.

If I were to assign a numeric value to each boys volume, I'd say each was at a 4 out of ten. Just all by themselves.

But if you put 3 boys together, each at a 4 volume, you don't end up with 12 volume. You end up with 36 volume.

The accumlative effect of them is mind boggling.

Still, the tour was wonderful. The boys were, well, little boys.

They explained to the firemen how their own equipment worked. Because they might not know. They're only firemen. Not educated young men like our Sweet Scouts.

They told the firemen that they should be allowed to slide down the poles, as they'd slid down way taller ones before. And they've never been hurt. Kids don't understand words like "liability" and "City policy."

They asked important questions like "Has there ever been a fire in the firestation?" and "Has there ever been a fire on the firetruck?" which begs the question, what kind of firemen do they think we have here? Not very good ones, if they're setting their own fire station and vehicles on fire!

There was a little hitting, some not listening, more trying to impress the firefighters with their vast 6 and 7 year old knowledge of fire.  And there was so much chaos of boys this way and that way, and utterly refusing for the most part to just shut their sweet little yaps.

Then there was a call, and that was it, the tour was over. Our brave heroes had to go off and do something bravely heroic. Honestly, I think they might have been secretly thrilled. The sirens couldn't be as loud as the kids.

I'm still awfully glad I got to go. It's so much fun to watch the kids take it all in. Quinn even said that after becoming a baseball player, he might like to be a firefighter, and a police officer, oh, and a doctor.

He has one very busy life ahead of him.

And I got to see the cute firemen. Turns out, they have to buy their own groceries, and sometimes they get called away in the middle of their shopping. Then they have to go back and do it again.

I think they need a den mother. Someone who can shop for them. And bake them brownies. And you know, I could do that job. Out of the pure goodness of my heart. Because I'm such a nice person.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Insomnia Can Suck It

I had things I wanted to blog about. I haven't been saying, "Be Quiet" for a whole week now, and that's an experiment worth sharing, right?

And there's stuff. Other stuff. Interesting stuff.


Unfortunately for me, insomnia has been a most unfortunate friend, and I lack the ability to put coherent thoughts together.

And while such an experiment is exhausted blogging could result in something humorous, I'm guessing it would be unintentionally so, and probably painful (I first typed painfrul. What?). At least for me, and probably for you, too.

Anywho, real blogging to come soon. Maybe after sleeping for more than an hour at a stretch. Because sleeping that little is clearly painfrul.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Adventures In Breastfeeding: What The Hell Is Periodic Breathing?

I don't breastfeed. Anymore. But I did. I have over a decade of personal breastfeeding experience.

I'm told that's a lot.

These days I work part time, as a Breastfeeding Peer Counsellor. Putting my knowledge and extra training to good use, I start calling moms while they're still pregnant, to discuss breastfeeding with them. And then I follow them through their baby's first year, helping, educating, and encouraging.

I'm thinking I'd like to tell some of what I've been learning, through the stories of my interactions with my moms. Of course names and details will be changed in order to protect the privacy of my clients.

I've had several clients recently who've had trouble with an overactive let down, and have found their babies choking on their breastmilk. This is a common issue, and with a few tips and tricks, they've been handling it well.

But one of my moms called me today, kind of frantic. Her baby stops breathing!

"Is it because of the breastfeeding?"

Not unless you're smothering baby with your breasts.

I didn't actually say that. She's not. I just reassured her a little. It's not the breastfeeding. She's doing great with that.

"Is this normal?"

Well, yeah, it turns out that actually it is. I Googled it.

She'd already called her pediatrician who had informed her that not breathing for a few seconds at a time was normal, but she didn't believe her. She wanted me, a mother, to tell her that her baby was okay.

These are the kind of the calls I live for.

They're easy, as the answer is readily available, and nothing is wrong. Sometimes my hands on experience as a parent actually has some value that can be shared with another person. Not to mention I love being able to help a frantic mom feel better. I remembered from my NICU time that the nurses never worried about when my babies stopped breathing, unless it was a particular long phase. And that almost never happened.

Yes, New mom, it's normal. It's called periodic breathing and babies can stop for up to 15 seconds. They can also breath quickly sometimes, and then more slowly. It happens to lots of babies, and is usually gone by six months old.

Fingers and toes can even get a little bluish. That said, if they start to get bluish around their forehead, lips, or torso, get help immediately.  That's not normal, and is a sign that your baby needs oxygen.

Honestly, though, every once in a while I raise an (respectful, I promise) eyebrow at Mother Nature. Here we are, entrusted with these tiny people for whom we are frequently terrified. And normal includes things like not breathing? Way to freak a mom out.

I try not to tell my moms about all the things that can go wrong in breastfeeding. I tell them that problems exist, offer a few really common examples, and promise help and support should they need it for any reason. But I don't want them worrying about things that may never happen.

So, I get why they don't tell parents all of the normal but weird things that babies can do. But then it's a pretty scary thing to discover on your own. And I've honestly never even seen this one even remotely touched on in a baby book.

Periodic breathing. Who knew?

Well, pediatricians, clearly. And now you, and me, and that poor scared mom. Who I really hope isn't scared anymore.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

One Nation, Indivisible

I used to dream of imparting wisdom to my children.

"Mother" they would say, "Mother, explain to us the ways of the universe, and educate us as only you can."

I, their mother, would gaze at them, lovingly, and explain the great mysteries of the world, while taking joy from watching their eyes fill with understanding.

Clearly, I had this dream was before I ever had children.

Reality turns out more like this:

"Look, Mom, an American flag!" Quinn's voice bursts out behind me in the van on the way to a Cub Scout dinner. After some discussion about the flag, then the Pledge of Allegiance, and how I use to think it said, "one nation, invisible", we came to their "great mystery" of the day:

"What does 'indivisible' mean?" my seven year old asked. I gripped the wheel and thought about how to explain it in a way he could understand.

"Well, Quinn, you have two legs, two arms, a head and a torso, right? These are different parts of your body. But they can't be taken apart. Together, they form your one body. Quinn's body. And you are 'indivisible'" I smiled, probably a little smugly, proud of my own quick thinking.

Though I couldn't see his face, I could just imagine the look of understanding that was surely passing across it.

"Well," he started, shattering my mental picture, Because the second he started speaking, I knew from the tone, that he was about to pull what I'd just said apart. "Someone could cut me up, with a big knife or a sword." I could feel the wheels begin spinning rapidly in my brain, screaming for extra coffee, and desperately thinking of how to respond to that while simultaneously erasing such a thought from my head.

"Well, not without a lot of bloodshed and pain!"

This was not the right answer. And we both knew it.

"But still, a really big sword and it could..."

And this is when I stopped the conversation, reminded of my place in this world.

Some days I kill it at the mom thing. Other days, it's a battle of wits, and I have left all of mine somewhere else. They remind me that I'm not as smart as I think I am. And while I hate to admit it, that's probably a good thing.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

And Liam Was His Name-O

My BFF's 3 year old daughter can spell her last name. It's seven letters long. And again, she's 3.

That child is so amazingly bright and talented. She is a joy to all who love her. Seriously, there's nothing snarky here, she's just a great kid.

But there are things that she can do that it would never occur to me to expect from Liam. He's the same age, but...come on. The kid's got a unique kind of brain. The things he learns, they take different paths.

It turns out, however, that his capacity for learning goes far beyond my expectations of him. And so, he keeps blowing my mind with things it would never have occurred to me that he might know how to do.

Today at lunch I was trying to work, and (like usual), he was trying to type on the keyboard with me.

"W W W" he said, "wa, wa, wa."

"That's right, W says wa" I answered him with a teensy hint of annoyance. I had things to get done, and I really just wanted him to eat his food and go take a nap. But I don't want to discourage him. I'm excited about his love of letters and numbers.

"Q Q Q" he continued, "qwah qwah qwah."

I was starting to tire slightly of my alphabet lesson, pretty sure I had them mastered over 30 years ago, but was still going along, hoping he'd be done soon, when he completely threw me.

"Liam," he said, "L-I-A-M. Liam."

I think this was something like the face I made:


My 3 year old may not be able to spell his last name, but I'm pretty damned excited that he can spell his first name.

Sure, he may think that the main function of my phone is to take his picture. And he's still banging his head against the wall as if it were a job for which he would be paid. But my little boy is learning. And he's learning some things so much faster than we ever expected. I'm so ridiculously proud of him.

We've got to take the wins when we get them. Right? And I think it's important to remember that, special needs or not, we can't underestimate our kids. They're capable of so much more than we realize. And how much more could they do, if they knew how much we believe in them?

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