Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peer Pressure

Yesterday I was unpacking T's lunch bag--usually a few empty zip lock bags and a slightly sticky tumbler cup where his juice used to be. But this time the juice cup was totally full. He generally loves his juice (I often make it 50-50 with juice and water to cut down on sugar content) so it surprised me to find it untouched. It was a brand new beautiful new bright orange color (his choice) cup with a screw on lid. There was a hole in one side of the lid to suck out the drink. I got him this new "big kid" type cup because a few weeks ago he told me that "sippy cups" were for babies. That's what I used to send his drinks in at the beginning of the school year. I was sure this new perspective on sippy cups had come from the other kids at school. I thought this new cup, without the obvious big mouth spout, would be acceptable.
But, no.
When I asked why he didn't drink his juice, he said he was "too shy about having a sippy cup and he didn't want to the other kids to see it." I felt bad for him. Someone's making fun of him and he felt embarrassed. Kids will always find something. Darn it. And it's a beautiful tumbler! Oh well, we'll just have to use it at home. I told him we'd find a "big boy thermos where he can pour his own drink into a cup." He seemed quite happy with that and chimed in, "Yeah, for BIG boys!"
Today, I packed a little juice box with his lunch. I think that's acceptable to the kids since most of them drink from them. I gotta stay in touch with what's cool--to a five year old, and every year after that!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moving along...

Yesterday I took the last of the scheduled tests and PASSED. Hurray. I'm happy that part is over with. But now I've got several other projects I need to complete before my big day for the oral test: December 1. Yikes. It scares me to death. It will be over the phone, but still, it's nerve wracking.
Mom is feeling TONS better now, thank goodness. She watched T after school yesterday so I could do some more hours for my preceptorship. I spent the day in a skills lab testing the students and then giving evaluations (with their instructor) on how they did for the past 6 weeks. These students will now go into the pediatrics area of study and other half of Quarter 3 students come from pedi to OB. It was a good day and lots more fun that hanging around in the hospital waiting for students to need me. We finished early after the evaluations, so I took the opportunity to go shopping! I bought 4 pairs of shoes! Yikes! It was a load of money, but I do appreciate a well made shoe, and I rationalized that a) I deserved a treat for doing well on my test and b) I kinda needed new shoes for the winter months, and c) I'm worth it! Then I went to mom's house and she treated us all (my brother came over too) to a nice dutch meal of brussel sprouts, boiled potatoes, and meatballs. Yum.
Oh, yeah. And I'm going to need surgery soonish. Last week I had an ultrasound of my thyroid done. Two years ago I discovered a mass on my thyroid. The thyroid function is normal and the mass has been biopsied twice with benign results with no further growth in size. But this time the ultrasound indicated that the mass has grown to twice its size (5.5 cm in one dimension) and so now either I can have a fine needle aspiration again, or have the entire nodule removed. I opted for the latter. I'd be afraid with an FNA that they might miss a portion of the mass and not get a good sampling. On November 19 I get a consultation with the surgeon ( I picked the best one I know of) and then likely a scheduling for surgery to remove the mass. As vain as I am, I'm actually more worried about the scar afterward. I scar badly and tend to make keloids. But, I gotta do what I gotta do. (pray it's not cancer!) Maybe I'll start wearing ribbon choker necklaces if it looks horrid. OR, just display my new scar as one more battlefield mark in this adventure we call life! Yea, that's the ticket!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No go on the "forego" of diapers

Well, stars are powerful but not so much as to wake my boy in the middle of the night to go potty IN the potty, instead of the diaper.
Last night, at 3:30AM (wasn't sleeping too well myself), the diaper flooded and the bed had a nice big wet spot in it. I stripped him down, put a big towel underneath him and put a new diaper on--all while he slept.
In the morning he had a dry diaper on. Imagine that! I said, "Well, that doesn't really count because look at what happened to the first diaper and Mama's bed." He decided that was old news and what really counted is that the MORNING diaper was still dry. "You should be proud of me Mama, because I have a dry diaper." Oy. I countered that I was proud of him but the star cannot be earned when the starting out diaper was flooded through with pee." He tried to argue his point, but dropped it pretty quickly.
I think I'll put this off for a while and just praise like heck if we actually do get a dry diaper. It's apparently not the right time yet. And I don't want to make him anxious over it.
Thanks for the advice, Billy.
But the stars are still coming for the great "choices" he's making at school. We keep getting good notes about how well he's doing. Yay.
Today, all the kindergartners went on their first field trip. They are going to an outdoor park and will be learning about their 5 senses, eating a bag lunch and then returning by bus again. I loved field trips when I was in school. Hopefully everyone had a great time. Tonight we are going out for dinner at a restaurant that will give a portion of their profits to our school. Another way to fund raise. I've never been to this restaurant and it will be fun to go with other folks from school.
Mom's not feeling any better yet. I encouraged her to make an appointment with the same doctor (she really liked her) and let her know the antibiotics may not be working. We'll see how things go. She's planning to get her hair done tomorrow--something that lifts her spirits, so I hope she'll be able to drive herself to the appointment and also watch T after school. She says she's up to it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Awesome Power of Star Stickers

On Monday, I reminded T that I'd hope we could put a sticker on his chart for good behavior at school. He already got to put some stars on the squares for brushing his teeth and putting his plates/cups in the kitchen after eating, and getting dressed by himself. He was so excited to earn the stars!
On Mondays I volunteer in the class for an hour (the last hour of class). When I got there T was happy to see me and eager to show me how good he was behaving. When some of the boys were fighting over some toys/games, he was sure to stand up and wave his arms in telling them "No fighting. No fighting." All the while looking sideways at me to make sure I was seeing him trying to instill order and not being part of the disorder. The teacher said, right away, that T was making lots of good choices all day long. That's my boy!
When we got home, he got to put a star in the space next to that expectation/task. He was so proud. And me too.
I decided to add underneath that task, "Dry Diaper!!" He still wets his diaper at night about 75% of the time. He says he tries but I still can't get him to wake up and go pee in the potty. I've limited fluids in the evening, made him pee just before bed, but still, it's an issue. Hopefully, wanting to wrack up stars will be an incentive for him to want to try harder.
Last night, he woke up and went pee at 12:30AM....but still woke up in the morning with a slightly used diaper. Shoot. Well, we'll keep trying.
But on the positive side, he earned another good behavior sticker from Mrs. V at school!

Don't Make Waves...

Last Friday night, as I was leaving from work (at 7PM, typical for a Friday) I realized my wallet was missing. I'm not panicking because I'm pretty sure I left it at home, and besides, wouldn't a robber have taken the cards and money and not the whole wallet?? Somehow I felt better that the whole wallet was missing and not just the stuff inside it. I stopped by my house on the way to my mom's. (T was already there as my mom picked him up from school, the usual routine on Fridays.) When I got home, I found my wallet wasn't there, and then realized I might have left it at work inside a bag that I use to do specialized Xrays. Hopefully, it would be there. If it was there, it would be safe, but now I wouldn't have my wallet to go grocery shopping or get gas. While at my house I checked phone messages: a message from T's teacher: something about a behavior problem at school. Darn. That doesn't sound good.
As I was driving to my mom's, I realized it doesn't take that much for me to feel like the world is falling apart and crashing down around my knees. I must be living with my nose just about the water line. Any little wave or glitch in my routine and everything feels out of control. I take note of this fact and keep on driving, telling myself that all will work out in the next couple of days. I can only focus on today's issues and not look too far into the future for what's required of me. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed.
I arrive at my mom's and it's kinda late. T is yawning and ready for bed, plus my mom looks like hell and I feel I need to be there for her and take care of her. I feel bad about my mom watching him because she's been pretty sick with a nasty cough and body aches. It doesn't seem to be getting any better for the past week.

During the night my mom can't stop coughing. I tried to do what I could. She'd already taken the Nyquil and rubbed Vicks over her throat and chest. I gave her an inhaler to help with inflammation (but it's not for immediate help and needs a few days to make a difference) and some cough drops to soothe the constant tickle in her throat. It seems to help in spacing out the coughing spells but I've resolved to call in the morning to have her evaluated by a doctor.

Next morning, I get the appointment for my mom. She called me later to tell me she has pneumonia. Sheesh. First, my brother in August. Then, my dad gets bronchitis a few weeks ago. Now this. Fortunately, they gave her some medications and hopefully in 2-3 days she'll be feeling much better. T's teacher called me and explained there was a problem with T hitting or kicking the other kids during play time outside. Inside the classroom, all was fine, but outside they always do a chasing type of game that escalates into pushing and kicking. I told her that T knows that is unacceptable behavior and I don't know what I can do when I'm not there. So the plan was that I was to reinforce that Mrs V would be watching him during the day and would tell me if he behaved badly or made good choices. I bought a chart at the store called "My chores" with different headings for tasks and boxes to place stickers if a good job was done. In one of the empty spaces I wrote: Good report from Mrs. V.

We'll see how this chart helps with reinforcing and praising good behavior. He seems excited.

Oh, and I stopped by work on Saturday, and retrieved my wallet (intact) from the bag I'd put it in. Whew. One catastrophe avoided.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Status Quo

Not much going on...
Last Sunday, my mom and I went up for a 3 year old birthday party--my sister's grandchild by marriage (her step daughter had a baby) and so we went to show support for her. We don't really connect with my sister's step daughter--she keeps her distance for some reason. But her little boy is a doll and my sister loved that we came.

Last weekend I wrote about 90% of my big fat scholarly paper due in a few weeks. I finished at 2AM on Saturday night and it looked good then. But I better re-read it and refine it. I'm sure it could be improved. And I also have to create a power point to go along with it. But the next 2 weeks are pegged to study for the Legal Environment in health care, so that's where my efforts are going now.

Last Monday, in T's class I got to work with the kids, two at a time, in making a pattern that repeats itself with Fruit Loops and a piece of yarn. When they finished, they each had a lovely necklace to wear. T and another child were first and they did great! I got through 12 kids--most were excellent with the concept of a repeating pattern but some needed more help. Plus I made a rule that they could eat the "duds" (broken loops) and it was almost as much fun looking for those as it was making the necklaces.

Last Tuesday my mom dropped off my dad at the airport to go to Holland for a 4 week vacation. He was quite nervous to find his way in the airport on his own, but we informed the KLM people that he'd need some guidance to get to the terminal and they were fine with it. He called the next day to let us know that he arrived safely, so hopefully all will go well with his planned reunion with his six sisters and any friends he can locate and visit with. Dad's 77 now and his sisters are all still relatively healthy (a little diabetes and hypertension here and there) but you never know when one will be taken. It's good to go now while all are still doing well. Mom was looking forward to some quiet time alone, but wouldn't you know it, she caught a nasty virus 2 days before Dad's plane was to take off. Their house is looking pretty nice now. A few months a go they got nice replacement windows and last weekend, the house was painted. Now a little attention to the lawn and it will be lovely, once again. Hopefully, mom will recover soon and we able to enjoy herself fully.

I decorated the house for Halloween and took out my costume so the wrinkles will let loose. I'm gonna be a witch and T will be a dinosaur. At first he was going to be a Prince, but mom found an excellent dinosaur costume for cheap at Savers. Plus, T loves it too. T is excited to have the jack-o-lanterns around the house. He remembers well last year and all the fun he had. This year we are starting out at a neighbors house of his best buddy (a girl named "A") and have dinner there. It's a birthday party too because it's also A's dad's birthday on the 31st. Several other kinder kids are coming too, so I'm sure lots of fun will be had.

This Sunday I'm having A's family over for spaghetti dinner. Mostly as a way to say "thank you" for being gracious enough to pick up T from the CDC last Monday when mom couldn't babysit for me (she caught a nasty virus and is unable to do much), and also because they're good, fun people! I had to go to the hospital for my preceptorship, but left a few hours early so I could get T at 8PM from their house and put him to bed. It's SO good to have neighbors that are there for each other. I hope one of these days I can do something for them, if they are ever in a bind.

Tomorrow is a teacher in-service day and that means "no school", so I have to find a babysitter for T. My mom might be able to do it, but since she's been pretty sick, I have to find a plan B just in case. Perhaps I could bring him to Kids Park for 5 hours (they have a 5 hour daily limit per kid) so I still have to find another babysitter for the rest of the day. We'll see how it works out. Fridays are very busy at work and I don't dare call in sick as all my patients would have to be loaded onto the other's already full schedules.

I'm having a hard time making myself study this week. I'm tired of studying and the subject isn't very enticing--legal environment. Blah. Plus, I've had head aches and my neck is quite stiff--no doubt from stress. But Excedrin or Motrin always does the trick!

One day at a time....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Boy Can Really READ!

Last night at bed time the book T chose to read was the book we received for the week from school. It's called Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. This book has four different little stories written over 63 pages. Most of the pages have pictures, but still, it's quite a bit of reading for a 5 year old. And T read every word on every page all by himself! He only had trouble with the more difficult words. Words like "climbed", "beautiful", and "thought". Why do we put a "b" in climb anyway? And what's with all those extra letters in beautiful and thought?? It's tough getting the hang of English! Every few pages I would tell him how proud I was that he could read all the words, and he just BEAMED. He loves to read, but especially, he loves to show others how he can do special and difficult tasks. All it takes is a "high five", hugs, and lots of praise for a job well done. He amazes me all the time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Second Tooth Lost!

Well, not really lost...just out. :)
T's second little tooth came out on October 3 while at school. The "big" tooth was already coming through behind it so now that the baby tooth is out, there's not much of an "empty" space there. The teacher saved it in an envelope and that night the tooth fairy came. She found him, even though we were staying over Oma and Opa's house! In the morning he found a special gold $1 coin with a picture of John Adams on it, inside a silver box. At first he was disappointed since it wasn't a "green" dollar. I forgot to mention ahead of time how special gold dollars were. But he's liking it now. We have a special card (that we bought at the recent school fund raiser) to put in all the presidential $1 coins and this is our first in the collection.
I wonder when the top "two front teeth" will come out. Hopefully together because I think it's so cute to see a toothless grin for a little while. Maybe by Christmas?? So he can sing "All I Want For Christmas" with a big lisp! Yep! Gonna get that on video, for sure!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Yes, that's right! I passed. I passed. I paaaaasssssed!!
Not only did I pass but my score was an impressive 90%. Considering I flunked the first class, and my repeat test brought me just barely entering into the acceptable zone, I'm pretty happy with my results!
Whooo hooo! Glad that's over with. Now on to the next hurdle--write a scholarly paper worth 30% of my total grade, over the next 5 days. Usually, I'm pretty good under pressure, so hopefully it will all come together by the weekend.

For those waiting on news of what I might have done with my hour of volunteering in class with T, I worked with a few kids in trying to get the mathematical concepts of creating repeating patterns with a few lego pieces. And then transferring the created pattern to paper by coloring in the squares placed on the page. It was fun. The teacher gave me the names of kids who needed extra attention. At first, they didn't understand, but when I asked them to make a pattern and what would come next, they all answered correctly...eventually. It was good learning. T was totally excited to have me there. He introduced me to the class and then proceeded to bounce around the floor, walls, etc. The teacher said he's usually better behaved but, clearly, was excited to have me there. I took it as a good thing. But, hopefully, next week he'll be able to show me his "good manners". The last 20 minutes of my hour was spent sorting and organizing picture flash cards that, apparently, the kids had gotten a hold of on the day there was a substitute teacher. It was a mess, but easy enough to put in order again. Just takes a little time and a bunch of counter space to lay them all out.

Yesterdays time with my preceptor was better than last week. I had a little more to do and my preceptor had me "grade" quizzes and go over care plans turned in by the students.

Thursday I am taking an educational leave day to attend another lecture at the college. I also was invited to teach to all the third quarter nursing students on November 4. I'll be presenting information on infertility. I have the PowerPoint already but I'm going to change a few things to make it more meaningful to nursing students. They asked if I was OK in being taped. Yikes. I better put some thought to what I'm going to wear!

Tonight, like just about every night, T and I read a few stories before bed. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Big Test Coming Up

I'm studying my butt off.
Every day.
Trying to get new information to stick inside an old(er) head. :)
I sure hope I do OK. Tomorrow is the big test. I have to pass by 76% or I must take the test again, no sooner than 30 days later. Plus pay another $150 for the privilege.
The first test I had to take....I failed by 2% points. It was a shocker. But then I decided, well, it's character building. And if this was easy, anyone could do it. It will feel more like a HUGE accomplishment now.
But now I'm done with that. I just HAVE to pass. I don't have the time or energy to study for this test all over again.
I took some time out just now to call my cousin Meta. I tried calling many times yesterday because it was her 38th birthday. But I just got a busy signal. Weird, since my Dad was also having the same trouble in dialing any phone number for Holland. She sounded great and things are going well for her and her kids. The arrangement between her estranged husband and the caring of the kids seems to be very amicable and I'm so happy for that. I hope we check in with each other more often. I would love to know more about the daily happenings in her life. She's a wonderful human being. We clicked from the moment we met back in 1990 and we have a special bond that doesn't really need nurturing but feels good to experience every time we chat.
So, this morning I will study for an hour and then I get to volunteer for an hour in T's class. I don't know what I'll be doing, but I imagine the kids will be put into small groups and we'll work on writing, or reading or math skills. I'll let you know later.
Then I have to go to the hospital from 2 PM to 10 PM for another day in my preceptorship. I hope there is more for me to do so the time passes more quickly than it did last week. But it will be 8 more hours chipped away at the 105 hour goal!
Mom will be coming over at 1PM to watch T. It's a really nice arrangement for us. And I think Mom likes being here too.
Over the weekend, I purchased tickets for Dad to go to Holland for 4 weeks. He's jazzed to make a reunion that is happening with folks from the town where he grew up. And, honestly, Mom is super jazzed to have some peace and quiet around the house. :)
It's nice to have some "me" time for Mom. Especially since retirement-- he rarely leaves the house anymore. Time apart is a good thing.
Anyway...Gotta get studying!