Sunday, March 26, 2017

Things You Don't Think About When...

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my 4 kids.  I'm glad we had 4.  Matt was the one who originally wanted 4 kids.  I was good with 2.  We compromised when we got married and said we would have 3.  And here we are with 4!   (I realize we can plan all we want BEFORE kids but doesn't mean God will bless you with them biologically but its something I think people need to agree on before they get married).

I'm sort of torn on the number that everyone is fascinated with.  Some people believe it is one - two too many.  With other people, 4 isn't many at all!  My neighbors have 10.  My other neighbors have 6.  Another house down the road has 8.  And everyone in between has 3-4 each.   So I feel pretty normal in this neighborhood.

Growing up with only one sister who is 4 years older than me, I got used to doing things certain ways.  She didn't really "affect" me in many ways.  The things I did were not decided by anything she did (if that makes sense).

There are things I WISH I had known or thought of though before having more than 2. Yes, the messes are bigger ... and just more of them.  But I've found myself saying to myself "I wish someone had told me that a long time ago."  Yeah, if I knew then what I know now!

1)  Time.  You think 1 or 2 kids takes a long time putting on their shoes?  Multiply that times FOUR times longer!  You think 1 kid takes a few minutes extra to get in the car?  f.o.u.r. times longer.  If it takes you 10 extra minutes to pack a to-go lunch or bag... yep, that would 40 minutes later you MIGHT be ready to go.  Pretty much, you will be permanently late to everything you do from now on.

2)  You could apply that rule to almost everything.  If 1 or 2 kids stress you out... I wouldn't recommend 4.  Toss the "I want a big family" idea out the window.  You will be permanently attached to Chlorox wipes and a bottle of wine.  And coffee.  And more wine.  And more coffee.

3)  Bedtimes.  Good Lord.  Each kid has their own "thing" that helps them go to sleep.  And yes, you want them to go to sleep FAST.  Immediately.  I got lucky with 2 of mine and they never needed/wanted me to rock them or lay down with them.  Put them in the bed, say I Love You & Goodnight, close the door, and you're done.  The other two I spend AT LEAST 1.5 hours with each of them and they usually still aren't asleep after that.  But just reminding you , that if you like to read or watch TV or whatever it is you do to wind down after a REALLY long day... if you have alot of kids, bedtime rituals become the last half of a marathon.  For me, I don't have a hubby who helps me with this because he works nights, so Kudos to all of you who do have help.  You can tell me all about whatever ridiculous reality TV show you watch the next day.  But I haven't watched TV in about 3 years now and I rarely get to read.  Unless its Fancy Nancy to my 4 year old.

4)  If one kid gets sick = they will ALL get it.  Yep, thats ALOT of vomit.  Just     think    about     that.

5)   Things are not as simple.  I've heard "cheaper by the dozen" and "the more the merrier" and  "what's one more?"  That's only true depending on what you're talking about.  Ok.  For instance, I have 4 car seats in my car.   Even though I have one kid old enough to not need one by legal age, she is so short that she still requires a booster so the strap hits her across the shoulder and not the face.   No biggie.  BUT on the rare night that my hubby is going to keep the other kids while me and a friend take our girls to the movies, I can't just "swing by and pick [her] up."  Else I have to remove some car seats that I think my hubby welded to the seat.   Someone else has to drive or I have to meet you there.  Plus I usually have so much "stuff" in my front passenger seat even when its cleaned out and organized, that it just doesn't work.  Easier to drive separately.

6)  The level of planning reaches an all new high.  And I'm a planner!  Sunday mornings I ALWAYS hear the same question from Matt:  "why didn't you lay their clothes out last night?"  (so he can help get them ready FASTER.  Its because by Saturday night, I am mentally checked out from all the planning during the week:  the lunch boxes, the clothes, the homework, the signed school papers, the backpacks, the after school activity bag packing aka swim gear, ballet bag, baseball bag, and the weekly dinner menu (if I even get around to that).  Did you put gas in the car?  Which kid will you pick up first or which one gets out first will decide your car rider lines?  Will you have time to come home in between any of that or do you need to pack it all in the car?  Then someone vomits and throws all your plans out the window.  But needless to say, I usually don't lay church clothes out on Saturday night mainly because I'm exhausted.  And I fully expect one kid to wake up running fever during the night because that's just how it is.  See what I did there?  I multiplied my chances of that happening ALOT.  Plan to get woken up in the middle of the night 4 times as often.

7)  Yep.  The word that these millennial kids don't like to hear, right?   You are limited in space.  You limit what activity your kids can do because of either costs or timing -- usually one extra curricular activity will interfere with the timing of another.   So you have to pick one!  Heaven forbid one sibling determines what another can or can't do, right?  We teach our kids they can be anything they want... oooohhh, wait that falls on a Thursday night at 6:00pm?  Yeah, no. That's already our swim and ballet day.  Your sleep just got even more limited.  Your car space.  Everything has a limit.  Especially the iPad time.

It takes an army to raise an army.  My best friend also has 4 kids.  We used to carpool more often, but with 4 kids each, we have literally run out of room and can only pick up 1 extra kid... which sometimes defeats the whole purpose.  
What's that you say?  Get a bigger vehicle?  Um.. no.  We have several friends who drive the short bus with 6 kids.  That's not in the cards for me.

I'm not complaining.  Like I said, I LOVE my kids.  But these are things you DEFINITELY don't think about BEFORE having them.  You are probably thinking about all the positives of having a large family.  Plenty of those too... I might make another post about that later.

People tell me A.L.L the time "I don't know how you do it with 4 kids!"  and then I think that I don't know how my neighbors do it with 10!  Besides the homeschooling bit.  And they drive a church van.  My advice?  Find what works for you.  The limits will definitely find you.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Get Thee Behind Me!

A not so funny story.   But you might fight it amusing, because its times like this I have to laugh to keep from crying.  Ok, I did cry once.  It started out as laughter but progressed into sitting in the kitchen floor doing the ugly cry with a bottle of wine and Chlorox wipes in my lap.

About 3 weeks ago, Merritt woke up with red eyes and nasal congestion.  Could be allergies.  Could be pink eye.  Who knows, right?  Mason had been on an antibiotic for an ear infection from teething the week before, and we had some extra antibiotics in the fridge thanks to a lovely pharmacy family and a hubby who can't read the bottles.  But it worked out to our advantage, Merritt started the antibiotic and was completely clear about 24 hours later.  (kept her on that med for 7 days though).

Back up almost 2 years ago.  Mati Claire had what appeared to be an ant bite on her knee that got infected, red streaks running up and down her leg... we thought maybe spider bite instead, eventually turned into a black scab... was there for several months before falling off and leaving a pitted scar on her leg.    Several months later, again.  A new spot about an inch away from the first spot but followed the same format.  About 6 months later (this would be about a year and half later from the first spot) a THIRD spot very similar appeared.  Took her to the dermatologist and because it had already scabbed over they couldn't do a biopsy.  Couldn't tell me what it was (that was the day of the Smoothie King incident and where my kids went insane-link below).  Well, we decided we would go back IF she ever got another one because these are spread out months in between.

So back to present day on a Thursday (months later).  Mattox has a spot on his inner thigh that followed the same process:  looks like a white zit or ant bite type bump, wart maybe?, gets infected, his pants rub it and open it up, it drains, pretty gross to deal with, we put antibiotic ointments on it, black scab, and a scar.  A few days later, he has about 20 of these spots up and down his thighs.  I immediately recognize them as the same type bumps that Mati Claire had.  We take him to the dermatologist and he tells us its Mulloscum Contagiosa = contagious rash virus.  The derm "paints" the spots with a special medicine (that as a pharmacist, I have never heard of and never dispensed in my life).  We leave it on for 4 hours and rinse off in the bath.  Ok.  Got it.

Welllll, Mattox was apparently mortified to tell the dermatologist that he also had a few bumps around his private parts.  So the dermatologist failed to paint those with the medicine (no fault of his own).  One bump in particular again follows the nasty course of events of getting quite large, pus-filled, painful, and the redness/swelling starts spreading.  He can't walk.  His teacher calls me from school concerned because he can't sit in his desk at school the "correct way".  He was miserable.  Considering this is near his genitalia, Daddy puts him on some antibiotics for the abcess.  A few days later, a hot bath drains it out and it might be one of the grossest experiences of my life.  He learned the hard way to never be too embarrassed to tell your doctor anything!

I also learned that this virus stays in your system for exactly 2 years (will be permanently gone after that) and any new bump that appears in that time should be treated by the dermatologist immediately. Not your local pharmacy, not even your pediatrician.  ONLY the dermatologist has access to this "medicine" that they would not give to me.  So I have to get an appointment with a dermatologist every time he gets a new bump like this for the next 2 years?  Yep.       yippee.      They apparently did not ban my family from future visits to their office after our first visit with the smoothies.

See POST LINK HERE for that post.  I also learned that he should not take baths or share towels with anyone/siblings for these 2 years.    Did the virus know that they just destroyed my nighttime-bedtime routine?  I do better at separating the boys from the girls now that they are getting older, but yes, they do share baths and towels OFTEN!  Grrr.....

Ok, so Mattox is on antibiotics.  Merritt is on antibiotics.  Mason just finished antibiotics.  We're good, right?

Mattox wakes up a few days later with "the pink eye".  Although I wouldn't consider it pink eye -- just full blown dual conjunctivitis.  Nasal symptoms as well.  He looks like an alien with not pink but RED eyes.  Spots all over his legs.  Then he gets his first real bloody nose.  He looked like he was hit by a truck.  Or beat up.  Poor guy.

Ok its a long holiday weekend.  We have time to Recover.  Regroup.  Right?

Saturday, Mason throws up all over Mati Claire and is running fever.  So I assumed the stomach bug that has been circulating the community found its way to my house.  We are pros at that!  He was completely fine and symptom free for 2 days following that episode.
Tuesday morning I walk in the gym and I get a phone call from the director at Mother's Day Out.  "Mrs. Miley?  You need to come pick up your youngest son.  He has Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease."

ummm.. WHAT???  How did my other 3 kids ever survive without catching this?  This is a new one for us.  The praying commenced that no one else caught it despite their ages.  I can't really quarantine an 18 month old for a solid week or more.

Mati Claire gets a stye.  We thought it might be the beginning of "the pink eye"  (and I'm using quotations on that because that's what my kids call it).  Nope, just a stye so she's walking around with a hot washcloth/warm compress on it for days on end.

Merritt starts showing signs of "the pink eye" again and complaining of a severe ear ache. She.can.NOT. hear.anything.  We tested her for days to see if it was selective hearing or if she really could not hear.  But considering she finished a round of antibiotics, I was not too concerned.  It must be viral, so I let the conjunctivitis run its course.  I'm sort of in military-mom-mode at this point.

3 out of 4 are miserable.  complaining.  missing school.  but ok, I've got this.  I just make my rounds from kid to kid:  medicine, comfort, love and hugs, lots of rest and naps, video games/ipads are worth every penny, Chlorox wipe everything they touch, wipe again, and then wipe again.   wash, rinse, and repeat.

then my healthy one bites the dust.  I pick Mati Claire up from school and we barely make it home before she starts vomiting.   great....I don't know if she has the stomach bug or the beginning signs of Hand-Foot-Mouth Virus too (Mason was apparently classic text-book case with this).

ALL   FOUR   KIDS    SICK   AT    THE    SAME     TIME.     And its my birthday.   Its not only pouring down rain outside... its pouring inside as well!

Cancel the sitter. Cancel the date night birthday dinner we had planned. Heck, cancel the whole month of January!  Even had to cancel the cleaners.  Lord knows I've cleaned every inch of the house by now.

I've never had all 4 sick at the SAME time.  Each with their own thing.  I call my pediatrician because I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown.  They don't need to see ANY of them because its ALL viral. Obviously ALL the antibiotics they've been on haven't helped.

Insert my crying session in the floor here.  What else can I Chlorox?  The liquor store knows my name now.  ;)

Merritt who had been on the mend... I now find myself taking her in to see the pediatrician Monday morning because she is crying over her ears.  And she literally can't hear me unless I scream at her.  I asked if she wanted candy for breakfast -- and she replied with an answer that didn't make any sense. I'm confused as to what is going on with her.  She does have fluid in her ear, but not ear infection.  She might have to go see an ENT but we're on another round of different antibiotics, Sudafed, Benadryl, Flonase, her regular Prevacid, and Advil or Tylenol for the pain.

Here I am almost 3 weeks later.  All managed to make it back to school this week until yesterday.  Mattox has "the pink eye" AGAIN.  Very strange that both he and Merritt had the exact same symptoms TWICE both cases separated by a week or so.  Between the two of them, they have had it FOUR times!

When do the sicknesses stop??????????  They went an entire semester without getting sick.  They get vitamins.  They even get probiotics every single day.

Like I said before, Chlorox and wine are my best friends this month.  and the Kroger Clicklist.

Why yes, I did make my appointment for a spa day next week!

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